UNILAG Conferred Doctor of Law on Aare Afe Babalola
The problem of survival was the greatest of all human problems during the early days of human existence. As it is often said: as it was in the beginning, so it is and so shall it always be…. It is also a common saying that where there is a will, there is always a way. Both sentiments combined have made the Founder/President Emeritus of the prestigious Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti; Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) to develop his own innovative solution to some of the myriad of problems associated with human survival in our contemporary society by blazing the trail in the area of higher education delivery in Nigeria.
Aare Afe Babalola was the arch-divinity who was chosen by God to create a unique environment out of the pristine land which was abandoned for many years for the establishment of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti with the prospect of populating it with outstanding Professors and scholars from all disciplines who were drawn from different locations in the world.
In recognition of his past and present commitment to quality education in Nigeria, Aare was placed shoulder-to-shoulder with other men of outstanding calibre in Nigeria as a recipient of honorary Award that was conferred on him by the University of Lagos, Akoka, on 8th February, 2013.
Amongst them, albeit post-humously, was the first and only Prime Minister of Nigeria - Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, who was ably represented by his son - Tafawa Yakubu Balewa; Chief Arthur Mbanefo and our own distinguished Aare Afe who, by all yardsticks, would qualify to be described as the most active Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of UNILAG in its 50 years history.
In a notification letter signed by Mr. Oluwarotimi Shodimu, the Registrar and Secretary to the Senate and Governing Council of University of Lagos, he explained that the conferment which is part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the institution, is to honour Aare Afe Babalola who has left indelible marks on the sand of times impacting positively on the development of the University as its erstwhile two-term Pro-Chancellor.
He further explained that the University’s memory is filled with the remarkable strides that Aare Afe deployed in laying a solid foundation by providing the roadmap for the current enviable ranking of the University as the best in Nigeria and 16th in Africa. Mr Shodimu also commended him for his unrelenting philanthropic contributions to the advancement of education and his passion for seeking the general well-being of people in the society especially those who are less privileged.
He acknowledged Aare Afe Babalola’s dogged and patriotic zeal in restoring values into academia, providing blue print for the income generating unit of the university and creation of new avenues for fundraising through the endowment scheme which has remarkably turned around the fortunes of the prestigious institution for good.
While congratulating Aare Afe, the Honourable Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayattu Ahmed Rufai announced that the Governing Council of the University of Lagos has approved his nominations by the Senate and Honors Committee for the conferment of the award of Honorary Doctorate Degree – Doctor of Law (LL.D) (Honoris Causa) of the University.
It should be recalled that this is the third honorary doctorate degree to be awarded to Afe Babalola (the legal icon) having first been honored by the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, and later Kogi State University, Anyigba and now University of Lagos, Akoka.
In his speech, the Founder and President Emeritus, Afe Babalola University; Aare Afe Babalola thanked all his friends and admirers that came to grace the occasion and to honor his invitation. He applauded the Emir of Ilorin, Zulu Gambari; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III; Oba Tejuosho; His Royal Majesty, Olugbenga Ajayi – Igbole Ekiti; Ologotun of Ogotun Ekiti for their love and recognition of his humble contribution to humanity.
He also acknowledged Prof. Julius Okogie, NUC Executive Secretary for his tireless, hard-working and supportive disposition to all universities in Nigeria. He commended the efforts of the former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo – who took time out of his tight schedule to write him a goodwill message which to all intent and purposes serves as a testimony for his uncommon gesture to the advancement of humanity
The Founder, Aare Afe Babalola, later admonished the Federal Government through the Honourable Minister for Education, Prof. Ruqayattu Ahmed Rufai to devote more resources into transforming the educational system in the country for the delivery of quality education.