On the Death of Aare Arisekola! Shall we mourn! by Oladapo Ajayi

by ahjotnaija

Mr. Oladapo Ajayi is Nigerian and Master student resident in Germany. He is the initiator of the TACTProject, a NGO practically committed to giving poor children a fair chance at education in Nigeria. He is an activist and a grassroot political and community organiser

Mr. Oladapo Ajayi is Nigerian and Master student resident in Germany. He is the initiator of the TACTProject, a NGO practically committed to giving poor children a fair chance at education in Nigeria. He is an activist and a grassroot political and community organiser

Aare Arisekola.
Indeed an elephant has fallen!
An elephant whose head I dare not lift!
Especially as a young man like me.
The head of this fallen elephant is for the elders to lift,
It is the elders who qualify to describe successfully the content of the fallen giant.
Arisekola- The Arogidigba that a child cannot covertly take care of!

Aare Arisekola.
A theme on the lips of musicians
I mean musicians of many generation.
A business mogul, father to his children,
Husband of his wives.
Friend of kings and dignitaries.

Aare Arisekola.
A renowned philanthropist for a class of people.
So if I approach the subject of Aare Arisekola with caution,
Please bear with me.

The elders say- Atari Ajanaku, ki s’eru omode!
But having acknowledged that the elephant’s head is bigger
Than what my bone that feeds on Sushi and Broccoli
On Mc donnalds burger with homemade ice cream can handle;
I will rely on the saying of the elders again-
A site of a fallen elephant becomes a confluence for all sorts of knife!

Read the rest after the cut….

God forbid that I call Aare Arisekola an animal!
God forbid he had the bitter part that contaminated the taste of any good part.
Especially when you hear the tales and testimonies of the late chief
Since he joined his ancestors few days ago.
Some wished him good rest. Some wished he never died!
So many people are telling how sweet their part of the meat was –
He got them job,
He fixed their marriage cost,
He provided resources for their first building, second or third!

The great musician called him *aso d’abora Ibadan*.

Really, the late Ibadan chief was larger than life. As a child I grew up to know that there are some rich Ibadan citizens. From Mufu Lanihun, Olowo- ti n f’owo saanu; to Adedibu and Aare Arisekola. Arisekola stood out among his peers. He cut the image of a serious personality that is only business minded. I only want to see beyond his success as a businessman and a philanthropist, to see him as a potential criminal that contributed immensely to the under-development of our society.

For few that may be confused, I will like to say that I was old enough to know that the late Aare Arisekola was almost lynched at the University of Ibadan in the 90’s due to his closeness to the late Nigerian dictator, General Sanni Abacha. He was not meant to be hated for just being a friend with the late dictator but for his betrayal of a noble cause for a selfish one. The noble cause I mean here was the June 12 mandate stolen from MKO Abiola. Aare Arisekola like Adedibu and other Nigerians sold their conscience for money and betrayed the populace, the consequence we all still live with today.

A friend wrote about the late chief’s scandalous contract with the Nigerian military during the ECOMOG war, he was the supplier of the soldiers protective kit. Rumour has it that Aare supplied inferior materials so as to maximize profit.

At least, part of the recent incidences of Aare as one of Nigeria’s problem was the revelation after the sack of Nigerian bank chiefs by the Emir of Kano HRH Sanusi. Aare Arisekola received billions of naira without collateral!

Culturally I know I am not qualified to write on Aare Arisekola and his legacies. This is clearly seen in proverb like this: Atari Ajanaku ni, won ni ki se eru omode! A child is not in the league of the bearers of an elephant’s head! It is still interesting though that my culture which excludes me on the one hand not to carry the loads of the elder on my head, will also make excuse for me if I came with a pocket knife to cut my chunk of meat, especially when the Elephant has just fallen.

It is never out of place to liken Aare Arisekola to an Elephant. He was an elephant by his height of achievements He was an elephant by the size of life he lived. He was indeed a big elephant if we check his impact on the environment he used while around.

I can only remember as far back as my imagination can reach that you only need to enter the taxi and hear the unique voice of the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister or any of his contemporaries sing praises of Aare Arisekola. If you are not a Fuji fan, there is no way King sunny Ade’s praises of Aare Arisekola won’t hit your listening faculty, not to talk of Odolaye Aremu to mention a few.

Aare Arisekola was indeed a first-class elite our society produced. I am aware that Aare has been a successful business man since the 60’s. Maybe even earlier than that.

With the many testimonies of the late businessman’s life and time, I am forced to question my opinion of who a philanthropist is. Truth be told, we cannot take away generosity from Aare’s story but can we relate his double-sided life; that side that got bank loans without collateral, and makes his son a beneficiary in the largesse of the oil subsidy the entire Nigeria still battles with.

How do we relate this dubious side to the side that is generous to young and old, friend and foes? Should we pretend not to know that Aare is not only a business man but a godfather that practically approved whoever he wished to be Governor in Oyo state. It is interestingly ironic to remember Aare as a pro-Sanni Abacha presidency.

As a matter of fact, Aare’s last spiriphilan-monument was commissioned before he died. I mean the mosque in Old-Bodija in Ibadan. The parcel of land which now house the mosque was meant to be for recreational activity in the neighbourhood. It was said that the mosque acclaimed to be built by Aare Arisekola in Iwo road was suppose to be be located in Iwo township!

Really, we need to see through the touted and medially publicised philanthropist personality in Aare Arisekola. If Aare Arisekola had chosen to live differently with the enormous political and business power he had, he definitely would not have needed to die in a foreign hospital. In fact, he would not have even needed to give so heavily to the poor because there would have been no poor to give to in the first place!