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Chief Ayo Adebanjo receives accolades as he launches new autobiography, ‘Telling It As It Is’

Chief Ayo Adebanjo, lawyer, journalist, elder statesman and close associate of Nigerian nationalist and statesman, late Obafemi Awolowo on Tuesday April 3, 2018 launched his autobiography titled, ‘Telling It As It Is’ at the Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The launch event which also doubles as his 90th birthday celebration featured an intergenerational panel session focused on Nigeria’s history, leadership, and lessons for national development. Participants in the panel session include historian, Professor Banji Akintoye; the chief executive officer of RED, Adebola Williams; CEO/director of‎ Heritage Alliance, Pamela Braide; and Saadatu Hamu Aliyu, with an extensive discussion on the Nigerian history, leadership and lessons for national development.

Giving the opening remark, former Commonwealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku, stated that Nigeria can only succeed on true federal structure, while adding that the author, Chief Adebanjo is a custodian and loyalist of Awolowo’s legacy.

“Our country, Nigeria, was doing extremely well when it had a true federation of four regions with each region developing at its own pace with citizens feeling proud to belong to the Nigerian country. So, we do need in Nigeria, a true federal structure. This was one of the abiding thoughts that Chief Obafemi Awolowo advocated throughout his life,” said Anyaoku.

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The 18-chapter autobiography, ‘Telling It As It Is’ is a compelling, frank narrative of politics and life spanning nine decades, seamlessly combining the author’s personal and political narrative in a very relatable, thoughtful, yet witty style.

Speaking at the event, Chief Adebanjo said that the book has been long overdue, as he appreciated all those he felt had contributed to his success in any capacity and making his dream a reality.

Maintaining that Nigeria had no reason to be poor, the Afenifere chieftain lamented that the hardship experienced across the country can be traced to the inefficiencies of those in power, even as political parties are no longer accountable to the masses.

Commending the author for his patriotism, honesty and integrity, the Asiwaju of Lagos, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, described the author as a great leader while crediting his success as Lagos State governor to Chief Adebanjo.

Other dignitaries at the event include the former governors of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel; Professor Pat Utomi; the first lady of Ogun State, Olufunsho Amosun; foremost industrialist, Rasaq Okoya; President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Nike Akande; Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Plc., Ibukun Awosika; Kessington Adebutu, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Doyin Abiola among others.

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Chief Ayo Adebanjo, one of Nigeria’s nationalists, has been actively involved in politics since 1951 with the formation of the Action Group Youth Wing. He has dedicated his life to fighting for the establishment of true federalism, restructuring, and the holistic development of the nation.

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About Chief Ayo Adebanjo

Chief Ayo Adebanjo, 89, is a renowned lawyer and politician. He was born in Ijebu Ogbu Oke in Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State on April 10, 1928. His parents were Chief Joel Adedairo Adebanjo and Salawatu Anomo Adebanjo. He started his education at Saint Saviours Primary School, Elegbaata in Lagos, between 1934 and 1935. From there, proceeded to Holy Trinity School, Ebute Ero in 1937. He was there till 1941 when he proceeded to Cathedral School in Lagos till 1943.

He worked in the Ministry of Health in Lagos briefly before his appointment was terminated. He also worked briefly in Ikorodu trading company under the employment of late Chief S.E Gbadamosi. From there he joined the Nigerian Tribune as a journalist under the late Olabisi Onabanjo. It was there that he was recruited into the Action Group as pioneer organizing secretary. He held the position from 1947 to 1953 when I proceeded to the United Kingdom to read Law.

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He entered the Council of Legal Education and was called to the Bar in Lincocin City in 1961. He then joined Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s chambers as a practicing lawyer until the crisis of the Action Group in 1966

He then went to Ghana on exile from 1966 to 1967. Thereafter, he was released by the General Yakubu Gowon government. He then joined Chief Awolowo again to form the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). After which, he went into full legal practice. He was in the UPN mobilization group as a professional. He was made to stay in Borno State for a whole year to campaign for the party. His candidate then was Paul Bassey, who is still alive. They were together in the 2014 National Conference because he belongs to minority in the North.

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