From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, (SAN), has tasked the National Universities Commission (NUC) to review university laws to ensure strict sanctions against academics convicted for offences capable of degrading the university system in Nigeria.
Babalola said the country needs the instrumentality of the laws to deal with the bad eggs in the University system, saying such review becomes expedient to save the sector, so that lecturers can stop embarrassing the country.
Babalola spoke in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday at the events marking the third anniversary for the establishment of the ABUAD’s 400-Bed Multi-System Hospital and sendoff ceremony for the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof Fola Esan,
The elder statesman, who used the occasion to react to recent jailing of a university Professor over electoral fraud, lamented the rot in the university system in the country, which he said must be tackled without further delay.
According to him, “reviewing the laws would not only provide avenue for shaming such erring lecturers, it would also make it difficult for such professors from securing alternative jobs in any university again in any part of the country.
“Gone were the days when teachers, especially university lecturers and professors were perceived to be above board as well as embodiment of honesty, transparency and decency.
” Indeed, that was the true situation at that time, but unfortunately, are these facts true of professors of today?
” We have just recently read in the media the shameful story of one Prof Peter Ogbe of a University who had just been convicted for electoral fraud that earned him two years imprisonment
” But where do we go from here? Since the beginning of this week, we have been celebrating three years of excellence in Medicine here and also celebrating our own Prof Esan, the CMD, a man of honour and integrity whose record in Cambridge Examination in those days is yet to be beaten.
” He has laid a solid foundation at the Multi-system Hospital and has set the records as a pioneer. What we expect is that those coming after him would emulate him and strive to improve on his records.
” It is outrightly shameful that while we are busy jubilating and celebrating Prof. Esan here, another Professor like him is on a prison vacation for electoral fraud.
” I want to use this medium to call on the National Universities Commission to review its laws about the bad eggs in the University system.
” The moment any academic is convicted of any crime while serving in one university, the NUC should make it impossible for him to be employed in any other university in the country again.
” This is one of the ways to sanitize the Nigerian University system. I also advise that the NUC should revive the noble and progressive actions of its former Executive Secretary, Prof. Peter Okebukola when he was in the saddle
” That was the time he initiated monetary awards for the Best University, the Best Vice Chancellor, the Best Pro Chancellor and the Best Governing Council.
” This is one of the ways to improve the University system as this will promote keen and healthy rivalry among the universities”, he said.
Babalola said he had no regrets establishing the 400-bed Multy-System Hospital in the institution, which he said was basically for the benefit of Nigerians and humanity in general
He said many medical breakthroughs had been recorded in the hospital within a spate of three years, while the hospital had continually saved many threatened lives and reduced incidence of medical tourism abroad.
Babalola maintained that those hitherto rushing abroad for medical attention and spending huge sums in the process, now found succour in the hospital while free basic medical services are often extended to the very poor at community level.
Responding, the outgoing CMD, Prof.Fola Esan, expressed gratitude to Babalola for his huge investment in the university and hospital, saying the popularity enjoyed by the institutions within few years were made possible through his untiring efforts.