S.K Babalola: demise of an Awoist

Foremost politician and former Presidential Adviser on Education Chief Samuel Kolawole Babalola is dead.

He died after a brief illness, according to his family. He was aged 89.

Babalola, a veteran teacher, was principal of some schools in the old Western State before he was appointed as Health Commissioner by Military Governor Oluwole Rotimi.

However, he resigned to contest for the National Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Teachers(NUT).

Babalola, an Awoist, was a member of the defunct Action Group (AG), led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. In 1979, he was elected into the Ondo State House of Assemby on the platform of the prescribed Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). He served as the Chief Whip of the House.

The eminent politician was among core Ekiti leaders who remained loyal to former Governor Adekunle Ajasin, who was seeking a second term, at a time his estranged deputy, Chief Akin Omoboriowo, contested for governor on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Although he supported the Ekiti agenda for 1983, he retraced his steps by refusing to defect to the NPN.

His compatriots in the Ondo State chapter of the UPN were former Deputy Governor Nathaniel Aina, Senator Olorunnimbe Farunkanmi, Senator David Oke, Alhaji Ogunlayi, Senator Banji Akintoye, Chief Segun Adegoke, the late Alex Adedipe, Chief Blessing Kayode, Smart Omodunbi, Mobolaji Osomo, Prof. Samuel Aluko, and the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati.

Between October and December 1983, Babalola served as Education Commissioner in the Ajasin administration. He was also the state secretary of the ruling party.

In 1999, Babalola was a governorship aspirant on the platform of the now weakened Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Ekiti State. The chapter was led by Dr. Aina.

However, while his colleagues-Lam Adesina (Oyo State), Bisi Akande (Osun), and Adefarati (Ondo) emerged as AD flag bearers, Babalola lost at the primary to Niyi Adebayo.

Supporters of Babalola were not happy at the turn of events, claiming that the criteria of seniority, hierarchy, age, loyalty and long service to the progresive bloc were discarded by the AD leaders. Personally, he felt betrayed by his colleagues who, like him, were associates of Awolowo.

An aggrieved Babalola, who believed that his Awoist compatriots abandoned him by not sustaining the consensus option, which would have favoured him instead of the delegate option, which was susceptible to monetisation, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Former President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him as Special Adviser on Education.

Henceforth, the old teacher cohabited with strange bed fellows. But, what eluded him in the AD he could not also get in the PDP. In 2003, he was floored at the PDP primary by Ayodele Fayose, a relatively known politician, who also displaced Adebayo at the poll.

Since then, Babalola had been playing marginal roles in the party and politics. But, he remained an Ekiti elder, held in esteem beyond his native Ipoti Ekiti. He will be remembered for his Awoist beliefs, lack of avarice and records of honour, integrity and credibility as a teacher, politician and public servant.



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S.K Babalola: demise of an Awoist S.K Babalola: demise of an Awoist Reviewed by Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah on July 28, 2020 Rating: 5

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