- Birthday Colloquium Held In His Honour
Veteran journalist and literacy guru, Kunle Ajibade turned 60 last week, and he celebrated it in a big way.
There was a 60th birthday colloquium organised in his honour and also for the Arts world, a Cultural Evening/Poetry Reading followed later that day comprising tributes, readings and music, involving poets, solo saxophonists, drummers and performance artistes at Freedom Park. The colloquium which took place at the Nigeria Institute Of International Affairs (NIIA) Auditorium at Kofo Abayomi Street in Victoria Island ,Lagos had in attendance important personalities in Law practice, Politics and the Media where the celebrant holds sway.
A media personality, Mrs Yemi Afolabi was given the singular honour to declare the colloquium open with prayers, whilst a veteran journalist, former Ogun State and APC chieftain ,Chief Olusegun Osoba was the chairman of the day. He gave a nice opening remarks.
Mr Obari Ogomba, a poet and lecturer in the English department of University of Port Harcourt, Rivers state , delivered a lovely poem to the delight of the celebrant, speakers and invited guests.
The Colloquium had the theme A Bright Future For Nigeria And How To Get There’’ Scores of discussants drawn from different professional spheres of life were saddled with the responsibilties of speaking and giving a lecture on the topic.
Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka was given the honour to be the first speaker of the day. He started by eulogizing the celebrant and praising him for always standing up against the then fierce military government even in the face of persecution. Professor Wole Soyinka later dealt with the many political and economic issues affecting the country adversely. He said the country is not where it is supposed to be and urged the youth to rise up to the occasion in a bid to rebuild the dilapidated structure called Nigeria.
Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the former first lady of Ekiti state was the 2nd discussant and she revealed that she attended the same institution with the celebrant and that they have been friends for a long time since their university days. She said that she has been speaking against the oppressed in the country a long time ago before democracy was witnessed in the country. She opined that everybody should be united irrespective of political affiliations.
An astute lawyer and author of the book ‘’ Love Does Not Win Elections ‘’ Aishat Oshori was the 3rd discussant and she revealed that her experience in politics has shown that Nigeria has been involved in a political recycle process and that was the beginning of our problems. She said that many political parties do not get to be involved in grassroot politics saying that she searched for the PDP ward 2 address in Abuja when she wanted to contest but couldn’t get it.
‘’ I wanted to know the address of my ward in Abuja when I wanted to contest for the House of Reps but couldn’t find it. Many others would have lost hope but I forged on.This problem is not peculiar to the PDP as it is the same in the APC .,’ she said.
She further stressed that politics is an industry that wants outsiders , however , she urged everyone to join a political party as it will avail the people the opportunity to be involved in the decision making process and also to introduce change to the country.
Former Central Bank of Nigeria Deputy Governor (CBN) and presidential aspirant of the YPP, Prof. Kingsley Chinedu Moughalu also mounted the podium to speak about the country.
According to him, Nigeria has good potentials but it remains to be seen if its leaders can tap into it.He further hinted that the youth of the country must be taken seriously for visible progress to be witnessed by all and sundry.He further stressed that if he is elected president of Nigeria he would fix the country by addressing the issues of poverty and political education.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Lai Babatunde, also eulogized the celebrant and thanked him for standing up against the military during the pre-democracy days in the country. He revealed that the celebrant was jailed over a story he didn’t even write.
‘’The celebrant made a lot of sacrifices , he took a bullet for everyone and he was jailed for 3 and a half years over a story he didn’t even write, yet he never disclosed the writer of the story’’.
Lai Babatunde posited that corruption has eaten deep into the fiber of the country and something drastic has to be done about it. He posited that he vowed to fight corruption in his own little way but many factors militated against it.
Another lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria,Femi Falana was full praises for the celebrant, he said he noticed the doggedness and fighting spirit of Kunle Ajibade and that has earned him a lot of respect on his 60th birthday. He expressed disatisfaction with on going killings in the North -East saying it is not good for the government of the day.
He added that people living in those areas should be exposed to military training sayingfacilities should also be provided for them. He urged state governors to give beneficial instructions to Nigeria Police Force saying they shouldn’t allow the president to continue to take that responsibility alone.
‘’ It is the Nigeria Police Force and not the federal government police , so governors should learn to use them to their positive advantages’’.
Tributes and presentation were also made by 5 people that were drawn from Media and Law. The first speaker Omoba Shyllon said that there is a big difference between networth and self worth and that the celebrant has proven his self worth in the media space.
Idowu Obasa praised the doggedness of the celebrant and posited that the structure on ground needs to be undermined.
The Special Assistant to President Buhari on Politics, Senator Babafemi Ojudu revealed that the celebrant Kunle Ajibade has always been a gentleman who became a victim of circumstance. He urged Nigerians to join political parties at the grassroot.
Osun State Governor Ogbeni Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola said that the celebrant’s fantastic attitude made it impossible for him to miss the celebrations saying his posture to work was one of the reasons he travelled from Osun State to Lagos.He revealed that he had to forfeit a NEC meeting in his state just to meet up with the celebrant.
The celebrant is a renowned journalist and author who has functioned as a crucial actor within the Nigerian media space over the last 3 decades. His various roles in the media have seen him serve as a Reporter at various media houses. He was a Senior Correspondent with the African Concord magazine, Assistant Editor with African Guardian and he has served in management cadre at The News and PM News where he has been Executive Editor in the past several years.
He also has a flair for Literary work. Kunle Ajibade was born on the 28th of May ,1958 in Nigeria.He attended Muslim Grammar School, Ibadan, Oyo state college of Arts and Science , before proceeding to the University of Ife where he bagged a degree in English studies. Shortly afterwards he bagged a master degree in English and Literary studies from the same institution.
He has written two books titled ‘’Jailed For Life’’ and ‘’What A Country’’. Recall that the celebrant Kunle Ajibade was jailed for Life during the military administration of Sani Abacha, however, he was released after serving 3 and a half years in jail.