Home ViewpointColumns 80 hearty cheers to Bajowa and his radio station | The Guardian Nigeria News

80 hearty cheers to Bajowa and his radio station | The Guardian Nigeria News

80 hearty cheers to Bajowa and his radio station | The Guardian Nigeria News

Olu Bajowa

There are indeed some issues in one’s life time, which neither time nor event can obliterate from one’s memory. I have seen a lot of these events as a journalist, especially in and around Abuja our nation’s almost 45 years old capital. I have been writing about diverse people, places and events in recent times. Three weeks ago, I released some notes on the brightest part of Abuja I witnessed when there was a unity capital – before 1999. Before that inconclusive article (December 20, 2020 here) on how December 1988 was a landmark in my journalism career, I witnessed an event in Abuja, celebration of a new Silk (a Senior Advocate of Nigeria), which touched my heart – for two main reasons: The new SAN, Festus Kayode Idepefo a native of Ilutitun, a notable town in Okitipupa local government council of Ondo state, exemplified the significance of the much vilified National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme and why the authorities in Nigeria now should pay attention to the power that restoration of the lost paradise we call ‘federalism’ can give to our already complicated diversity. I had also wanted to celebrate the life and times of a senior journalist I met, Mr. Gbolabo Ogunsanwo who passed on the other day. He was one of the authentic journalists that I ever met and I would never forget. A genius of inestimable value, who was always encouraging me to continue to remain steadfast on the narrow path of journalistic excellence. He was document-minded till he breathed his last, though he wasn’t writing regularly anymore. I couldn’t cope with the reality of his demise, so couldn’t write well about him. I hope I can do that very soon about that brilliant columnist and editor so many legends have written about.

I also could not attend the launch of the Foundation of another significant public officer who retired as a federal permanent secretary in 2010. I am talking about Dr. Adegoke Adegoroye, who tapped me to write the Afterword to his two books so far. Dr Adegoroye, a scientist who hit public consciousness as Director-General of Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) in those days when the Koko Toxic Waste Dump in Sapele saga hit the nation like a thunderbolt. This is a man I have learnt a lot from. He was a quintessential civil and public servant who continues to remain relevant on his public service beat more than a decade after his retirement. I missed the launch of his Goke Adegoroye Foundation (GAF) in Akure on December 24, 2020. I learned that at the launch, he made some remarkable statements about the state of the service he retired from. A certified true copy of the didactic statement will be fished out from the pioneer DG, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, (BPSR) sooner than later. I will continue to respect him because he continues to read and research as if he was still teaching in schools. I will wonder soon why the university system in Nigeria doesn’t headhunt such significant experts to enrich their faculties.
As the year 2020 drew to a close last week, I was told that a significant man, a physician who established the first private hospital (Sauki Hospital) in Abuja, (in the 1980s), Dr. Godwin Timothy Ndaman Ajakpo, the Galadima of Lokoja who took Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship International to the palaces had died. He clocked 70 on December 11, last year. The Dr. Ajakpo I know was like Barnabas, a good man full, good spirit and of faith. He might not have been prominent, but he was a significant professional. May his soul Rest in Peace.

Bajowa and his radio station…
It is no longer a news item that Major-General Joseph Olu Bajowa, (rtd) the Jagunmolu of Ikaleland and Ojagbulegun from the Source (Ile-fe) celebrated his 80th birthday on Sunday December 27, 2020. The remarkable event, held at Igbotako, the celebrator’s country home actually began at Ayeka, the location of a new radio station he (Bajowa) established in conjunction with the Iye Lumure Foundation, a pet project of his wife, the Regent of Ayeka, Princess Oluyemi Bajowa, a lawyer.

The new radio station, Awawa 94.1 FM, according to Gen. Bajowa at the commissioning, was established to help revive the dying culture of the people of the Southern senatorial district, whose culture is although rich but almost going into extinction.
Bajowa, a former managing director of the Nigerian Airways said he observed that due to culture contact with foreign cultures, the younger generation had lost interest in their own dialect and by so doing are quick to forget esteemed tradition and cultural values. He noted that people can no longer speak their dialectal variety of the Yoruba language fluently, thus the establishment of the station where Ikale, Ilaje, Apoi and Ijaw Arogbolanguages will be used as broadcast medium.

