From law to legacy: Celebrating Babalakin’s 64 years of impact and excellence


As Bolanle Olawale Babalakin turns 64 today, admirers celebrate a man whose life story is a testament to perseverance, excellence, and unwavering commitment to philanthropy.

Babalakin’s journey from a young boy in Ibadan to a towering figure in law, business, and humanitarian efforts is inspiring.

Born on July 1, 1960, in Ibadan, Oyo State, Babalakin comes from a family deeply rooted in the legal and medical professions. His father, Justice Bolarinwa Oyegoke Babalakin, served with distinction on the Supreme Court of Nigeria, while his mother, Ramotu Ibironke Babalakin, was a renowned hospital proprietress.


His educational path laid the foundation for his illustrious career. After completing his early education at Sacred Heart Private School and Government College, Ibadan, he studied at The Polytechnic, Ibadan and then the University of Lagos, graduating from the Faculty of Law in 1981. By 1982, he was called to the Nigerian Bar, and that same year, he embarked on an academic adventure at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University. There, he earned his Master of Laws (LLM) degree in 1983 and completed his PhD, by 1986, just before his 26th birthday.

All these prepared him adequately for the positive roles that he would eventually play in the life of his motherland.

Since the completion of his studies, Babalakin worked stridently to make a valuable impact in the legal profession like his much-beloved father, but fate and destiny as well as his focus had some other plans for him.


Babalakin’s legal career is marked by his elevation to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 2002 and receiving the national honour of Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR), in 2007. His legal acumen and business prowess have established him as a formidable force in Nigeria’s professional landscape. His company, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), built and operates the second terminal of Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA2), Nigeria’s first and only privately funded airport terminal, which recently celebrated 17 years of excellent operation.

He took a significant risk when he established Bi-Courtney Limited, the company responsible for constructing the domestic terminal at Lagos Airport, now known as Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2). Initially, the site was a dilapidated domestic terminal destroyed by fire in 2000. For over three years, the federal government was uncertain about how to proceed with the reconstruction

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was not prepared to allocate funds for rebuilding the terminal. This impasse led the government to experiment with a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach. BASL took on the challenge, becoming the first company to participate in what would become a popular model in the aviation sector.

In 2003, Bi-Courtney Limited, as the reserve bidder, was awarded the concession by the Federal Government to develop, finance, manage, and operate the terminal and its ancillary facilities under a Design-Build-Operate-Transfer (DBOT) arrangement. The project included constructing the terminal building, a multi-story car park, an apron, a four-star hotel, and a conference centre.


What seemed like a risky venture, at the time, given the uncertain business environment in Nigeria and the complexities of using public funds, has since proven to be a successful model for the government. It relieved the government of the financial burden of investing scarce public resources into public infrastructure.

MMA2 was inaugurated in 2007 and has set a benchmark in Nigeria’s aviation industry. It meets all the standards for modern airport terminals and has consistently been recognized as the finest domestic and regional airport terminal in Nigeria.

His influence extends beyond his legal and business achievements. He had played significant roles in academia and national committees, serving as Chairman of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities in Nigeria and Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee of the Agreements entered into between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the various unions of Nigerian universities, including ASUU, SSANU, NAAT, and NASU.

He was also the chairman of the federal government committee to re-negotiate the 2009 agreement between the federal government and the university unions and a former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council of the University of Lagos.


Babalakin’s philanthropic endeavours set him apart. Driven by a belief in the transformative power of education, he has dedicated significant resources to improving Nigeria’s educational system. His contributions to the University of Maiduguri as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council are particularly noteworthy. Under his leadership, the university saw the completion of a multimillion-naira independent power project, ensuring 20 hours of uninterrupted electricity – a first in Nigeria’s university system.

His philanthropy is further underscored by donations such as an 80-bed hostel to the University of Ilorin in honour of his father and a 500-seat auditorium to Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in memory of his mother. He has also provided free eye treatments and surgeries to thousands through the Ramatu Ibironke Babalakin Foundation, benefiting communities in Osun, Ondo, and Kaduna States.


Babalakin’s impact on education extends through his elaborate scholarship scheme, supporting over 200 students in Nigeria and more than 40 students abroad. His dedication to societal development earned him the Merit Award from the Ansar Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria in 2013, alongside other dignitaries, including the former Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN).

Beyond philanthropy, Babalakin is the chairman of Stabilini Visinoni Limited, a Nigerian construction firm. His hospitality and leisure company, Resort International Limited, received a development lease agreement in 2006 to convert the former Federal Secretariat in Ikoyi, Lagos, into luxury flats, and develop a 300-bed hotel at MMA2.


At 64, Dr. Babalakin remains unwavering in his dedication to excellence, his profound impact on education, and his compassionate philanthropy. His life’s work continues to inspire and uplift, leaving an indelible mark on Nigeria and beyond.


Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.
Add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected from copying.