Afe Babalola: Biography and Success Story of the founder of Afe Babalola University.


Afe Babalola, SAN, is an influential Nigerian lawyer and founder of the Afe Babalola University. He is a farmer, educationist and a one-time pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos State (UNILAG).

Afe Babalola was born in Ekiti State, Nigeria on the 30th of October 1929. He attended Emmanuel Primary School, Ado Ekiti. After his primary school, he enrolled with Wolsey Hall Oxford in preparation for his Senior Cambridge School Certificate examination. Babalola later obtained the A’Level certificate of London University which is a prerequisite for enrolling in London universities.

Afe Babalola then proceeded to London School of Economics where he graduated with a B.Sc. in Economics. After his university education, he worked briefly with Central Bank of Nigeria before going for a second degree (bachelors degree in Law). The second degree was from the University of London. He was called to the England bar in 1963, the same year he became a member of Lincoln’s Inn, London.

He is married to Yeye Aare Modupe Babalola, and they are blessed with 3 children.

Afe Babalola’s Career.

Afe Babalola started his law career at Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria as a litigation lawyer with the Olu Ayoola and Co., law firm in 1963. After two years of legal practice, he established his own law firm: Afe Babalola and Co. (Emmanuel Chambers) in 1965. In 1987, Babalola became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN): the highest rank for legal professionals in Nigeria.

In 2001, the then Nigerian president: President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him the pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos. He held the position till 2008, and during the period he won the best Pro-Chancellor award consecutively in 2005 and 2006.

While Babalola served as Pro-Chancellor, he got first hand experience of the ills of the Nigerian education system. This displeased him so much that he decided to do something about it.

Afe Babalola decided to establish his own university to set a standard for other universities to emulate. The decision gave birth to Afe Babalola University in 2008. Currently, the school offers 47 accredited courses with a standard farm for agricultural students. The farm sells maize to Obasanjo farms. All students who study agriculture at ABUAD gets 250,000 Naira seed capital after graduation.

Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital.

The 400-bed hospital was commissioned on the 20th of October, 2017. The hospital partners with organisations that support its quest for international standard health care, teaching, training and research services.

Some Of These Partners Include:

  • Abbot Laboratories in partnership with Afriglobal Diagnostic Services provided modern laboratory equipment for the hospital.
  • Aster Hospital Group, Dubai and India provided healthcare services of international standard.
  • United States of America Project C.U.R.E. provided modern hospital equipment.
  • Naruia Export, India provided and installed five Modular Theaters and Pneumatic Tubes.
  • JNC International gave the hospital CT scanners, MRI and other radiology and diagnostic equipment.
  • Trigenesis, India gave ABUAD drywall partitioning and cubicle track.
  • Protech Gas provided medical gas and oxygen for the hospital.
  • Adler, England gave them steam boilers.
  • College of Pharmacy, Howard University, USA set up a joint pharmacy department and factory to manufacture drugs.

Afe Babalola’s Philanthropy.

  • As pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos, he forfeited his salary for scholarships and renovation of the school.
  • A high-class administrative building for the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti in 2016.
  • An auditorium for the Faculty of Law, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti in 2016.
  • Built a home for nurses at Ekiti State teaching hospital in 2016.
  • Afe Babalola gave 16.5 million Naira to empower over 1000 people in 2017.
  • Gave over 2 million Naira to 48 farmers at the agricultural exhibition scheme in Ekiti State to boost food production in 2018.

Associations of Afe Babalola.

  • Member of the Lincoln’s Inn, London.
  • Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Nigeria.
  • A Fellow of the Leadership Institute of Nigeria.
  • Member of the Body of Benchers, the highest legal body in Nigeria.
  • Patron of several law student societies, legal institutions and corporate bodies.
  • Member of the Rector of Europe.

Afe Babalola Quotes.

“No idea is stupid; it is better carried out than ignored.”

“The only change that can be a lasting change, that would change the world and change the people, is changing the mind of the youths.”

“When you are not disciplined, that is the end of your life. It is lack of discipline that causes all the problems.”

“If you want to run a university, you must be selfless and willing to serve.”

“If proprietors would learn from me, those who want to start up a university must be prepared to be personally involved with how things are run in the university.”

“Hard work does not kill; what kills is indolence.”

“My legacy is not in the buildings I have, not by the money in my account, but in these children, students of my school.”

Awards and Recognitions of Aare Afe Babalola.

  • Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
  • Queen Victoria Commemorative Award at Socrates Award of European Business Assembly in Oxford UK.
  • Award of LL. D (Honoris Causa) by the Ekiti State University in 2002.
  • Best Pro-Chancellor award in 2005.
  • Winner of the Best Pro-Chancellor award in 2006.
  • Vice President, Rector of Europe, 2010.
  •  Kogi State University honoured him with Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) (D.Litt.) in 2012.
  • Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) from the University of Lagos in February 2013.
  • The University of Jos honoured him with the Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) in March 2013.
  • Africa Man of the Year on Food Security in 2014.
  • Doctor of Management award (Honoris Causa) from the Federal University of Technology, Akure in 2014.
  • The University of London awarded him with the Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) in 2014.
  • First African to be honoured with Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) by the University of London in 2015.
  • Advisory Board of the African Leadership Development Foundation, USA and UK inducted him into the Africa Hall of Fame in 2016.

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