Electoral fraud: Afe Babalola seeks restoration of confidence in academics

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Following the recent conviction of a professor for electoral fraud, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, SAN has called on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to step up and save the nation’s education sector from further disrepute.

EduCeleb.com earlier reported that a professor of soil science at the University of Calabar, Peter Ogban was last week handed a three years jail term by Justice Augustine Odokwo of Akwa Ibom High Court for manipulating the results of two local government areas – Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo during the 2019 senatorial elections.

Babalola who was reacting to the conviction which he described as shameful and embarrassing said the NUC should review its law that would make it impossible for convicted academia to secure job in any institutions in the country.

The legal luminary spoke in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital at the weekend during the events marking the third anniversary of ABUAD’s 400-Bed Multi-System Hospital and the send-forth ceremony for the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Professor Fola Esan.

According to him, the conviction of the professor over electoral fraud was a pointer to the decay in the nation’s education sector, said the time had come for the stakeholders especially the NUC to tackle the disturbing situation.

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He said gone were the days when teachers, especially university lecturers and professors were perceived to be above board as well as an embodiment of honesty, transparency and decency.

Babalola said, “We have just recently read in the media the shameful story of one Professor Peter Ogban of a university who had just been convicted for electoral fraud that earned him three 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 Professor 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 Professor 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.

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“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.”

Babalola said he had no regrets establishing the 400-bed Multi-System Hospital in the institution, which he said was basically for the benefit of Nigerians and humanity in general.

He noted that 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 medical tourism abroad.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Smaranda Olarinde, said the hospital was currently one of the best around the world and had assumed the position as a leading centre for heart and vascular surgery, “while a wide range of cutting-edge Open-Heart surgeries and Cardiac interventional procedures had taken place.”

Speaking, the outgoing CMD, Professor Esan expressed gratitude to Babalola for his huge investment in the university and the hospital, saying the popularity enjoyed by the institutions within few years were made possible through his untiring efforts and for providing the enabling environment that made him and others perform optimally.

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