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Integrity, hallmark of greatness, says Babalakin at Abudu’s 90th birthday

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Dr. Wale Babalakin

Pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), has said that true greatness can be measured by an individual’s integrity and the ability to positively impact the lives of the people around him.

He was speaking on the biography of Chief Olatunde Abudu, Sowing The Industrial Mustard Seed, written by Prof. Omololu Soyombo, during Abudu’s 90th birthday party in Abeokuta, Ogun State, yesterday.

As the reviewer, Babalakin described the book as “an encyclopedia of successful business principles”, adding that it contained theoretical and practical knowledge useful for every business school in Nigeria.

The pro-chancellor said he was particularly thrilled that Abudu realised early in life that there was substantial difference between business ownership and business management, adding that if the book had been written 20 years earlier, a lot of businesses would not have gone under.

He described Abudu as “a man of integrity, an exceptional scholar, a great family man, a brilliant and foresighted lawyer, a remarkably resourceful person, a phenomenal entrepreneur, a knowledgeable man of industry, a relentless giver and the most charitable person you can ever imagine.”

Abudu’s practice as a solicitor, according tot him, was characterised by so much honesty and integrity that his clients started appointing him into various boards, including those of Agip, Bank of America and West African Portland Cement.

Babalakin noted that even as a student, the industrialist, who graduated with a distinction from Wartburg College in Iowa, United States, was buying houses and renting them out.

He added that when Abudu returned to Nigeria and realised that Abeokuta’s economy was depressed, he started setting up companies in the town and ended up becoming a “phenomenal employer”.

Midland Gas Cylinder, Metoxide Nigeria Ltd, Apex Paints Limited, Architectural Products Limited, Midland Rolling Mills, Industrial Products International Limited, Midland Galvanising Products Limited and Organic Chemical Industry, among others are the host’s going concerns.

Abudu also built the Saje Hospital to meet the medical needs of his people and voluntarily gave it to the Ogun State College of Medicine later for the education of medical doctors.

Regretting that the lawyer and industrialist shied away from politics, Babalakin said: “We cannot have the most gifted people shying away from politics. The most painful thing in this world is to be subject to a powerful mediocre. He has the power to destroy you, but he has no knowledge to understand what you are saying.”


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