Aare’s Brief Profile
Aare Emmanuel Afe Babalola was born by Pa Joshua Adubiaro Babalola, a successful farmer, and Madam Abigail Ajayi Babalola, a successful trader, both of blessed and evergreen memories.
Even though Pa Joshua and Madam Abigail did not have the advantage of Western Education, they inculcated the virtues of honesty, industry and forthrightness in the young Afe.
This was later in life confirmed by Aare Afe Babalola himself in his enthralling Autobiography, ”Impossibility made possible” that he inherited the attributes of “restlessness, fearlessness, courage, tirelessness, enterprise, stubbornness and bluntness as well inability to compromise” from his parents even though not in equal measures.
Because his parents were farmers, he had thought he would take to farming and eventually inherit his father’s farmland and implements at Alayegbe. But providence had something different in stock for him.
Through the instrumentality and encouragement of Mr. I.A. Olowu, as he then was, a St. Andrew’s Oyo trained teacher, the young Afe became more serious in his studies at Emmanuel Primary School, Ado-Ekiti, where he was hitherto a pronounced truant who preferred to be on the farm to being in the classroom. But the story has since been pleasantly different.
The young Afe Babalola was educated at Emmanuel Primary School, Ado-Ekiti. As it were, that was the end of his classroom education, because his parents could not afford to pay his School fees at the Secondary School level then.
But he was neither deterred nor discouraged. He pressed on and through determination, industry and the grace of God, he was able to turn seemingly impossible situations and circumstances into glowing possibilities to become what a legal colossus, a frontline Educationist and a renowned Farmer as well as a shining example that he later became in life.
Through his well-known “I can do it spirit”, he passed Cambridge School Certificate Examination, GCE Ordinary Level, GCE Advanced Level by private study. He went ahead to obtain his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in 1959 and LL. B in 1963, also by private study. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in July 1963. He became a member of the Nigerian Inner Bar when he was made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, in 1987. On March 11, 2015, he was conferred with the Honourary LL. D of University of London, making to become the first African to be so honoured with an LL. D in the 179-year history of the University of London.
From early childhood, the values and virtues of kindness, generosity, philanthropy and leadership manifested themselves in the life of the young Afe. Immediately after leaving Primary School, he took up appointment as a Pupil Teacher and brought two his younger siblings, Ebun (who later became Ebun Bailey), and a half-brother, Marcus, to live with me in Ibadan. As it were, because of Ebun’s very young and tender age, many people mischievously thought she was a child born for him by a girlfriend, not knowing that she was his uterine sister. But he was not deterred. He kept on doing good.
It is pertinent to mention here that his late father, Pa Joshua Babalola, at various times got married to four other wives. A man not giving to discrimination, the young Afe trained all the children from the four wives up to university level both locally and overseas. This undoubtedly stands him out as a natural leader who believes in the well-being of others.
Career and employment:
Aare Afe Babalola was at various times a Pupil Teacher and a Secondary School Teacher through which he garnered sufficient funds to obtain his Bachelor’s Degrees in Economics in 1959 and LL.B in 1963 both by Private Study.
After his pupilage in the Chambers of the Ayoola Brothers ion Ibadan, he launched his own Chambers, Emmanuel Chambers, in 1965. With a career now spanning 56 years, Aare Afe Babalola has made phenomenal contributions to the development of Nigerian Law and Jurisprudence. Indeed, he has since become a notable Cardinal in the Basilica of Jurisprudence. A lion at the Bar, but a dove out it, Aare Babalola has trained more than 1,000 lawyers, producing 19 Senior Advocates. It is also to his credit that he has produced several Judges, Justices and Attorneys General, both at the state and federal levels.
Contribution to national development: Donations and Gifts:
As a practical demonstration of the fact that it is not only when you are fabulously rich that you can help and raise other people, the very moment he started earning a living from his Law Practice, he did not wait to become millionaire or billionaire before he turned his attention to philanthropy by giving Scholarship to the needy and outstanding brilliant students.
An acknowledged Philanthropist, Aare Afe Babalola has made the following gifts or donations to tertiary institutions, Communities, Hospitals and Unions/Societies
- Financed and donated the imposing multi-million Afe Auditorium to University of Lagos. The building was commissioned by President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR in 2006.
