• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

OPINION: OF AJULO, THE TRUTH PINCH, AND THE OUTCRY

Jul 7, 2023

…Re: Kayode Ajulo: The Political Marabout And His Self-Service Sermon

By Abayomi Adebayo

20- Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21- She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, 22- How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:20-22)

Engaging in social and public issues that concern the government necessitates a discerning mind capable of separating personal biases from objective truth. It requires wisdom to understand that attacking the messenger only perpetuates division and impedes collective growth. Embracing wisdom in such engagement means recognizing that honest criticism and open dialogue are essential for societal progress.

Therefore, the profitability of employing wisdom in public issues lies not in attacking the messenger who speaks of the truth regarding government issues but in engaging with the very essence of the problem at hand. But when individuals choose to vilify the messenger, they divert attention from the core concerns that require thoughtful analysis and constructive action.

Such was the intent of one pseudo-Comr. Greg Ayenigbara (Oba-G) in an article titled “KAYODE AJULO: The Political Marabout And His Self-Service Sermon,” published on the 4th of July, to discredit the honest and patriotic efforts of Kayode Ajulo in advancing the course of fairness and decorum in the governance of Ondo State.

“Ayenigbara,” designated as a Sculptor among other appellations, indeed did a very poor and unimpressive job in his attempt to patronize Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu and the good people of Ondo State and divert attention from the motive of the article, which ultimately is to assassinate the character, rubbish the personality, and discredit the splendid works of Dr. OluKayode Ajulo OON, as expressed by the title of the scrawny piece.

The profits of wisdom emerge through constructive engagement by focusing on the issues rather than engaging in ad hominem attacks on the messenger. Wisdom was lacking in the piece as none of the salient concerns raised by Kayode Ajulo in his press statement was addressed by the pseudo-writer, who instead dissipated energy trying to puncture a rock of iron ore using an office pin.

I will talk more about the personality of Ajulo and not succumb to the temptation of attacking the “person” of Ayenigbara and his paymasters who have allowed their minds to be so entangled in their own web of deceit to the extent of recoiling at the bitter taste of truth served by Kayode Ajulo. The press statement must have disrupted their comfortable facade and challenged their distorted plans and false narratives about Governor Akeredolu’s succession plan.

The truth, with its piercing light that graciously reveals the veiled reality and shatters illusions, and exposes the raw essence of existence, is despised in the camp of those who thrive on perversion and wickedness. Truth, in its unwavering and unyielding character, threatens the wicked’s very existence, prompting them to cloak themselves in denial, hatred, and resentment. For them, the truth is a bitter pill to swallow because it reveals the depth of their own moral decay.

This is what Kayode Ajulo, their “political marabout,” served. A sucker punch that hit so hard below the belt that their intestines nearly rushed out of their mouths. So, their reaction is not unexpected. But if that puny punch is their best shot and typical of what their arsenal is made of, they are in for a long ride on their shaggy path towards 2024.

For me, the profitability of divine and acquired wisdom lies in the way and manner Kayode Ajulo was able to dismantle their flawed political permutation by analyzing and warning against perceived injustices within the hierarchy of the government in the absence of the Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu. To them, this is a selfish sermon from Ajulo.

What sin has Kayode Ajulo committed by advocating for a government that thrives on transparency, accountability, and fairness? He was not the first to make such a statement in recent times. What more could a reasonable mind offer amid a cold hierarchical war of succession in government, liable to impede productive governance and affect the well-being of the people? What Ajulo displayed with that press statement is patriotism and genuine concern for the development of Ondo State.

Ajulo is well known for critically evaluating policies and scrutinizing actions and events before venting his opinion on subjects. He is not known to be sycophantic in his approach; he praises developmental policies and does not hold back his criticism if the same government falls short of expectations, especially on constitutional matters.

