BOLA IGE: Remembering ‘Cicero’ @91 Posthumously – By Richard Odusanya

Chief James Ajibola Idowu Ige
Chief James Ajibola Idowu Ige
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Chief James Ajibola Idowu Ige, popularly known as Bola Ige. Uncle Bola was born on the 13th September 1930, in Kaduna the political headquarters of the northern region. Cicero was the real ‘Kaduna boy’ that some of us identified with. He was cerebral, intellectually mobile, a rare breed, one of the finest of his generation. A senior advocate of the legal profession, (SAN), ‘classic’. Bola Ige was an orator, a great mobilizer and a motivator. He was a linguist, he could speak with accurate proficiency in the three major Nigeria’s languages; Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba.

Bola Ige and Martin Luther king Jr
Bola Ige and Martin Luther king Jr

Ajibola Bọ́lá Ìgè, a paragon of excellence, a personage of several parts, who clearly was positively myriad-minded. He was an orator, a lawyer, a politician, a newspaper columnist, an author of many books. He would have been 91 years today. Sadly, he was brutally assassinated about two decades ago, precisely, on the 23rd December 2001, on the eve of Christmas. It was the beginning of the dark era of politically motivated assassination in the fourth republic. He was murdered in cold blood right in front of his amiable wife, Justice Atinuke Ige, at his home in Ibadan. Justice Atinuke Ige later died of the trauma about sixteen months after the tragic incident. “Ige dee, Ige dee ooo, Arole Awolowo Ige dee ooo.”

Chief James Ajibola Idowu Ige
Chief James Ajibola Idowu Ige

Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, Prof Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka (WS), has a very strong view about the complicity of the state in the assassination of the “Arole Awolowo”, his position validates my explosive live interview in New York eight years ago, precisely on the 21 April 2013. I was irrevocably betrothed to the idea of what could have happened. 13th February, and 13 September, are days that I look forward to with excitement. The first 13 is mine, while the September is for three special personalities. First, of them all is Cicero, second is my brother Festus Olayinka Odusanya in Boston Massachusetts who is 61 today, then my niece Regina ‘mummy’ Agom of the blessed memory, God bless her soul.


Cicero of Esa-Oke, as early as age 29 shared a global platform with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr — but today, unfortunately, many of our Nigerian youths of the same age brackets are looking for jobs now or engaging in some criminal activities or just don’t care about making positive impacts. Some are addicted to drugs, gambling, BBN and so many things pointing in the wrong direction. Part of the reasons why our youths can be referred to as “Lazy” as a teenager in the late ’70s, I was an unrepentant admiral of the great Cicero of ESA-oke. In the neighbourhood then, many calls him “Uncle Bola” I called him “Arole” and I will joyfully sing for him “Ige dee, Ige dee ooo, arole Awolowo’ Ige dee ooo.

Conclusively, as we continue to celebrate the life and time of the great Cicero of esa-oke. Permit me to use the words of Patricia Lumumba, he once said that; “Third world is a state of the mind and until we change our attitudes as Africans [ sic NIGERIANS], if there is a fourth, fifth, and even sixth world, we will be in it.” This is certainly another dimension and effort in the cognitive development of Mind Restructuring. The life of sacrifice as exemplified by the life and time of uncle Bola should necessarily be a motivation for the NIGERIAN youths.

Cicero of esa-oke, sleep well… Uncle Bola, continue to rest in grace. IJESA MODU APONADA, OMO ELENI ATEKA, OMO ELENI EWELE. OMO OWA OMO EKUN, OMO OTAPEPE OTA GOGORO…SUN REE OOO

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Richard Odusanya
@Richard_Odusanya is 9News Nigeria special guest writer on Politics, Africanism, African Emancipation and Humanitarianism

Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.

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