DIAMOND JUBILEE: Legal icon, Afe Babalola, marks 60 years at bar Monday

* ‘Humanity has demonstrated that Afe Babalola is a rare gem with relevance’

Come Sunday, July 9, 2023, elder statesman, legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, will clock 60 years at the bar.

As such, drums will be rolled out on Monday, July 10, at the Alfa Belgore Hall, ABUAD, to mark the celebration of the 60th call to bar anniversary of the nonagenarian legal guru and great jurist with different activities.

The events put together by Aare Babalola’s mentees, admirers, and beneficiaries to mark the Diamond Anniversary of the uncommon phenomenon and leader at the bar in a grand style included a lecture, testimonials, book launch and celebration dinner.

Afe Babalola, who was called to the Bar of England and Wales on 9 July 1963, founded in 1965, Emmanuel Chambers, Ibadan which is believed to be the largest in Nigeria.

A statement announcing activities for the Diamond Jubilee stated that “Afe Babalola has trained over 1,000 lawyers, produced 25 SANs, including several Attorneys-General at the federal and state levels as well as judges up to the appellate courts”.

Chair of the organizing committee, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), said the crème-de-la-crème comprising members of the Bar and the Bench; legal academics; the royalty; the clergy; delegates from the University of London and King’s College, London; captains of industry; and members of the diplomatic community will witness the festive events.

Among guests expected to attend the events are former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola; the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III; the Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Sokoto, Mathew Hassan Kukah; and President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau.

Ogunwumiju said, “The Anniversary Lecture titled ‘The Future of Constitutional Democracy in Nigeria: Imperative of a new constitutional order’ will be delivered by Bishop Kukah, and the lecture will be chaired by Chief Obasanjo.

He said that the money realised from the book launch would be channeled towards the construction of ABUAD Museum while the day’s activities would be rounded off with a celebration dinner where King Sunny Ade on the band stand to entertain guests by 7pm at the same venue.

He described Afe Babalola as an advocate par excellence who had “made outstanding contributions to Nigerian Law and Jurisprudence through his excellent advocacy in court and by authoring several law books. He was, at some point, the President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of Nigeria. He has been invited by the Supreme Court of Nigeria on several occasions as Amicus Curiae.

“Aare Afe Babalola is a committed educationist and a two-term pro-chancellor and chairman of the council of the University of Lagos, where he won the Best Pro-Chancellor Award twice, one-time Chairman of the Committee of Pro Chancellors of Nigerian Universities.

“Aare Afe Babalola founded ABUAD, recently ranked by the highly respected Times Higher Education Impact Rankings as the Number 1 University out of the 221 universities in Nigeria and Number 321 globally.

“In recognition of Aare Afe Babalola’s immense contributions to making the world a better place, he has been conferred with over 50 titles and awards across the globe. Humanity has unequivocally and loudly demonstrated that Aare Afe Babalola is a rare gem with all-time and all-round relevance to the world around him.

“The legend also holds the prestigious national honours as the Officer of the Federal Republic and Commander of the Order of the Niger,” he stated.

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