“Spend not all you have, believe not all you hear, tell not all you know and do not all you can,” runs the wise old saying. But what greater injustice would it be to sweep such an impressive experience under the carpet when there could be a moral lesson in it for all and sundry? I cannot help but let out my firsthand experience with a university of unrivalled practicality and unsurpassed dedication to human capacity building and community development.
In a country where the fundamental values of volunteerism and community involvement are known to a few, at a time when university learning could not advance beyond rote learning and theoretical consumption, the heavens blessed the Nigerian nation with an institution that defied the typical Nigerian university operation. Springing into action some seven years ago, precisely on February 2009, the Kwara State University has successfully established itself as a benchmark drawing on her mode of operation which has set her as a world-class institution. If great doings are still rewarded in this country, the University deserves an epaulette on her shoulders.
There is a leaf to borrow from the giant strides made and laudable feats recorded by the University for Community Development. A higher institution which should be in its budding age is soaring high in the sky, beating many of her forebears hands down and setting a pace for others to follow. From time immemorial, it has always been a dictum that the leading horse sets the pace, it will be awe-inspiring how a following horse is managing to set a path for the earlier ones to look back to and walk up to greatness. This begs for an appreciation of the factors that has set this great citadel of learning primus inter pares – first among equals.
The Kwara State University, KWASU, as it is enthusiastically called by all and sundry, has established itself as a force to reckon with and a varsity to beat. This is not a product of mere chauvinistic proclamation, as every man’s farm is the best to him. It is rather an imposing reality which is founded on several consequential achievements the school has recorded within the very short span of its establishment. Little wonder the unprecedented accomplishments of this school provoked an international confession. Overwhelmed by the fantastic pace at which the school moves, David Atwell, a Professor of English (Modern Literature) at the University of York, United Kingdom, once remarked; “The University is only opened for six years now and there is so much development and so much is still going on. The University has achieved an enormous amount in a very short space of time. That is my overall impression and I can see from the vision of the Vice-Chancellor that great things are still in store for KWASU.”
The success story of Kwara State University was drafted with the clever choice of entrusting the infant institution in the care of the ingenious Professor Abdur-Rasheed Na’allah, an academic colossal who has also distinguished himself as an adept administrator, having served as the Chairman of the African American Studies Department of the Western Illinois University, Macomb, United States of America among other administrative capacities. Having being delivered by this experienced accoucheur, who has not only delivered the baby but has also tended tenderly to her thenceforth, her fate has been sealed, making it a sensation carved from the cradle.
Coming in an age when the theory-laden Nigerian education is impeding the country, an ugly reality which calls for an urgent attention, Kwara State University came as a revolution to the predominant unhealthy university practices in the country. No news is it that it is in Nigeria that a student of engineering cannot fix a fuse. It is also in this country that a student of business, after four years of entrepreneurship studies, will be waiting for a white collar job. Thanks to the Kwara State University for coming around to alter this perilous course of history.
You might actually not know that KWASU is the only university that is preparing Nigerian youths for the future by taking entrepreneurship beyond black and white. In this beautiful institution, every student, at his second year, is mandated to put his knowledge of entrepreneurship into practice by registering a business under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Not only that, the university is the first institution in Nigeria to organize the Global Entrepreneurship Week, a platform where by business investors flock to feast on the worthwhile business ideas and pitches made by students. As a result, many students do not graduate from the school to join the army of youthful job seekers but become job creators and employers of labour. All this would be impossible without the ingenuity and rare expertise of Dr. Abdul Hakeem Ajonbadi, the Director for Center for Entrepreneurship. I have met a few geniuses, but Dr. Ajonbadi is an exceptional one.
As the name implies, Kwara State University, asides developing the economy of the city, directly or indirectly gives back to the community on a very large scale. The multi-million naira project executed by the University community is more than what many a member of a federal legislative house would do in an eight-year tenure. The Malete town, and her neighbouring villages and hamlets will never be able thank this establishment enough for her impactful projects. Big kudos to the Directorate of the Centre for Community Development Centre! What more can any community wish for than a concerned establishment like the Kwara State University?
If it is a century or millennium-old dictum that it is the leading horse that sets the pace for others to follow, it will not be too great a twenty-first century improvement that a following horse, at times, may have more to offer than the leading one. In the giant strides made by the Kwara State University, there is certainly a leaf to borrow for every other institution. Moreover, the Kwara State Government as well as the Federal Government would do themselves a world of good by acting accordingly to the adage: one good turn deserves another.
Olasupo Abideen Opeyemi is a Youth Leader, Business Consultant and Digital Marketer. He is the Executive Director, Brain Builders International- A United Nation accredited Non Governmental Organisation (www.brainbuilders.com.ng). He can be reached on +2347068775529 or firstname.lastname@example.org