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Festus Adedayo: A Victim Or Villain? | By Idowu Ogedengb

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“Sincerely, in my view, a person like Festus Adedayo is not the type that is needed in government, especially at a time like this”.

 

It is no longer news that the appointment of Dr Festus Adedayo as special adviser on media and publicity to the Senate President was reversed barely 48 hours when the news of his appointment greeted the airwaves.

The prolific writer, who was former aide to Governors Chimaroke Nnamani and Abiola Ajimobi of Enugu and Oyo States respectively, was opposed by groups and individuals loyal to APC and President Buhari on the argument that he has been a harsh critic of the APC led administration at the centre.

The fact that the Senate President reappointed three media aides that served under the PDP senate leadership of Bukola Saraki suggests that the decision to withdraw the appointment of Festus Adedayo was beyond political or tribal considerations.

It should be obvious to all that Festus Adedayo is an anti establishment critic. He is arguably comparable to a Gani Fawehinmi of blessed memory. One wonders however why such a person would accept to serve under the same incumbent government that he has consistently dealt a great blow.

Festus Adedayo while accepting the decision of the Senate President, vowed to continue hitting Buhari and Bola Tinubu.

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Apparently, Festus Adedayo must have been attracted to pick the job in the first place based on other considerations and not in view of his commitment to the professionalism he had been known for which, has consistently pitched him against the establishment. He even describes himself as “a rabid anti-establishment person.”

While reading his response following the news of his sack, I observed his statement to the effect that he is a pessimist who sees optimism in pessimism. To be precise, quoting him, he wrote “I am a natural pessimist and see pessimism in optimism”

Sincerely, in my view, a person like Festus Adedayo is not the type that is needed in government, especially at a time like this. Considering the low morale of the people, the professionals that we need in government are those who are natural optimist, who can inspire hope and lift up the spirits of Nigerians. Individuals who can restore confidence in our system and institutions while engaging those in office to live up to the expectations of the masses. It is doubtful if Festus can rise up to such a task considering his antecedent.

I recall his recent criticism of the decision of Governor Seyi Makinde to cancel the payment of N3000 fees by students in Oyo State public schools. Rather than commend the Governor for fulfilling his campaign promise to the electorates and encourage parents to reciprocate the good gesture and goodwill extended to them by the Governor by doing every other thing needed to enrol their children in school, he was of the opinion that the Governor was depriving the state about N1.2 billion annual IGR at a time when the state is experiencing dwindling resources. What he failed to address was the huge leakages under the Ajimobi Government that need to be blocked. Can Festus Adedayo claim to be ignorant of the excesses of Ajimobi while he was in office? What were his reactions?

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In view of the foregoing, the question that has been coming to my mind is this, Is Festus Adedayo a victim or a villain?

 

Idowu Ogedengbe, an investment banker, economic analyst and public commentator writes from Ibadan, Oyo state capital.

 

 

 

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Magu, maggots and Maga dogs | By Festus Adedayo

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Again, the system felled Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week. It had always done that. Olusegun Obasanjo, the maiden president at inception of Nigeria’s fourth republic, first erected the crucifixion upon which a crime-fighting czar was hung. While employing the old Yoruba verbal denunciation of thieves by way of pouting lips, clapping both hands repeatedly, literally poking hands into the face of the accused and shouting Ole! Ole! E ki’gbe ole, ole!, Obasanjo did all that against former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun in January, 2005.

He did more: Obasanjo asked Balogun to immediately tender his letter of resignation, on account of huge theft of public money traced to him. The dossier lay threateningly on the table before Obasanjo that morning inside the Aso Rock Villa. As narrated by Nuhu Ribadu, first EFCC’s Chairman’s biographer, Prof Wale Adebanwi in his A Paradise for Maggots, Balogun went on all fours as a tribal symbolic solicitation to Obasanjo to, in my words, kill me at home and not kill me abroad, whose Yoruba translation was, pa mi si’le, ma pa mi si’ta. A total sum of N2.7 billion in five different banks and jaw-dropping number of choice properties had been traced to the police chief whose mantra for combating crime was Operation Fire for Fire.

