By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado-Ekiti-The founder Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Aare Afe, Babalola(SAN), has thrown his weight behind the ongoing nationwide industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The legal luminary lamented state of infrastructure in Nigeria universities saying such had drastically affected the standard of teaching, learning and research.
The legal luminary who said the demands of the University teachers were legitimate, urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to source for money to ensure proper funding of university education and to meet some of the demands raised by ASUU.
He said it sounded disgusting that the FG could earmark seven per cent budgetary allocation to fund education, when the United Nations Educational and Socio Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommended 26 per cent.
Speaking during a ceremony marking the 9th anniversary of the establishment of the university, Afe stated that his university, ABUAD , has attained an enviable height within nine years it began operations, saying any staff , either academic or administrative , who constitutes a clog in the rising standard of the University would be severely sanctioned.
Present at the ceremony which was held at the Campus of the Institution in Ado-Ekiti, on Friday, were the management members , led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Michael Ajisafe.
Babalola commended the staff for their commitments that had contributed immensely to ABUAD becoming a leading university in Nigeria, warning that the management shall wield the big stick against staff not supporting the vision of the institution, which was to bring a paradigm shift to university education.
“I have been Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Lagos(UNILAG) and I knew that the universities lack facilities and equipment to be of high standard.
“In our universities, students are not resident in schools, some stayed outside the lecture theatres to receive lectures, some even used forest as toilets , Lecturers are not paid as and when due, all these are intolerable.
“So, ASUU’s case is strong this time and I support them in spite of the fact that I have been criticizing them in recent past, but I stand with them this time.
“FG must look for funds to make our universities be of high standard. UNESCO recommended 26 percent, but FG still allots as low as seven percent to education. FG must increase allocations to universities and monitor how the monies are appropriated, because accountability has always been our problem.
“ASUU alleged that over 70 percent of the projects in our universities are uncompleted for lack of funds and corruption, this is wrong.
“ In ABUAD, we complete our projects in time. We built our Planetorium within six months, some federal universities started theirs 10 years ago and they have not completed it”, he said.
Babalola said ABUAD has become one of the best universities in Nigeria within nine months because the management works extra hard to monitor the lecturers and students to be able to embrace the vision.
“In the law school examinations conducted in 2018, 12 ABUAD students got first class with one emerging overall best. They presented 36 prizes and our students carted away 24 of them. This showed that keeping the students here under monitoring was working.
“We shall continue to celebrate those staff who are working to keep the standard we set and we have achieved for ourselves. But whoever wants to bring it down among the students and teachers shall be sanctioned, those who don’t want to share our vision must go away.
“From next week Monday, we will begin teachers’ annual assessment to be able to know those who are working for our glory here and they shall get their rewards”, he promised