By Kemi Kasumu, General Editor
Prince Abdul-Jabbar Bola Ajibola (SAN), former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice of the Nigerian Federation, not only has he got in his credentials the feats of having traversed the surface of the earth as a very influential Judge of the world court popularly called the International Court of Justice (ICJ), at The Hague, where he was honourably visited and later invited to be honoured by a British university where his children schooled with the honourary doctorate degree of Law, LL.D. in appreciation of having fielded the school with children who were not only academically sound but were also morally excellent, but also is permanent Vice President of World Bank and Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from where he had carried out more works of arbitration between nations of the world before he returned home and settled down for what he called development of Islamic Mission for Africa (IMA).
Today, from IMA, many fresh feats on the side of Godliness have cropped up and the Olori Omo Oba Owu of Owu Kingdom, Abeokuta, for whose reason the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida military regime gave his country home of Abeokuta the golden opportunity of hosting one of two Universities of Agriculture established by his government, is today saying “alhamdulillahi that I am able to be the reason for the establishment of a ‘centre of academic and moral excellence’ that Crescent University Abeokuta (CUAB) stands for in producing leaders, intended to take over the mantle of leadership of Nigeria in soon reach future, who will not steal public money meant for development of the nation and welfare of its people but also will run the sovereign state with sound knowledge of patriotism based nation-building and fear of God.”
Ahead of the 9th Convocation of the Crescent University, this reporter paid him a visit at his Olusegun Obasanjo Hilltop GRA Abeokuta home for a media chat, and the 83-year-old son of His late Majesty Olowu Gbadela Ajibola simply spoke straight about the difference that the 9th Convocation of the institution where he is proprietor, will bring.
Bola Ajibola spoke on the convocation which begins with a sporting activity and convocation lecture by Mallam Yusuf Alli (SAN) at the Abdul-Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo Stadium, Crescent University, on Friday, October 13 and will be climaxed with the main Convocation Day on Saturday, October 14, 2017 and he said:
“The joy of the convocation of the Crescent University Abeokuta, which we proudly call our own, is that, it is the climax of all our convocations since we started about nine to 10 years ago. It is going to be a convocation that all will be proud of, externally as well as internally. It is a convocation that has already with the visit of our Vice Chancellor Professor Ibraheem Gbajabiamila to the President of this country, Muhammadu Buhari, wishing him well and he, himself, thanking us for all our supports.
“But most importantly is the one visit to the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, who already promised to be at our next convocation with her entourage. Because, very importantly, we are about to honour a brother of hers at the coming convocation and he is coming with a quite a large crowd of people from the North, especially the governors.
“In fact, our highly revered and respected gentleman, that is the richest African in this world, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, also promised already that he will be at this coming convocation.
“Incidentally we are also going to welcome from outside Nigeria, our gentleman from Britain, Muhammed Ali, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Islam Channel. He is a very versatile and very important gentleman that we have known for years and he is one of those awardees coming also to the august event.
“So, with those people, we have even reduced the number of people we should honour and we have limited it because, those people we have mentioned will encourage a lot of people to come for the convocation. So, we are expecting not only the large crowd but qualitatively a lot of important people from all parts of Nigeria and that is one important aspect in this convocation that we are going to witness come the 13th and 14th of this October.
“We rejoice in the fact that this is the 12th year of our university in existence and things are still moving on very well. We are grateful to Almighty God for all the blessings on us. We therefore hope that this year convocation will be unique, will get to the zenith of all our convocations that we have had.
“It is noticeable that we have had so many important people in our university for the same convocation in the past. We should not forget that a former President of this country, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was once honoured in our university. So many other dignitaries have been there, particularly the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, was one of our awardees at that particular time.
“We have received so many honourable people like Alhaji Femi Okunu, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, our president Minister of Power, Works and Housing, who was then Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), we have also had the chance of welcoming him to our university. Not only that, the Governor of our state here, Senator Iklil Ibikunle Amosun, had also been with us in the university for a convocation with our new Chancellor, Kabiyesi the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III. He will always be with us at our convocation.
“So, we have quite a lot of important dignitaries coming around to honour us at this time. Our lecturer who is going to present a paper to the University for the convocation is Mallam Yusuf Ali, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). He is bending over backward to be in so many places but also reserving that day for his visit to our university. All these are coming up this October and we are itching to get up to all that we need to do for that day. It is an important occasion for us. So we are optimistic and we hope Almighty Allah will help us to make the occasion grand style.”
