Ajakaye: A Catholic priest’s vision for Nigeria
Not many people know Felix Femi Ajakuye, the current “substantive Catholic Bishop of Ekiti.”
As a matter of fact, very many people, very, very many of our compatriots outside the Catholic Church and faith, and outside the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti would not have heard of him either. They are doing so now for the first time. Maybe, yes, maybe.
As a border-line Catholic and communicant who last appeared in Church ceremonies and events, including masses, only in the remembrance of time, I must confess whole-heartedly that the “fulfilled and happy priest” was unknown to me until very recently – yes, until very recently when his book, Beyond Ideas, a huge book of Philosophy and more, found me. When I say the book found me very recently I mean that I sighted and touched it only in early May this year. But I decided to do justice to it and its creator not long ago. And when I say not long ago, I mean during the #EndSARS protests that took and shook everywhere by storm to the joy, happiness, and fulfillment of our repressed emotions, but to the consternation and concerning fears of the repressors and oppressors everywhere about us.
On reading the book, I discovered, as I discover still, that its creator is a writer for whom I must have considerable respect for the majority of the statements he has placed in it seem to me of un-diluted validity and profoundness. He seems to me to be a writer, a priest-writer or writer-priest committed to splendid, true, and valid “peace, equality and justice” in our country and the globe. I am not doing a review of Beyond Ideas, a book that is autobiographically reflective, and reflectively autobiographical, dwelling on “religion, politics, social justice and development, sports and morality,” including other matters that should help our country to get to the promised haven of its destined greatness – if only we had the right and willing people and leaders to take and lead us there. How happily happy will Nigerians be! How happily happy!
As I have just said, I am not reviewing the book. That is not my specialty. This is why I must aver here and now that I don’t as yet have the pleasure of reading Beyond Ideas entire. But from what I have read so far this is one good book, one excellent book that nicely lacks confusion of thoughts, emotion, and vision. The book is eminently a book of virtue that all our country-men and country-women, all Nigerians, our fellow Nigerians, regardless of their respective faiths and politics should read well and digest well, to boot. Our leaders in particular should read it well and well and digest it more than well and well. I must be building castles in Spain! Yes, I must be building castles in Spain to recommend the recommendation I am recommending. Phew! How many Nigerian leaders and their hangers-on and partisans read? If Bishop Ajakaye was conscious of this fact he probably would not have written the book, and he probably as well would not have made his valid statements of condemnation of “autocracy, dictatorship and general misrule which are hallmarks” of the Nigerian state. Let me not give the impression that Bishop Ajakaye erred in writing what he has written, in stating what he has started, and in drawing the attention of Nigeria’s deaf, dumb, sightless, and un-feeling rulers to the plight of the suffering, misruled, and misgoverned people and masses. In this wise Part 2 of the book entitled “Socio-Political Issues” is apposite. It is pointless to zero-on specific chapters and examples here. What is important is that we are quite conscious of the writer’s quite conscious motives and vision that inspired him to pen Beyond Ideas.
Ajakaye is endowed with an explicit capacity for considerable understanding of human nature, with a remarkable gift of un-hallucinated vision for Nigeria. His ideas are traditional ideas of a priest, and un-traditional ideas of a man, a priest of the world. But embedded in them are ideas of a rebel and revolutionary who can pass as a rebel’s rebel and a revolutionary’s revolutionary. Generally, he concentrates his attention on the problems of the priest-writer or of the writer-priest who wants the best and nothing for the best for Nigeria and mankind. And he combines his journalistic training and skill to aver what he avers. And he succeeds. How do I know? The taste of the amala-with-ewedu soup decorated and replenished with inviting assorted meat and fish is in the tasting, eating, and swallowing of this Yoruba delicacy now gone national and global.
Have I here, in sum, gone against the grain of my promise not to review Ajakaye’s book? I think not. I have only tried to appreciate him, as already indicated, as a reflectively autobiographical and autobiographically reflective priest of ideas, whom here and now I have tried to inspect – which the #EndSARS protesters compelled me to do at the time I did – at the time I took the decision that compelled me to inspect this priest who at his appointed time will get his due recognition as a priest of priests or Bishop of Bishops. Let us faithful, borderline or no borderline faithful, don’t overlook this prophecy. As it is appositely said, once one is a Charismatic faithful he or she always remains a Charismatic faithful, according to the gospel of the faith that never fails, whether those on the other side like it or not. May we all be blessed bounteously.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.