I am a proud product of Ajegunle….a land of opportunities. I was born, bred and like we say “buttered” in Ajegunle…a land of equals and equality. I like AJ die…I be serious Ghetto Soldier. ….Because all fingers are not equal, God had to create places like Ajegunle. We are not all fortunate to be born with a silverspoon. Some are born without a spoon not to talk of the quality and colour called silver hence, they have to vigorously and rigorously work very hard to create, make or buy their own spoon…and by divine arrangement silver or even gold.
Many of the world’s super personalities are from ghettos if you still choose to call Ajegunle so….If you doubt find out! Ajegunle is a land of talents. A land of challenges. A land of transformation. A land that teaches. A citadel of learning. A land of courage and determination. A land that builds. A land of heroes and heroines. A land for all. A land that is best described as miniature Nigeria….and above all a land made by God.
Ajegunle aka AJ City in the last one year has been characterised by street fights and area fights. Those who fuel these fights are cultists, idlers, fraudsters, scammers and those who don’t see the rich potential of greatness through genuine hardwork. I mean serious criminals who understood that should peace reign they will run out of business. They don’t have the blood, passion and zeal of Ajegunle in them….Yes, the blood of Ajegunle is the pump, push and pull to be legitimately great. It is looking at the successful, the high and mighty, the rich and royals…and the captains of industry outside the “walls” of AJ City to beat your chest and say, I must be one of them through genuine, decent and pure hard work….not crime!
The sponsors and patrons of street fights in Ajegunle open up joints, pubs and nite clubs all over the places.
They sell Indian hemp secretly in their hideouts turned beer parlours and pepper soup joints. They groom teenagers whose parents can not cater for them. They recruit school dropouts.
They deliberately foment trouble through their agents to create chaos which pave way for looting, “obtaining” of passersby, burgling shops and houses, stealing laptops and phones from cars….and so on.
Most of these mayhem are turned into street fights which leaves youths dead and make life uncomfortable for residents. Sadly, the police are accomplices in these troubles. They make arrests and later free the suspects whom they feed with information about those who requested and facilitated their arrest. This act fuels the crisis as it becomes a recurring decimal.
No month passes by without a tale of Goriola vs Nosamu….Opaleye vs Agugu….Ogbenwankwo vs Layinka and so on.
Hardly can you find a 17-year old street fighter who does not own a UTC knife, an axe or a gun. The gathering of youths is now a forum for cultists and cultism. Ajegunle is being defaced, deformed and desecrated. Ajegunle is being dragged in the mud.
This same Ajegunle used to be the home of celebrated footballers. This same AJ City produced Henry Nwosu, Monday Odiaka, Sam Nwobum, Christopher Anigala, Samson Siasia, Tarila Okoronwanta, Christopher Zibor, Adebowale Ogungbure, Benard Okoronwanta, Taiwo Enegwa, Emmanuel Amunike, Albert Ekeh, Ikpe Ekong, Christopher Edem, Peter Neketein, Muisi Ajao, Fela Tom-Dollar, Segun Ekure, Timi Okponya, Alfred Omoefe, Moses Adiku, Jamiu Ajao and Junior Lokosa among others.
This same Ajegunle was home and breeding ground of ace musicians. We had Daddy Showkey, Daddy Fresh, Marvelous Benji, Flektaman, Baba Fryo, Danfo Drivers, Oritsefemi, Baba Adugbo and Ekwe Sample among others.
Ajegunle produced iconic personalities like Maj-Gen Dominic Oneya, Brig-Gen Raji Rasaki and ace actor turned Pastor, Charles Okafor among others. We cannot count the number of high profile and frontline lawyers, medical doctors, engineers, pilots, scientists, administrators and politicians who are products of Ajegunle.
Today’s Ajegunle is different from the AJ City we used to know. We now watch on social media street fights where bottles, axes, knives, machetes and guns are on display. We watch women and children scampering for safety as stones are hurled from one end of a foot bridge or street to another. We watch girls (oh sorry, slay queens) in pubs and clubs as strippers or strip-dancers. This certainly is not the Ajegunle we used to know.
Something urgent needs to be done for Ajegunle to rediscover herself.
Ajegunle has to rediscover her lost glory. This is my little contribution in this regard as I hope to do more as the opportunity or privilege arises or permits. Ajegunle must not be left in the hands of criminals. All true Ghetto soldiers should arise now to rebuild AJ City….
My heart bleeds seeing those videos on social media. Ajegunle is fast turning a war zone!
By Desmond Ekwueme