A few weeks ago, Asiwaju Ishola Filani, was buried in his hometown, Ikole Ekiti, Ekiti State. Asiwaju Filani according to People’s Testimonies was a father worthy of emulation to many lives especially youths and the indigenes of Ikole Ekiti. He was a man of valour who has helped/raised many people.
Amongst the prominent men who have made their ways to the top through Asiwaju Ishola is Barr. Kayode Filani, a popular Lagos lawyer and a real estate guru who described Asiwaju Filani as a phenomenal, in his tribute.
In his tribute, Barrister Kayode says “You came, you saw and you did not only conquer but also left indelible prints on the sand of time. Suddenly the clock stopped ticking, the melody has given way to a dirge. Erin wo! Ajanaku subu kole dide. What a loss! The way you radiated life, I thought death would bow to you and you would live forever, how wrong was I! You lived larger than life.
You were a Father to all, your name opened doors. You were always ready to assist even at your detriment. You were fearless, bold, courageous and very expressive yet accommodating.
Some say you were domineering but I choose to say you were intolerant of any display of mediocrity. You exemplified erudition in all facets of your endeavours. You stood for what you believed and you could easily propound and marshal out reasons why people must stand with you. Yes, you were not easily convincible but those who disagreed with you on any issue would always learn one thing or the other from your arguments and discussions which were always conveyed with dexterity
By your hands, God did not only raise men but men that have become institutions. You were phenomenal.
The Filani Family has lost a pillar! I have lost a Father, a Counsellor and a Mentor”.
Speaking with City People’s Assistant Editor, Sunday Adigun in his office. Barrister Kayode Filani, opened up on the man called Asiwaju Ishola Filani and how he adopted him at age of 8.
You recently celebrated the life of late Asiwaju Ishola Filani. How can you describe him?
Asiwaju Ishola Filani was a very courageous person. He was blunt to a fault, he would not call white any other colour apart from white.
He’s not a man that ran away from controversy. He was a man that had passion for his community, a man that had interest of everybody. Although, just like every other human being he has own fault but he was a good man.
What is your relationship with him?
I want to see him as a father even though he was not my biological father. I started living with him when I was 8 years old and he ensured I became a lawyer. He practically raised me.
Can you shed more light on how close you were?
The family we were born into, we don’t have cousins, nephews and so on, we see ourselves as brothers and sisters. In one of his visits to Ikole, he saw me and said I looked so much like my father and that was it. He brought me to Lagos. I think that singular move was divine because that was not the first time he would see me. He brought me from Ikole. I started living with him. He sponsored my Primary, Secondary, and A’level and University education until I became a Lawyer. So I owe him a lot.
Can you share with us some of your moments with him?
The fact that I became a lawyer, he was Instrumental to it because I planned to be a journalist. When I told him he said look you don’t have to go to school to do journalism. If you have flair for writing, even a Scientist can become a journalist. Once you love to write, you can become a journalist. I should go for Law because he was also a lawyer.
He was a Lawyer, his son is a lawyer and you are also a Lawyer. What is the attraction?
It was an influence. If a man tells you to follow a particular line and you are of the opinion that he is successful, particularly if he is someone you have respect for you will definitely follow him. His success made me to become a lawyer too and to the glory of God I’m not doing badly.
Was there any moment he passed over the baton of running the family to you?
There was no formal exchange of baton in the real sense as a matter of fact. Isho Shoes are too big for anybody to just want to put leg, but the fact still remains that we grew up to love each other.
He needs not to inform me before I do the needful for the family anytime the occasion arises.
How come no one is following his footstep, politically?
Politics is a great task. That I am not into politics is based on Principle. Anyone of us can decided to go into politics, nobody is disturbing anybody but for me, it’s a No. Like I said to you, Isho’s shoe is too big and it’s very peculiar and I’m sure he has taken his shoe away (laughs). But we will try as much as possible to preserve the legacy he left behind. Isho was a man of integrity and no body has been able to fault it.