Afe Babalola, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), has stated that politics is the only lucrative industry in Nigeria.
On Saturday, the legal icon spoke at Afe Babalola University’s 11th convocation event, bemoaning how education is being pushed to the sidelines while politics takes center stage.
According to Afe Babalola, politics is now more valuable than education.
The ABUAD founder described a first-class graduate who declined further study after a master’s degree because he observed a secondary school buddy who did not attend a higher institution attain material political success.
“I was the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, and a young man came out with first class in Chemistry and had the highest score that year. I called him and said, ‘I am going to give you a scholarship to do your master’s.
“He was very happy and he agreed; he passed his masters. I had forgotten all about him, then he came in and said, ‘Sir, thank you for the scholarship given to me,’ I said ‘Yes, proceed to your Ph.D.’ and he said, ‘No’ and I said ‘Why?’
“He said, ‘My colleague who was in class with me in secondary school did not go to university; he is the chairman of the local government of my place. He is riding a car; he has a house.’ I was depressed.
“I said, ‘What do you want to do now?’ He said, ‘I want to go into politics.’ I wept inside me. That is what your country has made of Nigeria. The only business in this country today which is lucrative is politics,” Babalola said.
While he does not oppose any political ambitions, he feels that politics has become less ethical and more about personal wealth than serving the greater good.
“I do not say you cannot be a politician but to be a politician is different from what we have now. Who thinks that politics is for making money? Politics is for service.”
“I was a Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor before and I never had a kobo because I saw it as service. People go now to make money from public money given to them.”
According to him, the nation lacks strong leadership and high-quality education.
“Our problem in this country is leadership in Africa. People believe that when they come out of university, they should go and work or alternatively, go into politics,” he said.
“What we need in this country is quality education. When you have quality education, you have power and when you have power, every other thing submerges,” Afe Babalola said.
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