18th August, 2010
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola and the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Onaolapo Soleye, have identified hardwork, determination and commitment as the secrets behind their success in life.
Ajibola, who was the former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) made the revelation in Abeokuta during the conferment of 2010 Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award on Conflict Resolution and Educational Development by the All-Africa Students Union (AASU) on Wednesday.
The former Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK) said there was nothing extra-ordinary about the achievements recorded in life by the trio who are from the same Owu section of Abeoukta, Ogun State and have been childhood friends for over 60 years. According toÂ Ajibola, â€œNothing special, it was only hardwork, which we all learnt right from Owu Day Baptist School up to the Baptist Boys High School (BBHS), which we all attended.
“There was this poet who wrote a poem on hardwork. This was our anthem in school and we all took the poem into action and deeds. We burnt the midnight oil to pass our exams and this attitude continued as we progressed in our various endeavours both at home and abroad.â€
Ajibola in his address shortly after being conferred with the award and induction into the AASU Hall of Fame, recalled how they attempted to use local medicine to pass their exams, and added that â€œit failed us, and since then, we stuck to the poem of hardwork. This was followed by discipline, moral development which are essential in our lives and we are able to inculcate these in us.â€
Ajibola further said that his success at the Hague, where he was the President of the World Court, that â€œopened the floodgate that brought fame and money. At the Hague, I sometimes did a 100-page writing on a night and this marveled the court. Because, when I remember the poem, I always get the strength to do more, knowing full well that at the end of the day, there lies success.â€
The 2010 Kwame Nkrumah award recipient described the event as â€œone of the most important gathering that I have been privileged to attend in my life,â€ even as he commended the studentsâ€™ body for choosing him as the 2010 recipient of the award.
Corroborating Ajibola on the success they had achieved in life, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the occasion promised that there would be a time for the trio to say more about their background and the remarks made by Ajibola.
Obasanjo, who intermittently drew attention of the award recipient to one story or another during his address, described Ajibola as â€œ a childhood friend, with hardwork and determination as his goal.
â€œThere is nothing to add to what have been said, except to say that wherever he was he always wanted me to be there with him. May be we have to find time to really sit down and tell our story and all that Judge Ajibola had told you today. Yes, I mean it, we have to do it sometime, someday,â€ Obasanjo said.
Childhood friends that include the former Finance Minister, Soleye , Justice Sikiru Adagun, Prof. Alani Fabunmi and veteran journalist, Alhaji Kola Animashaun also paid glowing tributes to Ajibola in their goodwill messages.
The Nigeria representative of the AASU, Yinka Dallas hinted that Ajibola would be first Nigerian to be given the award on Conflict Resolution, stressing that the award was meant to give momentum to a set of causes. Thus the award represents a call to action.
â€œIt is there on record that Prince Bola Ajibola is a recipient of many awards from all categories of a manâ€™s endeavour (legal, health, religion, sport, community service, academic, philanthropy, etc). So, this AASU award is indeed a call to action to all of us.â€
By Biodun Onafuye/ Abeokuta