Recently, the management of the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, ABUAD celebrated its best medical student with an awesome cash prize and brand new car and everyone couldnt but applaud the management for rewarding excellence the right way.
The University also offers 72 first class graduates automatic jobs in order boost the morale and commitments of its alumni in academic pursuit.
There have been reports about Nigerian tertiary institutions rewarding students' academic excellence with some ridiculous prizes.
Many outstanding students in public universities only go home with accolades on convocation day. Nothing more to charge their undergraduate colleagues to compete for the institution's prize for brilliant students.
Get me right, I am not saying public Universities in Nigeria are not rewarding their students at all, but the reward is nothing compared to the students' achievement most times.
Imagine a best graduating student of a faculty receiving N2500 from the HOD of his department. Imagine another student getting N250 cash price for his academic performance after four years.
It is that bad in some institutions in this country.
The last time a best graduating student of a public University in Nigeria was genuinely and handsomely celebrated and rewarded for his academic performance in Nigeria was in May 2018, when the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambodeadopted LASU's best graduating student, Fuhad Ogunsanya and also gave him N5m plus scholarship.
Sometimes, Nigerian students get scholarship promises from government and private individuals on graduation day only to abandon them after the convocation funfair.
But this is not the case for Fuhad, because according to him Ambode has been like his father since he publicly adopted him.
However, Fuhad is not the first student to graduate with first class in the last five months. Many other public universities have graduated lots of outstanding students but not all of them were lucky to have a governor to sponsor their education.
Instead of just announcing these academic champions CGPA on convocation days and released them into the labour market, Nigerian Universities should follow the standard ABUAD has set. Give them jobs and scholarship. For the indigents among them, let them enjoy scholarship throughout their Master's and PhD programs in their alma matha.
An initiative like this will not only encourage competition among bright students, it will also help secure their future in a country where government job is mostly not based on merit.
It is high time public universities in Nigeria stepped up their reward system and make outstanding academic performance more attractive to students.