Afe Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, declared that he rejected ministerial appointments twice because civil servants are the problems of Nigeria.
Babalola explained that the type of civil servants in Nigeria was capable of making him have enemies if he had accepted the offer to serve as a minister.
Speaking shortly after a dinner in celebration of the conferment of Honorary Doctor of Letters on him by the University of Ibadan , Babalola said none of the civil servants in the country could work the way he worked.
He said: “Well, I turned ministerial appointments down for two reasons. One, I cannot work with the present type of civil servants in this country. The civil servants are the problems in this country. None of them can work the way I work.
“I will create instant enemies if I had accepted to be a minister. The second reason is that my clients are so many. They protested and felt I would be disappointing them if I accepted to be a minister.”
While admitting that Nigeria was a difficult country, Babalola, however, expressed hope, “despite the nation’s myriads of problems, especially with the renewed investment in education.”
He stressed the importance of charity, adding that Nigerians did not like to give because everybody wanted the government to do everything. Babalola said UI had trained well over 300,000 people, including billionaires, yet the university could not boast of of N5bn in endowment.
He added: “Great universities in the world today depend not only on tuition fees but mostly on endowments and donations.”
In his welcome address, the Principal Partner, Afe Babalola & Co, Mr. Adebayo Adenipekun, said the least they could do to appreciate the legal luminary was to organise the dinner.
According to him, “I wish to assure you, sir, that the chambers is well and kicking and still fulfilling your ideals. No matter how tempting the brief may be, we always ensure that we maintain the integrity of the chambers and would not go beyond the bounds of due process of law. We are unperturbed by any disability we may suffer. We are determined to follow your footprints of honesty and integrity.”
Among the dignitaries present at the event were the Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Muktar Abimbola; Babalola’s wife Yeye Modupe Babalola; first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mrs. Folake Solanke; former ICPC Chairman, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola; Vice Chancellor, UI, Prof. Idowu Olayinka; Mr. Olu Daramola SAN, and the Executive Chairman, Safari Books Limited, Chief Joop Berkhout.