June 23, 2024

Only meaningful education can save Nigeria— Afe Babalola

Afe Babalola

Chief Afe Babalola(SAN)

…as ABUAD emerges best varsity in Nigeria for 3rd time, number one globally in SDG-7

By Rotimi Ojomoyela

Elder Statesman and founder Afe Babalola University, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) said only qualitative and meaningful education can save the country from the myriad of challenges currently confronting it.

Babalola stated this in Ado-Ekiti, while addressing media representatives at the University campus in Ekiti on Sunday.

The legal luminary listed such problems facing Nigeria to include; economic doldrum, poverty, banditry, extremism, religious bigotry, among others.

He said these problems that have long stalled Nigeria’s greatness could be solved through sound education, alongside the adoption of the tripartite principles of hard work, honesty and faith, continually exhibited by the University.

The university has been as No 1 in the world for Sustainable Development Goal SDG 7, and No 2 in Nigeria, for 3rd consecutive years, 2022, 2023 and 2024, by a global body, Times Higher Education Impact Ranking.

The 96- year old Nonegarian, maintained that the tripartite principles had made the 15-year-old Institution, to excel tremendously in all its endeavours, which made it to emerge the best Nigerian University for the third consecutive time, 4th in Africa and 142th in the world, as recently published in the 2024 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

Times Higher Education Impact Ranking for 2024, had also ranked ABUAD ,first globally, for SDG 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy, Outreach Programmes, with 98% and Stewardship Programmes, with 98.2%.

Babalola, a former two-term Pro-Chancellor of University of Lagos, attributed the rise in ranking of ABUAD, to It’s quality curriculum, stable and predictable academic calendar.

“We are here today to share some good news for the third consecutive year. Part of it is that our 15-year-old university has again been ranked as No. 1 University in Nigeria, and Number 142 in education generally, the world.

“The above notwithstanding, our ranking position has changed significantly. The reason is because this year, our ranking has gone beyond the shores of Nigeria and, now gone global.

“This result constitutes a challenge to all Nigerians, particularly our universities. We are all aware of the economic doldrum that the country is battling with. I must stress that education is the panacea to all the ignorance, extremism, poverty, religious bigotry and tribalism among other problems, confronting the country.

“It is my conviction that if people can emulate the type of complete, and innovative education system, hardwork, honesty and faith, being exhibited in ABUAD, Nigeria would have been better for it”, he said.

Babalola thanked members of the university community for their relentless efforts in making sure that the University was reckoned with, in the educational sector, and urged them not to rest on their oars.

“I encourage all members of staff to see our current ranking as a call to duty, so that apart from remaining number next year, we will be number one in other areas, and number one globally in everything”, he said.

Corroborating Babalola in an interview, the Vice Chancellor of ABUAD, Prof. Smaranda Olarinde, commended him for deploying his hard earned resources in championing the needed revolution in the education sector, with the establishment of the university.

Olarinde, who had just clocked second year in office as VC, after acting for three years, said the institution’s management and staff would continue to justify Babalola’s huge investment, by working harder towards making the institution, one of the best 100 in the world.

She said it would be a disservice for any higher educational institution, as endowed as the country is, to produce the regular kind of graduates.

“In ABUAD, our role in the educational sector in the country and in Africa, is to transform the entire educational system. It is the believe of our founder, that you do not transform something by doing everything the usual way, you can only transform something by doing things the excellent and the uncommon way.

“We at ABUAD, have achieved this enviable level of national and global excellence because of the quality of graduates we turn out, through impactful education and training, not only for degrees, but also in character and industrious moulding.

“We commenced academic operations at ABUAD approximately 15 years ago. In those short 15 years, we rose from nothing, to being continually ranked high by the global body, the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking, and even agencies of government in Nigeria”, she said.

Continuing, she said “Out of thousands of qualified universities globally, ABUAD has always effectively come ahead of the several other universities, both in Africa, in Asia, and even in Europe, and in the United States. We are just starting.

“In a few years, and by the grace of God, we shall be talking of ABUAD being in the top 100 universities globally. We will not rest until we have achieved this goal.”

Olarinde, a former Head of Department, Public International Law of University of Ibadan, and Dean of Law Faculty at ABUAD, described as great challenge and unique call to service, her current position as a female Chief Executive Officer of the university, promising to continue to use her wealth of experience to deliver on the responsibilities attached to her office.