- Financed and donated a multi-million Naira building for African Heritage Library at Olorunda-Aba Road, Ibadan.
- Donated a multi-million Naira Nuclear Medicine Building to UCH Ibadan.
- Constructed a multi-million Naira model BAR Centre for the Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan Branch at Ibadan.
- Made substantial financial contribution to PREMI an organization for the Rehabilitation of Prisoners.
- Initiated Endowment Fund Scheme in University of Lagos. The annual income from capital investment of donation is being used to award scholarships to students in the University of Lagos. Five hundred scholarships were awarded in February 2006 under the Chairmanship of President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR. It is the first of its type in the history of our universities.
- Initiated the BOT system under which hostels worth hundreds of millions of Naira are being constructed for the University of Lagos.
- Contributed more than 10% of the money to finance the construction and take-off of Ado-Ekiti Federal Polytechnic.
- Chairman of the Committee for the construction of an Ultra Modern Palace for the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti which today is one of the best in Nigeria who also made substantial financial contributions.
- Contributed substantiality to the construction of the building donated to the Faculty of Law, UNAD, by Ado-Ekiti Community.
- Financed and donated an ultra-modern Auditorium to Faculty of Law, University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD) which was commissioned by President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR in 2004.
- Built an ultra-modern Church for over N75million at Ado-Ekiti. The building was commissioned by the Archbishop of Anglican Mission in Nigeria in 2005.
- Constructed a block of flats for Inland Club at Ado-Ekiti.
- Substantial financial contribution to PREMI an organization for the rehabilitation of prisoners.
- Constructed a multi-million Naira model BAR Centre for the Nigerian Bar Association, Ado-Ekiti Branch
- Aare Afe Babalola Labour House for the Nigeria Labour Congress at Ado-Ekiti.
- Aare Afe also built a Museum in honour of Fabunmi the famous Ekiti warrior at OkeImesi, among others.
- Awards numerous scholarships annually at Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti and to Ado-Ekiti indigenes etc etc.
- The Annual Afe Babalola Poverty Alleviation Programme instituted in 2017 where he doles out millions of Naira to Nigerians to uplift them, their businesses and vocations.
Happily, the society, locally and internationally, has not failed to acknowledge Babalola’s immense contributions to make the world a better place to live in. With over 50 titles and Awards across the globe, including Honourary Doctor of Laws and Doctor of Letters by eight universities, including University of London and the elite Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, as well as many traditional titles, humanity has unequivocally and loudly demonstrated that Babalola, a man of commendable candour who has consistently redefined patriotism and reworked nationalism, is a rare gem with all-time and all-round relevance to the world around him.
Chiefly among his numerous chieftaincy titles today are the Afiwajoye of Ado-Ekiti, the Baamofin of Aramoko, Mayegun of Modakeke, Balogun of Mobaland and the Jagunmolu of Okemesiland as well as the Aare Baamofin of Yorubaland among several others. His good natured-ness and generosity of spirit is incomparable and unparalleled while his love and contributions to humanity are immeasurable and indescribable.
Afe Babalola Foundation:
To ensure that his investments in humanity and his family members outlive him, he has put in place the Aare Afe Babalola Foundation (AB Foundation). The aim of the foundation is to lift members of the larger society above the poverty level so that none of them would go through what he went through when he was growing up. Through this Foundation, people will be financially empowered and their children would be given Scholarship annually to take care of their School Fees and other academic pursuit.
Foray into Agriculture:
In all of this, Babalola does not forget the place of Agriculture. He made a deliberate foray into Agriculture through his ABUAD Agricultural Enterprise Centre to boost food production and ensure food security. Indeed, many stakeholders like the Embassy of the United States of America, Japanese Embassy and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have visited the flourishing Agricultural Enterprise Centre and unanimously agreed that it is the biggest of its type in any university in Nigeria today.
IITA which has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the university has also designated the university as a Centre of Research where students learn many areas of Agriculture.
