Babcock University was agog on Sunday as the management, staff, and students gathered in their numbers to give a grand reception to Elder (Dr.) Ted N. C. Wilson, President General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
In his welcome address at the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Babcock University, Ogun State, Prof. Ademola Tayo, noted that the event provided an opportunity to celebrate the shared values, beliefs, humanity, and to hear and learn from the wisdom of a spiritual leader, who has touched the lives of so many and impacted the Church in many indescribable ways positively.
He described Elder (Dr.) Wilson as a beacon of hope for those seeking guidance in their faith journey as he continues to inspire with his knowledge, devotion and understanding to a life filled with purpose and love.
Prof. Tayo used the opportunity enumerate the various initiatives the university had undertaken to provide a holistic education to the students and how the products of the school are making exploits in the various sectors of the economy in Nigeria and beyond.
His words, “This is Babcock University, chartered in 1999 as the first private university in Nigeria. Babcock University today has over 12, 000 student population at full session. This was the institution that started as a small senior college with a population of 7 students on September 17, 1959 as Adventist College of West Africa to train church workers from the West Africa sub-region. The institution has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 24 years as Nigeria’s premier private university.
“Elder (Dr.) Wilson, sir, Babcock University as a part of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church remains committed to the mission of the Church- to make disciples of all people, communicating the everlasting gospel in the context of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12, leading them to accept Jesus as personal Saviour and to unite with His remnant Church, discipling them to serve Him as Lord and preparing them for His soon return. This is in line with the spiritual consolidation agenda of our administration.
“We pursue this mission doggedly under the guidance and through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We have no fewer than 40 ordained ministers in Babcock, among whom are full-time chaplains ministering in hospitals, workplaces, and students’ halls of residence. The essence of this programme is to ensure that students receive Christ redemption before leaving the institution on graduation.
“In our commitment to proclaiming to all the world in these last days the everlasting gospel of God’s love, most fully revealed in His Son’s life and ministry, we saw the urgent need to boost the available pool of human resource requirement, hence we established in April 2019, in Babcock University, the first Clinical Pastoral Education in Africa to train educators in the ministry. It was inaugurated by Ceballus Mario. This specialized pastoral training programme is run in collaboration with Kettering Hospital in Ohio. The programme attracts students from different parts of Africa.
“Related to the above, this administration in 2022established the Adventist African-traditionalist Relations Centre, for inter-face relations. It is a research institute to facilitate reaching out to targeted population through applied approach to neighbours to share the plan of salvation with today’s contemporary societies. It is a missioned related centre for soul winning and building bridges, to train missionaries to make disciples of Christ, and to reach the unreached people. It was commissioned by Elder Gary Krause.
“Similarly, we set up the Adventist Geoscience Centre in Babcock University, under the General Conference administration to explore the natural world, seek to develop and share an understanding of nature in a way agreeable with biblical teaching as expressed in the Church’s statement of fundamental belief on creation. This is achieved through collaboration and interaction with other scholars to foster, sponsor and participate in original scientific research on topics relevant to the biblical view of origins; coordinate opportunities for networking, mentoring and scholarly discussion of scientific issues in origins from the perspective of the biblical worldview; and act as a consultative resource for the Church regarding its understanding of the relationship of creation and science. In February this year, the Centre visited two secondary schools in Ile Ife, Oyo State and two in Ogun State to share knowledge with the students on creation and science. The Babcock Geoscience centre partners Loma Linda University, USA.
“Acknowledging that development of mind and character is essential to God’s redemptive plan, we aim to promote the growth of a mature understanding and relationship to God, His Word, and the created universe. The Babcock University WAD Media Centre, WAR, and Hope 89.1 FM were established to concretise the above aim through the broadcast of lots of contextualized religious programmes to millions of homes in both the northern and southwestern Nigeria.
“Affirming the continued spiritual growth and development of all members, we nurture the newly converted, instruct them in righteous living, train them for effective witness, and encourage their responsive obedience to God’s will. We set up the Institute of Integration, Faith and Learning for instruction in classroom teaching. This gives us an opportunity to share our faith in all classroom disciplines. It has different modules, and it makes Christ real in class and outside of class settings.”
He reiterated the university’s commitment to the biblical principles of the well-being the whole man as they make the preservation of the health and the healing of the sick a priority through the ministry to the poor and oppressed.
He stated further, “We are committed to the biblical principles of the well-being of the whole person; we make the preservation of health and the healing of the sick a priority and through our ministry to the poor and oppressed, we co-operate with the Creator in His compassionate work of restoration. In connection with this, we have on campus 22 worship centres. Among these are 4organised churches serving the spiritual needs of people. Our Prison ministry serves those in prison and internally displaced persons’ camps.
“In response to the call from the General Conference, Babcock University took a bold step to admit ESAHEL Union Mission by offering tuition-free scholarship to 15 pastors who are students of Theology from the 10/14-Window of Niger Republic, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Northern Cote’dvoire. On completion of their mission, they can serve as frontline missionaries in un-entered areas.
