I came into partisan politics by accident and if truth must be told, I am not a professional politician but a professional in politics, if I must go by mentor and role model, Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s lexicon.
I make bold to say that I have just 2 (two) godfathers in politics- Senators Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja and Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi, HEK 1. I was handed over to the latter by the former after the 2007 General elections. That is a story for another day.
By being an accidental politician, I meant that my political voyage actually started when the then Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja kangaroo impeachment was being orchestrated by the Garrison Commander of Ibadan politics, High Chief Lamidi Adedibu ably aided and supported by the then President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
I know and believe that legal profession is not a subsistence career to make ends meet, but a profession whom its Practitioners are known as legal luminaries, that is, people who lighten the ways for others in order that they don’t go astray or to prevent them from falling into pit.
Lawyers, anywhere in the world, are Vanguard of their fellow and hapless citizens rights and welfare.
With that background, I got involved in the various cases that were filed to challenge the impeachment moves and also appeared with the witty and cerebral Mallam Yussuf Olaolu Ali, SAN before the Bolaji Ayorinde impeachment panel. My heart bled and I wept profusely for the legal profession and our nascent democracy going by the naked travesty of Justice exhibited and displayed by that kangaroo panel.
I also appeared with Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN in the 2 (two) cases that he filed before the High Court of Oyo State at that time.
The first of such was the case before Hon. Justice J.O.Ige (Rtd.) now of blessed memory. Justice J.O. Ige was a very amiable, hardworking and a very upright Judge who struck our case out by upholding the preliminary objection of the Defendants that a court of law has no jurisdiction to stop impeachment proceedings once it is activated.
Truth be told that was the state of the law at that time until the Supreme Court’s locus classicus decision in INAKOJU v. ADELEKE popularly known as Senator Rashidi Ladoja’s case which changed the face of the law as far as impeachment proceedings are concerned in Nigeria.
It is very pertinent and instructive to add that Hon. Justice Mobolaji -Yussuff then of Oyo State judiciary but now a Justice of the Court actually lived up to her onions as incorruptible, courageous and upright Judge when she set aside the proceedings of the Bolaji Ayorinde’s panel on the ground that they were made in defiance of pending proceedings before a court of competent jurisdiction.
Mallam Yussuff Ali SAN is an Attorney’s Attorney. At a point in the proceedings, he attacked the conscience of the nakedly biased panel when he said that, “Justice is rooted in confidence, there must not be any affliction besetting the mind of any if the parties to any proceedings, especially the Defendant on trial that the umpires are all out to find him guilty at all cost”.
The panel remained unperturbed and proceeded to do hatchet job that was assigned to it from the onset.
That was the precarious state that Oyo State was in 2005 when I strayed into politics.
I teamed up also with Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN who also filed 2 (two) cases in court to challenge the impeachment proceedings and one of which was subsequently amended to challenged the kangaroo impeachment itself.
I dared all odds and forced my way into the office of the then Acting Chief Judge of Oyo State, Hon. Justice Adeniran to serve him court processes wherein we sought injunction to restrain him from constituting the panel in view of the presence of some known politicians who were appointed as members of the panel contrary to the spirit and letters of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Acting Chief Judge was evading service and I took Bailiff to his office and forced my way inside. I directed the Bailiff to throw the process at him since he refused to collect them.
That service on him was the premise upon which the erudite and landmark ruling of Hon. Justice M.O. Bolaji-Yussuff that set aside the impeachment proceedings was anchored.
Fast forward, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu Esq., SAN who is the incumbent Governor of Ondo State was the person who gave life and bite to the Rashidi Ladoja’s case by reaching out to the current Vice-President of the country, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who was then the Hon. Attorney-General and Commissioner to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, then the Governor of Lagos State to give a helping hand to the embattled Sen. Rashidi Ladoja.
Aketi was asked to raise a legal team for Senator Ladoja and he suggested Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN as the lead Counsel, Mallam Yussuff Ali, SAN Aketi himself , Professor Taiwo Osipitan SAN, Kola Awodehin Esq., SAN, Femi Falana Esq., SAN, Dele Adesina SAN and also that Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN, who initiated the suit should be retained as well in order not to create a division within the Plaintiff’s Counsel’s rank.
All the Senior Counsel gave a very good account of themselves and really lived up to their callings as Senior Advocates of Nigeria that they are. It was later after the case was decided that Dele Adesina Esq. and my very own role model and mentor, Femi Falana Esq. became Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
Alhaji Abdul-Raheem Adebayo Shittu led the legal team’s footsoldiers while S.S. Akinyele Esq. and my humble self assisted him.
