Philanthropist urges govt to invest more in education
Gives scholarships to over 2,504 Nigerians
The Co-founder, Bayo and Bunmi Babalola Foundation (BBBF) Engineer Pastor Sunday Adebayo Babalola has called on the federal, state and local government to show more commitment to educational development.
He decried the level of investment in education by the different tiers of government and called for a change.
He spoke on Friday during the eighth edition of the BBBF scholarship ceremony, at the Women Empowerment Centre, Isanlu Isin Road, Omu Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Babalola, a former Kwara State Governorship aspirant, disclosed that no fewer than 651 pupils and students from Kwara State benefited from the foundation’s scholarship award during the eighth edition of the scheme.
He also explained that from its inception till the current eighth edition of the scholarship ceremony, 2,504 pupils and students from the state have benefitted from the scholarships.
According to him, a total of 1,120 pupils from junior secondary schools and secondary schools and 733 students from tertiary institutions benefitted from the past seven editions of the scholarship programmes.
Babalola said he and his wife, Bunmi, co-founder, BBBF, initiated and have been sponsoring the scholarship as a way of being grateful to God for his manifold blessings on them and to give back to society part of what God has blessed them with.
He expressed fulfilment that many of the past beneficiaries of the scheme were making progress and great positive impacts in society.
He charged the current and past beneficiaries to continue to be good ambassadors of their families, society and the foundation.
Babalola said, “We remember with nostalgia how during our school days, we were provided sufficient educational materials and some comforts of life. We are saddened that current pupils and students do not have such provisions from the government.
“That is why we decided to contribute our own quota for the upliftment of educational standards and the welfare of the pupils and students. Not that we have all the money, but we are determined to continue to sacrifice, even our comforts for the educational advancement of the younger generation and for a better tomorrow. We want to leave our society better than we met it.
“It is a non-controversial fact that education is the bedrock of societal growth and advancement. Education is a catalyst for societal advancement. Education reduces sickness, crimes, poverty, sickness, superstition, and societal retrogression. Without sound education, there will not be great professionals, business tycoons, local government, state, national, and world leaders.”
He added, “Somebody asked me, Why are you and your wife still investing in the scholarships through Bayo and Bunmi Babalola Foundation (BBBF)
“I thought about it. What are we doing this for? But when you look at it, the governments, at all levels, have failed us. If the state government, sincerely, has been able to fulfil its obligations to its citizens, there will be no need for this. We would have channelled our resources and energies to something else, like establishing organisations that would provide employment to citizens. But we have to do this because there are a lot of indigent, good and brilliant students and pupils who have problems of paying even for menial things such as WAEC fees, NECO fees, and their final exams. So my wife and I thought that we should help such students.
“There are brilliant students and pupils in lower schools, too, which probably will withdraw because the government is not doing its part. We hear billions of naira that are rolling in, but we do not see anything in the direction of education or in the direction of infrastructure or creating a very good and enduring business environment. When you listen to the mass media, all you see are praises for the government, whereas there are things that should clearly be done by the govenrment that are not being done even though we hear and read billions that are being expended.
“It is very sad. How much does it take to do these things? Or to get all students and pupils going to school and give them a conducive study environment? Unfortunately, nationwide, we have a very serious issue there. The politicians are not helping. They are just spending the money and travelling all over the world.
“I wish the government would do its part, and we would not need or have a need to do this scholarship so that we can channel our resources to other pro-people or masses welfare concerns.”
He decried the alleged poor state of the education sector in Kwara State.
He called on all the tiers of government to be committed to education development.
Babalola said, “If education is poor or poorly done in Kwara State, you can imagine that it will be a ripple effect for every other thing. If you do not know how to do one thing, you do not know how to do many things. Governance is not good in Kwara. It is a big surprise that they are the ones being chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and Chairman of Speakers. I just laugh! It is very funny to me. Those people should not be raising their heads anywhere in the comity of human beings. Governance in the state is abysmal. There is no reason even for us to debate it. Nothing good is happening!
“We, therefore, call on the government, at local, state, and federal levels, to be committed to educational development. The welfare of our pupils and students should be a top priority. The learning environment must be conducive while teachers, lecturers, education administrators, and other support staff should have good incentives so that they can be dedicated and contribute their utmost to educational advancement.”
Organising Committee Chairman, Elder Dele Ajiboye commended Babalola and his wife, Bunmi, for their patriotism and commitment to educational development.
He noted that BBBF has affected society positively through its numerous interventions in social, educational, and health affairs.
Ajiboye said, “I commend the family of Engr Babalola for not just keeping up this good work but also for extending its reach. Three years ago, the scheme was extended to Isin, Okeero, and Ekiti LGAs. The opportunity has been extended to Ifelodun LGA this year.
“I wish to reiterate that the Bunmi and Bayo Babalola Foundation’s main aim is purely altruistic. The scheme could have been truncated as a result of Engineer Babalola’s many disappointments in politics. These disappointments have, however, not deterred him. But instead, what he planned to do if his political ambition had been realised, he has decided to pursue it with or without a political office. Thank God for his lovely, loving, and supportive wife without whom what we are witnessing today would not have been possible.”