K-Rad And A Preparation For This Hour By Johnson Amusan
I felt as if I was walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial. – Winston Churchill_
By 2018, there must be a change of guard in Osun. The reason, therefore, Osun is currently on the match again in search of a veritable candidate to take the baton from the current governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.
What is unique about the race this time is that, apart from the opposition, the party in the saddle also wants to reproduce itself in another candidate that will continue when the current governor ends his tenure in 2018.
Of course, the usual trend, so far, in most states is for a governor to select, apparently, his favourite for people to vote into power. This, however, has never been the experience in Osun. Even the inimitable Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, despite his popularity, passed through the crucible of a primary election for him to emerge as the candidate of the party for the second term election. The essence is that, in Osun, it is not a norm for a candidate to emerge without the common seal or stamp of the delegates in a people’s primary.
In taking note of this democratic ethos, some have shown interest while others are also gearing up or still gauging the moods of the public and the electorates in particular. However, one aspirant who has boldly thrown his hat into the ring is Mr. Kunle Rasheed Adegoke, widely known as K. RAD – the epithet that has stuck to him as fish to water.
I have found it rather difficult to write about K. RAD. This is not because I do not know what to write. The question is: how does one write about his sterling qualities; his passion for progress, his doggedness and commitment to the general good and his innumerable good deeds without being accused of sycophancy?
Perhaps, there is no better an auspicious time than now to tell the story to the world of a man who has had footprints in the sands of time. Kunle Rasheed Adegoke, as a young person then, had developed an insatiable capacity for reading and set off early as a Marxist-Leninist. He had company in his elder brothers and friends whose influence sharpened his intellectual development and his inquiring spirit; with particular hatred for oppression, exploitation and poverty but a burning quest for a revolutionary change in Nigeria. He was admitted into a Marxist-Leninist Movement at a very young age in the fifth form in the secondary school. By the time he was to leave secondary school, K. RAD had read such texts as State And Revolution and Communist Manifesto, both by Karl Marx; and Engel’s Dialectics of Nature, among others. Through reading those books, he became aware of the injustices that characterise the life of man. He discovered the slave-master relationship that exists between governments and the governed, between the masses and the ruling class. He saw that society is highly unjustly stratified between the haves and have-nots. He discovered that workers are placed at the lowest rungs of the ladders of the economy, due to no fault of theirs, while the employers who do no work, except providing the capital, live like kings. He felt something had to change and he wanted to be part of that change.
Mr. Kunle Adegoke’s father was an Aso Oke merchant who also produced the traditional wear in large quantities. Kunle also joined in the making of Aso Oke. He was adroit at it but each time he was by the ancient wooden handloom, what usually occupied his mind were the books he had read and how to resolve the contradictions he had noticed in society. Like it happens to many youngsters who have dreams, his childhood dream was to be a journalist with a pen oozing vitriolic diatribes against oppressive establishments and reactionaries. He believed just like Nguigi Wa’ Thiongo that “The pen might not always be mightier than the sword; but used in the service of the truth, it can be a mighty force.” But fate had a different agenda for him. Today, he is a lawyer but still not a lover of the oppressive class.
Apart from his academics, K. RAD’s days in the university were marked by successful political forays such as emerging as Secretary General of the Students’ Union, Unilorin (1991-92); Secretary of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) for Zone C (1991 – 92); Secretary of NANS Convention in OAU Ile-Ife in 1994 and Chairman of NANS Convention, ABU Zaria in 1995; all in which he was adjudged to have performed excellently well in mobilising and conscientising student colleagues. It must be mentioned that it was not all rosy at school for K. RAD. He faced a number of challenges as a student activist but he did not allow them to deter him from his academic goal while he did not relent in his commitment to the socio-political struggle in Nigeria as he participated actively in the June 12, 1992 struggle. As an undergraduate in Unilag, he was a firebrand law student, challenging lecturers in the class on authorities and precedents. He became famous for excellence, assiduity, determination and hard-work. He did not only leave the Law School in flying colours but he has also turned out to be a successful lawyer.
