Kunle Ajibade at 60: A life in journalism

By Reuben Abati

Kunle Ajibade is also 60. He turned 60 on May 28.  I really don’t know what to say about this one. He cannot sing.  He does not dance. He does not smoke.  He does not drink. He does not know how to steal or cheat.

I have known him for about 30 years and I have never caught him with a girlfriend or a side chick other than his wife. He has very naughty friends like me but he has refused to allow our shortcomings to rub off on him. I have never heard of any scandal about him, really. He has never raised his voice in anger in my presence either.

He is generally known as a gentleman and that is who he is – a humanist and a gentleman. Kunle Ajibade is the author of two books- Jailed for Life and What a country!  And a patriot – With all that this country has done to him, he and his wife have refused to quit or give up.

He was jailed for life by the Abacha government for an offence he never committed. He was not even the one they were looking for, he just happened to be in the office and they took him.  Providence came to his rescue and he has never complained since then. Kunle Ajibade is a special breed. I admire him for his strength of character, his intellect, simplicity, and self-discipline. What connects us is his intellect. 

When it comes to matters of the intellect, Kunle Ajibade is that man who will tell you as it is. He writes well. He speaks well. Cant or authority do not impress him. He is above all, a fine journalist, a bibliophile, and one of the most courageous in our generation. Ex-Guardian, ex-African Concord and one of the founders of The News and Tempo magazines, Kunle Ajibade is an icon of the journalism profession in Nigeria.

Congratulations my brother. Didn’t know you were older; now I have to call you Broda Kunle. Many happy returns, Broda mi, and to Madam – thank you and thank you for standing by this man through thick and thin.      

 

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