Exclusive Interview with the Pro-Chancellor, Baze University. Distinguished Senator Y.D. Baba-Ahmed PhD. Interview By Fatima Yahaya
What do you think Baze and other Nigerian universities should con-sider to be on the global stage?
A: The learning environment, which is comprised of standard classrooms, laboratories, studios as the case may be. And these are sup-posed to meet international standards regarding space, temperature, air circulation, headroom and even to the extent of color coding which I believe Baze University has done its own share. In addition, the furniture should be durable and comfortable for a standard two-hour lecture, Then teaching equip-ment, depending on the size, should you require additional lighting? The classrooms must be proper-ly lit, standard audio equipment, if the class is large enough for the voice not to be clearly heard which again I believe Baze University has done its part in providing all these. Then delivery of materials, gone are the days when you just give out notes. We have moved from the use of projectors through laptops that were connected through lines. Classrooms should have smart boards that are multi-media. It is equally important that teachers should have a mini-mum of a masters degree from a reputable universi-ty. Nigerian universities should not settle for less. They should always strive to be among the best. Most especially government universities, there’s ur-gent need for a reform, by now, we should be com-peting with other top universities in the world. Edu-cation started long ago in the country therefore we should have grown bigger way back.
Q; What do you consider to be the main chal-lenges facing Baze University?
A: Right now there are regulatory challenges. We have applied for many accreditations which we are still waiting for. We have applied for approvals to begin our Environmental Sciences Faculty and Med-ical Science Faculty which we believe we are ready for. And also our post-graduate school, we are still awaiting that, then sometime towards the end of last year there were issues regarding full licenses and provisional licenses. As operators, all we need to do is continue to operate and operate well but when we looked into the laws of the federation, we were quick to realize that there was no such thing like pro-visional and full licenses. You apply for a license and get it, all of the sudden some conditions came up and we were denied what we were not accessed for because there were no criteria, and at the beginning when we requested for criteria, we got a long list which we eventually ac-quired everything. There are also infrastructural past two weeks been running on generators simply because we are disagreeing with the PHCN. There is also that of access road given to us by the FCT. We believe the access road can still be better. The security issue is also one challenge. We thank God the incidences have been minimal, because we have been proactive, we doubled the perimeter fence. We have CCTV cameras covering almost the entire school. We have solar light and we have tri-pled the number of security forces, we have provid-ed them with vehicles and dog squads. There’s also the challenge of finances which is equally serious. Now the dollar has risen from 160 to 330 naira, and we have expatriates that we pay, we are planning to triple the number in 12 months, subject to the securi-ty situation of the country, and it seems everything is effected by the dollar. Yet we can’t keep increasing the tuition fees. We understand some parents are struggling to pay, and we cannot send owing stu-dents away until after exams. Even though this rule is changing now.
Q: Baze University is a baby but a mighty univer-sity. In terms of infrastructure and standard edu-cation, it falls on the list of best Universities in Nigeria, how did you achieve this within this short time?
I give praise to Almighty Allah for the kindness and bounties. I will say it is also from the total commit-ment I gave. The University became my life. I put in everything I had at some point, I sold everything. My team and I managed the little resources very care-fully even when we borrowed, we used it judiciously.
Q: How would you like to be viewed in 20 years?
Distant number one university in Nigeria, among the top five in Africa and recognized in the world. Right now we are arguably number one in Nigeria. I don’t want to loose any modesty because am the Pro-Chancellor. If I were to be a parent, I would be quick to say that this is the best in the country. Q: What advise do you have for the alumni? To continue to be good. I believe if they were not good, they would not have graduated from here be-cause we know what we have established. They should strive to excel in their respective places of work. They should try to motivate younger ones to get 1st class and 2nd class upper and further their education. When they find work, they should pull on to the work very well and be enterprising and they should stay away from drugs and anti-social behav-iours.0