What comes to my mind when I learned about the demise of Honorable Kehinde Ayoola was that Oyo State and Yoruba nation at large had lost a great thinker, leader and activist without bitterness. I never believed he saw himself as a politician but a change agent who used his “pen,” and his connections to influence social change. He was a great mentor, an excellent community organizer who was intellectually deep with mature interpersonal and political temperament.
Throughout his life, Ayoola’s currency is not money or pecuniary gain. However, he traded on his integrity, interpersonal relation and service to humanity. His thirst for knowledge is unequal, and that did reflect in his contribution to all topics. He was known as a versatile contributor, critical thinker, and effective communicator, adept at building cohesive relationships even with his opponents.
My rough encounter with Egbon Kehinde
I used to debate like President Trump in those days where I go rough, tough and personal against my opponents. When I tried my style with Hon Kehinde Ayoola, he was never bitter, but his demonstration of love towards me after the rough debate and his advice influenced my change of pattern ever since.
Towards the 2015 gubernatorial election builds up in Oyo State, Mayor Isaac Brown invited us to his popular program. I was a spokesperson for Team Akala; Hon Ayoola was the campaign Director General Engr. Seyi Makinde while Hon. Asimiyu Alarape was the DG for Senator Teslim Folarin.
In one of our debates, I know him very well and what he could do with his analytical and communication skills when it comes to political debate. At that point, the only way to prevent Hon Ayoola from taken the total control of the discussion was to make him angry. Of course, my game plan worked out well, yet his guidance after the debate made me a better person. With this personal encounter, I am in a better position to attest to the fact he was a mentor, leader, a great thinker and activist without bitterness
I hope the Oyo State government will immortalize him and give him the honour he deserves even in death.
Rest on Comrade Ayoola
Dr Oludare Ogunlana writes from Texas, USA