As a practicing lawyer, K Rad has driven into his practice his attributes of deep sense of commitment to purpose, hard-work, honesty and unwavering quest for excellence. A lazy bone is discovered at his duty post. K Rad had fallen seriously ill one day when he arrived from his office. A doctor attended to him, gave him some medicine and asked him to rest while he was receiving drips. He had a court proceeding to attend the next day. Unless he would incur the wrath of the Judges of the Election Tribunal who tolerated no delay to achieve the ends of justice, he would have to personally attend. The alternative was to seek an adjournment of the case which could affect the attitude of the Judges to his client who was already receiving the benefit of service in the House of Assembly of Lagos State. K. RAD was, therefore, between the devil and the deep blue sea. It took a sedative secretly administered by his doctor with the concurrence of his wife to keep him out of court while the matter proceeded with the help of a junior counsel the following day.
In school, K. Rad was not just a student activist but was also a problem solver and a highly mobile student soldier who was always ready to rally round comrades who were in distress – and he needed not to have known you. In and out of the university, his political activism had brought him into collision with the state and authorities to the extent that he had several times been cast into detention and severally paid the prize of expulsion for the ideology he treasured in defence of humanity. What however interests me was that throughout all these difficult periods, K Rad was always smiling, cracking jokes and was never downcast. Over the years, I have watched him and I have come to see in him a man whose courage is characteristically strengthened in the face of adversity.
At close quarters, I have also come to know that Kunle Rasheed Adegoke has grown to experience God and has become very devout in His service as he says that God answers prayers if we call upon Him. He more often than not attributes his success in life to God’s grace. If he is capable of so many things, one thing he is incapable of is evil, for he believes, just like a philosopher, that the presence of God in a man’s life is his conscience. He is a man with the heart of love. He does not only have the fear of God but he also has respect for man. He does not discriminate between the lowly and the rich, neither does he relate to people based on religion or ethnicity. He tries as much as possible to meet people equally. To him, philanthropy is one of the injunctions of God as a service to humanity, without which life worth living is incomplete. He has been the light to the dark arena of many and the shoulder which has sustained their slipping clothes.
For his present pursuit to be the next governor of the State of Osun, many have come to ask the questions: what political post has he held before? Does he think governorship is a cakewalk? Is this not too high a mountain for him to climb? How does he want to handle the uphill task? All I would say is that from the foregoing, it should be clear now that K Rad is known for challenges and he has never run away from them. It may be pertinent to note that one thing that sustains Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s legacy till date is his intellectual contribution to the political space of this country. Whereas Awolowo was never known to have held a political office before becoming the Leader of Government Business and later, Premier, in the whole of Western Region of Nigeria, it is indisputable that dead or alive, no politician has been able to match this feat. In fact, many of Awo’s hardened enemies are still using his intellectual bequeath, especially his books, as a guide to charting their political routes. I wish to say that I can see another ‘Awo’ in K. RAD in terms of the intellectual and developmental flavour that he will personally add to the politics of Osun. He does not only have a clarity of thought but also a prolific proclivity for writing. He is highly cerebral and can function anywhere, hence, he can take the state to higher grounds.
Kunle Adegoke is straight as a pole in all that are important. He is a revolutionary in words and in deeds. He seeks truth and acts truthfully. He does not throw punches of words without backing them up with action or hard evidence. He would not make promise he would not keep. He is one person whom you can keep your life with and do not have to look back to see whether he is tending it or not. He is a man of history, a product of historical struggle. It will be difficult for him to lose the sense of the essence of that history. In other words, he knows that history can make a person while it also has the capacity to mar a person. A man who is aware of this fact will not want to wrong history.
But just as Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, said in his column in the Daily Sun of Friday, Nov. 9, 2012:
_Well, people can believe whatever suits their fantasies, but it often does not change the truth. As Buddha said, “three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” Or as Winston Churchill declared: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”_
*Johnson Amusan is a former Student Union President and Ex-Vice President of NANS (National Affairs)