Founder and President of the high flying Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, (SAN), has, for the umpteenth time, urged the Federal Government to revisit the Ekiti airport project, insisting that the delay in delivering the facility has been hampering the economic potential of the state.
The legal luminary cum entrepreneur also said Ekiti remains the only state yet to have an airport out of four others, which the Federal Government gave the nod to have an airport, including Zamfara and Gombe.
Babalola also spoke about reasons why his university remains a leading private institution in Africa, while lamenting that no public university in Nigeria can yet claim to be world class. He made the remarks when a management team of The Sun Publishing Limited, comprising Mr. Femi Babafemi, Saturday Editor, Chidi Nnadi, Sunday Editor, Robert Obiora, Editorial Board chairman, and Mercy Ezeanozie, Business Development Manager, Sunday Sun paid him a visit in his office at the university campus.
Speaking about his plan for the establishment of industrial parks to cater for entrepreneurship skills of his students, he said, “We are partnering with an engineering firm called Fespa in Germany on Mechatronics and we will soon be graduating our first set of students in that area whose works will need a huge market. This is why we are also going into industrial parks, which will provide market for such products from our students in Mechatronics.”
“The airport that we ought to have was frustrated by the immediate past state government. No state or country can develop without transportation, which is enhanced by airport, railway etc. Two white men from John Hopkins, U.S had come to my university for partnership and when they were returning to Lagos to catch their flight abroad they had a terrible encounter with armed robbers around Shagamu interchange and fortunately my security men who traveled with them protected them. Since that time they had that horrifying experience, they never came back again. We want the Federal Government to revisit the airport project, which was allocated to us alongside Gombe, Zamfara which have had theirs now,” he added.
Speaking earlier on their mission to ABUAD, leader of The Sun delegation, Mr. Babafemi said the management of the newspaper had asked him to lead the team for the visit to identify with the success story of the university and also seek areas of partnership. He said in 15 years, The Sun has grown to be the voice of the nation and a strong brand that everyone and every organization that matters in all facets of national life reckons with. “This is why we believe that this university needs The Sun platform to reach the world in its drive to move to the next level”, he added.
Aare Babalola expressed deep appreciation for the visit, while acknowledging that The Sun was the first media house to send such a management team to visit the university.
Speaking about his efforts to develop the university’s teaching hospital to match world class standard and how that has been paying off, he said: “In the next three to four weeks, we will throw open the doors to our modern facilities to the world. We have 37 floors and a modular theatre system, which is the only one in this country. We take the blood of patient and the system takes it round through the theatre on any floor such that no hand will touch it.”