My Egbon, Dr Jubril Martins-Kuye is one of the finest users of the English language both in its written and spoken forms. He has a mastery of the deployment of English language and as a public speaker he may easily floor a native speaker of the language. He also excels in the use of Yoruba language and perhaps better if he is with the locals dishing out Ijebu proverbs and idioms. In short, spoken language and all genres of verbal expression are his forte.
Kuye and I struck a strong bond since I was 7 years old when my father moved his family out of his Uncle Yusuff Ogunjobi, alias Akuru Mago’s house in Igan quarters to his father’s house in Isamuro. My father’s two notable uncles in Isamuro were Pa JG Kuye and Pa Osinuga. Of course, I naturally gravitated towards Jubril Martins-Kuye who was a very brilliant pupil on the way to graduating in flying colours.
I spent most of my spare time during holidays as a secondary school student in his room. He was a bookworm even though he was also a leading socialite and a strong pillar of the Isamuro Elites founded in 1962. He also co-founded Iwoye Friendship Members a very important club which turned 60 recently.
It was very evident in his younger days as an elder teenager, which I witnessed, that he would go very far in the ladder of life given his huge brain, his unusual hard work, his very visible leadership qualities, his generousity, his very sociable and charming personality and of course his commanding use of language.
Everybody in Isamuro Quarters and indeed the whole of Ago-Iwoye city gravitated towards him. He seemed to have a magnetic pull and everywhere he went he was hailed as a leader. It was not surprising therefore that he contested and won the coveted position of the Secretary of the University of Ibadan Students Union Government in 1966/67.
We got extremely close at the University of Ibadan where he was a year ahead of me and our halls of residence were next to each other; Kuti Hall and Sultan Bello Hall.
Upon graduation in 1968, he deliberately put his flair for politics at bay; in any case there was no participatory politics until 1979 and concentrated on building businesses and financial muscle needed to give teeth to his budding political ambition.
He acquired necessary tutelage and managerial experience from Lever Brothers and thereafter went full force into manufacturing and distributive trade. He made a kill in those twin fields and progressively built a political machinery and power base rooted in both grassroots and elitism. When therefore he launched out, his massive supporters came from all classes; the rich and powerful and the poor rude mariners. Instantaneously he became a man of the people and the undisputed and indisputable leader of his locality. His political dictum like that of Indira Ghandi is ‘All politics is local’. And that worked very well for him.
Kuye remains a powerful force in Ijebu politics, in Ogun State politics and of course in national politics as a former Acting Senate President, and 2-time Federal Minister in Abuja.
At 80, the Aare Musulumi of Ogun State, the Asiwaju of Ago-Iwoye and Otunba Fesogboye of Ijebu Kingdom deserves a thunderous applause for his landmark accomplishments. For a man whose mother died while he hardly knew he was in the world, he has every cause to celebrate and lay prostrate before Allah in Thanksgiving and Praise worship.
Egbon mi atata, omo Isamuro Eriwo, Sapoku Sapo’de. I salute you sir. Agba yin aa tubo da’le.
The Jagun Oodua, Akogun Tola Adeniyi, the Irunmole. Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. August 16, 2020