A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), on Tuesday shared N16.5m to 1,000 poor people in Ekiti State.
The Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, said he did this as a token of his concern and love for the people and would like the rich to take a cue from him.
Twenty people received N100,000 each, 180 people got N50,000 each; while 300 persons and another 500 got N10,000 and N5,000, respectively, at the maiden AB Foundation Poverty Alleviation Programme.
Babalola said, “You don’t need to be the richest person in the world to help your neighbour. I urge the government to go down to the ordinary men, people in the grassroots and do something to assist them. I am a grassroots man, the only time I am happy is when somebody beside me is happy.
“Giving is an act I borrowed from my parents; giving is very important if we want this country to develop. The Federal Government alone cannot fund universities in Nigeria and make them comparable to their peers in other parts of the world.
“What Stanford University received annually from endowments is more than the whole amount Nigerian government votes for education. How then can Nigerian universities compare with such a university?
“We should change our attitude of wanting to leave everything for the government to do for us. Today, it has got to the ludicrous extent that many Nigerians want to bear children and want government not only to train them but to provide the children school meals.
“We cannot abdicate our responsibilities for government, not in the face of compelling and competing duties of the government. I therefore call on the rich and the more comfortable members of the Nigerian society to come to the assistance of the less privileged with the overall aim of engendering growth and development.”
Babalola urged the beneficiaries to invest the cash wisely and judiciously to give themselves economic empowerment through investment in small scale businesses.
The Chairman of the occasion, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, who commended Babalola for the gesture, described poverty as a “very impatient illness needing attention.”
The Ewi of Ado, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe, commended Babalola for building his university in the town alongside his farm, hotel, bakery and others, which he noted, had generated thousands of employment