AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE WITH THE FOUNDER OF AFEBABALOLA UNIVERSITY, ADO-EKITI (ABUAD),
AARE EMMANUEL AFE BABALOLA, SAN.
In this article, Com. Owoseye Oluwayomi, Aremu Joshua Olamide, Memudu Sikiru Alonge, Agboola AbdulAfeez Akinola and Yakub Blessing Oluwaseyifunmi(All of Faculty of Education, University of Ilorin) recount the experiences they had in their encounter with the Nigeria foremost legal practitioner and an apogean of education, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN and the serene atmosphere of the much talked about Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD).
Quoting Oscar Wilde “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about” and also the famous quote by the Nigerian and African Philosopher, Late Tai Solarin “If you don’t want to be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, it is either you do something what writing or you write something what reading”.
We concluded having keenly looked at the above two quotes in comparison with everything we saw at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) that Aare Afe Babalola, SAN must have stumbled on these two quotes before chosen his pattern of life.
In ABUAD, we have a mannerism was Aare Afe Babalola’s response to our greetings, that whenever you do anything, you smile because it cheers you up. In our lengthy and purposeful conversation with the sage and the living legend, he reaffirms how busy he is, at his age, he works eighteen (18) hours per day. A true principled man he is, not working tirelessly for himself alone but also because ABUAD is changing the face of educational system in Nigeria.
Aare Afe Babalola believes in broad and total education and to him, functions of education includes;
Changing of life status
Eradication of poverty
Gives recognition among others
Enhances ones contribution to humanity
Helps to fight disease and religious intolerance
The above listed points can be adjudged to be Aare Afe Babalola’s educational philosophy and all these points have reflected and still reflecting in all facets of his life. Education has changed his life in many ways, lifted him above the poverty level of his parents and his contemporaries, makes him known among others and has placed him among the erudite legal practitioners and elites, contribution to humanity, Aare Afe Babalola have contributed and still contributing to humanity. Notably among his contributions are;
Establishment of the best private university in Nigeria, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD).
Donation of 400 Seater Lecture Theatre to the University of Ado-Ekiti now known as Ekiti State University.
Donation of 500 Seater Ultra-Modern Auditorium to the University of Lagos.
Modern building to African Heritage Library at Olorunda-Aba, Ibadan.
Financial contribution to the establishment of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti.
Donation of a State of the Art Nuclear Medicine Building to UCH, Ibadan.
Substantial contribution to the take-off of new Ekiti State on its creation.
Fighting disease and religious intolerance, Aare AfeBabalola is not new to this also as the serene, clean and tidy environment of AfeBabalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) is not even conducive for any epidemics, while most of his write up in pages of newspaper have been addressing the issue of religious intolerance which birth the notorious terrorist ‘Boko Haram’ that have wasted the life of many Nigerians.
Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) is a lovely place to be and a place where all parents who want a total, holistic and practical education for their wards will love to be. We are not televangelists that preached haphazardly but we are gospellers that have been there and known about the real gospel of a place where education is been revolutionized and reinstating the losted glory of education in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
In our tour of the nooks and crannies of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), according to the founder who said we are privileged to be the first to receive the first class information from him, that, on the visit of the Nigeria Society of Engineers to the institution affirms that ABUAD College of Engineering where they have thirty seven (37) functioning Engineering Laboratories with Ultra-Modern and a State of the Arts Equipment and that 40% of the equipment in their laboratories were peculiar to AfeBabalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) alone and adjudged that, ABUAD as the template in Engineering of University education in Nigeria. The college of law according to NUC is the best in West Africa while the college of medicine have set a standard too high for other universities in Nigeria to contend with and it will take any other university in Nigeria ten (10) good years to reach the template set up by AfeBabalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) college of medicine. ABUAD have the largest commercial farm, with what we saw and the words of the college officer, Mr. Ayo Opakunle, who tour the whole University with us, ABUAD will feed the whole Nigeria and the entire Africa soon.
Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, a man of exemplary leadership style who acted commendably by paying his bills anytime he stays in an hotel when he was the pro chancellor of University of Lagos and donate his sitting allowances to the university endowment fund. No wonder, he was awarded the best pro chancellor in Nigeria by NUC in 2005 and 2006 whenUNILAG was adjudged the best university in Nigeria in 2006.
Aare Afe Babalola believes in investing in the youth and developing the needy. This was seen in his address, that, we are still young, and, hopefully, we will do better than what he is doing now in the nearest future. This is also in no doubt reason for his beliefs in practical teaching as one of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Engineering laboratories tagged festos is purely all about practical with experts from abroad working assiduously to make sure the multi-billion naira machines in the lab work effectively for the use of the students. His pattern of practicality of teaching is linked to the famous philosopher, Maria Montessori, who said ‘students forget easily what they heard, seldom forget what they see but will forever remember what they participated there in’
Been an eye witness to see how the face of education is being transformed at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), I will says that Prof. R. A. Olaoye, The Director, Archive and Documentation Centre, University of Ilorin is in no way making a mistake in a personality delivered during the Nigerian University Education Students’ Association’s ‘Back to School’ programme in honour of late Chief ObafemiAwolowo which was chaired by Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, where he (Prof. R. A. Olaoye) said ‘to write in honour of these great Nigerians (Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Aare Afe Babalola, SAN) is a task uphill. These are great men whose shoes are too big for (an) ordinary person like me to unlace’. The shoe is really too big as Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, has set an enviable educational and professional legacy for anyone to bear. I will summed it for those who want to follow that path of this apogean and icon of education by quoting the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in his inaugural speech in 2007. He said, “Let us join together now to build a society worthy of our children. We have the talent. We have the intelligence. We have the ability. The challenge is great, the goal is clear. The time is now”. For anyone who want to pen his/her name in the chronicle of this country, Africa and the entire world as this apogean of education have done, then the time to act is now.
Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo said, “If we are in the habit of practicing the opposite of what we preach, our administration will not only lose their force and cogency, but also we ourselves will forfeit every claim to credibility. An ounce of example, it has been widely said, is far better than a ton of precepts”. That was Awo’s quote on the proclamation of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in the old wester region back in 1955. Hardly, will you see functional laboratories today in federal and state universities which has confirm the loss of force, cogency and forfeit the claim to credibility that Awolowo preached of but Aare Afe Babalola, SAN have painstakingly taken a bit of this quote by doing exactly the interpretation of the quote as a single entity what the Nigerian government failed to do.
Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, is an astute administrator, a matchless philanthropist, an apogean of education, A man of all the seasons. A man who will forever be talked about as a force and icon, not only in legal sector but also a revolutionary of education.
Conclusively, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) is the most comprehensive, most holistic, most practical, most beautiful and most modern university in Nigeria which has been described by the NUC as the best thing to have happened to education in this part of the world and a benchmark for other universities. At ABUAD, qualitative education have found an abode in Nigeria!
AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE WITH THE FOUNDER OF AFEBABALOLA UNIVERSITY, ADO-EKITI (ABUAD),