Tribute to Ade Ipaye, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria

 

Many have done valiantly, but you………are brilliant!!!
In this age when sirens of the rich and powerful disturbs all in the name of ego and power worship, it is heartening to know that there are still humble, powerful Nigerians in the present corridors of power. Ade Ipaye, a name unknown to many, is a paradox of humility, going by what a facebook user posted to celebrate Ade’s birthday. Enjoy the read:

Tribute to Ade Ipaye, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria
Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?
DATELINE was Dublin. It was the second day of the International Bar Association Conference. We had finished the programme for the day. Ibrahim Lawal, my brilliant aburo, joined Mr. Adeola Ipaye and myself to walk back to the hotel. On our way, Ibrahim saw a Clarks shop. “Sir, I hope you don’t mind going ahead to the hotel alone, I want Otunba to assist me to check out a pair of shoes”. Ibrahim was shocked when Mr. Ipaye asked whether it was a criminal offence for him to follow us to the shop.
And followed us he did. He waited patiently whilst Ibrahim picked and tested up to a dozen pairs. He advised us on subtle differences in leather, in soles and other fine details of shoes. Ibrahim was amazed. “Are you sure Mr. Ipaye is really the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Lagos State?” I nodded.
That’s Mr. Adeola Abdulrahman Ipaye for you. Gracefully simple. Mentally brilliant. Physically Lithe.
Ipaye is one of those rare names that you don’t see without a qualifying adjective. Hardly will you ever hear someone mentioning his name without a prefix. You either describe him as brilliant Ade Ipaye, or diligent Ade Ipaye, or disciplined Ade Ipaye, or punctual Ade Ipaye or industrious Ade Ipaye, or God-fearing Ipaye, or dedicated Ipaye.
Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?
It has been said, as a general rule of thumb, that there are at least five persons that one would meet during the course of their life that would have a lasting impact on them. For me, Adeola AbdulRahman Ipaye is undoubtedly one of my five.
By now, you know that I wrote my first degree thesis on tax. What you may not know is that Mr. Ipaye supervised the essay. But that’s not even the story. After I had submitted what I considered a seminal work by my own standard, Mr. Ipaye called me and asked me whether I had checked this book, read that book, reviewed that legislation, compared this jurisdiction with that jurisdiction, etc. To each of the questions, the answer was a slow movement of my head from left to right. He then handed me a file of materials. That’s Mr. Ipaye for you. Painfully detailed. Painstakingly thorough. Only the best is good enough.
That’s not the end of the story.
Years after that project, Mr. Ipaye became the Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Taxation and Revenue. That’s still not the end of the story. I was also appointed as Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Taxation and Revenue! That’s still not the end of the story.
The end of the story is actually the begining. Now, what you may not know is that the title of the thesis that Mr. Ipaye supervised is A CRITIQUE OF PERSONAL INCOME TAX ADMINISTRATION IN LAGOS STATE!
Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?
As the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ipaye was the only cabinet member without a police escort. By choice. With him, there is no protocol or bureaucracy. No need for a formal appointment to meet with him. He had concluded many meetings on the corridor of the fourth floor of Ministry of Justice with people who ‘just bumped’ into him.
Mr. Ipaye is not a boss. He is a leader. Many visitors to my office were usually shocked whenever he walked in to drop a document or asked for a file. He’s never an Emperor to summon you to his court. No airs! No frills!
Mr. Ipaye is a stickler for rule of law and due process. When we passed the Lagos Road Traffic Law, many people were caught on the wrong side of the law. I remember a particular elderly family friend of Mr. Ipaye. He approached the Attorney General to assist him to ‘speak’ with the then Commissioner for Transport, Comrade Kayode Opeifa. Rather than call his colleague, Mr. Ipaye brought out his cheque book and paid the fine.
When Jacob Zech invented the clock in 1525, he must have had Mr. Ipaye in mind. He is punctual to fault. It is not an exaggeration to say that you could set your timepiece with Mr. Ipaye. He is that punctilious.
On a trip back from the Supreme Court for one of our many court appearances, our flight was delayed. We finally left Abuja Airport by 10pm. It was raining when we got to Lagos. The plane could not land. The two nearest airports, Ibadan and Benin, had no facilities for landing at night. The fuel was low. The pilot decided to fly to Port Harcourt. We finally got back to Lagos by 1am. I swear on my honour, Mr. Ipaye was at his desk before 7am.
Many people do not know that Mr. Ipaye is a very humorous person. His sense of humour is simply awesome. You remember Ibrahim and his Clarks shoes? Months after the trip to Dublin, Ibrahim came to see us in Lagos. On seeing him, Mr. Ipaye observing that Ibrahim was putting on the shoes exclaimed: “Ha! Mr. Clarks!” He’s that witty!
As cool as cucumber? Then you haven’t met Mr. Ipaye. It ought to be as cool as Ade Ipaye. He is always calm, cool and collected. Always a gentleman. I worked closely with him for the two terms he served as a high-ranking Cabinet Member in Lagos ExCo; I never witnessed Mr. Ipaye losing his cool for once. He never raised his voice at any of his subordinates. Both in court and in office, his tone is always measured and respectful.
You remember Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge which has become the iconic symbol of Lagos State? It didn’t come without litigation. At one particular hearing, the lawyer on the other side informed the court in his characteristic flamboyant manner that the State had sent hired assassins after him. He went on and on! When it was Mr. Ipaye’s turn to respond, in three short, graceful sentences, he dismissed the flippant accusation as a non-issue. It was a classical dismissal.
Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?
Mr. Ipaye inspires me to an unimaginable degree. He supported and still supports me far beyond what I could have ever asked for. When the Government asked our Office to review the revenue laws of Lagos State, Mr. Ipaye handed me the assignment. On the day I presented the report of the review to the State Revenue Stakeholders Meeting, BRF commended Mr. Ipaye for a job well done. Immediately Mr. Ipaye told the Governor that it was Lanre’s solo effort. People who were not greeting me before greeted me that day. I added one foot to my height!
Today I join hundreds of people you have influenced and inspired to wish you a heartfelt birthday. Thanks for transforming our dreams into realities. Thanks for being a friend and a mentor.
This is Almighty Allah’s covenant with His Prophet (PBUH). As you mark your birthday today, I pray the same covenant for you. _“God has promised you many future gains, and He has given you these in advance; and He has restrained the hands of men from harming you, so that it may be a sign for the believers…And there are yet other gains which are still beyond your grasp, but which God has already encompassed for you; for God has power over all things:”_ Quran 48: 20-21 (Chapter of Victory)
Happy Birthday, Sir!
Culled by Sesan Adeboyejo, a facebook user, from Footprints on The Rock – Autobiography of OLANREWAJU, the Boy from Ile-Ife

 

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