Three people were at that meeting: Obasanjo, his Chief of Staff, Abdullahi Mohammed and Balogun himself. Mohammed had earlier summoned Balogun, on behalf of the President. The three of them, being and having affinity with the Yoruba nation (Mohammed hailed from Ilorin, Kwara State), could connect with Balogun’s symbol-baiting prostration. Here was the bodily hefty, giant-in-position Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police in total surrender to his accuser. Tafa Balogun was not only prostrate, in that prostrating position, he was pliant, literally castrated of his manhood and was in subdued acceptance of his guilt.

Balogun was to be dragged by the EFCC to court a few weeks later. He had been handcuffed and even dragged on the floor by young police officers who probably had not stopped sucking their mothers’ teats when he joined the police force. Then Chief Superintendent of Police, Ibrahim Magu, one of the EFCC operatives under Ribadu, led that operation that saw a huge crime czar like Balogun falling with a deafening thud like a common felon.

Thoroughly defoliated of his manhood in the public by Magu and his boys, Balogun had reportedly pleaded with them that, “I can change your lives, please. Let me settle you and let’s settle this. I can make you rich for life.”
Within the period he held the brunt of power, Ribadu oscillated in the air like a pestilence to a commune of Nigerian fraudsters and corrupt Politically-Exposed Persons (PEPs) who were mutating in the air like a ravaging virus.

Aside allegations against him that he was Obasanjo’s poo-poo bowl carrier, Ribadu succeeded in instilling fears into the hearts of Nigerian malefactors clothed in the euphemism of political office holders. His rout of criminals was so celebrated that late literary giant, Chinua Achebe, in lauding the clinical way he fought crime and criminals, compared him to Eliot Ness.

Ness was an American crime-bursting legend of the 1930s renowned for bringing down the Al Capone gang in Chicago, Illinois. His law enforcement team, a 1,000-strong group called Bureau of Prohibition, was nicknamed The Untouchables. When the system was to chop Ribadu off, it made mincemeat of him and flushed the Adamawa-born crime-buster down the cistern like a common felon.

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In quick successions, Farida Waziri and Ibrahim Lamorde came, appointed into office by Presidents Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. They also made noise and got some criminals to scamper off their felonies. However, not long after, they became the proverbial Maga dogs, biting the systemic hands that recruited and fed them, thereby getting drenched in the sewage waters that seemed to have been reserved for Nigerian crime-busting chiefs. So, why did the four EFCC czars come into office with so much hope, so much adulations, expectations, vapory glories, but ended up being drenched in a haze of ignominy?

Is there a latent systemic error that will always ensure that the after-office graveyards of these crime lords must be garlanded with stench and shame?
As against what its minders are making us to believe, it is a huge minus to the Muhammadu Buhari government that Magu is being tried now. It is either the government has no mind of its own and was amenable to being swept right, left and center by the currents of some individuals’ whims and caprices, or that it is seriously implicated in the politics of crime-fighting, the ocean of which is alleged to have drowned Magu. This is because, in the cache of allegations said to have been leveled against the ex-EFCC boss, there is a rehash of same allegations which the DSS, about five years ago, saw as reasons why Magu’s nomination should not be upheld by the Nigerian senate.

Throughout the years spent by Magu as EFCC chair, those who understood the workings of the mind of the Buhari government claimed that he was an insider-outsider therein. This meant that though Magu was of the government, he was not for them. If he was for them, his confirmation as EFCC chair shouldn’t have lingered as embarrassingly as it did, like the cry of a wife who clandestinely murdered her hubby. There is the claim that he was of the Bola Tinubu/Yemi Osinbajo rump of the current power calculus. This then must explain why it was easy for those who cooked the slur on the Vice President’s name, using alleged proceedings of Magu’s interrogation, to reinforce the believability of their claim.

The truth is, there are far weightier allegations against Buhari government functionaries hanging in the public domain than those leveled against Magu. For instance, owning property in Dubai, UAE is alleged to be one of Magu’s errs. However, it is common knowledge that the UAE remains a haven where corruptly acquired wealth is laundered for the Nigerian political elite and owning eye-popping property in this Arab country is the rule, rather than the exception. No wonder cyber-heist kingpins like Hushpuppi and Woodberry found a comforting nest there. A minister in Buhari’s government was recently accused of owning humongous mansions in Abuja. His riposte was that he acquired them as a teacher.

