Politics is a Second Address for me ~ Ajulo
Dr. Kayode Ajulo, iconoclast, lawyer and Rights Activist is a constant star in Nigeria’s political space. The Ondo-born ideologue is the former national Secretary of the Labour Party and a towering figure in the politics of Ondo State. Recently, he shared with the Mileage Magazine, his thoughts on politics, legal practice and sundry issues.
1. In recent times, you have been engaged in pro bono cases for people. How do you sustain your law firm on that generosity?
This depends on the ground one is standing, the standpoint that you lend to it. But I tell you it’s about mindset, it’s about values. It’s about priority placement. For me, the fulfillment lies in the little I can do to make humanity better. My joy is in the fact that, by my professional contributions to lives, the beneficiaries get freedom, satisfaction or achieve what would ordinarily seem impossible where such free legal attention is not available. I have been doing this for sometime and I have not had a reason to regret doing. In fact, I get a great sense of fulfillment from doing it pro-bono than on other terms. Despite the free services rendered, God has been so gracious enough that our bills as a lawfirm are handled conveniently. At the risk of immodesty, however, I have good relationships with friends that are scattered all over the country from different enthnic, political and religious backgrounds. I mean citizens who matters and whose shoulders I stand so that the little we have we can share with the underprivileged, including material and mental givings. But my approach to it all has been to help the help the masses and manage the classes
2. You seem to have taken the back seat from politics in recent times, what’s responsible for this?
Politics is a second address for me. I belong to one of the two categories of political actors that plays politics in this part of the world. Here, we have what I call the professional politicians, and we also have the professionals in politics- whose first love is their trade and for whom political participation comes second. I must say I belong to the latter. It’s profession before politics. And another viewpoint we must allow to prevail is the fact that political participation is not necessarily defined by contesting elections. I make political contributions in the various ways. I contribute to policy making, party administration and even gives requisite counsel where it is needed. There is no denying the fact that various political parties have approached us , either for leadership positions or membership. Some of these political parties have even offered us tickets as candidates to run for the different layers of elective positions, both executive and legislative. But I have a distinct definition of what politics is. I determine my space, timing and mileage. What’s most important is that one is contributing to governance.
3. Your friends and constituents expect you to run for Senate in 2019. Why are you not considering that?
I have contested for the senatorial position in the past. When I did, it was out of the convinction that the time was ripe and the tide was good. Any political contest irrespective of the position one is contesting, for takes a lot of time, a lot of work apart from other commitments. While it is correct that there are expectations from the people that I should run for the Senate, which I am quite aware of, it is important to say my appreciation to these men and women who see me as a worthy vessel for leadership. It is also important to say that I have so much in hands to attend that would equally benefit humanity to great extents. So, at the moment, I have a challenge of space for political contest.
4. You were once the national secretary of Labour Party. What’s your opinion on the return of Mimiko to the party?
Dr. Mimiko makes a good asset for any political party that has his presence. There is no arguing that. He’s loaded with sterling ideologies and strategies that would be to the advantage of any political party. His return to smells good for the party, and his presidential ambition portends well for our country. As a former national secretary of the party, I understand the intra-party rythms and intrigues within it. However, my advice to the former governor would be that as a man who has seen it all, he should be above any division and bring his sterling leadership credentials and achievements to bear on the party. It would not be correct to call Dr. Mimiko a new entrant within the labour party fold for therein he has his roots, and now with him on the platform, I believe the party can overcome whatever challenges it presently faces, come out stronger and even succeed in winning the presidential election and give Nigeria the truly dynamic and progressive leadership that it needs to do well.
5. What do you think of his presidential ambition?
Mimiko is a Nigerian citizen, a distinguished one at that. So, his qualification to contest for the highest job in the country is not in question. That said, he is a former governor whose reign brought unmatched successes and good governance to Ondo State, whose government was a referral and benchmark for good governance. So, for a man who has done so well at a lower rung of leadership, I think it is worthy to have him join the presidential race. With him in the race, Nigeria tends to get it right.
6. You belong to same profession as Governor Akeredolu. What’s your impression about the performance of his administration so far?
There are two sides to Governor Akeredolu’s person in this instance. One, the professional side of his person , and the political side. As a professional, he is an achiever , a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a mentor to some of us- his younger colleagues in the profession. As a politician, it’s a different business. While I would not want to be so hasty to appraise his performance as a political leader, I would say he needs to be closer to the people. I see him as being aloof to the ordinary people who constitute the raw material in politics. This style may not take him far in relation to popularity with the people. But for performance, I would say it’s early still to measure.
7. You know both Mimiko and Akeredolu very well. How will you compare both men in terms of leadership style and governance?
As I said earlier, There are dual sides to Akeredolu. He is an accomplished man by any standard, yet he is just beginning and still finding his feet, politically. That can not be said of Mimiko who was a two term governor of the State and who, either as an individual or political leader, has made great impacts on humanity. However, both of them are good and each man is a great leader in his own right.
8. As we march towards another general election, what will be your advise to Nigerians?
Nigerians should prove by action, not by word, that “Our Mimi don do.” Nigerian youths, especially, should be courageous enough to elect leaders who combine good hearts and good heads, who has what it takes to take the country to the next level. Enough of demagogues in leadership.