WOLE BALOGUN, Ado Ekiti
A renown senior lawyer and President of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola on Tuesday faulted the 1999 Constitution and called for an urgent overhaul of the legal framework through a Sovereign National Conference.
Babalola who said the current Nigeria Constitution is a deficit in properly addressing a myriad of socio-economic challenges plaguing the nation.
Babalola said the 1999 constitution is inimical to the development and progress of the country considering the lapses in it.
Babalola spoke on Tuesday during his conferment of Africa Role Model and AU Agenda 2063 Ambassadorial Award held at the 7,000-seater Alfa Belgore Multipurpose Hall, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti.
He said it would be difficult for President Muhammad Buhari and his cabinet to succeed in making meaningfully differences on the country socio-economic landscape with the 1999 quasi-federal constitution which does not suit the peculiar nature of the country.
He said bold steps ought to be taken to change the 1999 Constitution, which is falsely described as a federal constitution whereas in actual sense it is a unitary in all facets.
Expressing his gratitude to his family and friends for the honour, Babalola said the award African needed was transformational leaders that could work for an integrated prosperous and peaceful continent.
He said: “The award is a good omen to millions of youths in Africa particularly those who belong to lowly class. I affirm that no matter your lowly status in life, if I whose formal education stopped at Primary Six could 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, Mandella 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, 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 achievement so far in life and carrier, to the benefit of a worthy continent.
“Let me make it clear, uncountable factors were put into account before selecting Aare Afe 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 Aare Afe Babalola, in all fairness, meets all AU standards and norms.
“In total, the 3rd General Assembly approved five award slots for 2019 for all of 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 that is being conferred on our father, Aare Afe Babalola today. In all fairness, though, Baba is long overdue for such honour as this.
On his part, Governor Kayode Fayemi described Babalola as a pride to the entire black race, saying his developmental impacts in Ekiti, Nigeria and Africa continent is legendary.
“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, Nigeria, Africa and entire human race because your have devoted yourself and resources to the development and progress of humanity.
The Alafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, said Babalola’s noble virtues and his high ideals of humility, honesty, transparency, integrity earned him integrity beyond the shores of the country.
He added that Babalola had impacted the lives of many through mentorship, scholarship and various philanthropic programmes to the benefit of mankind.