By Ariwodola Idowu
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, has advised the Federal Government to set up a special fund for the development of private universities in Nigeria.
Oba Adeyemi gave the advice on Saturday at the 5th convocation of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD).
“This university is an exemplar in learning and character. It is moulding Nigeria’s future leaders in the best fashion.
“And I believe it won’t be out of place for the federal government to give special intervention funds for private universities,” the Alaafin said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 21-year-old Ahwin Kevin Akporode of Department of Mechanical Engineering emerged the overall best of the 869 graduating students with cumulative Grade Point Average of 5.00.
NAN reports that the university also conferred honorary Doctor of Letters on former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Peter Okebukola and an American Philanthropist and President of Project CURE Foundation, Dr Williams Douglas.
Earlier in an address of welcome, founder of the university, Chief Afe Babalola, said the university would not deviate from its focus to bridge the existing gap in functional education in Nigeria by its pragmatic approach to teaching.
He appealed to the federal government to construct a airport in Ekiti, saying such project was long overdue, taking into cognizance the feats achieved by the university and its contributions to nation building .
“We started this university with about 250 students seven years ago, but today, we have 8,000 students here. We were able to achieve this because we deviated from the norm of just going to university to get certificates.
“We also exposed them to skills acquisition in baking, farming, Internet expertise, and other entrepreneurial skills that can make them cope under the present Nigeria’s economy.
“So the type of graduands you are seeing are thorough-bred graduates who can effectively stand on their own, “ Babalola said.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, reminded the graduands to detach themselves from the erroneous impression that acquisition of university certificates would automatically make their lives better.
“It will be wrong for you to think that people only go to university to acquire certificates: No, it goes beyond that. What university education means is the training of a complete being,” Fayose said.
Receiving the best graduating student award, Ahwin said he dedicated the academic laurel to his sterling parental guide, which he said was outstanding.
“I owe this achievement to my parents. My father’s strict military background and my mother’s guide as a teacher helped me a lot.
“When I got to ABUAD, I also applied the aphorism of our founder, which is industry, determination, learning and character. The combination of all these helped me a lot,” the young graduand said.