I never expected anything in return for all I did while the case lasted but I was just doing my bits to challenge perceived injustice and vicious rape and desecration of our country’s constitution. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when after Senator Rashidi Ladoja was reinstated as the Governor of Oyo State, I was appointed by the Governor as Special Assistant to the Governor on Legal Matters, while Alhaji Bayo Shittu was appointed as the Hon. Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice on the recommendation of Aketi who pleaded with the Governor to reward Alhaji Bayo Shittu’s efforts during the trial and the appeals up to the Supreme Court.
S.S. Akinyele Esq. was appointed a member of the state’s Judicial Service Commission.
Worthy of mention is the dexterity and excellent advocacy in the best tradition of the Bar exhibited by the defence team ably led by Chief Ayanlaja, SAN and the cerebral and witty, Prince Lateef Fagbemi , SAN.
After the 2007 general election which Senator Abiola Ajimobi of ANPP purportedly lost to Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala of PDP, Senator Rashidi Ladoja handed me over to Senator Ajimobi to prosecute the case of Chief Muheez Akande of the Republican Party against Otunba Alao-Akala when it became obvious that the Counsel on record to Chief Muheez Akande, Prof. Toriola Oyewo chickened out of the matter when his life was being threatened by Chief Lamidi Adedibu, now of blessed memory.
I accepted to conduct the case and I did so to a logical conclusion before the Election Tribunal panel led by Hon. Justice Dauda Sidi Bagge who later became a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria before he voluntarily retired last year to become the Emir of Lafia in Nasarawa State.
Senator Abiola Ajimobi is a very widely exposed person, urbane, suave, civil, noble, elegant and very blunt to a fault. He is a seasoned Administrator, a thoroughbred technocrat and a good manager of men and resources who does not suffer fools gladly. He is always a misconstrued person because he is not a man giving to a life of pretence. All the aforementioned qualities of Senator Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi (SAAA) summed up to impact positively in his unprecedented achievements when he served as the Governor of Oyo State between 29th May, 2011 to 28th May, 2019. Undoubtedly, he has midas touch being a man who enjoys abundant grace of God.
SAAA’s styles are unique in all ramifications and coupled with this is that he is very lucky to be blessed with a very beautiful and loving wife, Dr. ( Mrs.) Florence Fatima Ajimobi whom he is fond of addressing as “my masterpiece of nature”. Indeed and in truth Chief (Mrs.) Florence Ajimobi is a masterpiece of nature. She is very compassionate, generous to a fault, meek, gentle, kind-hearted and a woman with a heart of gold who cherishes and appreciates loyalty, even more than SAAA.
Since I was handed over by Senator Rashidi Ladoja to SAAA, our relationship continue to blossom and grow unceasingly that SAAA and his family have always seen me and consider me as part and parcel of the Abiola Ajimobi’s family.
And just like the case with Senator Rashidi Ladoja, there is virtually nothing that the Abiola Ajimobis cannot do for me. That rare grace of God is also a privilege that I enjoy from Aketi and Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN. The feelings with those persons too have always been mutual on my part too, but my loyalty to any of them has never been based on materiality or sycophancy, neither has it been blind loyalty, but a very honest and sincere loyalty.
Exceeding and abundance grace of God in my life that has gotten me some political appointments unsolicited and the attendant leverages has ironically earned me undeserved bile hatred , deep seated malice , unmerited scorn , insults , cheap blackmail and unwarranted ridicule from some perceived friends and enemies just for no reason whatsoever but pure envy and jealousy, and perhaps due to my bluntness. The saddest aspect of it all is that majority of those charlatans and political jobbers are persons who are beneficiaries of my little benevolence.
I seek and plead for their forgiveness in case I have offended them knowingly and unknowingly in any manner whatsoever. By the same token, I also forgive them and I also beseech Allah to forgive us all. Ameen.
Lest I lose focus of my main thrust of this missive, I have resolved to do away with PARTISAN POLITICS for DEVELOPMENTAL POLITICS that would be fully anchored on the service to humanity and mankind, and more importantly the development of my grassroots, Ita-Ege & Idi-Aro communities in Ward 5 of Ibadan South-East Local Government Area of Ibadan South-East Local Government Area of Oyo State and her people from now on and for the rest of my life. And God helping me, all these I intend to do through SAO & TAO Foundation that I established last year.
As a proud member of the Junior Chambers International (www.jci.cc), I know that service to humanity is the best works of life.
Above is my resolution from now henceforth.
So help me God.
Dated this 24th day of January, 2020 on board of a train services from London to Manchester, United Kingdom.
Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo Esq.,
Asiwaju of Ita-Ege & Idi-Aro,
Ward 5 of Ibadan South-East Local Government Area of Oyo State of Nigeria.
Email- [email protected]
Opinions expressed in this article are solely the writer’s, not ALEDEH’S