Young and brilliant Ondo State-born lawyer-turned politician, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, who is a former National Secretary of the Labour Party, is a mix of class, candour, courage and comradeship, waiting to launch himself into the mainstream politics of his state, writes Shola Oyeyipo
The décor in his Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law Chambers in Abuja is quite revealing and first-time visitors are likely to be struck by this obvious attention to details in design and finishing. Soft hymns wafts across the lobby from a metallic-black grand piano being played by a young well-dressed man in the corner,
That the legal practitioner is a man of class both in and out of the courtrooms is a fact that needs no debate. Tall, young, dynamic, debonair and always with a smile, his calm but unassuming demeanor conceals the steely determination and burning passion with which he has pursued his goals.
He attributes his focus and other positive character traits to a strict Christian upbringing and the orientation and tutelage received during his time as a student at Aquinas College, Akure, University of Jos and law offices of Attorney-General of Federation, Chief Afe Babalola and Dr. Tunji Abayomi.
“I passed through great institutions and I am privileged to have passed through some grandmasters in law practice. I served my country at the Federal Ministry of Justice, with the late Bola Ige, SAN as the Minister. The present Chief Judge of Ondo State, Hon. Justice Sehinde Kumuyi was my Head of Department, my direct boss.
Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, GOK Ajayi (SAN) and Dr. Tunji Abayomi need no introduction”, he said
Continuing, he said “They taught me three indelible lessons and my mind is constantly impregnated with three things: never to consider anything impossible, and to be daring in our imaginations, and to strive for integrity, compassion and excellence in our exploits.”
The trajectory of his life thus far has embodied these three qualities. Always politically inclined, he had served in several leadership capacities dating back to when he was 17 years old as an executive of union body.
As an undergraduate, he served among others as Secretary of SUG Social Committee, Treasurer of the Student Union back in UNIJOS and member, caretaker committee. His co-executives member and comrades in campus politics, Hon. TJ Yusuf and Philip Shuaibu, who were National Secretary of the National Association of Nigerian Students and National President of NANS respectively. They are now lawmakers in the National Assembly. Ajulo himself was once a candidate of Labour Party for Senate seat in 2011.
Today, as the former National Secretary of the Labour Party (LP), Ajulo is probably the youngest Nigerian to have ever held such a position of leadership in a leading political party in modern Nigerian political history. In his legal practice, he parades an array of ‘heavyweight’ clients who include several federal and state government agencies in Nigeria and international organisations; his acquaintanceship with the high and mighty in the land is a testimony that he is savvy in the courtroom.
He ascribes his ability to mingle effectively with his elders to the popular Yoruba saying about how properly washed hands could facilitate a young man’s dining with the elderly. He has close relationships with the top echelon of Nigeria’s political firmament and has functioned in advisory capacity to past presidents and several governors.
As an advocate for social justice, good governance and social opportunities, his legal advocacy practice spread beyond the nation’s shores to countries such as the United Kingdom, Ghana, Guinea, providing consulting services for the governments of about twelve countries across Africa and Europe.
He holds membership of several organisations, including Avant Garde international, International Association of Human rights Lawyers, Nigerian Red Cross, the Nigerian Institute of Management, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), International bar association (IBA) and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK.
A deeply sensitive and upright individual, Ajulo attributes his famed ‘aluta spirit’, burning compassion and philanthropic disposition to growing up under the tutelage of two parents, a bookseller father and a seamstress turned entrepreneur mother, who taught him to bear the burden of his neighbour while also stressing that the term “neighbour” encompasses everyone he encountered in need of help.
“My mum was the human embodiment of mercy and kindliness. She never discountenanced the needy around us all through my years growing up. She always had a plate of hot steaming food available for the hungry. My dad, on the other hand, never could stand injustice. He taught me to always stand up for my own rights, and to be a defender of the helpless. These were the Christian traits they passed on to me, so for those who knew my family, it would be no surprise to them that I turned out like this. I was raised to be a conscious and compassionate human, not just to seek my own interests,” he said wearing his trademark smile.
His personality finally found full expression when he established the Egalitarian Mission For Africa, a non-profit making organisation established for the promotion of the rule of law, social and economic equality in Africa and it has been a voice in the local and international media campaigning for global good governance and democracy as well as being one of the leading voices against corruption, nepotism and injustice across Africa.
As Founder/Chairman, his activities have straddled the global landscape as he continues to champion the rights of the oppressed while cross-fertilising ideas with governments and personalities. Today, the NGO act in advisory capacity to many states in Nigeria and sixteen African countries at no cost.
For Ajulo, the next best influence after parental guidance has been the educational environment in which he was raised. First, a student of Aquinas College, he proceeded to study Law at the University of Jos from, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Law in 1999. He obtained his Master of Laws Degree (LL. M), bagged a honourary Doctor of Law, LL.D and is currently pursuing his PhD in Social Justice and Corporate Social Responsibility in the United Kingdom. He is also an Adjunct lecturer in some universities like Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State.
In 2013, he was appointed by the government of Ondo State as the Chairman of the Board of Ondo State Radio-Vision Corporation.
He displays his political icons in framed paintings of Mohandas Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, General Benjamin Adekunle (Black Scorpion), Justice Kayode Esho and his mother, Princess Christiana Monisola Ajulo. Up and above them all sits an artist’s impression of Jesus Christ. His moral and political influences, he calls them.
“I like to judge my moral conducts and professional choices by asking what would these persons do in any scenario I find myself. The answers I have gotten have never failed me till date,” he says.
He also maintained that he’s not a professional politician but a professional in politics, which necessitated his proposed summit of Association of All Nigerian Professionals in Politics (AANPP) serving as a convener of the summit to be held in December this year in Abuja.
Ajulo remains a shining light among his people, prides himself as locally bred and he gushes with honest appreciation of his time amongst intellectuals in the world.
“I travel a lot around the world and each time, after presenting my papers during seminars, workshops and conferences, I always tell them that I am very proud to be a product of the Nigerian system”.
On the issue of his political future, Ajulo simply said: “Let’s wait and see, time and my people will tell which direction to go”.