The cradle of our university endeavour
Crescent University, for him, did not come alive as the first of IMA, Islamic Mission for Africa, Bola Ajibola said it started as an impregnated ambition, which was delivered much later despite effort by a particular money bag to use his wealth and influence to bulldoze the dream away after it had become actualized and had been founded on his present location on Ayetoro Road near Rounda on the way to Alamala Army Barracks in Abeokuta. On this, the Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) told this Journalist:
“Like everything in the world, one must start from one initial place before expanding to so many other things. Our prayers, supplications, desires, were first of all centered on IMA, Islamic Mission for Africa. It was there that we prayed that Almighty God should bless us with this university.
“Our aim, our purpose, our desire is quite clear. First, in line with our philosophy; we hate nobody. Ours is for peace, ours is for unity, ours is for good behaviour, from left and right, regardless of your religion, regardless of your ethnicity; wherever you come from. So, you have in that Crescent University, a lot you can admire because you are there to meet people from all the 36 states of Nigeria and they are all there friendly with each other without any hatred anywhere. And they are all there, living together in harmony. It is our prayer to Almighty Allah and Allah blessed the place.
“So, the cradle our development is, in fact, from IMA, and the development now we have carried to Crescent University Abeokuta. We are happy, now, we are happy. And we thank the Almighty Allah subuanahuwwa ta’ala for giving us this opportunity of developing the university to this level at this time.”
Our products are world class by academic plus
In the end, the Baptist Boys’ High School Old Boy, Ajibola, whose academic and moral discipline he imbibed in that missionary school has been fully replicated and, with comprehensive provisions of the tenet of his own Islamic faith, has been completely implemented in what has made Crescent University Abeokuta (CUAB) a university of Academic Plus today, relaxes and rejoices at the favour of the Almighty Allah over him as he continues to see on daily basis how well the products of the academic of higher learning, which he established from proceeds of sell-off he did of his major properties, are doing locally and globally. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) father of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ajibola, said:
“We ensure that we continue to have excellence in academic and moral development of our students and that is very, very important. And we have enjoyed the blessings of God at all times on our students.
“I will give you a good example; there was a time during a vacation, our students had all left for vacation and those from the North went to the North and were others from other universities. It so happened that, that was the time the a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was to be honoured with the Emirship of Kano. So many other people were also clamouring for the position and therefore disturbances started seriously.
“Those who were gearing up those disturbances beckoned to some of the students on holidays from so many other universities, from the South as well as from the North. Those people approached our students and this story I am telling you was told by no other than the governor of Kano State as at that time, who noticed that our own students of Crescent University Abeokuta on holiday in Kano refused to join them in the disturbance and that they said to the rest of them: “We have been told never to be involved in this type of irresponsible rascality anywhere in the world. We have been taught not to be part of disturbance of any state especially our Kano State,” and that they never joined them in the disturbances.
“That was a great joy to us because the person who came to tell us happened to be the governor of the state.
“Furthermore, we now have one of our former students, who is now a graduand, who completed with us some years back as first class graduate and went out to Scotland and also came out with distinction in our masters over there. The university there commended her, first, for her upright character and, secondly, they congratulated her for being the post-graduate student that was never absent in the class throughout the whole year of her studies there and, above all, never came late to any class.
“And the Dean of her faculty came out and said he had been there for the past 30 years and no student had scored up to 74 percent like the former graduand of ours, called Rafiat Gawat. He insisted that he must take photograph with her because she got 74 percent while the highest before then was 70 percent.
“Consequently, when this lady came back to Nigeria, everybody started looking for her. The bank that got hold of her started giving her job everywhere in Nigeria. And then as God would have it, she went to tell them, thank you for your job. I am now married and I will now have to leave you.
“They said, “Don’t leave us. Just tell us where you and your husband will be staying. We must have our bank there and will make you the head of our bank in that region. And they went to the place and made her the head of the bank in that region. At the end of the day, a company based in Switzerland got hold of her, they gave her a job in and currently she is working for that Swiss company.
“This and other products that we have produced who have done and are still now doing well in higher studies abroad being why we say our first class is world class. And their display and general acknowledgement for academic soundness and moral excellence have been next to nothing in their respective schools of advanced learning in Nigeria and abroad and their respective places of work. This gladdens my heart a lot and at 83, I am saying alhamdulillahi.”