By LSF Olateju Aliu Adekunle
My sojourn into Prince Bola
Ajibola (SAN) space began in March 2012 when he personally conducted an interview for me in his well furnished sitting room.
My job then was to dispatch messages to his associates, family members, and friends across the country. It is my job to deliver letters, gifts, and others physically to wherever he wish such should be taken to.
When Alhaji Tajudeen Lawal, a very hardworking Personal Assistant I met with him resigned he gave me the responsibility on trial but with God on my side I performed my duties to his admiration.
Being a personal Assistant to Judge Ajibola is a rare privilege, it came with lots of exceptional accolades. It has opened many doors of opportunities. It also came with lot of challenges. I have to take his dictations, type out his dictations, returned it to him for necessary corrections as he loved replacing his words with better and more appropriate ones. We can work on his speech or letters for days because he loved perfection. He loved using latin words to garnish his write ups. I was used to latin words like Tempus fugit, Audi alteram partem, nemo judes in casua sua, que cera cera among others.
It was also my job to receive his invitation letters, input them in his diaries and reminded him of his outings at every opportunities.
I am saddled with responsibility of giving his visitors appointment to see him. He will asked me to give them days and times to come and see him while i ensure he was ready to see them. He attended to 10 guests in a day but as he grew older i reduced his visitors to three in a day. He loved to welcome law students from all over the world. He enjoyed telling them his stories on international jurisprudence, Arbitration etc.
First thing I noticed about Judge Bola Ajibola was that he was a great Philanthropist. I cannot count numbers of appreciation letters we received from people who benefited from his generosity. He gave his widows mite to every request. Many times we exhausted his cheques while giving out. His sense of giving was awesome.
Also, he recommended good brains to both states an Federal governments on pro bono. He will reject anything inform of appreciation for doing that.The staff were not left out. After he had paid our monthly salary he will still responded to our request for help on house rent, hospital bill, naming ceremony, transport fare, food stuff etc..how many boss can do this, thats why we all see him as a father and not a boss.
Baba loved serving Allah, Ajibola spent his wealth on Islamic Mission for Africa, Crescent university for the benefit of humanity. He doled out scholarship to both christians and muslims. His generosity has no barrier.
His sense of humour was nuli secondus, he will cracked jokes with visitors, while picking on what he has witness while in law practice, his days in BBHS, and his international dealings. I always enjoy seeing him making his guests laughed. He loved speaking about his roles in bakassi penisula and his services in the Hague. He has a story for every phases of his life
He was a no nonsense taker, he was a time conscious man, I studied his diary like a biology text book because you cant miss his engagements and time.
He arrived every event 1 hour before time. We had witnessed many occasions where we saw them arranging chairs and table. Most time he will asked us ( driver and myself) to join them to arrange the venue of the event. He always tell us that getting late to events, work or office is almost a criminal offence.
Another fascinating thing about Judge Bola was his love to gist with his staff, asking for their opinions about happenings in Ogun state and Nigeria at large. He also enjoyed having Law students from all over Nigeria Campus around him. He will shared with them his Arbitration stories, showed them pictures and walk them round his house and showing them all his awards he had received while in law practice. He was a heavy source of inspiration to practicing and baby lawyers including the ones that are yet unborn..
Baba loved sending congratulatory messages to his friends, colegues, Governors, etc on their birthdays, over the pages of newspapers. Most newspaper houses will miss him on this
Baba loved farming as he visited his farm on daily basis at Afelele farm around Ilagbe area of IMA where he managed a poultry, fish ponds, and crop farming. He spent money without expecting profit from the farm sales. He dashed almost everything out.
At every opportunity, he will locked me inside his office and admonished me about life, marriage, etc. He said to me one day ” Aliu, no matter how much I am paying you now, the money you realized from your own personal business is far better even if is 1 kobo. So think of starting your own business”.
Above all, he was a loving and caring family man. He always ensured his family lacks nothing. We commenced every year with a special prayers at beach side where he wil prayed for his wives and children, including his domestic staff. I will miss this aspect more.
Photo: LSF Olateju Aliu Adekunle (Personal Assistant to Late Prince Bola Ajibola SAN)
I can go on and on eulogisig this special creature of God. He came he saw and he conquered. He was a mentor to other mentors, hero to other heros and super philanthropist of our time I have ever seen
Continue to rest in perfect peace Judge Bolasodun Adesumbo Ajibola, SAN CFR KBE.
Lsf Olateju Aliu Adekunle
Personal Assistant to late Judge Bola Ajibola.