By Gbenga Sodeinde in Ado Ekiti
Wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, has entered a partnership with Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) to provide community service.
The First Lady is to serve as a lecturer at ABUAD on part-time basis to impart knowledge on students and give them academic mentorship.
Dr. Oyebanji who paid a courtesy visit to ABUAD promised to partner the university in terms of providing community service to the institution when needed as a gesture to give back to the university being an academic herself.
Speaking while being received by ABUAD Founder/Chancellor, Aare Babalola; Vice Chancellor, Prof. Smaranda Olarinde and other members of the management team, Dr. Oyebanji said her gesture would enable her contribute her own quota to the development of one of the fastest growing universities in Africa.
The Ekiti Governor’s wife who is a senior lecturer in the Department of Education Management at the University of Ibadan (UI) has over 85 publications in reputable journals to her credit and she had produced six PhD graduates and several others at Master’s and undergraduate levels.
Apparently impressed with the gesture of Ekiti First Lady who is awaiting her Associate Professorship at UI, the authorities of ABUAD immediately approved her kind gesture noting that the gesture will go a long way to motivate the students to learn.
The First Lady also used the opportunity to canvass support for her pet project, Widows and Orphans Hope (WAOH) Project which would be officially unveiled in October during the first anniversary of her husband, Governor Biodun Oyebanji in office.
Dr. Oyebanji said she recognized Aare Babalola as a father, a philanthropist and an important stakeholder in Ekiti State whose support would be needed and appreciated for the WAOH Project hence the need for the visit.
She stated: “It’s a new programme where we have registered over thirty thousand active and non-active widows and orphans. The WAOH project will afford us the opportunity to touch the lives of the vulnerable people in the state.
“We have just had our Back to School Programme where we gave schoolbags and other educational materials to indigent pupils, majority of who are orphans.”
ABUAD Founder, Aare Babalola in response to the First Lady’s request for support for WAOH Project, made an instant but substantive personal donation to the project; promising that the university would donate more in due course.
Aare Babalola said she has always respected Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji as the wife of the governor, but she now earns his respect the more for her level of achievements in academia through her contributions to knowledge in her field of Educational Management which is being acknowledged locally and globally by the impact she makes through her numerous research publications.
The ABUAD Founder said: “You are not that type of First Lady that will be moving about, junketing for ceremonial activities. I have known many governors’ wives who only attend ceremonies, but you are truly a First Lady.
“You are the first First Lady in Nigeria that I know that will be teaching in a university (while in office). Do you know the effect it will have? Do you know the impact you will be making? This will surely have an impact on students looking at the First Lady teaching them. It will motivate them to learn.”
Speaking on WAOH Project, Aare Babalola said: “You have started a pet project, I have always been interested in philanthropic activities. I am going to contribute to the pet project now personally and the university will add to it.
“Don’t think you must have billions of Naira before you can help others. No matter how little, just help people and God has a way of replenishing it. Your giving out means a lot.”
The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Peju Babafemi, who accompanied the First Lady during the visit, also informed Aare Babalola of the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons being celebrated across the globe every October, the honourable commissioner used the opportunity to invite the elder statesman to grace the program the programme.