SOME of the hitherto unknown details of the celebrated 1988 Aare Ona Kakanfo case came to the fore in Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, last weekend. The setting was the commissioning of the 16 newly installed Dialysis machines, a Blood Bank in the university’s 400-bed Multi-system Hospital, a Helipad and a Military Outpost built by the university to enhance security. In his remarks after he had commissioned the Blood Bank, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the protector, defender and the arrow head of the cherished values of Yoruba customs and traditions and a man who gleefully takes his visitors and guests on an exploratory voyage of history, lived to the billing. Oba Adeyemi who came with 31 others relayed to the audience how his people at home expressed concern about his health and safety when he articulated his preparedness to be part of the March 21, 2020 commissioning and presentation of books in ABUAD. His ready response was what his long standing friend and brother, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, told him (Alaafin) in 1988.
His words: “When I expressed my preparedness to be part of this event to some of my people at home, they expressed concern about my health and safety. Then I quickly recalled and told them the position Aare Afe Babalola took in 1988 during the Aare Ona Kakanfo case. Aare Afe Babalola was warned not to take over the matter for fear of his life. A very pleasantly stubborn man that he was and still is, he took over the case. Against the advice of many, Aare took up the matter. He came to court with a retinue of layers and law books which they call Authorities. In the bowel of the court, he marshaled his position citing the relevant laws home and abroad. The case was adjourned for ruling”.
He added: “On the day of the Ruling, the route from Ibadan (where he lived and practiced Law) to Oyo (where the ruling will take place) was lined with soldiers and policemen. Again, he was warned not come for the ruling for fear that he would be killed.
“Do you know what Afe said? He said: “If I die, I die and that would be the end of the matter”. Like Afe did in 1988, I told my people that if I die in the process of coming here, I die and that would be the end of the matter. It is not in me to develop cold feet because of Covid-19. He has used his forensic advocacy in law to assist me several times in the past. This is a man I should support and honour always”. Alaafin paid special tribute to Babalola for the way he relates with his friends and people generally. He is very respectful, “but like I said earlier, he could be very stubborn too”. He commended Babalola for setting up the new Blood Bank which said apart from making life saver, it will eradicate the age-long practice where relations of patients would be scampering in panic to procure blood for their sick relations many kilometers away from where the blood is needed.
Emphasizing the centrality of a Blood Bank to an hospital, the Alaafin said if this facility had been in place six years ago, her daughter who was born in 1960 and who would have turned 60 this year would still have been alive today. Eulogising Babalola further for his continuous contribution to humanity, Oba Adeyemi said: “I commend Aare Afe for his futuristic tendencies. It is only a futuristic person that would put in place and commission 16 Dialysis machines, a Helipad, a Blood Bank and a Military Outpost in one day. I wish him many more of useful and healthy years in the service of humanity. He therefore called on all-well meaning Nigerians to take a cue from Afe by investing in quality education and healthcare delivery. I thank you all Commenting on the blanket closure of schools in Nigeria which he faulted and described as illegal, the Alaafin said: “I was the pioneer and a three-term Chancellor of the then newly established University of Sokoto, now Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto. In appreciation of my contributions and achievements, the university honoured me with the Degree of Doctor of Letters (LL.D), Honoris Causa”.
He added: “I am recounting this part of my history to make a point, to wit: that I am sufficiently knowledgeable about university administration and so I am qualified to talk about it. The recent announcement by the Federal Government closing all schools, including private universities, is absolutely unnecessary because the closure of any university is the responsibility of the Senate of that university. The different University Laws state expressly the duties and functions of the Visitor, the Council and the Senate. Like it is under the dictate of Separation of Powers, none of these three Bodies has the right or powers to assume the functions and duties any of the other two. The instant situation as it concerns the private universities is particularly worrisome in that the Federal Government did not consult the private universities before asking them to shut their doors and release their students, some who are getting ready to write their end of session examinations, to go home for one month”.