Friday, 3 February 2017

Why I warned Wole Soyinka over tearing of US Green Card—Dr. Kayode Ajulo (Ph-D) + What Awo, Fawehinmi, Others did to me

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Dr. Kayode Ajulo (Ph-D) former National Secretary, Labor Party speaks with the GDA in his Abuja office

In this Part 2 of our memoir-like encounter with one of Nigeria’s legal icon and politician of repute, Dr. Kayode Ajulo (Ph-D) he takes us deeper into the revelation of his success spirit which he derived from certain global and local individuals who inspired him to be great in life, and whose portraits are hung in a strategic part of his chamber. Some of the names are Nigeria’s iconic politician, late Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, South Africa’s Symbol of democracy, Nelson Mandela, America’s greatest human right activist, Martins Luther King Jnr. Nigeria’s legal icon and human right lawyer extra-ordinary, late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. When he got to the personality of first African to win a Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, other issues cropped up which took us to the story of elder statesman Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. It is a story behind the story.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo is the former National Secretary of Labor Party and former Chairman, Ondo State Radio Vision Corporation. The encounter with Asabeafrika took place inside his Castle of Law chambers, Abuja on Tuesday, December 20th, 2016. Enjoy!

Can you tell us what influence Chief Awolowo had on you?
Late Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo....His Spartan life style inspires Dr. Kayode Ajulo

Chief Obafemi Awolowo is a sage and the leader of the Yorubas. He is the indisputable leader of the Yorubas and nobody can claim that till date, irrespective of the political coloration. He is the authentic Asiwaju of the Yoruba people and he still remains, even in death. Nobody has been able to match his record, even in death. Despite the fact that you see the likes (Chief) Adisa Akinloye, they are polls apart and they still give him that honor. Nobody has been able to match and surpass the quality of leadership Awolowo brought to politics.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'Obafemi Awolowo's spiritualism and intellectualism guides me in law practice'
Again, when you look at the spiritualism and the intellectualism, everything, Awolowo combined it together. His Spartan life is something I always look up to. As a lawyer, money will come your way but you should not miss the point that, whatever it is, the code of conduct must remain and Awolowo ensured that he laid that rule in the heart of some of us. He is somebody that I feel highly honored to have his portrait in my office.
What is your connection with Mahatma Ghandi?
Late Mahatma Ghandi....His Peaceful resilience inspires Dr. Kayode Ajulo
As a young man, I remember, I read so much about Mahatma Ghandi. Unfortunately, he died before I was born but I was privileged to read the history of his life. One thing you cannot take away from Mahatma Ghandi is the fact that he is very resilient and he stands on his principles. Irrespective of that, he abhors violence. I believe Mahatma Ghandi is the first in the modern history of mankind to use a peaceful and non-violent method to achieve something that you use violence to achieve. Like what Boko Haram is doing to Nigeria, using violence.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'Mahatma Ghandi's Peaceful resilience inspires me'
 Mahatma Ghandi and his movement fought without breaking anything and he was able to fight the British Empire to a standstill. At the end of the day, he won and got independence for his people, unlike the Mau-Maus of Kenyan and the Agbekoyas in western Nigeria. So, for somebody to do that, it simply reminds me that one can achieve anything peacefully through resilience and dialogue. Ghandi achieved that for India. He earns my respect and that is why I have his portrait here.
What do you regard in Martins Luther King Jnr.?
Late Martin Luther King Jnr....he left behind a big dream that manifested from Kenya
Well, Martins Luther King, you need to see some of his quotations. Each time you look at him, you see vision and courage in principle.
You mean the ‘I have a dream’ quote?
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'I love Martin Luther king for his rare courage'

