Friday, 3 February 2017

How Benjamin Adekunle Scorpion, Justice Kayode Eso turned my life around—Dr. Kayode Ajulo (Ph-D) + His secret romance with Black Jesus


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Dr. Kayode Ajulo (Ph-D) Principal Partner, Kayode Ajulo & Castle of Law, Abuja
When we stormed his Castle of Law Chambers on Plot 4, Abriba Close, Area 7, Garki, Abuja the Federal Capital City of Nigeria in the evening of Tuesday, December 20, 2016, we met a chamber sheathed with best of items of the legal profession.  From a courteous team of young layers and civil staffs working in the chamber to a heap of books sparkling with the best letters and literatures of law, you could smell justice and equity oozing out of Castle of Law Chamber. However, our guest, Dr. Kayode Ajulo (Ph-D), the principal partner of this octane law firm was busy with some clients inside his inner chamber. It was one of his busy days with clients but he got words from his secretary, a very courteous Igbo lady that we were around and he gave his word for us to stay at the board room. That ample moment gave us the good opportunity to sample the various arenas of the well equipped law firm. At one corner of the chamber, is a standard sized Italian Piano staring at you in the face, leaving you to wonder whether you are in a studio or a law chamber. After dispersing three of clients successively, it was time for us to meet the man,
The GDA meets Dr. Kayode Ajulo in Abuja
Dr. Kayode Ajulo, a former National Secretary of Labor Party (And the youngest national secretary at his age) and a former Chairman of Ondo State Radio Vision Corporation. He personally welcomed us into his posh chamber. Here you see more of the lawyer in Dr. Ajulo than the politician and the activist in him. An array of law books neatly arranged on shelves coupled with an artistic creation of a sewing machine hanged on a strategic part of his office, among other artistic designs. The objects around his office tells you different things; perhaps, a reflection of Dr. Ajulo’s nature as a man of many parts. But, the Portraits of 11 great historical men—Jesus, Mandela, Obama, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jnr, Obafemi Awolowo, Wole Soyinka, Fela Kuti, Justice Kayode Eso, Gani Fawehinmi, Gen. Benjamin Adekunle Scorpion and his mum in a galleria setting and what they meant to our host’s life stunned this blog.
 Asabeafrika, your Africa’s Number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog chose that part of his office as our ‘Inspirational Center’. We politely asked the Legal icon to vacate his chair and take a seat backing those pictures as we took him on a long train of the journey of his life from zero-to-hero, nothing-to-something. It is a story you never read anywhere before. Make your best leisure spot, get your best drink; grab your best chip as you read the story of one of Nigeria’s youngest legal icon cum political juggernaut. Enjoy!
    


Who is the real Dr. Kayode Ajulo that is unknown to many across the globe?
Dr. Ajulo trying to describe himself to the GDA
Well, I always find it very difficult trying to explain myself. I believe I am a solicitor and being a solicitor, it is my duty to advocate. To speak for my client and that is what it takes. Explaining myself, could be pretty difficult. I am afraid; I don’t even know where to start except you want me to be biased. Except, maybe, you want me to take side with myself which I believe for the purpose of this interview, we don’t need to do that. I think it should be you who have watched me, doing my thing in several spheres of society, over the years that should do the analysis.  I was supposed to ask you ‘Asabe, since all these days, what do you think I represent?’ is it good, is it bad? That is it. It is one of the most difficult things to do. No knife no matter how sharp can cut itself. I cannot really honestly define myself.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'It is difficult for me to describe myself'
From what you write and what you say, you appear to me as someone who grew with lots of guiding principles. Can you share the story of your humble background with us?
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'I am a privileged person'
Let me start with this, I could say I was so privileged, growing up. I have been so helped by my parents, by my peers and by providence.
(Cuts in) I think you are from Ondo State?
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'In Ifira Akoko, we have mechanism that checks character strength'

