By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, have described Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) as a citadel of learning that has brought improved the academic image of the country at the international level.
They said with the establishment of ABUAD by its founder, Chief Afe Babalola(SAN) eight years ago, that the country was gradually regaining its pride of place at the international level in the area of improved scholarship.
Speaking after commissioning some projects in the university on Monday, the elder statesmen added that ABUAD would be one of the 100 best universities on webometric ranking before its tenth anniversary.
The projects commissioned were: The newly built 18 metres Dome Planetarium for Exploratory Trip for Space; Tele-medicine equipment at the Teaching Hospital that would facilitate free interaction of Aster doctors in Dubai with their patients in Ado Ekiti; the multi-billion naira postgraduate hall and the state-of- the -art social and management science building.
Obasanjo said with the existence of the 400-bed Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, every Nigerian, including the rich, has no reason traveling abroad for medical treatments.
He said: “ABUAD is gradually transforming Nigeria. When I reappointed Chief Afe Babalola the chairman and Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, he was determined to turn things around but that environment did not permit him.
“I want to thank God today that he has started translating those dreams to reality. So, with the aesthetic structures I am seeing , I can say that ABUAD has become a huge blessing to Nigeria.”
Gowon described ABUAD as a real 21st century university with the culture of learning and morality, saying the university has become not only a cynosure of all eyes but investment that was fast radicalising the country’s education system.
The former head of state said with the spate ABUAD was going that the country has a lot to benefit from the university.
“This university is becoming a trail blazer in all aspects. The
development is attracting global body to invest and the product is what you are seeing in the memoranda it is signing with big educational and health institutions across the globe.
“ABUAD is doing well in academics, morality and in agriculture. Look at the farm set up by the founder, Chief Babalola. It has offered employments and increasing food production in Nigeria.
“The benefit of this institution will be exceptionally tremendous . The founder has done well for himself in life by setting up an institution that has widened Nigeria’s recognition and contributions to scholarship across the globe”.
Babalola said with the establishment of Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, there would be no need for Nigerians to travel abroad for medical treatments, saying the university was set up to correct perceived imbalances in the education sector.
“This university was set up to be a real example of 21st century university. A modern university that can compete with any university in advanced nations.
“This university was established eight years ago and it was ranked to be between one and four in Nigeria. By the time we will be ten, it will be number one in Nigeria and this will make it a formidable force in the global scene “, he said.
On the new university teaching hospital, Babalola said the expatriates brought in from Aster Hospital in Dubai had been exposing experts in the university to various fields that will make treatment of any ailment easy in the university.