Yes, ‘I have a dream’. Though people always talk about the ‘I have a dream’ quote but one of his best quotations is the one that talks about compassion. He let us know that true compassion is not just about tossing a penny to a beggar. Real true compassion is in trying to find out the incident that made the beggar suffer such a misfortune. And find ways to change the beggars’ life by working on the social system to ensure that the man is no more a beggar. Because what you see with our elites and political leaders today is a sham. They will say they are doing empowerment and they start giving people measured cups of rice inside polythene bags or at worst, pepper grinding machine. That is not compassion. It is just a show up. My doctorate thesis is on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr....Dr. Kayode Ajulo loves his motivating quotes
It is there, you know that the concept of real Corporate Social Responsibility is not flinging monies or giving measured tins or cans of rice to people but to know how to change the system. That is one of the things you see Martins Luther King Jnr talked about. Today, one of his dreams, to have the son of a black immigrant rule America is fulfilled. The Obama Health Care initiative is a memorable achievement through compassionate leadership. It is not all about packing people to a corner and throwing a show-off penny gifts to them, but you must ensure the entire social system is re-worked in a way that generations unborn will benefit.
How about Nelson Mandela, how has he influenced you?
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'I am yet to see any black leader that has given up the kind of political sacrifice Nelson Mandela gave to humanity'

For our generation, Nelson Mandela needs no introduction. For 27 years, somebody without his wife, without anything, in custody for 27 years. I am yet to see any greater sacrifice that anybody has given. Our leaders today will bungle it. One thing is the fact that all these people have a vision of resilience and each of them, had principles that one can emulate. For real, Nelson Mandela stands out among all.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'A man like Mandela who sacrificed pleasure for 27 years can never be forgotten'

 Gani Fawehinmi is also one of them, why?
The Legal Legend, Late Chief Gani Oyesola Fawehinmi
When it dawned on me that I was going to practice law, there was couple of eminent lawyers I could take cue from their experience. Do I want to be like Rotimi Williams? Do I want to be like Aka Basorun? Was it okay for me to practice like Kanmi Isola Osobu. It even got to a point that Kanmi Isola Osobu happened to be a very good friend who used to visit me at Sheraton Hotel. It was there I used to have interface with big friends. Funny enough, he was even the one who filled my JAMB form at the time. But, when it comes to Gani Fawehinmi, you notice that his own legal principle is extra-ordinary. He is a fighter-lawyer and a highly principled human right advocate. This is somebody that stood before an armor tank and said ‘shoot me’ and you know what that means.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika...'Gani Faewehinmi's legacy inspires me. He is the most successful human rights lawyer in Nigeria'
In all his life endeavors, he never compromised. We became so close before he died. I remember he used to tell me so many things about law and empathy. There was a day he showed me all his briefs. He had over six thousand briefs and majority of those briefs, he did them free. To me, I may not know about any other person, he died as one of the most successful legal practitioner in Nigeria. You need to see when his will was being read, you need to see his give-outs. And this is somebody that, even, the briefs he collects money for, is not that much. Though, many people will tell you, ‘after all, he is a publisher’. Yes, it is the Almighty God that gave him that wisdom to create a way for him. It is a shame that majority of today’s activists seem to compromise. Most of them are now looking for money and I must say this, even it got to a point that a section of the civil society organizations in Nigeria became a specialist in that.
I remember, this is one of the things Gani Fawehinmi fought against in his lifetime and if you could remember that time, when he was even trying to castigate Beko Ransome Kuti to say ‘look, Civil Society Organization is not to make money’. I have an NGO, Egalitarian Mission Africa, till today, we have never, and I believe, that we will not take free money from any source. What I just do is that 10% of the profit after tax from my office will go to them.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'We run Egalitarian Mission Africa from what we make at Castle of Law'
That is what we are doing because that will enable you as a Civil Society Organization to be focused. To know what it is and say it as it is without fear or favor. But in a situation where before you say anything, you now send a proposal to one Donor Company, it is rubbish. It should not be. Like I mentioned earlier; some sections of the country now seems to be a specialist in civil society management which is wrong. Even to the extent that they are even having a clique called “situation room”.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'Gani Fawehinmi was a very honest human rights lawyer'
It is rubbish. Gani Fewehinmi to my best knowledge and knowledge of other people never compromised. He never even had the money, what God gave him is what he used. Some people like I mentioned, will say ‘of course he is a publisher’. That is for you to know that if you realize what you are doing and you are doing what is right, the Almighty God will find a way for you to be able to eat and live well. It should be a lesson to some of us and that is what I learnt from Gani Fawehinmi’s life style.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'I hate human right activists who charge money before offering their conscience'

Wole Soyinka is the only one that is not a lawyer or soldier. What is your connection to him?
Professor Wole Soyinka, the literary giant who inspires Dr. Kayode Ajulo

