Legal luminary and founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, has expressed his excitement for winning the 2018 Obafemi Awolowo Leadership Prize award.
The front line lawyer was named the winner of the prize by the chairman of the selection committee and former Secretary-General, Commonwealth of Nation, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, at the unveiling of the new look Tribune, held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday.
His emergence as the latest winner of the prestigious award came four years after former South-African President, Mr Thabo Mbeki, won the award in 2014.
Earlier in 2012, Nobel Prize winner, Professor Wole Soyinka, had won the award, with Chief Afe Babalola emerging as the third distinguished personality to win the award in 2018.
Speaking on Wednesday with the Nigerian Tribune on this feat, Chief Afe Babalola said “when I heard the news, I was very happy. It was a minister who called my attention to the announcement.
“I am happy that my contributions in the field of education is being rewarded by the reputable Obafemi Awolowo Foundation. That I am found worthy to be equated with the sterling leadership qualities of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, especially in the area of education excites me and I am encouraged.
Anyaoku, while announcing the legal icon as the winner of the award, had said “Afe Babalola had distinguished himself in the provision of quality education just like the sage, advocacy for the masses through legal intervention and other means and, therefore, deserves the award.”
Speaking on the uniqueness of the award, Afe Babalola said “it was in 2016 that the London University awarded LLD (Honoris Causa) for my landmark achievements. I was the third African, apart from President Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu to be given such award.
“I understand that the Obafemi Awolowo Leadership Prize has only been won by two persons, Professor Wole Soyinka and former South African President, Dr Thabo Mbeki, since inception. This speaks to the profoundity of the award.”
The ABUAD founder asked well-spirited individuals to join him in the task of building the nation, especially in giving back to the society, in order to make it better than it was.
“Like I keep saying, I want Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of giving. All about ABUAD is about giving back to the society in order to make it better than one met it.
“Harvard University, Oxford University, among others, were donated by well-spirited individuals. Wealthy and public-spirited Nigerians are admonished to do more in the area of giving back to the society,” he said.