The Communications Officer, University of Ibadan Distance Learning Centre, Mr. Dayo Olajide has called on Nigerians to take advantage of the centre and acquire university education.
Olajide call was hinged on the experience of the founder of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Aare Afe Babalola, whose only four walls of experience in education ended in primary school, but has achieved greatness through what is today referred to as Open Distance Learning.
By dint of hard work and determination, Babalola studied up to the university level without going through the formal four walls of secondary and university education.
“Nonexistence doesn’t mean not being born; it actually means an individual whose escape in life is note worthy, he said, adding, no matter how small individual spaces of relevance may be, no man is born empty. We have various potentials deposited in us by God for the benefit of humanity.”
Recounting Babalola’s twist of fate from grass to grace, he said: “It is interesting to note that he is a self-made man, whose story of rescue from nonexistence should be a timeless nudge to the younger generations. What he had in the formal educational system was a primary school education. He attended Emmanuel Primary School, Ado-Ekiti, where he obtained a standard six certificate. That was the end of his formal education. The chances of making it in life in Nigeria with a mere primary school leaving certificate is slim, but here is a man who made it up to the university level through private study and correspondences. His attempt at further study could best be described in contemporary times as Distance Education, though, not structured and systematically delivered as it is today.
Olajide advised the younger generation to see Babalola’s trajectory as an inspiration that could save them from the deluge of frustrations and helplessness many face in their pursuit of university education. “The university admission gridlock is so overwhelming that the best of brains may be thrown into nonexistence. But, distance education is here affords as a viable alternative to the conventional mode of educational delivery. Distance education is the rescue from nonexistence for admission seekers who may slip into nothingness if they do not get tertiary education.
“If Babalola could make it without the four walls, I see thousands of Babalola’s waiting to happen and it is relieving to note that notable universities in Nigeria have plugged into this paradigm shift, hence, no excuse for anyone to let go of his or her dreams. Nigeria is blessed to have Aare Babalola as an icon of hope. He is indeed, a proof that the four walls can be circumvented, and meaning still added to life.”
n what the legal icon has achieved in life, he said: He is the founder of Afe Babalola & Co a.k.a. Emmanuel Chambers, which is reputed to be one of the leading law firms in Nigeria. He was called to bar in England in 1963. He became a member of the Lincolns Inn, London, and a registered member of the bar in England and Wales. He is also a distinguished member of the Nigerian Bar Association. He was admitted into the Nigerian Inner Bar as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1987. He is also a member of the Body of Benchers, the highest legal body in Nigeria.
He was the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos from 2001 to 2007, and one time Chairman of the Committee of Pro Chancellors of Nigerian universities.
He has trained several judges and attorneys-general, over 300 lawyers and produced 14 Senior Advocates of Nigeria; the largest number from any chambers in Nigeria. He is a consultant to several conglomerates, including the Federal Government of Nigeria, companies and the World Bank.
Babalola is an administrator of repute and is actively involved in both domestic and international arbitration. The first Africa to be conferred with Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa) of the University of London in 2015, he is the winner of Queen Victoria Commemorative Award at Socrates Award of European Business Assembly in Oxford, United Kingdom. He was conferred with the congressional commendation of the US Georgia legislative black caucus, and inducted into the African Hall of Fame by the advisory board of the African Leadership Development Foundation, Inc. USA, and African Leadership (UK) Limited in 2016.”
Arguing that Babalolas life and profession is laced with outstanding contributions to the development of Nigerian law and jurisprudence through advocacy in court, having authored over 200 legal and non-legal articles contained in law books and journals, he said: With such enviable records, nobody should be limited by inability to gain admission into the university. The distance education is here for all to take advantage of.