Look, let me tell you something, as a small boy, I read all his books.
You mean you read all those controversial vocabularies?
Dr. Kayode Ajulo has been to Professor Wole Soyinka's Ake
I remember that time as a young man, when you want to write a letter to your girl friend; when I was in secondary school, I will say ‘maybe if I use this word to apologize, she will listen to me’. It was Wole Soyinka that gave us words to express our intentions. We will pick an entire page in his book and the only change will be when I am writing the name of the lady or some other things. I remember that time when Professor Soyinka will say ‘my something jar lobe but the jug of water… etc’ and you wonder who can understand all those vocabularies. Anyway, he represents intellectualism in my life.
Professor Wole Soyinka's book, read by Dr. Kayode Ajulo
He represents that intellectual capacity and I give it to him. Though sometimes, I may not agree with some of the things he does. And that is why recently, when he said he was going to tear his green card if Donald Trump wins American election, I quickly send an advice to him that ‘you are going to jail if you do that’ and I thank the Almighty God that he never did.  Even if he said it publicly, that he has done it. My worry is this, I have nothing against Wole Soyinka he is one of those I really cherish. You can see his portrait in my office. Let me even say I respect him, but if you have a Rabbi or a teacher, if your teacher should go wrong and you need to really point out the consequences of his action, you must not be afraid to do exactly that. Because he is a role model, he inspires people.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo and the GDA after the encounter
Even some of us, if Wole Soyinka should kill somebody today, we will believe that is the right thing to do and we will start to kill. So, if we should tear a property that belongs to a sovereign state or an institution. That means, if a husband and the wife should be fighting tomorrow, it is easier for them to pick their marriage certificate and tear it apart. So, if I am fighting my wife, what I need to do is to get the car I bought for her and use a pestle to mess up the car. That is why, as a diligent follower, I must be alive to details.
Another of Professor Wole Soyinka's book read by Dr. Kayode Ajulo
I know that (Professor) Wole Soyinka got angry and used disparaging words against some people. I don’t think I belong to that category, because this is from my heart. The advice given to Wole Soyinka is what I will give to my father if my father should tend to go astray. I am a lawyer, he is not a lawyer.  I think I know this law and we need to point it out. Destroying properties in law is a big offense. Even destroying your own property, you have a criminal liability. I can’t say this house belongs to me and I just set it on fire. No.
I am hearing this for the first time, can you expatiate further?
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'In law, you can not destroy your own property talk less of other people's properties'
Sure. I can’t say this is my property and I chose to set it on fire. If I really want to get it down, then I need to get the permit and then, get those that will do it. Then, let them pull it down in a peaceful manner, not that you should just set it up on fire.
But Chief Obasanjo destroyed his PDP card in 2015 and he made it public. Are you saying it is a criminal offense?
'Chief Obasanjo told me he didn't burn his PDP Card'-Dr. Ajulo
But Obasanjo denied. I told him but he denied tearing it.
But it was shown on the television, how can he deny it to you as a lawyer?
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'Nobody can tell me that Obasanjo burnt his PDP Card because the video man didn't capture the name on the document he burnt'
But he denied and I watched it, Obasanjo never tore it (PDP card). Obasanjo even gave it to someone and I watched the video thoroughly. As a lawyer, I watched the video very well. Even, nobody can tell me that it is actually PDP card that was torn to shred. It may be just a piece of paper. I checked it very well and I know what I am saying. Because immediately it happened, and it was reported in the mass media, I checked. Let’s say I have a staff today; if my staff chose not to work for me, the first thing I will ask  of him is to return all the company properties which includes the office ID card and some other valuables that belongs to the company. You can’t say because you are annoyed with me and you tore your staff ID card,
Dr. Kayode Ajulo to Asabeafrika....'As the owner of my property, i have no right to destroy it in law'
I will get you arrested because that is demeaning and it is not allowed in our profession. Even when you find it, you will see that it is a felonious offence which could lead to a jail term. I remember, that Obasanjo immediately replied that he never did that. And I watched the video, all I know is that he gave the card to somebody and what he gave to somebody, the camera man was not wise enough to focus and capture the PDP logo on it so that we can all see it. So, I want to believe that Obasanjo did not tear his PDP card.
(Watch out for ‘Why I refused to put my dad’s portrait in my chamber’ and more by Dr. Kayode Ajulo in our next post on Asabeafrika)

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