The Attorney General of the Federation, the one who must be popping champagne for having seen the back of Magu, also has a mountain load of his own allegations trailing him like recalcitrant flies envelope oozing stench. There is no doubt that illicit financial outflows from Nigeria daily trickle out of PEPs’ conduits and pipes.

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai was, not long ago, enmeshed in an asset declaration scandal pronged on allegation of ownership of property in Dubai. In his reply, he claimed that the property belonged to his unstated family and that the family made these investments in this Middle East city in 2013, long before his appointment. No further questions were asked. No further investigations needed to be carried out. As far as Nigeria and government were concerned, Buratai’s answers were QED.

Matthew Page, in a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace page, had made a damning condemnation of this capricious craving of Nigeria’s political elite. “For Nigeria’s corrupt political elites, Dubai is the perfect place to stash their ill-gotten gains and enjoy luxury real estate worth millions. But unless authorities stop turning a blind eye, the long-term costs to Nigeria’s economy and Dubai’s reputation could be high,” he had written.
If the truth be told, Magu was an accident waiting to happen on the Nigerian crime-fighting system. So also were his predecessors.

This is because, an office which is that consequential is subjected to inconsequential indices of operations which cannot but render its occupants dead on arrival. What procedure, process or rules guide the appointment of EFCC czars? In other words, how do they emerge? Are they chosen on account of moral gallantry, their ethnicity, man-knows-man procedure or mere seniority? How many times did past occupiers of that office, before and after coming on board, demonstrate ability to look at enticing lures in the face and tell them to go jump inside the River Niger? Elliot Ness, who Achebe compared Ribadu to, in 1931, had a member of the Al Capone gang bait with two $1,000 notes (about $17,000) if he turned a blind eye to the group’s illegal merchandizing. He refused and even though he died penurious at age 54, Ness’ heroic reputation is legendary in America.

Is there a crime-fighting institution or architecture in Nigeria? The answer is no. Our measurement of their suitability is the candidate’s ethnic affiliation, the person who introduces them and their loyalty to the occupier of authority seat. To expect a thorough-bred czar to come out of such a nebulous system is hypocrisy of the highest order.

The story is told of how Obasanjo picked Dora Akunyili without any bother about her ethnicity but a buzz that she had demonstrated an unusual moral courage alien to this clime while working with the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) as pharmacist. When she eventually came on board at NAFDAC, she merely rehashed what was her internal constitution. In serious climes, anyone who is to be appointed into an office as critical as the EFCC, who would naturally confront billions of Naira in kickbacks and illicit perks of office must have been psychologically grilled before society can arrive at their suitability. In Nigeria, politicians, who know the criminal functionality of having their Man Fridays occupy such positions, fight tooth and nail to have them in office.

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Again, are we being fair to appoint a policeman with no pedigree of snubbing ill-gotten wealth, whose salary is a paltry few thousands of Naira, to superintend over a potential illicit wealth empire like the EFCC? The Carnegie Endowment said PEPs – “individuals who are or have been entrusted with a prominent public function” like Magu and the likes, “are at higher risk of involvement in unlawful activity due to their positions of influence and access to assets.” In fact, it states that, as at 2016, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (now known as C4ADS) “acquired the data of a private database of Dubai real estate information (dubbed the  ‘Sandcastles’ data) and that, at a conservative estimate, “at least 800 properties were found to have links to Nigerian PEPs or their family members, associates, and suspected proxies.”

So why are we crying wolf now when we exposed a police officer whose take-home is less than a million naira to assets in multiple of billion naira worth?

In a Nigeria that is brimming with street mindsets of fraudulently acquired wealth, of filthy wealthy men and women who crawl in a cesspit like maggots, are we sincere to think we would always have men/women who will kick against what has become normal among us? Are we seriously looking for a clean EFCC chairman in this dirty clime? Those are the honest questions we must ask ourselves. If we now seek a person who is unlike the filth associated with us, should we just pick them peremptorily like they pick a fallen mango off the tree?

This is why, if we think that, with Muhammed Umar as replacement for Magu, or even any substantive name brought up eventually, the maladies in the EFCC would stop, we are fooling ourselves and are on a Pyrrhic victory binge. This is because, no institution of consequence is so forged in saner clime.