Yes, I am from Ondo State. I am from Ifira Akoko. I am saying it with a profound sense of pride that I am from a very small town. But we are doing great. If you ask me, I believe I am an ambassador of the place (Ifira Akoko). And this is one of the things that even inspire me to do great, particularly since I know where I come from. Particularly in that place, we know ourselves.  So, everyday, there is check mechanism and there is a lot of expectation. You can’t hide behind anything to misbehave. That is one. Then, talking about my parent, I am privileged. My parents are book sellers. My father worked with one of the biggest book shops in Nigeria, which is CSS Book Shop owned by the Anglican Church. I am an Anglican. Again, I am so lucky that my mother too is a book seller. My mum owns a chain of book shops in Ilesa (Osun State) in Akure (Ondo State) in Ibadan (Oyo State) and in Osu (Osun State). We call it ‘Ti Oluwa Nile Book Shop’. And being as it were, I am the one that is always taking pride in telling people that ‘look, the first things I recognized in my life were books’ because I found myself always romancing books at a very tender age. Even, you won’t believe it, that as tiny as a book shelf looks then,
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'I grew through books'
I remember sometimes, I always sleep inside the (book) shelf. You can imagine a small boy sleeping inside the shelf and using books to cover himself while the entire house was looking for him.  And you are there, hiding inside that tiny shelf behind books. Till date, each time I am in my home town and I visit my father’s house, I will go and measure that shelf and ask myself ‘oh, you mean that this tiny shelf can contain you?’  So, books were fond of being my toys and till today, the culture remains. Books have been my major companion.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'I was privileged to have a Dad and Mum who sold books'

