Iconic legal practitioner and founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has absolved President Muhammadu Buhari of blame in the killings and insurgency in the country but held that the security agencies should be blamed.
Chief Babalola, who spoke on Thursday after being honoured by the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) at a ceremony in ABUAD campus in Ado Ekiti, said the military putsch of 1966 ushered in a lopsided unitary system in the country, abrogated the regional system and foisted a warped country on the citizenry.
Chief Babalola, who was conferred with the Sir Ahmadu Bello Platinum Award as the “The Icon of Greater Nigeria” and “Garkuwan Matasan Arewa Najeriya” by the youth group, said that military intervention should be blamed for the unwholesome scenarios playing out in the country today.
Babalola said: “The essence of government is to guarantee the security of lives and property of the people. President Buhari is not to blame for this insecurity but the military.
He said: “Before military took over in 1966, Nigeria was operating the regional system with each region growing and developing at its own pace. These regions were closer to the people. Killings or insurgency were alien to our culture then. Nigerians loved one another, though they were divided politically.
“I want to say that if those regions were allowed then, the country would have had a nation or nations that are well developed today.”
He regretted that today, Nigerians were dying due to leadership failure, particularly the civil servants and pensioners due to non-payment of their salaries and entitlements.
He said “many pensioners have died having been owed several years of pension arrears. Even those in the service are owed seven or eight months salary arrears, so just like I said earlier, our leaders have turned us into beggars.”
Talking about the vision of his university, which was to build the youth into reliable future leaders, Babalola told the group that many of the rich men in the Northern part of Nigeria have the financial wherewithal to establish such fast-growing university.
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“There are many rich people in Nigeria who can establish this kind of university with the vision to bring quality education as well as, moral and cultural values to the doorstep of Nigerians.
“If we have this kind of university in each of the six geopolitical zones or every state, Nigeria will change for better.
“Go to the North and propagate the ideals which my university stands for. Nigeria must be united at all cost for us to make a headway and overcome all our challenges,” Babalola stated.
The leader of the youth group, Mr Steven Bidemi, said the honour was in recognition of Babalola’s contributions to humanity and the unity of the Nigerian nation.
“At a time when Nigeria youth are facing relegation from the scheme of things, Babalola continued to exhibit youth friendly vision which gave us a renewed hope as leaders of tomorrow.
“Chief Babalola is a symbol of a true Nigeria where unity, love, integrity compassion and brotherhood take a seat at the high table. He is a true representation of Sardauna’s philosophy, which was about religious and ethnic tolerance,” he said.