Frontline legal practitioner and founder of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, has won the Global University Network for Innovation Africa (GUNI-Africa) Award for 2017 for his “exemplary leadership in higher education in Africa”.
Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council of Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State, Professor Peter Okebukola, made this known while delivering the ABUAD 5th Convocation Lecture recently.
Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) who spoke on “The Place and Continued Relevance of Private Universities”, said there was something very important to do to celebrate Babalola for “his uncommon commitment to building a university, ABUAD,that is emerging Africa’s Regional exemplar of optimal resourcing of a university to deliver quality university education”.
Okebukola who co-signed the award as the president of GUNI-Africa, along with its Executive Secretary, Professor Juma Shabani, added: “In less than 10 years since its establishment, ABUAD has witnessed such tremendous growth in infrastructural development, international partnership and attraction of the best scholars that can hardly be matched a university thrice its age in Africa.
“The programme offerings are pitched to produce internationally relevant, globally competitive and 21st Century graduates. Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, of which you are founder, is reflecting your taste for merit, quality, finesse, equity and Rule of Law,” he said.
The GUNI-Africa Award ceremony, which took place at ABUAD’s 7,000-seater Alfa Belgore Multi-Purpose Hall, was witnessed by the crème-de-la-crème of the society made up of members of the Bar and the Bench, legal academics, the royalty, the clergy and captains of industries, as well as students of the university.
Presenting the award together with former Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Ambassador Yayale Ahmed, the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar A. Rasheed, mni, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, Okebukola commended Babalola for his contribution to the education sector, even before he established ABUAD which commenced uninterrupted academic calendar on January 4, 2010.
Responding, Chief Babalola said, “I thank GUNI-Africa, I thank Professor Okebukola, a man I respect so much, for this award which I treasure and appreciate. For me, the award is not ordinary. I only hope that GUNI-Africa knows the import of what they have done for me today.
“It is simply a call to duty, or more duty. It is a catalyst that will propel, ginger, inspire and encourage me to want to do more. I thank them for challenging me the more,” he said.