By the way, I read that Magu is bitterly complaining that his tormentors-in-chief had treated him with rank ignominy, like a common criminal, inside the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (FCIID) dungeon where he is said to be currently held. Oh, right? How did he, as CSP who led the assault operation against Tafa Balogun, treat the then Inspector General of Police? Wickedness is like the story in the Myth of Sisyphus, a 1942 essay by the Algerian-French philosopher, Albert Camus. While Sisyphus pushes the boulder down the mountain, he goes back again and does the same thing, till the end of time. Good is the only thing that can break the jinx.

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The Day I Almost Died In An ‘Action Movie’ | By Olawale Sadare

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Until mid 1980s, the Nigerian Army 2nd Mechanized Division was located where we now have the headquarters of Ibadan North East Local Government council. What used to be an Army barracks harboured offices, training grounds, shooting ranges, orchards and other military facilities including a Mammy market and Army Children’s Schools which I attended between 1982 and 1988 after I had been made to waste two years in some formal elementary schools.

For every pupil of that particular school in those days, the fear of a single military man (Sergeant Shittu) was the beginning of wisdom though it came to a point that he had to be supported by another discipline czar and flogging wizard (Sergeant Segun). The duo could instil discipline on a lifeless body as it were but trust school children, we would still beat them to it on several occasions as we would be found wanting in one way or the other. Our popular criminal offences included; coming late to school, overstaying on the soccer pitch after break time, wandering aimlessly around, entering swampy farmland close to BCOS (Ile-Akede) fence to harvest sugarcane which belonged to unknown farmers, engaging in fights with fellow pupils, disturbing the peace of the classrooms, being found in company of domestic thieves among other juvenile ‘crimes’.

I started a new life in School 1 (1982) and later School 12 (Afternoon session), School 6 and finally School 5. In all of this, I had the privilege of being taught by the best hands who included Mr. Babalola, Mrs Jegede, Mrs Akinwale, Mrs Sadare (not a relation), Mrs Ojo, Mrs Olayinka, Miss Hassan, Mr Aluko, Mrs Abolade, Mrs Olanrewaju, Mr Ayorinde, Mrs Osunkunle, Mrs Olagunju (our Quintessential Headmistress) and many others. There was a day my late cousin (Sade) found a new N20 note inside a gutter on our way to school and seven of us (including two aunties who became grannies long ago) shared from the largesse satisfactorily. Oh, Sade could discover lost money hidden beneath the lowest layer of soil or rock pedestal… May her gentle soul rest in peace.

It was about this time that two female teachers fought a colleague of theirs over me. It was getting to the end of the academic session and we must act the Jesus play. Mrs Olayinka (Mommy Gbenga) wanted a brilliant me to act Jesus but the other two teachers opposed her vehemently. “A Wasiu with tribal mark can never be our own Jesus Christ… It is not about being brilliant and smart please”, one of them had thundered. I ended up acting one of the three wise men who later delivered ‘Wura, Turari ati Ojia’ to the one they anointed to replace me after the first day practice which I did very well. Meanwhile, I can still recognize the two haters if I come across them tomorrow and I would not say more than this here. Lol.

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Yes, how can I forget an amoeba-like female teacher whose main hobby was to fish out witches and possessed female pupils who she would parade around for several hundreds of people to identify and begin to ostracize them? How can I forget a day when pupil Dominic raped a female colleague and was caught in the act? How can I forget Ebenezer, Dare Adeonigbagbe and others from School 1 who would always lay claim to the good portion of the biggest soccer pitch? How can I forget a day when Baruwa broke the arm of Ade to show the then garrulous mates from School 1 that we in other Schools were no second class citizens? How can I forget the mad rush for Akara Iyadunni, Ice Kongi, Eekanna Asa, Eja Dindin, Tabataba? How can I forget that the whole of Oluyoro High School was relocated to a segment of our expansive school land and rechristened Army Barracks Grammar School in 1985?