At a grand reception at the General’s residence in Igbotako, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo chaired the event while Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey rendered his evergreen lyrics and tunes to mark the occasion.  Obasanjo described Bajowa as a loyal colleague who was and is still very dependable. “Give him a responsibility and you can be rest assured he will execute it with utmost diligence. He rose through the ranks in the army and reached the peak of his career. Only diligent men achieve such feat in the armed forces… When we wanted to build the Barracks at Ibadan, we didn’t look any further. We committed the job into the hand of Olu and it was successfully executed. He is a fine gentleman and a valuable officer. I am proud to associate with him anytime, any day. I chaired his 70th birthday, I am the chair of his 80th birthday and I will still come and chair his 90th birthday by God’s grace,” Chief Obasanjo enthused. There were other prominent guests including the Ooni of Ife, representatives of the Chief of Army Staff, etc.

The highpoint of Obasanjo’s speech was that Bajowa saved him from the coupists’ bullets during the Buka Suka Dimka coup as he was already penned down by the executioners but for the invitation of Gen. Bajowa to the naming (ceremony) of his son.

For me, the attraction here is the siting of the Awawa FM station in his local government area. Bajowa lives In GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. He could have sited the station in the already over-crowded Lagos. He could also have sited it in Akure the Ondo state capital. There are not many FM stations in Akure. He decided to make it a community radio, after all. This is a remarkable decision and a reasonable service to his people. Other influential people should borrow a leaf from Bajowa and establish enterprises or school projects or commercial farms in their communities. There have been talks and facts about former and serving governors and ministers, etc who have allegedly built hospitals, hotels and even universities in some African countries. They should remember their states and their communities.

Witches, wizards and young school leavers we are always afraid of too will be employed and crime rates and criminalities will thus be reduced in our various localities. That is how to build an entrepreneurial nation. The other day as I revealed in an article on Manuwa Memorial Grammar School, Iju-Odo, in the same Okitipupa local government, General Bajowa who attended the 60th birthday anniversary of the IONIAN school as a pioneer student, has re-built a lot of dilapidated projects including the library of the iconic school (Manuwa Memorial Grammar School) named after the father of the first medical doctor in Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Manuwa. May the good Lord touch he hearts of our power and business elite to touch base, yes to remember their roots – to serve humanity!

Festus Kayode Idepefo (SAN) A New ‘Taraban’
The story of the 52-year old new Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Festus Kayode Idepefo is a remarkable one for those who are still wondering about the future of this very divided country. The 1995 law graduate of the University of Lagos was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1996. For his National Youth Service Corps scheme, he was posted to Taraba state where he served at Y.N Akirikwen and Associates in Jalingo. And after the national service he stayed for three years (1997-1999) at the chambers of his principal as deputy head of chambers. He thereafter established F.K Idepefo & Co., Taraba State in 2000 till the present. He got married to a Benue citizen, Vivian, a journalist with the NTA. And on the strength of the significant Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court cases won for mostly Taraba state clients, he applied to the Supreme Court last year for the first time to be conferred with the prestigious SAN and on December 14, 2020, he was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). When Mr. Idepefo celebrated the achievement on that day in Abuja, there were more citizens, lawyers and even judges from Taraba state than from his South-west State. Kayode’s testimony is that the NYSC scheme, which ordered his steps to Taraba state in 1996 has been a channel of blessing for his career progression. And so but for the national youth compulsory service, his credentials would not have been enriched with 103 cases, out of which are 10 Supreme Court cases, 54 Courts of Appeal cases, 19 High Court Cases, and 20 Tribunal cases that handed him the laurel.

This is a strong case for preservations of national institutions that enhance our national unity, which incompetence nurtured by parochialism in governance is threatening to destroy. Congratulations, FKI, a new Taraban!

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