When in 2010 Are Afe Babalola (SAN) kicked off academic session at the Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, little did Nigerians know that the institution would become a standard for federal, state and private universities. The private institution sited on over 1,000 hectares of land, directly opposite the Federal Polytechnic in Ado-Ekiti, boasts of world class facilities.
ABUAD at different fora, had been adjudged by former NUC Executive Secretary, Professor Julius Okojie; Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole; CMD, University Teaching Hospital,UCH Ibadan, Professor Temitope Alonge and immediate past President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, Engr. Isaac Olorunfemi, as the best in the country.
Benchmark and reference point
Statistics revealed that it is,perhaps, the only school in the country where each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is evenly represented in admissions. It is also one of the few universities that are over-subscribed by students every year. While its carrying admissions capacity is over 8,000, the institution gets over 15,000 applications.
The record also shows that ABUAD in eight years, had graduated five sets. While federal, state and many private universities are preparing or conducting examinations for its students, ABUAD had since completed the semester.
The NUC has acknowledged it as "a model, benchmark and reference point for other universities." The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigeria acknowledged it as the most successful private university in Nigeria and lately, the NUC described it as "the pride of the Nigerian university system." On its part, UNESCO also acknowledged ABUAD as "a world class institution of higher education."
Little surprise then, that in January 2017, Webometrics ranking of world's universities ranked ABUAD as best private university in Google Scholar (Transparent Ranking) in Nigeria; Number three best out of 249 higher education institutions including all private and public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Google Scholar (Transparent Ranking) in Nigeria. ABUAD is number two best private university in Repository Ranking in Nigeria and number four best out of 249 higher education institutions in Nigeria. It is number two best private university in Webometrics ranking in Nigeria.
I have heard people ask: "What's so special about ABUAD that many admission seekers choose it as first choice?" The institution that has received 100 per cent accreditation of its 47 programmes was described by Professor Julius Okojie as "best in West Africa." He said the Law programme of ABUAD is the best in West Africa.
For the immediate past president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, Engr. Isaac Olorunfemi, ABUAD engineering programme should serve as "template for engineering education in Nigeria."
Also, former Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, speaking on the institution's Medical programme said: "It will be difficult for any other university in Nigeria to equal.
Poor health indicators
"My first visit to the institution revealed to me that half of the story of the school was not told. Vanguard's tour of the institution's facilities confirmed the remarks of other academics.
Indeed, the institution which started with 240 students eight years ago, has increased to 8,112 in 2018.
ABUAD does not only parade itself as an academic institution but boasts of world class multi-system hospital. Health minister and medical educator, Professor Isaac Adewole, said of the hospital: "This hospital will offer us what we hitherto believe cannot happen in this country.
"It will also improve the poor health indicators in Nigeria. With what I have seen here, this hospital matches the best in the world and it will certainly put an end to medical tourism outside Nigeria."
Moreover, the CMD, University Teaching Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Professor Temitope Alonge said: "I have worked in many hospitals both in Nigeria and in Europe. This hospital beats most hospitals where I have worked in Europe. This surely will be the answer to medical tourism. With what's here in this hospital, there is no reason doctors should want to go abroad for sabbatical. All they need is here."
ABUAD medical consultant, Dr. Olukayode Akinlade, who took journalists round the medical facilities said the multi-system hospital has 400-bed capacity.
He disclosed that the multi system hospital has orthopaedic medical theatre, abdominal medical theatre; ear, nose and throat theatre; brain theatre and cardiac theatre. "The teaching hospital is proud of 95 qualified medical practitioners in Nigeria and abroad," he added.
Besides, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, DVC (Administration) and Provost, College of Law, Professor Smaranda Olarinde in her remarks said: "This College of Law was rated the best college of law in West Africa and best college of law in Nigeria by the former NUC Executive Secretary, Professor Julius Okojie.
"Among our former graduates, we had first class, second class upper division and in Law School in 2016, we had two, one from the Abuja campus and the other one from Lagos campus. Last year, we had one first class and several second class upper division students and the Council of Legal Education acknowledged our students for their performances by sending letter of commendation to the institution and to the College.
"Immediately we finished our second graduation, the NUC came over and accredited our law facilities and told us to go ahead because they were highly satisfied with our facilities."
Meanwhile, the Chancellor and Founder of ABUAD, learned Silk, Afe Babalola (SAN), disclosed that next week Monday, the university will commission four key projects.
Letter of commendation
He said: "The sophisticated telemedicine equipment which was donated by our partner, Aster DM Healthcare of Dubai, to our ultra-modern 400-bed multi system hospital will assist our hospital in the area of tele-consulting, tele-diagnosis and tele-management.
"It will enable our partners in Dubai to join us in ABUAD in performing medical services by proxy. The university's 18m fixed Dome Planetarium, the only one in Africa with Astronomical Observatory is one of the largest fixed planetariums in the world.
"Multi ultra-modern post-graduate building and hall of residence built at a cost of N2 billion and state-of-the-art social and management science building constructed at a cost of N1.5 billion."
Expected at the commissioning, he noted are, crème-de-la-creme of the society made up of members of the Bar and Bench, royalty, clergy and captains of industry, as well as top politicians.
He said that Nigeria's former Head of State who is an alumnus of ABUAD, General Yakubu Gowon, Executive Secretary of the NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, and Chairman, Aster Group of Dubai, Dr. Azadd Moopen among others, will be in attendance."