Nobility of birth, like talent or other gift can only be a blessing to a person it has been divinely thrust upon. That’s why some people are said to be born of a “lucky sperm”. However, what is more important is the resulting merit of the nobleness , not nobility itself. This lies in the necessity imposed on the noble to carry on the virtues of his or her ancestors, sustaining the vision and ensuring that history reserves a page for the dynasty in it’s book for the generation.
When Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, the ebbulient Havard trained and politically astute daughter of the legal icon, Chief Richard Osuolale Akinjide was declaring her intention to vie for the Senate seat in Oyo central senatorial district in 2011, two things struck my mind. Hatchback to that histoic period, I could recall that many people, my humble self inclusive were asking what a cerebral lawyer and apparently well heeled daughter of Akinjide wanted in Politics?, Politics, which many regarded, and still regard, as ” dirty ‘? Part of the answer to this mind boggling poser was supplied first by the legal luminary himself “when people who have made it in business or other vocations come to politics, they either want to make history or be part of history’. The response, then though not imprecise meant little to the questioners. Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide herself unclogged the issue further as she climbed the podium to explain to her constituents what has dragged her inside the murky Waters of Politics, “I am fortunate as a member of Akinjide family ‘to have a heritage of success. I am personally impassioned to make a difference for the good of my community and betterment of my generation, and to pass on the torch of selfless public service to those who are coming behind”. She added “I am certain as humanly possible that this is right choice made at the right time for the right reasons’. As events unfolded, even though she grabbed the ticket of her party to contest, but missed the opportunity to serve her people at the poll for some inscrutable reasons. Her defeat, nevertheless, did not lower her uncrushable spirit to serve as she later becme a Minister of State for FCT during President Good luck Jonathan ‘s administration where she was able to perform meritably and left an indellible mark on the sand of time. She left an after office sparkle which reminds one of what political leadership should stand for, as best captured in Babara Tuchman’s book “March of folly: from Troy to Vietnam” where she posited that “leaders who pursued policies that were neither in the interests of their nation’s or even themselves are leaders who build on Sandcastle”. Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, as we all can see and as attested to by her constituents, buillds on the solid rock. As a Minister, she pressed beyond everything objective.
One other area Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide towers above equals is in human capital development and promotion of Ethics of Caring, which moral philosophers rank as the foundation of morality and queen of virtues. The Care Ethics indeed is the granite that decorates the inner sanctum of her noble soul. Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide always strive to attain good as she believes that only good people obtain the good they desire and evi ones will not be evil if they obtain the good they seek.
One day in July, Tuesday July 2013 to be precise, at the palace of Chief of Karshi in Abuja during the top level advocacy on community based health insurance scheme, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, the then Minister of State, FCT, was taken aback and could hardly control her emotions when she met with some women who confessed they could not afford basic health care for their children and wards. Akinjide did not only promise them a health care scheme that would guarantee affordability, quality and access to the downtrodden, she ensured it crested the list of priorities of the FCT administration.
Therefore, when Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide established her foundation , ‘OAF’ she left no one in doubt that her own definition of abundance is not to maximize wealth, but having a caring heart. The foundation is committed to the alleviation of poverty and providing for the needs of the less privileged and other not too fortunate ones ‘ below the social radar ‘. It’s working full throttle till date to put smiles on people’s faces in different ways.
Through the Foundation, Olajumoke Akinjide has raised the bar as a caring leader. She has offered micro finance assistance to several individuals and women cooperatives as well as helping many caital ventures to grow. The initiative, took off from Akanran, in Ona Ara local Government where a multi million naira ICT center is sited to provide technology-driven training to the indigent youths in the community and outside. The foundation, to boot, has renovated and upgraded many schools in Ona-Ara to modern standard and has provided a window for the youths and women to sharpen their skills through regular capacity building programs. These only compliment her regular purchase of free NECO and JAMB forms for the students in the local government who can not bear the cost. . Where others see difficulty, Iya yeye of Ona Ara, as she is fondly addressed by her teeming admirers , is always on a problem solving mode. She truly cares.
One fateful day in March this year, she was confronted by one of her aides to stop giving out care to people, who according to the person, “don’treciprocate the gesture”. Her response was highly inspiring: ” I don’t care for people for it to redound to my credit or because it’s a duty, caring is not just a duty, the inclination to care is primary, while duty is secondary. I care because ‘I must’ and whoever has ceased to care is already dying slowly and will eventually die a beast, therefore, I am less bothered whether or not people I care for, care back.”.
As if the answer was not satisfactory to the young man, he pressed on by revealing to the former Minister how some politicians she sacrificed for in recent past have turned her major albatross today, trying to pull her down. To this, she replied just tersely, ‘I have forgiven all of them. Go and find out, they know I don’t have any room for malice, to me, humanity Should be a priority”
Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, the people’s champion is 60 today. She is unquestionably among the political leaders who caring for others forms the immediate Jewel of their souls. Virtue is the found where her honour springs. May she live long to contribute more to the service of the people and to humanity at large. Wishing her a happy birthday.
Isiaka Kehinde, former Special Assistant to FCT Minister of State, writes from Ibadan