“In acknowledgment of the power of education as veritable tool for enlightenment and mobilization, Babcock University has been establishing secondary schools in strategic places in southwest Nigeria. We now have 3 secondary schools in Lagos, one of the most industrialised and populated cities in Nigeria. The 4th secondary school in Lagos will soon come on stream. There are other 2 Babcock secondary schools in Ogun State, and one in Ondo State. Each of these schools has full-time chaplains on the payroll of the University.
“The General Conference Great Controversy Project 2.0 is ferociously being pursued and implemented by the University. The University has presented thousands of bounded coloured copies of Great Controversy to the 109 members of Nigeria’s upper legislative chambers, and the 360 members of the lower legislative chambers.
“We recognise that the week of spiritual life can be of inestimable value in fostering the spiritual life of the church. We know it can serve to revive drooping spirits, reclaim backsliders, and bring added hope and courage into the most ardent souls. These services also tend to deepen the interest of the church in our great mission programme and to increase its gifts for the finishing of the work at home and abroad. Babcock University has found the Week of Prayer so helpful in promoting the spiritual interests of the school family. Through the week of prayer, thousands of students have been baptized into the Lord. Speakers for our Week of Spiritual Life have been drawn from South Africa, East Africa, and West Africa. Last year we invited Pastor (Prof) Kelvin Onongha, Pastor Emenike Grant, and Pastor (Dr) John Baysah from Liberia.
To encourage Adventist students desiring higher education in Babcock University, the Institution initiated the Adventist Heritage Scholarship. A 50% tuition discount is given to Adventist students of Theology at this institution.”
In the sphere of academics, Prof. Tayo said, “Academically, all our 40 programmes are fully accredited by the International Board of Education, (IBE) USA, Adventist Accrediting Association, (AAA), and the National Universities Commission (NUC). The IBE visited Babcock University 2 weeks ago for resource verification for our School of Engineering. The AAA gave Babcock University 5 years’ accreditation for her academic programmes.
“We set up a teaching hospital to motivate, train, and equip Seventh-day Adventist and non-Adventist physicians, dentists, and other healthcare professionals to team with pastors and members, uniting the church to restore Christ’s ministry of healing to the world, hastening His return. Our Cardiac Centre is one of the most successful in the country for attracting significant clients and patients. We have a franchise with the Central Bank of Nigeria to handle their staff medical needs. We have carried out over a thousand successful heart surgeries. The success story is replicated in our orthopedic and ophthalmology departments.
“The Alumni Office was established to connect with our students after graduation. The current Senior Special Assistant to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Digital and New Media O’tegraOgra is an alumnus of Babcock University; Right Honourable Debo Ogundoyin is Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly; Messrs Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi are co-founders of Paystack, a multi-million dollar payment tech organization acquired in 2020, by global payments company Stripe for over $200 million; Dr. Olalekan, Fadolapo, is Director-General, Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria; Dr. Abiodun Muritala is Accountant General, Lagos State; Sonsare Zabadi is Communications Manager at Companies House, Cardiff; Olumide Agboola is Manager, The Gulf of Guinea at Imodco/SBM Offshore; Sophia Abiri-Franklin is a QES-AS-WA scholar, Institute of African Studies at Carleton; and Miss Oluwatomi Olunuga is a Recipient of Diana Award. The award was instituted in memory of the philanthropic work of the Late Princess Diana, Princess of Wales.
“Many of our graduates are pursuing various postgraduate degrees at Cambridge, Stanford, Duke, London School of Economics, and University of Glasgow to mention a few.
“We have built strategic partnerships and collaboration with key stakeholders to ensure the realization of the university’s goals. Our partnership with the host community has tremendously facilitated a peaceful atmosphere devoid of rancour and crisis. Our collaboration with parents of students of this university has yielded many positives particularly in infrastructural development, and ensured a tuition-free scholarship for students who lose their sponsor while studying at this university. The same applies to our partnership with our student association which has promoted healthy understanding between them and us. Also, our engagement with the Nigeria Police has enabled relatively adequate security coverage within our campus and her immediate communities. In addition, we enjoy good partnership with the Nigerian media, professional bodies such as ACCA London, West African College of Physicians, and Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria.
“Our academic partnership extends to Loma Linda University, USA; Savannah State University, USA; Teesside University; University of Birmingham, U.K.; and Mississippi Valley State University, USA among others. In 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 we won the Education Brand of the Year (West Africa) in Kensington, London. The award is instituted by the World Branding Forum in UK.
“To the glory of God, we have received a clean sheet from AAA for six years back-to-back. And, by 2024 we shall liquidate the last tranche of our indebtedness to our banks.”
He affirmed that the plethora of achievements within the period under review could not have been possible without the support of the visionary General Conference, inspiring West Central African Division, committed Governing Council, tireless faculty, devoted staff, indefatigable students and loving parents of Babcock University.