Now, the news about the power play between the ranks of government appointees, governorship aspirants, and others alike is already public, and the moral obligation to guard their reputation lies in their hands. That is of less concern to me. What I found sacrilegious is that anyone would deliberately rubbish what a prominent son of the soil like Kayode Ajulo represents to gain political mileage. This is why “Ayenigbara” wrote, and this is why I write.

I have known Kayode Ajulo very closely for years, and it becomes necessary for me as a good ally to educate “Ayenigbara” about him, knowing that Ajulo will not bother to reply to a pseudo-character like the self-styled political activist for obvious reasons. Firstly, the writer is not bold enough to ascribe an original identity to the hatchet job. Secondly, Ajulo, who started activism over thirty years ago when he was elected as the Branch Secretary of the National Union of Hotels and Personal Services Workers (NUHPSW), an affiliate of the NLC, in his teens, would understand that “Ayenigbara” does not grasp that activism is more than a gathering of public protesters, and protest is a result of calculated advocacy. And lastly, for a man who cherishes his humble beginnings, rising from a backwater street in Ibadan, then Akure, to national and international prominence, talking about his pedigree and achievements would make him sound immodest.

Ajulo runs over sixteen Non-Governmental Organizations centred on advancing the course of human development. One of those organizations is the Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA), an international platform that promotes Equity, Equality, Rule of Law, and Good Governance with observer status in the African Union and ECOWAS, and has presented position papers at the United Nations.

The same EMA started the Save-A-Prisoner-A-Day initiative in 2006, under which he acted as an attorney and saved over 4,000 Awaiting-Trial detainees, among others. He was also the counsel to over 167 displaced residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during the demolition exercise by the former Minister of F.C.T. and Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. He single-handedly funds these organizations, with no donors, and in fact, none of them has a bank account. So, what is activism?

It is astonishing how, in this age of technological advancement, an individual fails to search Google for Ajulo’s contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, #Endsars protest, and Owo massacre. A simple search combining Ajulo with these events on Google would suffice to dispel this ignorance. For instance, regarding the Owo crisis, “Aiyenigbara” would have been better informed to know that Ajulo was an early caller at Owo, where he condemned the heinous act and pledged a bounty of 10 million Naira in an effort to apprehend the perpetrators.

Some of the individuals mentioned in the article, who were praised for their contributions, are better positioned to provide the writer with the information he needed about Ajulo. Many of them have known him since his childhood or have been his allies since the beginning of his legal career. I vividly remember him mentioning one of these names in one of our discussions when I asked why he chose law over other professions while growing up. He responded, “I have always loved to debate, and the legal profession provides such a platform.”

That person is Wunmi Olatunji, who would willingly inform “Aiyenigbara” and his paymasters about the excellent debater that young Ajulo was as a student at the prestigious Aquinas College, Akure. Hon. Olatunji attended St. Louis Grammar School at the time and, like Ajulo, was involved in a series of OSRC debate programmes hosted by the late Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Hon. Ranti Akerele. The pseudo-writer could also inquire with Senator Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR, about Ajulo’s selflessness in using his resources and services to fight injustice in all its forms. Dr. Tunji Abayomi would graciously describe the character of Ajulo, who became his Head of Chambers just two years after being called to the Bar.

Only a delusional mind would believe that the best available strategy for a smart lawyer like Ajulo to become the Attorney General of Ondo State is through political analysis. So, when Ajulo frowned upon the illegal removal of the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, he must have been strategizing to become the Attorney General of Ekiti State, right? Ajulo must have also been planning to be the Attorney General of other states in Nigeria and various nations such as Gambia, Ghana, Senegal, Sudan, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Austria, Germany, the United States, Ukraine, and Russia for having opinions on their politics.

To the extent of my knowledge, Kayode Ajulo’s law firm in Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, and the UK is flourishing, and the financial turnover of his chambers, without sounding immodest, exceeds the annual budget of the Ondo State Ministry of Justice. The writer must be aware of this fact; hence, he posited that Ajulo needs the position to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). If that were the case, the current Attorney General of Ondo State, Sir Charles Titiloye, would have become a SAN.

