RECENTLY, the place of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria, was confirmed in the new (2019) webomentric ranking of world universities. The webometric rating, which began in 2004, is published yearly by the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) located in Madrid, premised on the volume of the Web contents, visibility and impact of the web publications according to the number of external site citations received. It is aimed at improving the academic outputs and research institutions and to promote the open access publication of scientific results. Among the Nigerian universities rated in this year’s outing, Adekunle Ajasin University sits conspicuously on the ninth rung, coming after seven federal universities and the privately-owned Covenant University. By the rating, AAUA is ranked as the Best State University in Nigeria, the second time to be so decorated within the space of six years, beating several older federal and state universities.
In the released via www.webometrics.info on the 31st of July, 2019, Adekunle Ajasin University is No.9 in Nigeria, No. 81 in Africa and 3048 out of over 28,000 institutions ranked globally. The same university had emerged as the Best State University in Nigeria in April 2014. That was conferred on it by the United States (US) Transparency International Standards (USTIS). It ranked it as the best in the preliminary results from the USTIS 2013 Coordinated Nigeria Schools’ Survey, the body’s school ranking initiative. The university also came first nationally in the 2013 Annual Youth Debate for Nigerian tertiary institutions, organised by the Federal Ministry of Education. The National Universities Commission (NUC) voted it the Best State University in 2005 in terms of the quality of academic staff, after conducting its (NUC’s) carrying-capacity survey in 2015. Even as of today, its Senate Building is an architectural masterpiece and arguably the best in any Nigerian university.
This feat and its previous kind are a pointer to the fact that AAUA has kept unwavering faith with its vision to ‘be a foremost institution that moves manpower development in the direction of self-reliance, apprenticeship, a first class university in research, knowledge, character and service to humanity.’ It is a credence to the fact that the University, despite its age and site, has been a consistent force of reckoning among Nigerian universities, on all fronts. It is a telling proof that it is structurally sturdy and blossom too in academic development. This milestone says significant facts especially about the body of the University. It speaks of resilience, and of the clarity of vision. It speaks too of good leadership and committed workforce, factors basic for the success of any organisation. AAUA, on the strength of these factors, has successfully trudged through its low seasons, such as now, to reign above its kind. It is therefore even more instructive that the university did record this watershed at a period of critical fiscal downturn.
Since Professor Amos Igbekele Ajibefun, the incumbent and fifth substantive vice chancellor assumed office, AAUA has trudged through daunting times with regard to financial challenges. How this tough challenge of pecuniary drought has been managed, and how the institution has soared under such inclement climate, must surely be taken as defining the capacity of the man who sits atop its affairs and under whose leadership it now shines. Professor Ajibefun has, thus far, given his best. He could not have solved all the problems that there are to be solved, either as a result of the obviously scorching economy or because perfection is humanly impossible to reach. Come to think of it, even yesterday’s successes are easily surpassed where they are not consciously improved upon. However, undeterred by the tide, the Vice Chancellor has addressed the taxing fiscal challenge and allied issues, and made modest contributions to the development of the university which, by the new attainment, has attracted sweeping applause and loud recognition.
He did not do this alone. Professor Ajibefun is gifted with quality men and women, a team of incredible characters and contributors who toiled with him so that this success would come. The resourceful, dedicated staff and the studious students of the university are all critical factors in the building of a university of global consequence under Ajibefun. This is telling evidence of what Professor Igbekele Ajibefun has done. As a matter of fact, a commentator described the feat as an ‘unprecedented acceleration of AAUA on Webometric ranking’. And quite significantly, it is coming at the twilight of the Vice Chancellor’s tenure, indeed as a true testimony to his tireless service to the elevation of the university. This must be a super valedictory gift for Ajibefun.
- Ikuesewo-Akinbami is the Press/Protocol Officer to the Vice Chancellor, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko