Afe Babalola Gets Awolowo Prize for Leadership

Afe Babalola

Funmi Ogundare

All is set for the conferment of the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership, 2018 on the founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Ado-Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola, by the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation.

The prize, instituted after the late sage, is awarded to individuals that have demonstrated the attributes of Awolowo, which include political strategy, education, integrity, caring for welfare of the masses, consistency of policies and courage. The prize is awarded every two years.

The programme will hold on March 6, 2019 at Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The former Secretary General, Commonwealth of Nations and Chairman of the Selection Committee, Chief Emeka Anyaoku said in a statement that Babalola has distinguished himself in the provision of quality education just like the sage, advocacy for masses through legal intervention and other means.

A former Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Michael Faborode described Babalola’s contribution to the educational development of the country, particularly higher education as monumental and speaks volumes.

“You have thoroughly distinguished and endeared yourself to many who value education. Your landmark eternal footprint and legacy, ABUAD and the adjoining iconic teaching hospital, speak volumes of your painstaking dedication and commitment to excellence.”

He recalled his convocation lecture which he delivered at Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye and Adekunle Ajasin Univerity, Akungba (AAUA) in January and November, 2018 respectively, saying that “after the establishment of three separate state universities in Ekiti and their merging into a single one, can be said to have been in existence since 1982 (listed as the sixth state university after OOU by the NUC), with a College of Medicine, Ekiti State University is yet to establish a teaching hospital for training her medical doctors.

“Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) established nine years ago in 2009 now has a teaching hospital, which may well be the best equipped modern teaching hospital in Nigeria. The hospital is indeed a classical lesson in how partnerships and collaboration can be leveraged to source for funds and resources for a university’s advancement.”

Faborode noted that ABUAD was able to access substantial funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to establish an industrial park as a special purpose vehicle for knowledge transfer and developmental relevance.

“The difference between EKSU and ABUAD in their growth trajectory is in the vision, the energy, the deep understanding of what a university should be and can do, how to utilise talents and knowledge, and how to manage scarce resources to become wealthy without being rich is a priority,” he stressed.