The first civilian governor of old Oyo State, firebrand statesman, political colossus and the Cicero of Esa Oke, Chief James Ajibola Ige, would have turned a nonagenarian on Sunday, September 13, 2020, had death not cheated him abruptly on that fateful Sunday night, December 21, 2001. Death did not just cheat Bola Ige, he was cheated and shortchanged in the battle of life; robbed of fulfilling his hoary-hair years in the emancipation of the masses. The Cicero was assassinated, in the most cowardly and savage way, unthinkable of someone of his status and pedigree.
Almost nineteen years after, what remains unsettled and intractable in the events and matter of his killing is how a serving Attorney-General, who doubled as Minister of Justice, could not have justice trailing his hideous and mysterious killing!
Bola Ige’s life and times will ever linger in our memories, not only because he was and is still one of our own; but because he stood firm and tall on the side of truth, fairness, justice and betterment of life for the Nigerian masses. Bola Ige was a say-it-as-it-is man. His invaluable role in the restoration of democracy, anti-military struggles of the 1990s and consolidation and stabilisation of democratic rule in the earliest 2000s can never be forgotten.
Arole Awolowo (Awolowo’s Eldest Heir), as he was fondly called, Nigeria still owes a lot to him for Bola Ige’s farsightedness and benefit of hindsight. Most of his predictions and projections are still coming to life today. He lived great, impacted significantly, died illustrious and dearly and sorely missed.
As we wish Baba Ige a Hapy 90th Birthday posthumously, may his kind and gentle soul continue to rest in peace and may the values and ethos he lived and died for be kept immortal.