Before the final relocation of the Nigerian Army 2nd Mechanized Division from Iwo Road to Odogbo, we the pupils of Army Children’s School used to feel like children of soldiers not only because we had classrooms and play fields inside the barracks but also due to the fact that the men in uniform would do anything to make us have care and discipline. However, wandering and loose movement around their offices and strategic was totally prohibited as only pupils whose dad or mom was a military man or civilian personnel could go near such places with proper identification. But I use to follow the like of Akibu Bello, Felix Sareowo, Samsideen Raji, Ezesobor Omoikhudu, Cliff Ejatewvho and few others who had access to the whole place since their parents were Officers and staff. Adamu and Shuaib were typical Barrack boys who used to take me along whenever they needed to visit their dad who was a soldier. The two brothers were Hausa and they were popular for some elementary physical magical displays as pupils.

Now the real gist here, Mrs Abolade was my class teacher at Primary 4 and she was an excellent woman who knew how to impart knowledge into her pupils. There were concrete structures arranged lane by lane with each building having two blocks of classrooms. By that time, most of these buildings had had some of their parts vandalized by some enfant terrible who were pupils of the same school. These devilish kids would not go home after school hour but stay back to do all sort of repugnant things. They destroyed wooden doors and windows, broke ceilings, dug holes on buildings and shattered the cemented floors of most of the classrooms.

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The same set of mannerless children were also in the habit of forcing their way into any classroom and mess up the either the floor or pieces of furniture with faeces as it were. This became the case immediately soldiers were made to relocate from our school environment and all shades of acts of indiscipline began to raise their ugly heads among the school population and the neighboring communities.

Anytime we reported for class in a new day and teachers or pupils began to perceive obnoxious odour of faeces, we would have to clear the mess first before normal classwork would start. Boys would fetch water for girls to do the cleansing while teachers would stay away until the foul odours were totally gone. Rather than abate, the shameful development continued as some of us (pupils) later saw it as an opportunity to ‘escape academic work’. Sad enough, the ‘invisible’ culprits raised their game and took to climbing the ceilings to defecate. This posed a new challenge as only boys could make it into the ceilings to do the evacuation of faeces.

On a particular Thursday, we marched down into the classroom from the Assembly Ground only to be confronted with offensive smell. We embarked on a fruitless search to locate where the human waste products were deposited but we could not find anything in any of the lockers, desks and containers on the ground. Then, the two female teachers picked about seven good boys to move up into the ceilings and bring down the ‘substances’. With automatic alacrity, we found our way into the dark arena where there was insufficient fresh air to breathe in. We acted as expected by breaking the points where the mountains of faeces were deposited and those on ground started received same in batches. Those bad boys must have come in their threes or fours to perpetrate the evil act.

But rather than come down after we had got rid of the whole mess, we decided to stage an action movie. The seven of us began a hide-and-seek expedition inside the ceilings. Each one of us turned a gunman and started to shoot at each other by matching two fingers together, pointing same at one another and shoot to ‘kill’. One would shoot his ‘enemy’ and when the victim refused to show a sign of being hit by a ‘bullet’, the one who ‘pulled the trigger’ would say in hush tone; “mo ti pa e joor!” and other person would reply; “iro ni, emi ni mo koko yinbon fun e joor”. This ‘action movie’ continued for about five minutes and those on the ground floor didn’t know anything.

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Going forward, I thought about what to do to become the ‘Actor’ who can never die in a film and I moved to the darkest part inside the ceilings. In the process of trying to hide at a safe ‘place’, I left the log path for an unsupported ceiling plate platform and before anyone could call ‘Jack’… the plate paved way and I fell from the roof top only to land on the five-step stair case at the entrance of our classroom. I came down heavily, landed on my head and hit my occiput on the sharp edge of a step. Confusion ensued in the whole school environment but I was able to get help immediately from some medics. All the films actors were asked to come with their parents but it was only me who didn’t bring anyone. They beat me until they got tired… Until about 12 years later, that part of my head would pose a medical challenge and this caused my mom a lot of stress. The scar is still feasible till tomorrow and if you like, look out for it whenever you meet me in town!

 

Wasiu Olawale Sadare, Journalist and Media Consultant writes from Ibadan, Oyo state

 

 

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Ajimobi’s Image and Likeness of a True Aare of Ibadanland and That Picture I Never Took | By Wole Adejumo

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All Souls Church, Bodija was capacity filled. It was Bimbo Adekanmbi’s wedding and it attracted those who mattered in Oyo State and beyond. The groom was the Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Abiola Ajimobi, he was also more or less a godson to Aare Abdulazeez Arisekola-Alao. It therefore involved government functionaries as well as the business and social establishments.

