Read Why Afe Babalola Established Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD)

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Q: How did you come about ABUAD?

When I eventually left University of Lagos, I haven’t had the experience of what problems were and are still afflicting public universities. I asked myself, what is the value of me having so much property in England, Lagos, Abuja which I will leave to those who never worked for it and who may never use it well?

I said, let me establish a university and make an example and a leader in the formation. That was why at that age, is not too late. After all, Moses started and took away the Israelites from Egypt at the age of 80.

It was an act of faith and I believed that God will be with me and see me through. I set up a committee of professors and so on. We met at Ibadan and one of them asked me: “You said you want to start a university, don’t you know that it is very expensive?”

I told them I didn’t tell them to come and advise me whether it is expensive or not, I only invited you to come and advise me how to go about it. I also told them that I want this university to start within 18 months.

They offered their advice and went away. That was how I started the place.As I said, it was an act of faith backed up with two things, determination and faith. I came here, it was a forest. I got the land; farmers were there. But before I left Ibadan, I had put up a drawing of what I believe a university should be like, having experienced what was happening in the University of Lagos.

You know there two gates. In this case, I said there will be only one main gate here and the main gate will lead straight to the administrative office, there will be a circular road. Inside the circular road facing it, there would be colleges and immediately after it, would be all the hostels, cafeteria and so on.

This was done to enable students to be able to move easily from the hostel to the colleges. The set-up made it easy for you to read in the evening, morning and at night without any fear or problem.

So today, here, students must go to class at eight compulsorily, break at 1:00 pm, eat and come back at 3:00 till 5:00 pm, break for exercises and sports and so on, then come back to class at 8:00 pm till 10:00 pm compulsorily.

That is why they are doing very well.

Q: That sounds very strict; why did you institute that regimen?

Good question. When you enter my university, you will see that it is like when you enter a cathedral. If you go into a cathedral when there is nobody there, you will feel the presence of God inside it.

When you enter Afe Babalola University, you will feel the presence of academics reading. It is meant exclusively for academics, not for any other thing.

When you leave your house and you are coming here, you are not coming here to play, it is not a tea party. But at the same time, we have places here where you can relax on weekends and so on.

So, we have succeeded in that area and the University of Lagos taught me a lesson of how university can be run.

It was like a preparatory class for me and I’m very happy.

Excerpt from Vanguard Newspapers

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