An Insight On Aare Afe Babalola (SAN)
Intelligence and Character - That is the Goal of True Education (Martin Luther King Jr 1929-1968)
Let’s take a look at this quote again and understand it together.
What is intelligence?
A person who is capable of understanding his environment and has wisdom to identify problems that exist within and outside his environment and can solve them or propose a reasonable solution to them. Intelligent people don’t sit around and bemoan their fate, or allow an existing need to exceed its stay. They are always proactive, and seize any opportunity, especially in the aspect of gaining information.
We have known character to be “the stable and distinctive qualities built into an individual’s life which determine his or her response regardless of circumstances.” Our character is much more than what we pretend to be when we are in the presence of others, it is who we are and represent when no one is watching. We can rightly say we have good character when we do the right thing because it is right to do what is right. Striving to be of good character should be our priority as this has landed people who do so in gold mines.
Let us critically examine an example of a Nigerian professor who in so many ways used his intelligence and character combined to acquire for himself a wealth of knowledge that provided him an understanding of the subject of life (education)
Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), is undoubtedly a household name in Nigeria gained prowess and prominence in his chosen legal career and love for education which led to the establishment of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. Born without the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth as evidenced in his inability to attend a secondary school due to financial deficiency, Afe was determined to succeed in life and success has become his middle name as of today. He has shown his level of competence, excellence and epitome of a great thinker and has earned his status as one of the leading educationists in the sector.
Though brilliant, he started the uphill of climbing the academic ladder without a secondary education. He however obtained the Cambridge School Certificate, GCE Ordinary and Advanced Level Certificate of London University, BSC Economics of London University and LLB Hons of London University through private study.
He was called to the Bar in England in 1963. He is a member of the Lincoln’s Inn, London, a registered member of the Bar of England and Wales and a distinguished member of the Nigerian Bar.
Chief Afe Babalola cut his legal teeth when he started his Legal Practice in the Chambers of Olu Ayoola and was there till 1965 when he proceeded to establish the firm of Afe Babalola & Co (Emmanuel Chambers), which is indisputably reputed today as one of the leading law firms in the country.
He was admitted into the Nigerian Inner Bar as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1987. And since then he has been an active member of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and International Bar Association (IBA).
He is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Nigeria, fellow of the Leadership Institute of Nigeria, member of the Body of Benchers, the highest legal body in Nigeria.
He is a holder of the prestigious award of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)
A renowned advocate, Chief Afe Babalola has made outstanding contributions to the development of Nigerian Law and Jurisprudence through his advocacy in Court and has evidenced in so many celebrated cases which he has handled successfully.
He has also written many legal books include Injunctions and Enforcement of Order; Law and Practice of Evidence in Nigeria;Enforcement of Judgment and Election Law and Practice, among many others.
These books have enriched the promotion of legal education and practice in Nigeria just as he has written also so many legal and non- legal well researched articles which are in journals and law books
Chief Afe Babalola is a Lecturer at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, visiting lecturer at the Post Graduate Schools of the University of Lagos and the University of Ibadan, as well as the Centre of African Law and Development studies.
He is an administrator of repute and is actively involved in both domestic and international arbitration. The legal icon owns a huge law library which is strongly devoted to the advancement of law and the legal profession in Nigeria.
He is also reputed to have succeeded in employing the instrument of the law and judicial process in maintaining and sustaining peace both domestically and internationally. Apart from his legal profession, another field that occupied the mind of Babalola was his love for education. To say that Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), is passionate about education is to say the least.
He does not just love education; he has sponsored the education of many less privileged Nigerians. Besides, he has been on the council of many universities until he established Afe Babalola University, ABUAD in 2009. It would be recalled that his love for education may have taken root in the fact that teaching was his first line of duty.
He had ventured into the law profession after some years of teaching in some secondary schools. He even became a vice-principal before he ventured into the law profession
His university, ABUAD remains the first and only University in Nigeria to commence academic activities on its permanent site with all the facilities in place within eight months and is often ranked as one of the best universities in Nigeria. The National Universities Commission (NUC) described the university as a miracle, model reference point and benchmark for other universities.
Afe Babalola University academic programmes are run in eight Colleges which include: the College of Sciences; College of Law; College of Social & Management Sciences; College of Engineering and College of Medicine and Health Sciences
Babalola was UNILAG’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman-of-Council between 2002 and 2007 during which he won the ‘Best Pro-Chancellor Award’ in 2005 and 2006. He was also given an Honorary Doctor of Letter by the Kogi State University, Ayingba in November last year.
Five years after he left the University Of Lagos (UNILAG) as its Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of Council, leaving behind a resounding success, he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters at its Golden Jubilee Convocation.
He also has interest in farming and owns a huge farm with over half a million tick trees, palm trees, oranges and other permanent crops as well as two huge man –made lakes and ten ponds with over 75,000 fishes at any time.
Babalola is no doubt an erudite lawyer, a great educationist, a successful farmer and indeed an unrivaled philanthropist.
He is a great example of a resounding success and has shown us that really, the essence of having true education is making use of those two powerful rare combinations - intelligence and character.
Biography source: National Mirror,by Bankole Betiku