Prince George Olusesan Ajewole of
the Asedo scion from Efon-Alaaye, Ekiti State has attained the golden age of
70. This calls for celebration considering the impact he has made in many lives.
Baba Aje, as he is fondly called, is a teacher of teachers; a sculptor that has
trained many sculptors, a printer per excellence and a writer who is a role
model to many writers.
Baba Aje’s humble life must be
unfolded like a book. His gentle carriage makes it almost impossible to discover
him at once; you have to study him over time to know him. A school of thought
asserts that creative individuals interpret their thoughts in just a single
artistic tilt, but Baba Aje surpasses such school of thought. He is dexterous
with the four requisite skills of communication namely; reading, writing,
listening and speaking.
The deft of his writing skills is
evident in his many books in both Yoruba and English Languages namely “Eni bimo oran”
published by Evans
publishers in 1980; “Ogedengbe
published by Heinemann Educational Books in 1986; “The Big Catch”, 2002; “Kile to pa Osika”
2003; “Igbeyin Lalayo N Ta” 2005; “Peke ko gbodo gbin”
2010; and “Casting Spell”
2012 all by Extension
Publishers. I was delighted to hear his book, Igbeyin Lalayo N Ta,
literary meaning, ‘The Happy End of a player’,
being read to millions of Yoruba listeners on Eko FM 107.5 in 2014 by Fatai
The contribution of Baba Aje to Nigerian
literature is huge. I make bold to say, however that Baba, like many home-based
writers, has suffered from the challenges of publishing in Nigeria. These
challenges include; poor distribution networks, excessive lobbying to enlist
books into pedagogic curriculum, self-publishing/non-payment of royalties to
authors, to mention just a few.
Baba Aje associates with the
movers and shakers of the Yoruba writing community. Many of the renowned
players in that literary space are his associates. As a new historicist, I
worked on Madam Tinubu
by Prof Akinwunmi
Isola. It was through Baba Aje’s help that I was able to have a chat with Prof
Akinwunmi. The only way of punishing oneself is not to speak out to Baba Aje.
If he knows the challenge, solutions would be provided at all cost.
Baba Aje is a family man per
excellence. His impartation of the arts on his family is evident in his wife of
many decades, Mama Christiana Ajewole, and his children who have imbibed
various form of arts including photography, sculpturing, drawing, weaving,
tailoring, painting and carving regardless of their course of study. This trait
is rare in this age when everyone believes solely in Western education while
neglecting indigenous crafts that are substitute for non-oil exports.
Beside his biological children,
Baba has fathered and still fathers many adopted sons and daughters who have
gone through his tutelage to become renowned writers and sculptors. Baba Aje and his dear wife are magnanimous to
those who reside around them. The open door policy of the Ajewoles made many
children in the neighborhood find solace in their house most especially in the
evenings and particularly on Sundays. The family has also provided
accommodation to the many friends of their children at various times including
during National Youth Service Corps (NYSC); Post graduate studies, all in
Ibadan where they reside.
A devout Catholic, and member of
the Church of Ascension, Bodija, Ibadan, he has been involved in the modeling
of statues for different parishes around the country. This is the only thing
that I know has caused separation between him and his family. Asides the church,
he has made doors, household furniture and other interior design have been used
to create exquisiteness in many architectural masterpieces. Some of these are
Traditional Chairs for the Alaafin of Oyo sponsored by Chief Latoosa, Sleeping
Lions at Ijero-Ekiti and the modeling of statuses for Chief Obasa and his
parents at Ijero Ekiti amongst others. He has customers across all societal
Baba Aje, the grounded artist,
was born on the 1st
of January. This is quite significant because,
it is a sign of purpose from the onset. He launched into action from the
beginning of life and through thick and thin, he and his wife had weathered
many storms and in retirement, they have refused to lose sight of attainment.
Baba Aje has come, seen and is still conquering as a worthy player in the game
of life. He has sown great seeds into the future. I wish him many more years of
great impartation to Efon-Alaaye, Ekiti State, where he is a crown prince; Ibadan,
Oyo State where he resides and to everyone who wants to tap from his wealth of
knowledge. Hurray, Baba Aje is now a septuagenarian.
5th January, 2015