AJ: The city of stars
BusinessDaySunday | Author: NATHANIEL
The popular Bale Street in Ajegunle was the former home of Rotimi Ameachi, the fearless and strong willed former Executive Governor of Rivers State, who would neither bow to the Nebuchadnezzar’s’ of Nigeria, in spite of the obvious furnace of coercion, nor would he succumb to the principalities and powers of the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP); rugged and craggy in the pursuit of his ambition, was made in Ajegunle.
In the same vein, Temipre Silva, the former Bayelsa governor whose 2007 election victory was nullified by the election tribunal following a case brought to it by the opposition ACN candidate, Ebitime Amgbare; thrown out of office for three months and again came to power having won the new election ordered by the Supreme Court; bold enough to disagree with President Jonathan over the affairs of the oil rich state, and walked alone following his failed reelection bid, is another rugged product of Ajegunle.
Joseph Modupe Johnson CFR, (30 March 1912 –-15 June 1987), a radio broadcaster in the early 1940s, who later became a politician and was elected into the Ibadan District Council, and became the first and only ever non-indigene to serve as the Chairman of the Ibadan District Council at Mapo Hall.
J. M Johnson, as he is popularly call then, who later became a Nigerian Federal Cabinet Minister and served in internal affairs, later in labour and social welfare and Sports, acting twice as Prime Minister in the coalition Government, who went on to distinguished himself by resigning as the President of International Labour Organization (I.L.O) over the admission of Apartheid South Africa as member, a feat many consider as taboo in Nigeria of today; under whose administration as Sports Minister the National stadium in Lagos was built, once lived in Ajegunle. In fact, as the first Minister of Sports, J. M Johnson was going to work from his Ajegunle residence.
Samson Siasia, the former Super Eagles striker and handler, whose doggedness brought glories and honour to Nigeria and Nigerians both as a player and as a coach, was also made in Ajegunle.
Taribo West, the former solid rock of the Eagles defense, who almost bleeds to death in the colour of Nigeria during the football match between Nigeria and Sweden in the 2002 world cup co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, is a product of Ajegunle.
Jonathan Akpoborie, Emmanuel Amunike, Ifeanyi Udeze, Ikpe Ekong, these are few of the real starts out of Ajegunle. r
Football icons like: current and former Super Eagles coaches, Sunday Oliseh and Stephen Keshi respectively, Henry Nwosu, Peter Rufai, and Victor Agali; present Nigeria football stars like: Obafemi Martins, Victor Nsofo, Chinedu Obasi, Mikel Obi, Dickson Etuhu, though may not openly admit it, they however have all at one time or the other gone through baptism of football in Ajegunle which set the tone for what they eventually became in world football. Some section of Nigeria’s football fraternity actually sees Ajegunle as the “Mecca of Nigeria Football”.
In producing stars for Nigeria, Ajegunle is not restricted to the production of football stars. Ace Comedian Bright Okpocha,(aka Basket Mouth); whose mouth has brought happiness and rib cracking laughter to many both home and abroad, also had his own baptism of comedy in Ajegunle which in no small way contributed to his present status in that industry.