Afe Babalola

* 2,000 ABUAD students take oath of matriculation
* Ex-NUC boss hails varsity founder for rewards system

AFE Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) Founder Aare Chief Afe Babalola, SAN has urged the Federal Government to introduce a National Examination for final year students in universities nationwide.

This, according to him, would help improve education standard and assist individual university to improve the quality of graduates they are producing.

The legal icon spoke yesterday at ABUAD Founder’s Day/Matriculation for the 2018/2019 academic session.

“In this way, every programmes on our universities shall work hard to ensure that their students pass the National Examination, thereby ensuring high standard in teaching and research,” Babalola said.

Babalola (SAN) said he was inspired to recommend the examination because of the quality assurance standard he set for ABUAD at inception.

He added that the measures were now bearing positive fruits nearly a decade of the institution’s existence.

He said the ABUAD concept has able to counter some colonial masters like Lord Lugard, who considered an average black man as lacking in discipline, foresight and self-control.

“With your cooperation, education revolution has begun in ABUAD. We are building a new generation of new Nigerians. We are happy that our regulator, the Nation Universities Commission (NUC) and other stakeholders have applauded the revolution, which has begun in ABUAD,” Are Babalola said.

He also challenged the Federal Government on the proposed Ekiti Airport, saying he was ready to co-fund it, provided government could allocate the land for the project.

“For so long, the issue of this airport project has been on the table for long. We all know how Ekiti State lacks infrastructures like motorable roads, rail line and airport. We knew what you all went through before you could get in here. It goes clearly without saying that Ekiti State urgently needs an airport. All efforts to have one have been frustrated in the past.

“If the government is ready, I am also ready to co-fund the project. But let them give us the land first,” Babalola told parents and guest at the university auditorium.

Former NUC Executive Secretary Prof. Peter Okebukola hailed ABUAD’s rewards system, describing it as the best in Africa and one of the best in the world.

Okebukola was alluding to three first class graduates of Law of ABUAD, who were given cash rewards for making their alma mater proud at the Nigerian Law School (NLS).

They were Ekop Naomi Uwem, who emerged the overall best student at the NLS. The three other were Adewole Mary Tofarati; Adepoju Blessing Oluwapemilerin as well as Opajobi Oyinloye Bukola.

Similarly, a 200-Level Management Science undergraduate and a student of ICAN, Nellikenw Ochinike, also emerged the second overall best candidate in West Africa at the September ATS 1, ICAN examination.

Ekop was presented with a N525,000 naira and Adewole, Adepeju and Opajobi were given N125,000 each. Ochinike got N22500.

Okebukola, who spoke on “Seven cardinal principles for sustaining quality in ABUAD”, identified steps for a university desirous of attaining global brand.

He said one of them is a good reward for exceptional staff and outstanding students, which ABUAD is already doing.

He said: “I recall that last year, the best graduating student here was presented with a brand new car and a half a million cash rewards. Other exceptional students and staff also got various cash rewards too.

Baba has also been very generous to those who serve at the Board of Trustees too.

“I, therefore, suggest that this gesture should continue as it will inspire students towards better performance while encouraging staff to proudly carry the ABUAD flag.”

Other six benchmarks, according to Okebukola, include: quality and quantity of students offered admission; quality of teachers with commensurate pay; quality of faculty; periodic checks to weeding out pollutants in the system; regular accreditation exercise for teachers; constant quality teaching and research with conducive classroom; strict compliance to discipline of staff and students; as well as entrenchment of Centre of Excellence.

Okebukola’s successor, Prof Julius Okojie, congratulated the university management, urging Babalola to retain its strategy.

“In the western world, presidents of universities can spend as many years as possible provided he’s a good administrator that delivers result. But in Nigeria today, Federal Government only says a vice chancellor is entitled to a single term of five years. So, if you now have an administrator with a winning team, why don’t you retain them?”, Okojie wondered.

The highpoint of the event was taking of matriculation oath as well as the official inauguration of Parents Teacher Consultative Forum Amphitheatre.

ABUAD VC Prof. Micheal Ajisafe told 2000 students, who took oath of matriculation, to be of good conduct and abstain from anti-social activities.

Other personalities, who attended the event, include: a member of ABUAD BoT Otunba Biyi Durojaiye; Dr. Chris Natalie, who represented NUC ES Prof. Abubakar Rasheed; presiding Justice of Appeal Court, Ekiti Division Ahmad Belgore, who represented Alfa Belgore; among others.

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