Prof. Afolabi attended the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. He has a Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in Biochemistry as well as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Applied Chemistry.
He won a fellowship at Howard University, Washington, United States, as an International Atomic Energy Agency Fellow in 1983. He played a major role in organising the first Ecological Summit in 1988, which led to the creation of the Federal Ministry of Environment.
He had a flourishing career in the civil service, where he rose to become the Head of Service in 2010.