 Are you the first child of the family?
No, I am not the first child. I am even the sixth.
Was dad a polygamist or a monogamist?
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to the GDA....'Dad died a monogamist to my best of knowledge'
My dad is late now, but to the best of my knowledge, I can say we are fortunate. Sometimes, you know the number of kids and number of wives a Yoruba man has on the day of his funeral. But for my dad, that was not the case. On his funeral day, nobody showed up to say ‘look, I am your father’s son or your father’s daughter’.  So, dad was not just a monogamist, he was a plain person. He was disciplined and kept to the bond of his family.
Growing up in a family that trade in books, how did that influenced your life?
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'I am a child of providence'
Well, if you notice one thing, you will see that I have been using the word ‘fortunate’ consistently. It was a privilege and I can say I am fortunate to pass through that channel of life. Because, you wouldn’t believe it, that really changed my life. Particularly, based on my father’s line of business; when you check my wall in this chamber, you will see late Justice Kayode Eso there. I was about 5 years old when he visited my father’s book shop to buy books. Virtually all of them came at one time or the other. Afe Babalola and many of them.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'In Dad's book shop, i met cream-de-la-cream of society'
You know when you are running a very big book shop, you can just imagine how a cream of elites will keep patronizing you; and it will become a culture for you to come across them almost every blessed day and you will see the Wole Soyinkas, the Ola Rotimis and all of them. My dad was fortunate to have so many of the publishers as his friends or business partners. About three months ago, I met Mr. Joop Berkhout the owner of Safari Books in Ibadan. He recently celebrated his 50th anniversary in books publishing; he was very close to my dad. We used to see those in Evans Books shop, Oxford Publishers and other publishers. It is either you are seeing the real publisher or you are seeing the representatives. They came around, and it was like your world as a young man was wrapped around them, you see people like Onibon-Oje of this world, you see Aromolaran, He is now Oba Aromolaran, a king. Then, we used to call him ‘Uncle Dekunle’. These are the people that shaped my world and from that time, I knew where I would be going to in future. So, it was never out of want of what to do or not that I found myself reading law.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'Dad's great respect for Justice Kayode Eso made me decide to read law'
So, studying law was a personal decision?
Right from the first day, of all that used to visit my father’s place; I noticed my father used to revere one person than the others. And when I asked him ‘why are you doing this?’ he said ‘well, because he is a judge and he is a lawyer’ and who was this person? Justice Kayode Eso (now late).
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika...'My decision to study law was due Justice Kayode's Eso's esteem'
From that day, I said ‘look, I will like to be like this man’. I told myself that if my father, with all his pride and self esteem would be saying ‘Yes, sir! Yes, sir’ to somebody then, I will try and become a lawyer because I want somebody to say ‘yes, sir’ to me as well. That one shaped my worldview. Funny enough, we bear the same name; Kayode.  And it got to a point that even in my note books; I liked writing ‘Kayode Eso’ before I even wrote my own name. That is one of the reasons I had to get his portrait and put it here in my office for a sense of accomplished inspiration. He inspired me to become a lawyer. All the pictures of individuals on my office wall are those of people who have one thing or the other do with my life, and that is why I allow them to face me. Sometimes before I take a decision, I look at them to speak to me. If things are so frenzy, one or two of them will say ‘You have to calm down’. Sometime if I am annoyed, looking straight at my mum’s picture alone will give me the best of innovation and it has been helpful.
The GDA in a the heart of the encounter with Dr. Kayode Ajulo inside his Castle of Law Chamber, Abuja
I can see pictures of great people like Justice Kayode Eso, Barrack Obama, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Wole Soyinka, your mother, Jesus Christ, Gani Fawehinmi, Mahatma Ghandi, General Benjamin Adekunle Scorpion and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. What is the real benefit of their portraits in your office?
Pictures of Dr. Kayode Ajulo's quorum members on the wall 
I call them my quorum. It is like we are usually having meetings. This is my office. This is where most of the decisions and things that I do in life emerge. All decisions emanate from this table (Pointed to his official desk). They are more like unseen hands; and one other thing you have not noticed is the Jesus Christ.  When you take a closer look at my portrait of Jesus Christ, you will see the difference. My interpretation of Jesus Christ is that He is a black Jesus. That is why you see that the Jesus is not light, he is a dark person. I am a student of history; I found that Jesus Christ and his people from Aramethia are blacks. And history has proven that. But because of the world of politics between the white and the black man, they seem to turn Jesus’ identity to white. All the same, I believe that whatever is good in black color, they always adopt it and try to transform it to their own brand. But I believe that we are still all serving the same Jesus Christ, the ultimate savior of mankind.
The Breaking News of the death of Justice Kayode Eso in Vanguard Newspaper
Tell us about you and Justice Kayode Esho
Late Justice Kayode Eso...The Man who made Dr. Kayode Ajulo to read law
Like I said earlier, Justice Kayode Esho influenced my decision to become a lawyer. Because, among all the eminent people that visited my father’s book shop, he drew an uncommon sense of respect from dad. You will agree with me that CSS Book shop is a very cosmopolitan and big book shop. You could see those from Ibadan and those from Ile-Ife, you find them there. I mean very important people, kings and royalties, you find them coming to CSS Bookshop. Some of them will even place an order for certain books from my dad. You will be very surprised to hear this.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo sending some correspondences on his lap top computer before the interview began
The late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade Olubuse, ordered for his coronation pen from my father’s book shop. Even, my father had to travel out of the country to get the pen in London. That was in 1980. People will come from all nooks and crannies of the country to buy books from my dad’s place. But like I initially told you, among all the people that patronized dad at the time, I noticed he revered one person more than others. And to me, I cannot lay that respect to his money or his fashion sense. Although, Justice Kayode Eso dresses well because you need to see him with his bow tie and up till today I am still wearing the bow tie and not just waiter-bow-tie,
it is this set-tie-bow-tie that you have to tie and loose-in. He normally wore it to my father’s place and since then, I adopted that style. His personality and the kind of respect dad gave him made me to think first, that I must become a lawyer.  So, he influenced my decision to become a lawyer.
Late Gen. Benjamin Adekunle Scorpion the man who hounded Dr. Kayode Ajulo into a university environment
What brought you to General Benjamin Adekunle Scorpion, history seems to be very brutal to him?

