Dr. Comrade Dipo Fashina is 75. Hurrah! A Tribute by Adeola Soetan


Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo Jingo!!!

And suddenly, the symposium venue would be filled to the brim as many hitherto reluctant students would then rush to take their seats or stand, be it at Amphitheatre, Oduduwa hall, Awo Cafe or any of the lecture halls in Great Ife to listen to the stocky man, celebrated Socialist activist, Philosopher and great principled trade unionist and uncompromising ASUU leader.

Jingo is not the table banging activist, or a vitriolic voice that easily captivates or repels his audience. But the strength of Jingo is the strength of his conviction of his Socialist idea and the need for System Change for a better humanity. All you need to do is just listen attentively to his delivery, his unique ability to raise fundamental issues of governance and class social relations using elementary day to day practical experience of his audience as a self evident postulation for what is to be done. Then, you are literally transfigured from frustration of “nothing can be done” to “something can not only be done but are desirable and achievable through collective determination to struggle. That’s the potency of Jingo’s delivery as a a radical polemist and lecturer.

Jingo does not only attend rallies or symposium to speak eloquently, or bang table, or raise his voice to fiercely drive home his points, (no pun intended, because these are marvelous characteristics of many brilliant activists), Jingo is a painstaking organizer, trade unionist and mentor of revolutionary activists.. He is an analyst who has his facts and data ready to convince the worst enemies of his ideas.

One day during Jingo’s national presidency of ASUU, I saw him with other eminent scholars / leaders of ASUU on national TV to discuss the prolonged ASUU strike with the federal government, I didn’t know when I shouted: “Ha! Jingo, government will hear wen because Jingo and his team would have been ‘over prepared’ with facts and figures for any reasonable government to defeat them, and with Jingo, there wouldn’t be any unprincipled compromise” I told my guests. And it came to pass.

Then, days after, as the General Secretary of OAU Lagos Alumni, I suggested to the executive that we should invite Jingo to address the alumni who were already feeling unease about the strike because of the blackmail against ASUU. I got in touch with him when he was in Yola. He agreed to attend.

Then later, I got to know that he would be appearing on BCOS programme in Ibadan on a Sunday, so I decided to travel to Ibadan from Lagos to get him for a one on one discussion about our programme. I was at BCOS, Ile Akede, Ibadan, some minutes before him.

The live radio programme was about 15 minutes to commence when Jingo appeared carrying loads of books, posters and leaflets on his hands almost running towards BCOS gate to enter. Then, a pretty BCOS lady’s voice that shouted with excitement : “Wao! This is my lecturer, Jingo, coming” attracted my attention towards the gate and the two of us rushed to relief him of his loads. Jingo was surprised to see me. “Deola, so, you are here?” I replied: “yes o, because of our Lagos OAU Alumni colloquium on ASUU national strike”
“Sir, where is your car”
Jingo replied: “I packed it somewhere far from this place because of traffic hold up and I had to remove very essential documents from the car in case the car is burgled, you know I might be trailed by government agents”
That’s Jingo’s commitment to struggle for you.

Few days after, he attended our Lagos alumni programne held at OAU Guest House, Opebi. The Chairman, Mr. Sanya AWOSAN, was very happy when I informed him that Jingo was on his way.
I volunteered to go and show Jingo the way to the venue from Opebi, Lagos.
Waoh! Jingo’s red 504 car (personal car not official like your over pampered senators) was a mobile ASUU secretariat. No place for me to sit. The whole car was filled with posters, leaflets and books and other “subversive materials” to tackle and expose government insincerity on ASUU’s genuine demands.
We had to start packing the materials aside for me to have a space to sit.

By the time Jingo presented ASUU position with incontrovertible data and facts, those of the alumni guys who had misgivings about ASUU strike and those naive members who felt that government would always be right, cooled temper and we were better informed beyond “wonni wonpe” propaganda of government and its Abobakus. That’ s the strength, commitment and conviction of Dr. Dipo Fashina, aka Jingo.

On a lighter mood, I think one of Jingo’s weaknesses is his love for groundnut, boli (roasted plantain) and Fanta soft drink which he used to take in his office in Great Ife everyday.

Happy birthday to a Great Ife icon, a socialist revolutionary and mentor of activists. Hurray!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here