Connect with us


Ondo AG Ajulo speaks on reason he appointed 273 lawyer aides and why Aiyedatiwa would win the APC governorship primary



Ondo State Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Dr Olukayode Ajulo (OON) SAN

Dr Olukayode Ajulo, OON, SAN, is the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ondo State. In this interview, he discussed why he engaged the services of 273 lawyers as aides, the forthcoming governorship election in the state and other issues.

-The news media was awash recently with reports that you appointed 273 lawyers as aides, how can that be possible and what will the lawyers be doing?

It is possible, and we are achieving success on the concept. You see such an idea may look crazy but it is well-thought out; it’s a laudable legacy project that Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa is so excited about and many of our seniors are already reaching out to be part of it. This makes us even want to increase the number of lawyers.
In explaining what we are doing in Ondo State, let me admit that I am hesitant to delve into a lengthy explanation, as I believe action speaks better than words, but in a bid to make some clarification, allow me to say this; through my career, I have placed considerable importance on upholding the rights of individuals.

Consequently, upon assuming the role of the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of Ondo State, I saw no reason why I should not utilise my position to bring about the liberation of people who constitute the majority in any given society.

And I must also confess that the current number of 273 lawyers mentioned is insufficient to fulfill our ambitious agenda and various initiatives.

For further illustration, let us focus on just one scheme; out of many schemes in our 8 Points Per-formative agenda, namely the Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS); implementing this scheme alone would necessitate the involvement of approximately 200 skilled lawyers who would generously offer their services without compensation. I hesitate to delve into intricate details, but I encourage you to conduct some research on the Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS) and my unwavering advocacy and papers presented on it in the past 15 years.

It is important to note that this is just one of the schemes we are working on to bring good governance to the good people of Ondo State.

For further clarification, we only appointed those public-spirited lawyers, including some notable and respected Senior Advocates of Nigeria, as honorary advisers to assist us in promoting various reforms in the judiciary in Ondo State.

It should be noted that this noble gesture will not cost the State Government a kobo as the lawyers are not expected to receive any financial remuneration or employment advantages from the Ondo State government. The governor must be commended for his support of the initiatives.

-How are you settling into your new responsibility as Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Ondo State; it must be quite challenging switching from an activist for the people to an activist for the government?

I am pleased to inform you that I am adapting well to my new responsibilities and finding the transition to be relatively smooth.

As a lawyer, this position aligns seamlessly with my training and expertise although it was least expected. It is, however, worth noting that the constitution outlines a requirement of at least 10 years of legal experience, and I take great pride in surpassing this threshold with over one decade of legal practice.

And don’t forget that I began my career as a Youth Corps member doing the compulsory national assignment at the Federal Ministry of Justice. During this time, I had the privilege of working under the guidance of two highly esteemed and intellectual Honourable Attorney Generals of the Federation, the late Chief Bola Ige, SAN, and Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN. So, it is as if I have been primed for the job.

The main challenge for me is managing people’s expectations and demands, which are significant and sometimes disproportionate, as almost everybody in and outside the state wants one thing or another from you whereas you have limited resources and mandate to work with.

-Still, on adjustments and change, you were the National Secretary of the Labour Party before you resigned, you worked closely with former President Muhammadu Buhari and now you are a Commissioner in Ondo State. What are the major differences, ideology-wise between LP and APC, if any that made your transition seamless?

Yes, I held the position of National Secretary of the Labour Party until 2015 when I resigned in an honourable manner to focus on my professional work and explore my love for humanity. While I did not have direct working relations with former President Muhammadu Buhari, I was one of his lawyers in the Presidential Petition. Additionally, I worked as a consultant for some of his Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, as well as his aides.

Currently, I am serving as a Commissioner in Ondo State. I take my role seriously and consider it an opportunity to serve in this capacity. The lot has fallen on me to superintend the Ministry of Justice, and we are doing it with our 8-Point Agenda in tandem with Governor Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa’s aspiration to move the state forward.

Regarding my ideological affiliation with the Labour Party, it is worth noting that I made a clear separation from the party approximately nine years ago. This decision was carefully considered, which facilitated a smooth transition for me.

-Your former party LP appears to be at loggerheads with the Nigerian Labour Congress, one of its major stakeholders, what can you share with us from your time as National Secretary of LP on NLC’s claim that they own the party?

When I decided to leave the party, it was a thoroughly considered choice. I noticed certain abnormalities within the party and attempted to address them, but my fellow members were preoccupied with other matters. The current Chairman of the party, Julius Abure, and his challenger, Bashir Apampa, were both my subordinates as Assistant National Secretary and National Vice Chairman of the party respectively.

As previously mentioned, my voluntary departure from the party was a well-thought-out decision. This action may seem unusual in our political climate, as politicians hardly resign, but I did so to preserve my good reputation. I have no intention of returning to the party, nor do I wish to comment on its current affairs. I can only emphasize that the law exists and the party has a constitution to guide them. I extend my best wishes to them.

-Where should the line be drawn between LP as a political party and NLC as a labour movement with an interest in the party?

I wish both of them well. No comment, please.

-Ahead of the APC governorship primary in Ondo State, there are accusations over the West Africa School Certificate Examination of your principal, Governor Aiyedatiwa. We know the state government has stated that but for the benefit of those who missed the rebuttal, would you care about the allegations raised by by Mr Gbenga Edema, a co-aspirant of your principal?

On the matter of the certificate record accusation and the one-sided police report against Mr Governor, I kindly request that I should be allowed to cross the bridge when I get there.

However, speaking now as a lawyer, I strongly assert that the entire accusations lack any constitutional or legal basis. They merely serve as a campaign tactic aimed at diverting attention from Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa. Like I said, I don’t want to entertain it too much lest their feeble and already botched strategy gain unnecessary hype. But note that the governor was once a Deputy Governorship candidate cleared to run on a joint ticket and his election was affirmed by the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court. The issue is about the WAEC result which is a simple procedure of buying a scratch card to verify the result without making a mountain out of a molehill. I urge you to consider my position seriously and trust in its validity.

-How is your principal, Governor Aiyedatiwa balancing the art of governing the State and preparing for the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC)?

Governor Aiyedatiwa, who possesses an immeasurable wealth of experience accumulated over the years, is adeptly managing the task of governing the state while simultaneously preparing for the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress. Presently, he stands as the most seasoned politician and professional for the job, surpassing his competitors in terms of experience. I have said this at different fora, and I maintain this stance. Comparing the experience of a commissioner or an appointed government official to an incumbent governor with verifiable experiences is akin to contrasting a subordinate with a leader of a sovereign entity. The dissimilarity between a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives and a governor is equally apparent.

So, Mr. Governor is seamlessly managing the two, especially making sure that his aspirations for the development of the people and the state are not affected. His works are evident in this assertion.

-There is increasing pressure on President Bola Tinubu to restructure the country. Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo asked Tinubu to forget re-election in 2027 and rather make a new constitution that will restructure Nigeria and address the concerns of the ethnic nationalities, what is your take?

What a request. Frankly, I have a high regard for Baba, but I find myself perplexed by his statements, as his recent intentions and desires are not clear to me. Nevertheless, I extend my well wishes to Baba as well.

Credit -The Sun

Copyright © 2024 Just News.