 

My business there was two-pronged; to cover the even for The Street Journal where I worked and show the crew from Podium TV around since they were not familiar with the Ibadan establishment. When the Podium Crew was denied entry at the traditional wedding at Fun Factory, Bodija the previous day, my ID card and a simple conversation with the security operatives made the difference. That gave me a somewhat higher rating from the crew. I didn’t envisage what was to come.

Five years of celebrity reporting at City People had taught me that some pictures would not only sell stories but could be found tremendously useful in the future. I saw a good opportunity for one when I noticed Aare Arisekola-Alao and Governor Ajimobi sitting side by side and chatting like good old buddies. ‘This picture will tell a million gists’, my instinct told me, especially as Aare was without his trademark abeti aja cap.

I drew near, leveled the camera, took aim, my index finger was on the shutter button and in a split second, the Governor looked in my direction and pointed. I heard him say “what is this one doing here? My friend will you get away from there?” He looked towards the security detail behind him and a guy in suit ran towards me. I simply respected myself and took my leave. Some of the members of the Governor’s Press Crew saw what happened and asked if there was something wrong. They were quick to assume that it was because I didn’t stand close to them. The Podium guys too came to ‘commiserate’.

My mind immediately flashed back to the first time I met Senator Ajimobi. My Bureau Chief then, Bola Davies (now of blessed memory) had scheduled an interview with him shortly after he became Senator in 2003 and she insisted I should accompany her. Aside politics, he told us about his experience in the corporate world then he delved into the story of how he met his wife. He spoke glowingly about her and even told us she was in charge of his wardrobe.

By the time I joined The Street Journal in 2008, it became a norm to give complementary copies to the Ajimobis. It was an instruction from the Publisher, Mr. Wole Arisekola, so most times; I would personally drive to drop the copies. My boss called him “Broda”, I knew he had tremendous respect for Senator Ajimobi and I had cause to follow him on a number of visits. One of such was the day I carried the two cartons of a particular herbal drink my boss bought from Ghana in 2010 for Senator Ajimobi. When he told Senator Ajimobi the ‘wonders’ the drink could do, he smiled and said ‘o se aburo mi (thank you my brother)’. Turning in my direction, he said “the next time your boss is coming here and you don’t remind him to bring this thing, I will tell them not to let you in”.
Years have gone by and that picture on Bimbo Adekanmbi’s wedding day would have told a thousand and one tales; especially on what Arisekola Alao and Senator Ajimobi had in common – the Aare title inclusive. They were typical Aares of Ibadan with the characteristic traits of the Aare intact in both of them.

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It is worthy of note that before Oluyedun, no Ibadan man ever bore the Aare title. Being the son of Afonja ‘L’aiya L’oko’ the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland and ruler of Ilorin, Oluyedun took the title Aare Ona Kakanfo of Ibadan when he became Baale shortly after the Gbanamu War. Ibadan’s first Aare was thus not just from an aristocratic background; he worked his way to the top by distinguishing himself in Ibadan, which became his new home.

 

Next to take the Aare title was Obadoke Iyanda Latoosa, one of the bravest soldiers of his time. On ascending the throne as ruler of Ibadan, Latoosa did the unimaginable. In a show of uncommon boldness, he asked to be installed as the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland while the then Kakanfo was still alive. Since Yorubaland could not have two Aare Ona Kakanfos, the Alaafin didn’t have a choice but to withdraw the paraphernalia of office from Ojo Olanipa Aburumaku of Ogbomoso and hand them over to Iyanda Latoosa.

 

If Oluyedun broke the record by becoming the first Aare, Latoosa brought a new twist by usurping the title and becoming the first man to become Kakanfo while his predecessor was alive. He ruled like a true Aare and he knew how to deal with anyone who dared flout his orders. His war chiefs plotted to overthrow him twice and twice they went back to beg him. Latoosa’s wealth was unfathomable. It became the unit of measurement for things that couldn’t be quantified. ‘O lo rere bi ola Aare’ (as expansive as the Aare’s riches) became a common saying back then. Till today, one of Aare Latoosa’s landed properties is still a subject of litigation.