No, I do not think so. Again, it depends on who is narrating the history. You see, whatever you hear when you talk of being a Yoruba man; when you say the Yorubas are men of valor that they are strong men. Then, Benjamin Adekunle is a poster man of that perception. He defines the strength, the fearlessness and character of the Yoruba man in his stuff. That is Benjamin Adekunle for you. Today, anytime you narrate the Nigerian history, there is no way you won’t mention Benjamin Adekunle. Although, they will let you know that it is (General) Obasanjo who got the article of surrender from the Biafran rebels,  but the tough aspect of the action that led to that surrender was initiated by Benjamin Adekunle Scorpion.
Late Benjamin Adekunle aka Black Scorpion sacked Dr. Ajulo from Sheraton Hotel, Abuja at age 17
But there were allegations that Benjamin Adekunle sold ammunition belonging to the Nigerian Army to the Biafra Soldiers? How do you erase this perception of a traitor?
Logo of Sheraton Hotel where Dr. Kayode Ajulo worked as a Concierge
You know that when it comes to spinning stories, some historians could be creative. But one thing that stood him out was the fact that he fought the war tirelessly with all that he had, and his name has remained constant in historical narratives. Even where there is no honor, his name is still taking a lead not to now talk of where there is official honor. And the man was quite fearless. And one thing I found in him and I think I should be a living testimony is that he was magnanimous. We met at Sheraton Hotel (Abuja, where the 17 Years old Dr. Kayode Ajulo was allegedly working as a concierge who looks after the rooms of several elite Nigerians in government at the time). The first day he saw me, he called me and said ‘Oh, you are a young man, what are you doing in a hotel? Why are you wasting your time here?’  I told him that I wanted to go to the university and he asked ‘which of the university?’ And to be honest, the next day, I saw him knocking at my door and he said ‘let’s go’. He took me to Jos.
Are you serious?
The Sheraton Hotel, Abuja environment where little Kayode Ajulo began his work life before Benjamin Adekunle took him to school
I am dead serious. This was somebody I had just met once. He took me inside the car and drove me to the University of Jos. He asked for the VC and because the VC was not around, he dropped a note. You know the way he was; very erratic. He dropped a note and said ‘Young man, I don’t want to see you around anywhere again than this place because you will waste your life in the hotel’. Then, he dropped a message for the VC and told me that he was on his way to Portiskum, that if he was returning he would pick me. Unfortunately, I waited for him and he didn’t return in time, so, I had to find my way back to Abuja.
The GDA and the Dr. shares a joke in the course of the encounter
 After about three months, he saw me again in the hotel lobby and he shouted ‘what are you doing here? I told you not to waste your time here. You are in Sheraton, your mates are not here and you cannot be here until you have made it in life’. That is why till date, at least once in a while, I just take my family to Sheraton Hotel and lodge at the Presidential Suite just to have a memory of those years because he said to me ‘Look, you are wasting your life away, at what age? you are just 17 and you think you have arrived. There will be a time that you will enjoy’. He really helped and that was how I became a student of the University of Jos. Great thanks to the late General Benjamin Adekunle Scorpion.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo....A man made for his season by providence
Each time I came over to Lagos, I did visit him in Ikate Surulere. He was broke but I believe he died with his reputation intact. I believe with this, some youths need to speak out because I have seen nothing less than 20 university undergraduates that Benjamin Adekunle sent to school. Though, he will never give you anything, he will never even give you pocket money but he will tell you ‘I have done the best for you. I have gotten you an admission’. In NDA at the time, you will see some first timers, second timers who were Benjamin Adekunle’s candidates’. That one teaches me that anybody that comes across your way, you must try to impact something in their lives because somebody could pick something up from you that could make that person become something in life. So, Benjamin Adekunle contributed to my life in so many ways and I so much regard him till today.
One of the popular back page quote of Dr. Kayode Ajulo at the back of THISDAY Newspaper while serving as National Secretary of Labor Party
(Watch out for the roles Obafemi Awolowo. Gani Fawehinmi. Fela Kuti. Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Ghandi. Martins Luther King.  Barrack Obama . Jesus Christ & Mum played in Dr. Kayode Ajulo’s life in our next post on Asabeafrika)

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