Mr Tunde Afe-Babalola
A legal practitioner, Mr Tunde Afe-Babalola, SAN, has called on President Bola Tinubu to strengthen the institutions in the country with a view to making them independent.
The lawyer, who is the son of the legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, also urged President Tinubu to ensure that his policies are geared towards reducing poverty in the nation.
He spoke in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja as part of the activities to celebrate his father’s 60th anniversary of his call to Bar.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Cheif Afe Babalola; an educationist, a successful businessman and a philanthropist, was called to the English Bar on July 9, 1963.
The event is expected to be held on July 10 at the Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Ado Ekiti.
The legal practitioner said President Tinubu had started his administration on a very positive note.
“The president has a track record second to none. In the first few weeks, he has rolled out ground breaking policies.
“These policies are bold and strategic aimed at jumpstarting the economy.
“I strongly advise him to strengthen the institutions, make them independent in the true sense of the word and ensure poverty is reduced as much as possible.
“Nigerians have had to endure before now, thus he should also roll out the palliatives to cushion the effects of some policies,” he said.
He recalled that in recognition of his contributions to the Nigerian development, Tinubu was awarded the Honourary Doctorate degree of Public Administration in October 2019 by Afe Babalola University.
Afe-Babalola described the performance of the Nigerian judiciary as “excellent in the face of the current reforms in the Electoral Act.”
“The first test case was the Osun State Governorship Election Petition which was handled excellently by the judiciary.
“The law is what the courts say it is, having been constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of the interpretation of the law,” he said.
The senior lawyer, however, said that there was still room for improvement in the Electoral Act, 2022, particularly on the part of the legislative arm of government.
Afe-Babalola congratulated his father as he marks the 60 years celebration on July 9.
“My father Aare Afe Babalola, SAN has paid his dues as a lawyer, as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and as an elder statesman.
“He has achieved a lot and I can only continue to pray for him to do more.
“His name has become a household name in Nigeria and all over the world for sound and excellent legal practice, intelligence, great wisdom and philanthropy.
“He is an excellent example of a mentor to this generation. He grew steady and went through the stages one by one, no short cuts.
“As Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum said, ‘I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom,’” he said.
He described his father as “an all-rounder, who took his career and family passionately.”
“I can make bold to say that he was able to strike a unique balance between family and work. He is an outstanding success in both.
“Regarding his achievements, if I start, we won’t stop any time soon. Most of his achievements are already in the public domain,” he said.
The lawyer said his father began from a humble background where he was born in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
“He attended Emmanuel Primary School, Ado Ekiti.
“He later enrolled for the Senior Cambridge School Certificate Examination by private study from Wolsey Hall, Oxford.
“He obtained the ‘A’ Level Certificate of London University before he proceeded to London School of Economics where he received a bachelor’s degree in Economics.
“He left for the University of London where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law. In 1963, he was called to the English Bar, the same year he became a member of Lincoln’s Inn, London,” he said.
On his legal career, he said Afe Babalola began his career in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, Western Nigeria as a litigation lawyer at Olu Ayoola and Co, a law firm.
“In 1965, after two years of legal practice, he established his own law firm; Afe Babalola and Co. (Emmanuel Chambers). In 1987, he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the highest rank in legal profession in Nigeria.
“In 2001, he was appointed, Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria. He held the position till 2008 during which he emerged as best Pro-Chancellor of Nigerian Universities consecutively in 2005 and 2006.
“In 2009, he established Afe Babalola University to promote education in Nigeria and the university’s College of Law has, at different times, been rated best in Nigeria in 2022, maintaining the position in 2023, the University is now ranked the number one private university in Nigeria and number 221 globally.
“He was described by the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu as a moulder and builder of future leaders as well as a philanthropist of repute during the 5th convocation ceremony of the institution in October 2017,” he said.
Afe-Babalola advised young lawyers to be focused, dedicated and shun inordinate ambition for money.
“First and foremost, have faith in God because with God on your side, nothing is impossible. They should ensure that they have mentors, for me, my father has always been my mentor.
“They should build confidence and independence. The profession requires that hard work, industry, focus, dedication and sacrifice as key attributes.
“The ability to delay gratification is also very important. They should avoid avarice or get-rich-quick syndromes.
“Finally, they should always maintain good relationships with people within and outside the legal profession,” he said.