ADIEU, JULIUS OLAJIRE ADELEYE (MAN J)
What a shocking news? That such an energetic and pragmatic man at his prime, fell to the anguished hands of death ! It’s only God indeed, who can heal so many brokenhearted and binds up the emotional wounds Jiire’s death had caused his loved ones and Ekiti State.
O death, where is thy sting ? O hades where is your victory? No doubt, you’d gotten Jiire caught in your horrifying net but l dare you death, you can never erase from our memories ; his exploits, his accomplishments, his legacies and his bequests to his environment.
That a man could had patiently toed a choosen path, paid the required prices and gave the appropriate sacrifices but only for death to snatch him away when the fruits of such labour was about or just started pullulating, what a tragic! what a calamity! what an unfair terrestrial arrangement ! what a celestial order ! …. But who are we to query God ? This kind of devastating blow as Jiire’s death often compounds human whacks at unravelling the very many mysterious realities of life, death inclusive.
How do we explain the rationality of stopping a mortal at the hedge of his or her breakthroughs?
What a mystery to untangle ? A man who had twice escaped death by whiskers, only for his sojourn to be halted at the gate of golden fleece.
Jiire’s death reminds me of the ugly incident that ensued when supporters of Ayo Fayose violently halted the campaign team of Kayode Fayemi in Ado Ekiti, few days to the Y2014 governorship election in Ekiti State. Jiire, a volunteered driver of the vehicle branded Asiwaju Grassroots Foundation (AGF), Ekiti State chapter, a bus donated by my humble self to Dr Kayode Fayemi Campaign group. It was in an attempt to hurriedly escape the violent attacks of the opposition at the tumultuous scene that the bus crashed into a stationed object and it took a divine intervention for Jiire and others in the bus to come alive of the bus, with varying degrees of bruises and wounds. This was one of the many risks Jiire had taken in the course of his political career and in pursuit of personal ideals, philosophy and conviction.
Man J, was one among the very few political nimble, who was ever consistent, loyal, committed and frantically glued to the course and dictates of political leanings, he was never mentioned among the political monkeys jumping from one political tree to another, even when his political camp got heated up by seemingly intolerant opposition, he was among the tough elements that weathered the storm.
In 2012, Jiire, Otunba, Kasali, Lawal, Albert, JOBA and other crops of energetic, dynamic and progressive minded youths in Ekiti liased with other vibrant youths headed by Ade Afonja accross the South West States, flouted a socio-political group called Asiwaju Grassroots Foundation (AGF), a group that was eventually structured by members from all the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, a body of young and old democrats and progressives promoting and canvassing the political ideals and philosophy of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The bulk of the financial burdens of the Ekiti State chapter of AGF became rested on my shoulders and that of JOBA, though with commendable supports from late Rt Hon Funminiyi Afuye, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and other prominent leaders. Infact, Jiire was the pioneer Secretary of Ekiti State chapter of AGF while Otunba Adeleye Akintola was the Chairman, who eventually took over the mantle of the National Chairmanship from Akambi Ade Afonja of Lagos State chapter.
Unfortunately, just like the tragic demise of Jiire two days ago, Otunba Adeleye Akintola, the face of AGF was invited by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibajo, on the 7th day of November, 2018, to come and deliver a paper at a program scheduled for progressives in Victoria Island, Lagos. On that fateful day, while he was heading to the venue, he intimated me of his movements, added that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed, for the first time, had just fixed an appointment with him and that he would be at my office after the day program to have necessary briefing on the important appointment. Behold Otunba was never to return alive from the special occasion ; he actually delivered his paper but as he was rounding off, he slumped from the rostrum and gave up the ghost before he could get to the nearby hospital. It was a case of a light dimmed at the commencement of its brightness.
Five years after the tragic loss of Otunba, when preparations for inauguration of Bola Tinubu as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria were ongoing, hoping that ample opportunities of better political relevance were already knocking at his doors, when we thought he shall sooner be opportune to narrate his ordeals and several political sacrifices that culminated the new dawn, the past efforts Jiire and others had made and perhaps lay solid justifications for commensurate political dividends for these vibrant minds, death struck and took away one of the foot soldiers of the progressive course again.It was like hitting the progressives in Okemesi Ekiti below the belt again.
Aside his active involvement in the Asiwaju Grassroots Foundation, Jiire did actually played prominent roles in the progressives fold in Ekiti, from Alliance for Democracy, to Action Congress, to Action Congress of Nigeria and to All Progressives Congress, all through the political journey, he neither defected nor derailed. Last year when Jiire was appointed a Supervisor in his Local Government, l thought it was a stepping stone to a greater political appointment for him.
My plead to the political class is that Jiire sacrifices should not go in vain. Julius Olajire Adeleye, Man J, farewell, beloved one.