Afe Babalola challenges Scientists to find a solution to Covid-19 pandemic

Elder Statesman and Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, has challenged Scientists in his university to engage in research in order to join other Scientists in other parts of the world to find a lasting solution to the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic that is threatening to ground the country to a halt in many ways.

Founder of Afe Babalola University, AdoEkiti, Aare Afe Babalola.

Worried and concerned that the pandemic which has led the Federal Government to close down all educational institutions in the country and limit the number of worshipers in church and mosque services to as low as between 20 and 50, partial lock down of some states in the country, Babalola invited Scientists in ABUAD’s Colleges of Engineering, Sciences and Medicine and challenged them to take advantage of the one-month blanket closure of schools throughout the country to engage in research and come out with workable solutions that will show that they are globally relevant in the scheme of things.

Babalola observed that Nigerian Academics often go to sleep after obtaining their Ph. Ds when that should be the beginning of research and contributions to knowledge base and service to humanity as it is done in other parts of the world.

His words: “I have always said that I am a big dreamer. I dream big. It is not a crime to dream, but it is a sin not to dream. I said much about this in my Autobiography titled ‘Impossibility made possible’. For me, I don’t believe anything is impossible”.

He added: “I will first dream about a thing and then go ahead and give it a try. If you dream of reaching the sun and you don’t get there, you will at least get to the moon. The philosophy of this university is determination, industry and integrity. The combination of all these should gear you as Scientists in your various fields to tackle this all-important assignment.

“I implore you all to go to work immediately. I promise to give all the necessary support. I am ready to provide the necessary funding and equipment for your research and come out with results that will be beneficial to humanity. With our huge investment in the Sciences, Medicine and Engineering, we should be able to do something tangible and reasonable to combat Covid-19

“It is common knowledge that we have invested heavily in the Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. When the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) came to our university in 2015, they marveled at the modern equipment in the 37 laboratories in our College of Engineering. They acknowledged that 75% of this equipment is not available in any university in Nigeria. They went further to describe our Engineering Programme as the “Template for Engineering Education in Nigeria”.

According to Babalola, the university’s 400-bed Multi-system Hospital which has the largest assemblage of modern medical equipment has been acknowledged as the best in Africa. All these put together has made two former Ministers, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, former Minister of State for Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, the immediate past Minister of Health and the Prof. Temitope Alonge, the immediate past Chief Medical Director of UCH to describe ABUAD Multi-system in superlative terms.

In his view, Alhassan said ABUAD Medical programme “will be difficult for any other university in Nigeria to equal” while Adewole said: “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 today, this Hospital matches the best in the world and it will certainly put an end to Medical Tourism outside Nigeria”.

On his part, Alonge said: “I have worked in many Hospitals both here in Nigeria and in Europe. This Hospital beats most Hospitals where I have worked in Europe. This surely will be the answer to outward Medical tourism. With what is here in this Hospital, there is no reason why any of our Doctors should want to go abroad for their Sabbatical. All they need is here”.

In this modern hospital, there are 37 floors which are interconnected with Pneumatic tubes. It is the only hospital in Nigeria with two units of 1.5 Tesla MRI Machine, six Modular Theatres, two CT Scanners and 16 Dialysis machines.

The frontline legal colossus and leading Educationist stressed that all these put together should challenge the Scientists to join the league of top research universities in the world to surprise Nigeria in particular and the world at large.

A statement by ABUAD’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Tunde Olofintila, said Babalola’s concern about research into the cure of Covid-19 is part of his way of giving back to the society and leaving it better than he has met it.

In appreciation of the technical nature of a venture/research like combating Covid-19, Babalola emphasized the place and import of collaborative efforts within and outside the university in tandem with global best practices to ensure that the dream of eradicating Covid-19 is realized in the country.

In his contribution, the Provost, College of Science, Prof. Abiodun Ojo, stressed the place of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Chemistry as well as Bio-technology in Babalola’s marching order, adding that the inter-collegiate system being run by the 10-year old university will stand this initiative in good stead.

Corroborating the interdisciplinary nature of research, the University’s Head of Mechatronics Engineering and Director of Works, Dr. Adeyinka Adeoye, elaborated on how lecturers in Department of Physics, Chemistry and Medicine can work closely with their counterparts in Engineering. This type of collaboration, according to Adeoye will give birth to industry-based research to the advantage of the larger society.

In his remarks, the Provost, College of Engineering, Prof. Joseph Dada, underscored the new trend of outcome-based research in place of the extant input-based research.

He assured the Founder that the modern equipment in the university’s College of Engineering, particularly the 37 well equipped laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment from America, Asia and Germany will be put to maximum use to accomplish the assignment.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Sylvester Ojo, assured Babalola that the concerned Scientists will go to work immediately and report back to him (Babalola) shortly.

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