By Abdulrasheed Akogun
Out of personal courtesy and principle, I have stayed away from writing birthday eulogy in recent times, especially with the plethora of Investigative exposé daily dragging one’s attention, coupled with some reasons, which is a discuss for another day.
However, looking back on my relationship with the Offa born birthday boy, which started on anything but a convivial note, yet he’s one of my tireless and greatest critique today, I sure wouldn’t let this opportunity slide without telling a story not many knew about the birthday boy’s fearless mien, guts and opinionated personality.
Mahmud Babatunde Ajeigbe, born 53 years ago in the city of Minna, Niger State but, however grew up on the campus of the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria is from a strong and popular offa parentage of Alhaji Bola Ajeigbe (Baba Ewe of Offa) who was a thoroughbred Technologist and 1st Life Patron of Offa Students Union and mother Alhaja Sikirat Ibiyeye-Ajeigbe who was also a successful business woman.
My first close encounter with him was sometimes around June 2015 or thereabout, when he appeared before the Ali Ahmad led 8th Kwara State House of Assembly for screening as the Commissioner nominee from Offa.
His eloquence, clarity of thoughts and dissection of the polity left no doubt in all attendees at the screening that Ajeigbe was one man to look out for in the heavily politicised cabinet of the then Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed.
So when he was posted to man the then Ministry of Information even without having media industry background or educational alignment with his posting, something which literarily amounts to square peg in a round hole, yours sincerely wasn’t disappointed, judging from his outing at the earlier screening.
Few months into his Commissionership, I was on the field investigating a story, when I got reliable Intel of the birthday boy aspiring to be the next local government Chairman of Offa LG.
I worked on the story and got it published, it obviously didn’t go down well with him and he concluded, who could this ‘hatchet’ writer “who is being sponsored to bring me down”.
He got a perfect opportunity to show his animosity against this writer and the then budding Fresh Insight brand, at the birthday and coronation anniversary of the Olofa of Offa, at the revered Kabiesi’s palace on August 10, 2015.
Fresh Insight which was barely a year old tabloid as at then commissioned a special edition in commemoration of the twin celebration, was at the palace to not only market the publication, but also boast the visibility of the tabloid and probably secure endorsements for the brand.
After successfully approaching several personalities with positive results, yours sincerely approached Ajeigbe, introduced the publication to him, did all the necessary marketing and emphasised why all sons and daughters of Offa and indeed ibolo nation should grab a copy of that particular edition, all which took no fewer than 10 minutes, he just stood up without uttering a word and walked away.
I felt insulted, slighted and embarrassed like I’d never before in my life and thus concluded that this man isn’t fit for any public office, not to talk of being the Chief marketer of a badly maligned brand, always receiving bashing from all angles.
Exactly 2 weeks after that bitter encounter, when I was still nursing the bruises, Ajeigbe requested to see me through the then Press Secretary of the Ministry, the delectable Kwara NAWOJ Chairman, Bola Olupinla, she had sleepless nights convincing me to meet her then boss, having earlier narrated the unpalatable encounter to her.
When I finally out of respect for a senior professional colleague agreed to a meeting, I was prepared to not only go and pay him back in his coin in his own den (Ministry), I was ready to go a step further by washing him down.
He welcomed me into his office with an heart melting smile and courtesy, which was a clear departure from the Offa incident and quickly offered me a seat. I was neither ready nor prepared for a friendly outing, so I stood my ground and wore the facial expression akin to that of the celebrated Ilorin born General, Babatunde Idiagbon.
He asked “how do you feel with the way I treated you at the palace”, upon hearing those words, I erupted, ready to push out all within me, before I could go on, he added ” It was intentional and definitely intended to pay you back in your own coin. That was the kind of anger, I felt when you published about my supposed Chairmanship aspiration few months into my appointment” he added.
We had 3 hours robust encounter that went from both men apologising to one another, to dissecting Kwara South, Kwara and the Nigerian Polity. As is normal with two opinionated personalities, the engagement meandered through view alignment, sharp disagreement on approaches and personalities et al.
That was how the robust relationship started, it has been one of mutual respect, frank talks, business review, partnership among others, even with our clearly and unambiguous differences of local political ideology and leanings.
Ajeigbe earned my lifelong respect when barely 6 months into office as Commissioner, he was unlike some of his other colleagues not thinking about another appointive or elective office, rather he was fixated with how he’ll go back to School for a Ph.D programme, it was then I concluded that this is comparatively not your daily politician.
He not only bagged his Ph.D., in record time from the Kwara State University, Malete in 2019. Prior to then, he held a B.Sc. in Zoology (1988), M.Sc. Animal Science (1992), MBA (2000) from several prestigious Universities within the country (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Federal University of Technology, Akure.
He has over 30 years vast public and private sector experience having served as Honourable Commissioner for Information & Communications (2015 – 2018), Special Adviser Parastatals (2018 – 2019), SSA Parastatals Monitoring & Compliance (2014 – 2015), Senior Special Assistant Agriculture (2012 – 2014) and SA NEPAD (2011 – 2012) at various times in the government of Kwara State, Nigeria.
He worked in the National Provident Fund which transformed into the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) from 1994 till 2005 when he left as a Manager.
His working experience also includes Credit & Investment Officer at the Nigeria Agricultural, Cooperative and Rural Development Bank (NACRDB 1988-1990) and Senior Analyst at First Union Mortgage (1992-1994).
In addition Dr Mahmud Ajeigbe is a Malaysian trained certified Halal Lead Auditor and Facility Management Consultant to many International NGOs, State Governments, multilateral agencies and organisations on Organisational Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation, Baseline Surveys and FM consulting.
He is a US trained certified Facility Management Professional (FMP) and Cleaning Care Professional. He is an entrepreneur and one of the pioneers of integrated Facility Management in Nigeria.
Dr. Ajeigbe is a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administrators (FICAD), Member Governing Council of Ekiti City Polytechnic, Member Board of Trustees of Halal Standards Development Trust (HASDAT), Member of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), Member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (MNIM), Member, Association of Practising Facility Managers of Nigeria (APFMN), Member Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (MNIPR) and a founding member of the Cleaning Practitioners Association of Nigeria (CPAN).
Dr. Mahmud Babatunde Ajeigbe is currently an Associate Professor of the School of Business & Management, Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) in Kampala, Uganda. He is the Regional representative for UTAMU covering Nigeria/West Africa and was Adjunct Lecturer with the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, Nigeria.
Abdulrasheed Akogun is the Publisher of Fresh Insight, he writes from Ilorin, he can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org