It is noteworthy that Kayode Ajulo was recently conferred with one of the highest national honours in Nigeria, the Officer of the Order of Niger (OON), which is a testament to what he is made of, and also enough cue for a not-too-lazy mind to check his profile. His efforts in using the instrumentality of law and providing insightful interpretations have made noble contributions to governance and democracy in Nigeria. Ajulo is a distinguished advocate of excellence, whose ingenious examination and solutions to socio-political challenges have contributed to nation-building.

It is distasteful that an individual who assigns such good titles to himself would be so uncultured as to bring another man’s innocent family into a public subject. It shows a lack of family love or perhaps a lack of understanding of the importance of family. Nonetheless, I perceive it as an indication that there is another aspect of Ajulo’s life that the public has not celebrated. I believe Ajulo should find the writer and file a defamation suit against him for tarnishing his character.

Ajulo is successful because he maintains an upright standing with his family and God. Contrary to the author’s speculation, Ajulo has a large family, and his home is strong with no complaints from any quarter. “Ayenigbara” and his masters have invited the wrath of God upon themselves by involving an innocent daughter and referring to another man’s wife as a concubine. Ajulo has never denied his marital status, and he loves and embraces all his biological and adopted children. The records are available at Ondo State Children’s Homes and other Children’s Homes, which show the number of Ajulo’s adopted children, all of whom attend the best schools in Nigeria and overseas.

Ajulo has an enviable reputation in the legal profession, social activism, community activism, and politics. He has served as counsel in high-profile legal matters, taught law in higher institutions of learning, including the state-owned university, AAUA, supervised law students, and authored several articles on diverse areas of law, arbitrations, and humanities. Some of his notable achievements in the legal profession are primarily pro bono services to the “common man,” for which he is renowned as a lawyer “who manages the rich to defend the poor.”

He has offered legendary legal services to Africa, Nigeria, Yorubaland, his tribe, and the leadership of the popular Odua Peoples’ Congress. Ajulo’s well-documented service to the elder statesman, Chief Edwin K. Clark, and the leaders and people of the oil-rich Niger Delta region cannot be discounted. Among his many services, he acted as a consultant to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), securing the recovery of the London-Paris Clubs refund, which amounts to over USD 2,600,000,000 and NGN 649,343,000,000.00, respectively.

In recognition of his community development efforts, he was conferred with the honorary chieftaincy title of Bamofinlewe of Akure Kingdom at a very young age in 2008. He also became the 11th Mayegun Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, among other honorary chieftaincy titles. He is a Knight of the St. Paul of the Anglican Communion and holds the title of Lord, as a farmer and entrepreneur in the UK, hence being addressed as Lord Abraham Ajulo in the United Kingdom.

Ajulo served the state as the Board Chairman of Ondo State Radiovision Corporation (OSRC), and it is on record that he never drew a salary. Even when the Corporation was probed, not a single Kobo was associated with him. As a celebrated son of Ondo State, Ajulo has the moral standing to express his thoughts on any issue concerning the state.

To me, it indicates mental fragility when an individual becomes agitated by Ajulo’s advice of voluntary resignation instead of working against the government. It was an honest call for self-assessment. The person who suggested it publicly and voluntarily resigned from the position of National Secretary of the Labour Party. Only a political opportunist would be angered by such a suggestion. So, just because Ajulo’s recent comment doesn’t align with your current political agenda, it doesn’t make him incorrect.

Truth has no colour favourites, and as they say, the taste of a pudding is in the eating thereof. Therefore, it is important to fully embrace the truth presented by Ajulo. If it proves to be savoury and aligns with your integrity, then your stance remains intact. However, if it turns out to be sour and challenges your beliefs, it may be time to reconsider your position.

Abayomi Adebayo is a Digital Media Strategist and Media Director at the Centre for Public Accountability. He writes from Akure and can be found on various social media platforms as @yomisaint.

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