Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A legal icon and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has tasked the National Universities Commission(NUC) to review university laws in order to confer further sanctions against academics convicted for rape, electoral fraud, certificate racketeering and other misdemeanours.
Babalola said the country needed the instrumentality of the laws to deal with the bad eggs in the university system, saying such review became expedient to save the sector and prevent lecturers from embarrassing the country.
The legal luminary stated this in Ado Ekiti at the weekend at an event to mark the third anniversary of the establishment of the ABUAD 400-bed multi-system hospital and sendoff ceremony for the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof Fola Esan.
The elder statesman, who used the occasion to react to recent jailing of a university professor over electoral fraud, lamented the rot in the university system in the country, which he said must be tackled without further delay.
According to him, “Reviewing the laws would not only provide avenue for shaming such erring lecturers, it would also make it difficult for such professors to secure alternative jobs in any university again in any part of the country.
“Gone were the days when teachers, especially university lecturers and professors, were perceived to be above board as well as embodiment of honesty, transparency and decency.
“Indeed, that was the true situation at that time, but unfortunately, are these facts true of professors today?
“We have just recently read in the media the shameful story of one Prof Peter Ogbe of a university who had just been convicted for electoral fraud that earned him two years imprisonment.
“But where do we go from here? Since the beginning of this week, we have been celebrating three years of excellence in medicine here and also celebrating our own Prof Esan, the CMD, a man of honour and integrity whose record in Cambridge examination in those days is yet to be beaten.
“He has laid a solid foundation at the multi-system hospital and has set the records as a pioneer. What we expect is that those coming after him would emulate him and strive to improve on his records.
“It is an outright shame that while we are busy jubilating and celebrating Prof. Esan here, another professor like him is on a prison for electoral fraud.
“So I want to use this medium to call on the National Universities Commission to review its laws to flush out the bad eggs in the university system.
“The moment any academic is convicted of any crime while serving in the university, the NUC should make it impossible for him to be employed in any other university in the country again.”
Babalola said he had no regrets establishing the 400-bed multi-system hospital in the institution, which he said was basically for the benefit of Nigerians and humanity in general.
He said many medical breakthroughs had been recorded in the hospital within a spate of three years, while the hospital had continually saved many threatened ailments and reduced incidence of medical tourism abroad.
While responding, the outgoing CMD of the hospital, Prof. Fola Esan, expressed gratitude to Babalola for his huge investment in the university and hospital, saying the popularity enjoyed by the institutions within few years were made possible through his untiring efforts.