By: Smaranda Olarinde

INTRODUCTION: When Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, came forward with his dream and vision to establish a university to reform education after his seven-year stint as the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, some sceptics would probably have looked at the now flourishing dream with some subdued optimism: some ‘let’s wait and see attitude’. 

Not only was he strikingly emphatic that he was prepared to lead others in the provision of quality education, service, industry and character as well as discipline, he made it abundantly clear that his university, which was out to teach Nigerians how a university should be run, will be different from the extant ones in many ways than one.

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But today, a first-time visitor to the Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, which regally sits in the serene atmosphere and lush ambience of Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, would not only look up in awe and marvel at the majestic architectural masterpieces that adorn the landscape of the 12-year-old world class citadel of learning, such a visitor will be enraptured with the streak of the university’s attainment in Law, Engineering, the Sciences, Accounting and of course, Medicine.

The advent of COVID-19: When the ravaging and rampaging COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Nigeria sometime in February 2020, nobody, no institution, not even the World Health Organisation, WHO, knew how far-reaching the devastating and debilitating effects of the invisible killer which has claimed many lives and grounded the economy could be.  

Efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in ABUAD: To curtail the spread of the pandemic in ABUAD, our ever-forward-looking Founder spent billions of Naira to put the following in place:

Sanitisers approved by NAFDAC; automatic soap and water dispensers; nose masks; the university had been fully fenced and entrance fully manned by security men and nurses; infrared thermometer to test visitors and students at the gate of the university; isolation centre; motorised fumigation machine; mobile fumigators to sterilise hostels and classrooms; polymerase chain reaction, PCR, machine; corona virus test kits for Antigen testing; RNA extraction kits; nasopharyngeal swab sticks and liquid medium; bio-safety cabinet. Micropipettes and other accessories; disinfectant sanitary tunnel; In addition, the university has built a holden bay.

More holistic efforts to combat the virus: In his usual persona of thinking ahead and looking for solutions to nagging issues, Aare Afe Babalola, upon hearing of the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria, as a result of which all schools in the country were shut with effect from Monday, March 23, 2020, immediately set up a committee of researchers from the University’s College of Sciences, College of Medicine and College of Engineering to find a solution to COVID-19 by developing vaccines and medications from Nigeria’s indigenous herbs that abound all over the place.

By coming out with workable solutions, the Founder reasoned that researchers and scientists in his university will show and demonstrate that they are globally relevant in the scheme of things. It was at this stage that the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the arrow head of Yoruba ancestral wisdom, came visiting the Founder on April 30, 2020 with the same burning zeal and passion to join hands with ABUAD to show the world that the solutions to the ravaging COVID-19 may not be far-fetched after all, but could indeed be found in some African countries, including Nigeria. 

ABUAD virucidine herbal liquid: That African scientists are up to the task has been further demonstrated by Afe Babalola University which developed “Abuad Herbal Virucidine Liquid”, an immune booster and antioxidant for corona virus and other viral infections which can also be used as an anti-inflammatory agent. 

To confirm its efficacy, the said ABUAD Herbal Virucidine Liquid was administered on 19 patients who were confirmed to have COVID-19 using RT-PCR test. The patients subsequently seroconverted to PCR to TR-PCR negative while on the ABUAD Herbal Virucidine Liquid without any adverse effect from the Herbal Liquid. With this development, ABUAD has become the first university in Africa and the second in the world (after University of Oxford) to develop medication for the prevention and cure of COVID-19. This is in tandem with the World Bank position that a 21st century university must excel in teaching, community service and research. This, no doubt, is a further boost to the university’s community service.

Effects of the ABUAD Herbal Virucidine Liquid: Subsequent to the success recorded through the administration of the ABUAD Herbal Virucidine Liquid in the population aforementioned, arrangements have been concluded between Pharsh Pharma Services and ABUAD to make Afe Babalola University Multi-System Hospital an industry-based Clinical Trial Centre, the first in Nigeria. 

While this was still going on, ABUAD received news from the United States of America that its international research publication identifying Atare (Alligator pepper) as a treatment option for COVID-19 has just been validated by scientists in the United States of America as indeed being able to cure COVID-19.

Harvest time: From time immemorial, there has been “seed time and harvest time”. For Aare Afe Babalola and his increasingly famous university, the harvest time has come on the research seed they have been sowing to curtail the devastating effects of COVID-19. This has been made manifest by the media glitz that greeted success of the ABUAD Virucidine Herbal Liquid. 

Indeed, the media has been awash since Wednesday, January 5, 2022 with the success story of the ABAUD Virucidine Herbal Liquid. ABUAD success story in this regard has gone further to demonstrate that while not undermining the place and import of orthodox medicine, the real cure for COVID-19 could be found in our ancestral heritage, the fruits of our land, our people, their rich cultural practices and their tradition.

Conclusion: Our Founder & Chancellor, Aare Afe Babalola, has through his well-known determination and hard work, set the pace. His inherent sterling qualities have motivated to us all to key into his vision and dream in order to continue to make ABUAD the worthy example to follow. I want to thank our Team of Scientists led by Prof. Olaposi Omotuyi for job well done. I equally thank all the stakeholders, the Regulatory Authorities such as NUC, MDCN, our dear parents and the totality of ABUAD staff: without your individual and collective cooperation and/or understanding, we may not be able to go this far. But then, this is just the beginning. We should always remember that the reward for hard work is more work. Better days are ahead. Congratulations.

Prof. Olarinde is the Acting Vice Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti. 

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