Late Bishop Samuel Olukunle Ajani would have joined the octogenarian club of 80 today but death took him away few days to the landmark celebration. But for Covid-19, his remains would have been interred last Friday in Abeokuta on the 17th but the burial had to be postponed by the family.
All these, again, confirm the veracity of the adage that “man proposes but God disposes”.
Death is a price that all mortals must pay. In his lifetime, Bishop Ajani packed a lot of activities and recorded a lot of achievements that would make it look as if three lives were packed into one single existence. His life could be sub divided into three rubrics as an accomplished Engineer, Broadcast Administrator and Clergy.
Bishop Ajani was an Engineer of note, Administrator, writer, polemicist, mentor and lover of Jesus who wanted to serve the Lord from childhood. He attended CMS Grammar School, Lagos and the Holloway College, London where he graduated from in 1969. He worked in Cable and Wireless for one year before joining the Nigerian Television Service which granted him study leave without pay to study Engineering abroad.
On his return to Nigeria, he continued with NBC TV as an Engineer. He later crossed over to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in 1978. In 1979, he was assigned to handle “Abuja Project” by his mentor, Dr. George Bako who was then the Director General. He discharged the duty excellently well and the Radio House in Garki, Abuja and the Gwagwalada station of the FRCN are testaments of his achievements then. It is instructive that Bishop Ajani may be said to have patterned his life after Dr. Bako who later emerged as an Anglican Bishop. Like him, Bishop Ajani cultivated a goatee and rose to become the Director, Technical Services for the FRCN and served in that capacity for four years.
A new vista in Broadcast administration opened for him in 1992 when he was appointed as the Executive Director of the Ibadan National Station and he served in this capacity for seven years. This was the point our paths crossed as I was drafted to serve as his Personal Assistant. For seven years, we bonded as mentor and protégé. He was a Total Quality Manager (TQM) who believed in training and re-training. Under his watch, I received in-house and external training in presentation skills, Management, Commentating and Public Relations. I also cut my teeth in boardroom strategies when I served as Secretary to the Committee of Management and got interesting insights into decision making which are still germane till today. Late Bishop Ajani favoured the consensus system. He also introduced “lateral thinking” propounded by Edward de Bono to me and even gave me a book on it in addition to enthusiastically encouraging me to give my life to Christ. Bishop Ajani was such an encourager who stood in as my father at my wedding in 1995. It was instructive that he was also the Chairman at my 40th and 50th birthday ceremonies and supported me in sundry ways.
A teetotaler who enjoyed life to the hilt and laughed loudly and heartily always, to the extent that tears would sometimes come out of his eyes.
I commend his biography titled “Let the Determined Mind triumph” to whoever is interested in finding out why he took some decisions. The biography written by Gbenga Ayeni contains details about his parents, humble beginnings, marriage to his sweetheart, Mrs Abimbola Adetomi Ajani on August 31, 1968, highlights of his trajectories and his experiences as a civil servant and clergyman.
He is survived by his wife and four glorious children including the Managing Director of African Alliance Insurance Company, Mrs Funmi Omo, Engr. Muyiwa Ajani with Shell Canada, Mrs Olufunmike Bamgbele, a lecturer with Newrickstone Academy, Witham, United Kingdom and Mr. Seye Ajani, an Information System Officer with Exxon Mobil.
As we await a new date for his burial, I join my faith to that of the multitude praying for victory over the corona virus currently holding humanity hostage. We shall indeed overcome soon in Jesus name! Amen!
May light perpetual continue to shine on the departed pillar of faith!
TRIBUTE TO BISHOP SAMUEL OLUKUNLE AJANI, 22/04/40 – 29th JANUARY, 2020