Esther Azom: Celebrating beauty and the brain

Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), Best Graduating Medical Student, Esther Adaobi Azom, and Yeye Modupe Afe Babalola at the event


•As ABUAD Graduates 43 Medical Practitioners

Miss Esther Adaobi Azom was the cynosure of all eyes and a damsel most parents at the induction of the first set of 43 medical doctors produced by the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), prayed to have as a child.Esther is an embodiment of a rare combination of brain and beauty. She practically had the world at her feat, as who is who in society stood to applaud her outstanding performance, having won almost all available prizes as the Best Overall Graduating Student of the institution.

Although she was not new to receiving accolades for her brilliance, as she had been wining the N500, 000 Founder’s annual scholarship award since her 100 level in the university, but her wonderful performance at the final MBBS examinations, where she had distinctions in all the three papers- Surgery, Medicine and Community Medicine- stood her out. And when the prizes began to rain like torrents, she was not only amazed, but also overwhelmed. 

The first prize came with the N1million from the Founder, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN); N250, 000 from Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; a 2018 model lap top from the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, and several others.But when the N5.7million brand new car donated to the school by Dr. Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Motors Limited was presented to Esther, she burst into tears of joy, saying: “I never knew I am in a community that celebrates excellence like this.”

The scintillating story of Esther was a metaphor of what ABUAD stands for as a school that has been churning out success stories in a country that many had almost lost hope of ever revamping its lost glory in the education sector.However, the feat achieved by the university by producing doctors a within record time of six and half years was no mean achievement, considering that all the 43 students that sat for their final MBBS examinations passed.

The Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Tajudeen Sanusi, who administered the Hippocrates Oath on the new doctors, congratulated them for having being trained in a conducive environment with the most sophisticated equipment available in the world.He said: “Being inducted into the profession is a call to service to mankind. If your private matter is called to question, you will have to explain before the disciplinary committee. This is why character comes first in the medical profession.”

Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti, Prof. Kayode Shoremekun, lauded Babalola for being gender sensitive, as 28 of the graduands were female, compared to 15 males.He said: “As a private university, ABUAD has carved a niche. The founder is a great achiever, tirelessly working hard to make ABUAD a remarkable success.

“I salute your sagacity and high sense of duty. You have added another feather to your cap by adding 43 doctors who graduated in record time. I challenge the new doctors to be the best as you bring to fore your training. This institution is reputed for competence and timeliness.”For president of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Fajuyi: “ABUAD has made history once again, this is the first of its kind in Nigeria and in Ekiti State that we are having a fully private university, one that is the fastest growing varsity in West Africa, graduating all its medical students in record time. The joyful event of today is a positive hard working and painstaking effort earlier invested.”

To the inductees, he counseled: “May I inform you that this is a new beginning of the medical training, your training has qualified you to be trainable for further medical trainings.” Rasheed described the induction of first set of medical students by the institution in record time as “a vision unprecedented in the history of medical profession in Nigeria, and NUC as a sole regulatory agency commends the contribution of ABUAD to development of higher education in the country.” 

Babalola, who was exceptional happy, told the story of how the university achieved the feat: “From my experience, there isn’t much compliance with rule and regulations in Nigeria and that is why there has been poor reading culture. “But here, we are different. We are probably the only university in Nigeria that makes its students go to classes between 8am and 3pm and later from 7pm to 10pm. There is no room for indolence here. And this has paid off handsomely with comments of the external examiners during our first final MBBS examination.

“When the journey started, the students thought we were too tough on them as a result of which they branded me, “old school” and ‘Baba Wahala.’ But I was not bothered then, because I knew what I wanted and I am happy I got what I wanted. Now, they are the grand beneficiaries of my “old school” and ‘Wahala.’

“Regretfully today, there is a dark cloud hovering over the country’s educational landscape. But then, all hope is not lost as there is the bright northern star in the horizon beaming a ray of hope… ABUAD, which the NUC has acknowledged as ‘the pride of university system in Nigeria,’ endorsed by the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (ACVNU), as ‘the most successful private university in Nigeria’ and dubbed ‘a world class institution of higher education’ by UNESCO.”Oba Ogunwusi, who described Babalola as one of the best visionaries and human being God has provided for the black continent, said he was proud to be associated with ABUAD and ready to support the institution in any capacity.

The monarch, who led over 30 traditional rulers, including the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejuigbe Adesanmi and Osemawe and paramount ruler of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Victor Kiladejo, to the event, christened Babalola as ‘Baba Olorire’ (father with great fortune). He said: “On behalf of my other brother kings, we encourage you to set up a class of 43 for further communication and to be a pressure group that would add value to Nigerian medical profession and ABUAD. I support the group with a sum of N1million. Anywhere you are in the world, be assured that I am ready to assist you in any capacity.

“Every year, I will give of N250, 000 to the best graduating student in medicine from this institution and I will start it with this year’s best graduating student.”Former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and member of ABUAD Board of Trustees, Mahmoud Yayale, urged the new doctors to imbibe three attributes intellectualism, hardwork and integrity, which he noted have given Babalola huge success in life.Secretary General of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, described Babalola as a foremost Yoruba living legend, adding: “The splendour and beauty of ABUAD environment is enough to recommend and compete with any university across the globe.” 

In this article:
Esther Adaobi Azom
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