By Fidel Albert Esq

Ajibade has never run back to ask for votes. This is his first time and he is authentic! At least one of the candidates is coming back for the 4th time now to ask for votes. I do not know how he helped anybody after each of his bids for NBA presidency on previous occasions failed.

Traditionally, they retreat into selfish obscurity and only resurface to court relevance once they wish to relaunch their bid. But no, not Ajibade. This is his first time, and he is certainly not brandishing a dubious resume of generosity or “concern for juniors” and what not. His selfless dedication and service to the Bar, even in times when thankless service was not fashionable, is a voluminous dossier. This man has been on the forefront of advocating for enthronement of ethics and rectitude to the profession. He gives fish, but more importantly, he teaches to fish. And so many are the better for it from his mentorship.

When people are making noise about what they did on a platform prepared for them, with institutional funding, I laugh. This is where Ajibade is different. It has made no difference to Ajibade that he doesn’t have the SBL or NBA platform or money to make a difference. Way before he was co-opted to reinvent the SBL, and I mean as far back as 15 years ago, he started using his OWN FUNDS to organize yearly seminars, completely free to attendees, where eggheads gathered to ponder and discuss opportunities in and for profession, and where juniors could network with industry giants! He did this every year to this day, with his own funds, even when the idea that he could ever take a shot at the NBA presidency would have been a far removed possibility or inconceivable to him. That to me is selfless leadership. Generosity without strings.

A personal story. Ajibade did something that shocked me last year, during the last call to Bar of 2019. The Ajibade team, like supporters of other aspirants, tried to get the attention of the new wigs during this event. The regular events everybody were organizing was get-togethers or welcome parties to warm up to the new wigs, and at the same time sell candidates’ candidacy to them. Of course Ajibade was very uncomfortable with it but we said it must be done. Even if he wouldn’t fund it, we’d do it in his name.

Now, we got some feedback that lots of young lawyers who travelled from different far-flung states for the call to Bar, which was a weeklong event, were stranded. They didn’t have anywhere to stay for the week. Someone reached out to me for help, and some others even said they would appreciate provision of a living space to stay for the week far more than the party we were planning. Now this request was quite difficult due to the attendant cost which was way above budget.

Anyway, we put funds together to assist the few we could. Ajibade went to great lengths to support this venture. Critically, he didn’t ask for details or particulars of those who benefitted, not did we keep their bio data in a database to curry votes from them in future. Ajibade spent a princely sum without ever tying the overture to his NBA ambition. Of the several hundreds that benefitted, I don’t know a single one personally, nor have their contacts, except one or two that were personal friends to me. But as shocking and heart-warming as this sounds, this is not even the story!

The real story is that some of the young ones who benefitted were out of this world with joy. So in the moment of excitement, one or two of them went on social media to extol Ajibade’s virtue of how much he loves young lawyers and provided accommodation for ALL of those who were stranded!!

I knew this was not true, because Ajibade certainly did not have the resources to provide accommodation for ALL stranded students. He did it for a few hundreds that his funds and ours could carry. But while I didn’t encourage the spread of this half-truth, I didn’t mind or discourage it either, perhaps because of the good publicity for Ajibade it came with. My joy was however short-lived. Once Ajibade’s attention was drawn to the exaggeration making the rounds, he promptly did what most people would never do. Without consulting anybody, he immediately went on social media personally to make the now-famous clarification to the effect that as much as he would have wanted to, he certainly did not provide accommodation for ALL stranded students, he only did it for the few he could afford to assist!

I couldn’t believe it!! This man burst his own bubble that was sailing skywards only because it was buoyed by half-truth. Right in that joyous moment when he was being extolled for his generosity, he was courageous enough to say “I didn’t do all of what you’re praising me for”!!! He stood by integrity even though it would momentarily cost him the spotlight!

My respect for Ajibade shot up a hundred fold with this singular incident! What a man!!! what integrity!! what rectitude!!!

It was at that very moment, that I said to myself, “this is my President for sure”!!

Now note, This was a sharp contradiction with the deliberate falsehoods I have been reading lately, which are spewed to promote candidates, and the candidates sit back to absorb the glory or attention, without making any effort to set the record straight! In fact, one of the most humorous is when I read that a man who has never practiced as an advocate, has been so generous in not seeking Silk for himself but has allowed his partners in chambers to take silk, and for that reason he deserves to be elected NBA president!!! And that man sat back to soak up these lies, all the while knowing that he has never met even the most basic requirement of taking Silk, because he has never practiced as an advocate!!

So many lies being purveyed to sell candidates, in a profession that nobility and integrity ought to be the watch word. And yet, their selling point, as I’m daily told, is love! Love for what?

Indeed, Everybody claims love, but only Ajibade demonstrates love. This is the only candidate that travelled to Maiduguri to consult with the NBA branch there during the campaigns, in the thick of insurgency!! All other candidates professed undying love to branches in conflict zones from afar, to save their necks. Amazing love, isn’t it?

Every passing moment, I thank my God that I put my bet on the Ajibade in this race. I am certain on this one occasion that we’ve finally found the real deal in this one man. He is the wind of change. That change we seek. That genuine time-tested change that has eluded the NBA for years.

Ajibade is it!

Fidel Albert Esq