From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, has expressed displeasure at the declining standard of education in Nigeria.
Chief Babalola made the remarks with particular reference to university education, calling for urgent action to correct the trend before it is too late.
Mr Tunde Olofintila, the Head, Corporate Affairs of the university said in a statement on Monday in Ado-Ekiti that the legal icon made his concerns known in Igbajo at a reception for 37-year-old Prof Damilola Sunday Olawuyi, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships of the institution who recently became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
The celebrant became a professor in ABUAD at age 33, reportedly becoming the youngest law professor in Nigeria at the time.
Chief Babalola spoke of mentorship, saying his law chambers had so far produced a total of 24 SANs, the highest from any single chamber in the country, in addition to the latest, Prof Damilola Sunday Olawuyi of ABUAD, who he mentored.
Afe Babalola, whose address on the occasion was titled, “The Power of Education”, said he was disturbed that many of today’s graduates can not defend their certificates, a situation which he said was a far cry from what obtained in the past.
‘The common saying is that ignorance is a disease. I do agree. Indeed, poor education is worse than illiteracy. Poor education is even more dangerous than ignorance,’ he stated.
‘But what do we have today? Indeed, I mean the type of quality and functional education I had in my Primary School which I am now replicating in my University, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD.
‘Due to poor education, Nigeria is today producing graduates whose education makes them more dangerous than uneducated people.
‘Today, Nigeria produces graduates who cannot write simple and correct sentences, graduates who do not understand the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs.
‘We have graduates who do not know the place and import of prepositions in grammar, graduates who do not know the use of adjectives, adverbs, graduates who do not know the place of agreement of Nouns and number and graduates who do not know the import of adjectival and adverbial clauses.
‘There are graduates who do not know the difference between the Tropics of Cancer and Tropics of Capricon.
‘There are those who do not know Magellan line, that is, the line that divides the earth into two.
‘There are many graduates who do not know the distance between the earth and where the rain starts to fall.
‘There are also those who do not know why we have day and night or the difference between Neap or High Tide or the fact that what is called heaven consists of billions of stars and different planets
‘Whereas, our towns will only be better if we have quality education, our nation will be better if we have quality education, and the world will be better if we all have quality education,’ Chief Afe Babalola said.
He described Prof Olawuyi as a young, humble, erudite and energetic scholar of international standard who had taught Law in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.
‘Here is a man who has quality education like what we are providing in ABUAD as a result of which the University has been acknowledged by the National Universities Commission, NUC, as ‘a model, reference point and benchmark,’ as well as ‘the pride of University system in Nigeria,’ and endorsed by UNESCO as ‘a world-class institution of higher education.’
‘The University has also been certified by the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, as “the most successful private university in the country.
Speaking on how his law chambers produced 24 SANs, including the latest, produced by his university, Babalola said, ‘love bright, hardworking and industrious people, like Prof Olawuyi.
‘My inclination towards bright and brilliant people has influenced the way I have been running my Chambers over time. I have made it abundantly clear that the senior lawyers owe it a duty to take good care of their juniors.
‘That is one of the ways to ensure quality practice. For example, in our own Chambers, because of the way we run our affairs, none of our lawyers want to leave and that may account for how we have been able to produce 24 SANs in our Chambers today.
‘That may also account for how we have been able to produce several Judges, Justices, State and Federal Attorneys-General.
‘I can recall very vividly that I produced the youngest Senior Advocate of Nigeria so far in Nigeria and that was when Lateef Fagbemi, SAN of my Chambers was elevated to the Inner Bar at the age of 33.
‘We have again made history by producing the youngest Academic Senior Advocate at the age of 37,’ he said.