ABUAD Agricultural Enterprise Centre has the following Divisions: Cash crops Division with 110,000 Mango Trees, 1,000,000 Teak Trees and 500,000 Gmelina Trees, the Arable crops Division with yam, maize, cassava, plantain & Banana, pigeon peas, Legume Division with various vegetables, Moringa Division with ABUAD Moringa leaf powder, ABUAD Moringa seed, ABUAD Moringa capsule, ABUAD Moringa hair cream, ABUAD Moringa oil, ABUAD Moringa body cream and ABUAD Moringa tea as well as ABUAD Moringa soap.
It also has the Fisheries Division with five large fish lakes with at least 100,000 fishes in each of them, the Feed Mill Division where various feeds are compounded and Hatcheries as well as the Livestock Division made up of a Piggery, Snailery, Turkey, Guinea Fowl, Quail and Mushroom as well as an incubator.
In its resolve to provide all-round education for our students and make them job creators after graduation instead of having to be pounding the streets, looking for white collar jobs, they are made to choose two of the above and work strenuously on them in addition to their academic pursuit.
No wonder then that Babalola has for over five decades been giving scholarships and cash support to students in tertiary institutions, and this does not include the Annual Scholarship and Merit Awards in ABUAD where he gave N7.5million in 2011, N17.5million in 2012, N32 million in 2013, N35million in 2014 and N87.8 million in 2015 and N90 million in 2016 and N98 million in 2017 as well as N120 million in 2018.
As part of his resolve to encourage the Youth to return to the farm, Aare Afe Babalola reduced the School Fees of Students Studying Agriculture by 50%. In addition, he gives a seed money of N250,000 to every graduate in Agriculture from Afe Babalola University.
At the state level, he has in the last five years been organizing an Annual Agric. Festival in Ado-Ekiti called ABAEX [Afe Babalola Agric Expo] with the Best overall farmer in the state going home with N1,000,000 while thee Best three farmers in each of the 16 Local Government Councils in the state with go home with N250,000 in this order: The best farmer (N200,000), the second best (N100,000), and the third best (N50,000),
As a major player in the Agricultural Sector of the nation’s economy, Aare Afe Babalola has received various Awards in appreciation of his contributions in that sector. Such Awards include but are not limited to the following:
- President, Forestry Association of Nigeria
- Patron, Agbekoya Farmers Association of Nigeria
- Patron, Fadama Association of Nigeria
- Member, AfricaRice
- Grand Patron and the Distinguished Africa man of the Year in Food Security 2014, courtesy of the Forum for International Green Sustainability (FIGS)
On the December 11, 2018, Aare Afe Babalola was decorated as Peace Time Hero by Afe Babalola Beneficiaries Worldwide (ABBW) on the remembrance day of Ekiti war heroes. The ceremony took place at the Aare Afe Babalola’s Gardens in Okemesi-Ekiti, the home of the Legendary Fabunmi Isola Adesoye, the Generalissimo of the Ekiti Parapo War of Liberation in the 19th Century.
Graduation of Batches 1 and 2 of the Youth Empowerment in Agri-business & Sustainable Agriculture (YEASA) powered by IFAD, ABUAD, AfricaRice and IITA on November 29, 2019.
Graduation of Batch 3 of the Youth Empowerment in Agri-business & Sustainable Agriculture (YEASA) powered by IFAD, ABUAD, AfricaRice and IITA on December 10, 2019.
Corporate Social Responsibility efforts:
Apart from the numerous scholarships to people and offer of employment to thousands of people, Aare Afe Babalola has embarked on the following community developmental efforts:
- Maintenance of Ijan-Ikare Road, including the 100-year old Ureje Bridge on a Federal Road for the past nine years.
- Generous gifts to some Federal and State Agencies and Parastatals that are poorly funded to help them put their vehicles, generators and transformers in functional position.
- Free health care for people with mental challenges.
Creation of Ekiti State:
Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, was in the forefront of the agitation and eventual creation of Ekiti State. However, it must be noted that he singlehandedly wrote, presented and defended the creation of Ekiti State at Mbanefo Panel. Upon creation of the State, he made substantial contribution in cash and in kind for the takeoff of the young State because there was no take-off grant from the Federal Government.