9 February 2013

Nigeria: Tafawa Balewa, Mbanefo Get Unilag Honourary Degrees

Lagos — Former Nigerian Prime Minister, late Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was yesterday conferred with a post-humous Honorari Causa, Doctor of Letters of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Also conferred with the same honour by the institution were former Nigeria Permanent Representative to United Nations, Chief Arthur Mbanefo and Chief Afe Babalola (SAN).

Balewa and others were honoured at the UNILAG Golden Jubilee Anniversary Award ceremony which took place at the varsity main campus, Akoka, Lagos yesterday.

Visitor to the institution, President Goodluck Jonathan described Sir Balewa as an exceptional leader who contributed to the nation's growth just as he was partaker in the continental and global peace.

"I salute the three doctorate awardees of today, starting with our first and only Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of blessed memory. Sir Balewa was an exemplary leader who contributed to the growth of Nigerian nation. He also contributed immensely to continental and global peace. Chief Afe Babalola and Chief Arthur Mbanefo are also men of pedigree and integrity whose contributions to the development of this University are immeasurable," the President said.

While acknowledging the varsity's gesture, the representative of Tafawa Balewa's family, Alhaji Yakubu Tafawa Balewa said the family was grateful to the management of UNILAG for deeming the late Prime minister fit by awarding him post-humously.

Also speaking, Chief Mbanefo who was awarded Honourary Doctor of Science said though there has been proliferation of honourary degrees by Nigerian institutions to people of questionable characters, he nonetheless cherished the award confered on him by UNILAG.

The third awardee, Chief Babalola in his remark said being a former Pro-Chancellor of the University, he was quite delighted with the award as some of his contributions to the institution's growth are already manifesting.

Babalola who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, described the decision of President Jonathan to rename University of Lagos (UNILAG) after the late politician and business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola as ill advised.

Babalola, however, counseled the new governing council to be chaired by Prof. Jerry Gana to meet with the President and seek an out-of-the court settlement on the development.

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