• AU honours ABUAD’s founder
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A legal luminary and owner of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola(SAN), has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate process of reworking the constitution to remove the lacuna in the country’s legal system.
He said the current Nigerian Constitution can’t address the socio-economic challenges bedeviling the country.
The university administrator stated this yesterday during his conferment of Africa Role Model and African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 Ambassadorial Award held at the Alfa Belgore Multipurpose Hall in the school.
Babalola said it would be an Herculean task for President Buhari and his cabinet to succeed in making meaningful differences on the country socio-economic landscape with the 1999 quasi-federal constitution which he said does not suit the peculiar nature of the country.
He said bold steps should taken to change the 1999 Constitution, which he said is falsely described as a federal constitution when in fact it’s unitary in all facets
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), however, called on the Buhari-led government to convene a sovereign national conference, whose membership would be elected on zero party system, to design people-oriented constitution.
Expressing his gratitude to family and friends for the honour, Babalola said with the award, Africans need transformational leaders that could work for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent.
According to him, “The award is a good omen to millions of youths in Africa particularly those who belong to the lowly class. I affirm that no matter your lowly status in life, if I, whose formal education stopped in primary six can make it, then you can make it faster and better.
“It is a tragedy that Africa today is bereft of transformational leaders such as Ghandi, Kwame Nkrumah, Nmamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Mandela and Ahmadu Bello. For Africa to move forward, we need transformational leaders and not operators of 1999 Constitution.
“The renaissance has started in ABUAD. ABUAD is the clear leader in reformation of education. We have succeeded in nine years to transform education in the country.”
The African Union ECOSOCC, Nigeria Representative, Dr. Tunji Asaolu, in his remark, said Babalola’s contribution to human capital development was worthy of commendation and emulation.
Asaolu said the continental award was conferred on the legal icon based on his legendary impact in all sphere of human life to the benefit of Africa.
According to him, “Babalola is a continental role model whose work and activities are serving as veritable implementation platforms of the AU Agenda 2063.
“It is indeed a worthy honour being done to a worthy patron, Aare Afe Babalola, for all his achievements so far in life to the benefit of a worthy continent.
“Let me make it clear that uncountable factors were put into account before selecting Babalola for this premier continental award. In actual fact, AU is not known to give recognitions flippantly or to compromise its standards under any guise.
“In this regard, this award and recognition to Babalola, in all fairness, meets all AU standards and norms.”
He said in total, the third AU General Assembly approved five award slots for 2019 for Africa in the alphabetical order of Central, East, North, Southern and West Africa.
“The AU Agenda 2063 slot five approval is for West Africa, and that is the slot being conferred on our father, Babalola, today. In all fairness, though our father is long overdue for such an honour,” he said.
On his part, Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, described Babalola as a pride to black race, saying his developmental impacts in the state, Nigeria and Africa is immeasurable and unquantifiable.
“This is an iconic award given to an icon of Ekiti State. If there is other human asset a country can have, it is Aare Babalola himself.
You are a pride to Ekiti State, Nigeria, Africa and the entire human race because you have devoted yourself and resources to the development and progress of humanity,” he said.
The Alafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, also said Babalola noble virtues and his high ideals of humility, honesty, and transparency have earned him integrity beyond the shores of the country.
He added that Babalola has impacted the lives of many through mentorship, scholarship and various philanthropic programmes