Not only was Obadoke Latoosa a man of war, his words were prophetic. Before setting out for the Kiriji War which incidentally was his last, Aare was quoted as saying by the time he was done; there would be no more war in Yorubaland. It came to pass. The 16-year war was the last in Yorubaland. Not only did it mark the end of an era, it ushered in a new one.

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Bishop Alexander Babatunde Akinyele who became the next Aare was a man of history too. Not only was he the first Ibadan man to obtain a university degree, he was also the city’s first Anglican bishop. After facilitating the establishment of Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan’s first secondary school in March, 1913, Bishop Akinyele became its first principal.

Nine years after Bishop Akinyele’s transition, his son in-law, Pa Emmanuel Alayande became the Aare of Ibadanland in 1977. He was known for his uprightness. He didn’t just excel as a clergyman; he was an exemplary political bridge builder. Pa Alayande tried all he could to prevent the impeachment of Governor Rashidi Ladoja. His transition in October, 2006 marked the end of an era. Weeks after it, one of his last wishes came to pass; the return of Senator Ladoja as Governor after an 11-month interregnum.

Alhaji Azeez Arisekola Alao was not keen on taking the Aare title but was prevailed upon by Ibadan elders. What more could one possibly want? Not only was he a billionaire by any standard, he held a prominent Islamic title. He became the first Ibadan man to have the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland and Aare of Ibadanland titles simultaneously. Like other Aares before him, Ibadan people revered him greatly. His friendship with General Sani Abacha, however, pitched him against many but till he died, Aare stayed unapologetically loyal to his friend.

 

Though he was not a card carrying member of any party, Arisekola Alao was seen as the last standing political godfather. His death more or less made the governorship race that followed more open. With High Chief Lamidi Adedibu’s passage years before then, the coast was clear for politics without godfathers in Oyo State.

Not only did Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi win a second term as Governor, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji decided that Ajimobi should get more than the Aare Atunluse title which his predecessor, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade conferred on him. And in came Aare Ajimobi.

 

Not all Aares of Ibadan were loved by everyone. So those who complained of Ajimobi’s unpretentious bluntness probably never met Arisekola at very close quarters. He never suffered fools gladly. One of his close relatives once recounted an experience with the multibillionaire businessman. After boxing Arisekola to a corner with superior argument, the young man had a delightful look until Arisekola asked him ‘ngba ti ‘wo wa ni ‘ru opolo bayi, ki lo de t’Olorun o fun o l’owo? (when you have this much sense, why didn’t God bless you with money?). On many occasions people asked him how he made his billions and he had one readymade answer, he was always quick to tell them to go and start selling Gamalin 20.

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Ajimobi combined the traits of all the Aares that preceded him; Oluyedun’s trail blazing capability, Latoosa’s uncommon respect, Akinyele’s brilliance and Alayande’s administrative sense as well as Arisekola’s witty humour and sheer bluntness.

 

Many people had issues with him; so it was with his predecessors. In all, Senator Ajimobi lived well, did his bit and left legacies for which he would be remembered. He renovated the Oyo State Governor’s office to a befitting standard. The dualization of the Jericho-Eleyele-Agbarigo Road is to his credit. The First Technical University, Ibadan, a centre for qualitative technical education with emphasis on practical knowledge for job creation, entrepreneurship and manpower development was conceived and established by the Ajimobi administration. The Mokola Bridge brought a change, so also did the Eleyele-Eruwa Road. The 110km Ibadan Circular Road commenced by the Ajimobi administration will reduce travel times by up to 48 percent by the time it is completed. The peace Oyo State enjoyed in his time was a remarkably convincing proof of his administration’s commitment to securing the state.

Like the Aares before him, Ajimobi will be spoken about for some time to come and as a former Governor and the first to serve for eight years; the success level of his administration will be a yardstick for measuring impactful governance.

While comments continue to flow on social media whether he was good or evil, one thing cannot be wished away; Senator Ajimobi was a thought leader in his field. His death will no doubt affect his party’s permutations for the next election. What we may need to remember is that everyone alive has a chance to leave lasting legacies. However, that chance is ticking away, with time, begging to be used.

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