As he sits back this particular day in his Abeokuta home and recounts the many blessings that have accrued to Crescent University, Abeokuta which he established 10 years ago after selling virtually all his properties, former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Abdul-Jabbar Bolasodun Ajibola (SAN) sighs, “alhamdulillahi” (I give praise to Allah).”
Prince Bola Ajibola, today, is a renowned world class figure having served as World Court Judge at The Hague and taken part in many adjudications affecting many great nations of the world. He was also the Nigerian High Commissioner to UK just as he was Vice President of the World Bank, New York, USA.
Of all these achievements, the one that most interests the legal luminary, who was pioneer President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), was the event that led to the honorary award of LL.D. conferred on him by the prestigious University of Buckingham, UK. Looking quite regal in the comfort of his extended mansion, Prince Ajibola reveals, “I have four children who went to that university, and the authorities were not settled until they sent for the parent of those children.
“They said the children’s moral attachments to academic performance were excellent and that these qualities could not have come from any other place than the home. When they came for me, they met me at The Hague, and so they invited me for appreciation of being a good father. They gave me the LL.D. (honorary causa) of the University of Buckingham presented to me by the Britain’s first and, so far, only female prime minister Margaret Thatcher.”
It was the day of the first major achievements:Progress Report newspaper and Radiance magazine were published by students of Department of Mass Communication of Crescent University, Abeokuta were presented to the Prince, 10 years after he established the university.
Setting up the university from scratch, which has generated accolades from both the National Universities Commission (NUC) and other education stakeholders, demonstrate that the university has both theoretical and practical evidence of its distinctiveness.
But Prince Ajibola has a background that ostensibly orchestrates this moral quality that he has transferred to his children. It is the Owu home, where he comes from and the Baptist Boys High School (BBHS), Abeokuta operated by missionaries in those days, where discipline and morals were non-negotiable. Owu, Abeokuta is an ancient Egba community where name matters.
Again, at BBHS, where he had his secondary education, moral and spiritual excellence were issues. You were either a good character or you were thrown out of the school. Anything short of good morals qualified a student for dismissal. Cudgel and carrot style was it at BBHS, and that can, today, be seen in many products of the former Christian missionary school, products like the Olusegun Obasanjos, the G. O. K. Ajayis, the Oba Olusanya Dosunmus, producer of Village Headmaster, Dinner with the Devil, among other TV productions, and currently, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, etc. They are great people who in their respective fields have made Nigeria great.
Ajibola, juxtaposing this beautiful upbringing of the past with what he seeks to achieve with Crescent University, Abeokuta discloses, “What I set out to achieve with Crescent University is to train Nigerians to be fearful of God and still perform excellently well in the academic. It has been with me since 64 years ago, during my days at the Baptist Boys High School. We were trained on the platform of good morals and fear of God, and it was cudgel and carrot style. Carrot means they would tell us to be good children, not to steal, not to be criminals, to respect people and worship God; and cudgel means any slight default on these expectations, you were out forever.
“At Crescent University, good morals and fear of God were our watchword. We are not rich, but our riches abound in the fact that all our products are now marvels nationally and internationally. We achieved this feat by employing guidance counsellors, who guide and advise the students in the academics, as well as engaging the services of Imams, who preach to them. Our lead Imam was purposely brought from Egypt and he does no more or less than train the students to fear God and have good morals.”
Academic excellence matched with morals
“Our students repeat not only because of academic failure, but because they fail in their moral and spiritual dispositions, which we have now built into a course called Global, and which must be passed compulsorily.
“You must pass in Crescent University as human being and not as a brilliant beast. This is a new dimension in education that we want our students to imbibe and we, in our own way, are not only doing that but also achieving it, so much that people are now bringing their children to us to undergo the kind of training that we offer in our school.
“That is what we do differently, which we call “academic plus”. We have a duty to train the whole Nigerian students. Our good example and disciplinary policies on students also extend to lecturers and other staff. We send lecturers away if they fail to toe our disciplinary and moral lines. We once sacked six lecturers over bribe-related offences. We do not condone that here.
“We have invisible earnings in the sense that we are poor but we are good materials anywhere you find us in the world. We receive accolades from Scotland, Jordan, the United States, mention it, over our products that are there pursuing their post-graduate programmes. One of them, Gawat, has not just only completed her post-graduate programme in Scotland but also came out of it with first class result.”
He concludes: “We do not say anything, but we do many things.”
The Crescent University, Abeokuta (CUA), Nigeria clocked 10 on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. It was presented a licence by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to operate as a privately-owned university in Nigeria on June 9, 2005.
Established under the umbrella of the Islamic Mission for Africa (IMA), a continental Islamic project that the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation resorted to on the completion of his tenure as Judge of the World Court at The Hague, Crescent University, under 10 years has managed to weather through the storms to emerge the most morally uplifted, Godly conscious and academically sound tertiary institution in Nigeria, taking private and public samplings as case study.
The parameter is determined by the NUC’s rating, plus the commendations and recommendations of its products in advanced academic performances at home and abroad. At the last count, Crescent University’s five first degree holders who enrolled for post-graduate entrance examination of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) emerged the first five best even before any UNILAG product.
It will be recalled how Student Gawat, daughter of missing popular television broadcaster, Alhaji Abdul Rasaq Aremu Gawat, ruled the world from her post-graduate school in Scotland. She had first class from Crescent University, and caught the attention of Lagos State government under Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), with her brilliant performances, resilience, moral and God consciousness which she naturally brought to bear as a youth corps member serving with Skye Bank.
The government thought it fit and worthy that the ICT product of Crescent University’s Department of Mass Communication be sent on scholarship to advance her studies, which again saw her emerge as a first class Master’s degree graduate of the University of Robert Gordon University, Scotland.
Records also showed that of the groups of university students who were on the Kano State government scholarship, and who were on holiday in Kano during the crisis that politically greeted the emergence of former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Emir of Kano, Crescent University students were the only few who refused to join in the rampage of burning the red cap that was the symbol of the then Kano governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. These and many other qualities emanating from the Aiyetoro Road, Abeokuta-located university have culminated in the applause that it gets from across the country and abroad.
In his comment, Dr. Kola Adeshina, Head of Department, Mass Communication of the university, said, “Apart from mass communication, it is on record that other departments like accounting, business and finance, economics and the sciences are doing well in major corporations and companies. We already have our alumnae working in places like Sterling Bank, Etisalat, Chevron, Lagos State Inland Revenue, IGI, Folawiyo and Sons etc. In terms of quality products, Crescent University is a resounding success within its 10 years of establishment.”