Former Aviation Minister and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK), has alleged that the Labour Party governorship candidate in Lagos, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (GRV), hailed from a family of Sierra Leonian slaves.
Fani-Kayode took to his verified Twitter page on Friday to share an epistle he termed as the governorship candidate’s family history, which according to him, is important for the sake of future generations.
FFK went down history lane in his epistle to fault GRV’s claims that his grandfather was the third Nigerian to become a magistrate or a judge.
The former Minister explained how his paternal grandfather, Victor Adedapo Kayode, became the third magistrate in 1939 after the likes of Olumiywa Jibowu (first Magistrate in 1931) and Adebiyi Desalu (second Magistrate in 1938) had enjoyed the honour.
According to FFK, the Lagos State Labour Party governorship candidate’s grandfather, Akinwunmi Rhodes Vivour, was very junior to the first, second and third magistrates listed in his ‘history book’.
He further claimed that GRV’s grandfather never went to any University before being called to the Bar and that he descended from a family of Sierra Leonian slaves.
Read Fani-Kayode’s full epistle below:
“History is important and for the sake of future generations, we are constrained to set the record straight.
Contrary to what young Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Lagos state, told the world in a television interview a few days ago it is NOT true that his grandfather was the third Nigerian to become a magistrate or a judge.
The facts are as follows.
Olumuyiwa Jibowu was the first Nigerian to become a magistrate in 1931, and then Adebiyi Desalu followed him in 1938.
Adetokunboh Ademola was the third in 1939, and then came Victor Adedapo Kayode (my paternal grandfather), F.E.O. Euba and George Frederick Dove-Edwin in 1940. F.O. Lucas was appointed in 1941.
These were the first Nigerians to become magistrates, and virtually all of them went on to the higher bench and did exceedingly well.
They all came from highly distinguished stock and well-educated families whose noble ancestry can be traced back for hundreds of years before them and who formed the elite upper class and ‘creme de la creme’ of high society in their day.
To top it all most of them went to the top Universities in the world to study law, namely Oxford and Cambridge, before being called to the British bar.
They also all practised law in the Lagos colony and were regarded as being amongst the top indigenous lawyers of their time before being invited to the Bench.
Rhodes Vivour’s grandfather, Akinwunmi Rhodes Vivour, was very junior to these men.
He was not appointed as a magistrate until almost twenty years after Jibowu in 1950, he never went to any University before being called to the Bar, he was not appointed as a Judge until 1964, and he descended from a family of Sierra Leonian slaves.
As a matter of fact, in the context of the Rhodes-Vivour family, the name “Vivour” derives from the word “Survivor” after their ancestors were freed from slavery by the British whilst they were being shipped overseas as slaves.
They were then returned to Sierra Leone as free men and women. I have immense respect for this family, but if truth be told, that is their heritage regardless of how much they attempt to hide it or how well they have done since then.
We must not allow anyone to distort or revise history in the name of politics.
When the likes of Rhodes Vivour attempt to look down on or denigrate the roots of other Yorubas or Lagosians, he must be reminded that, unlike his, the majority of them did not derive from a family of slaves.
Unlike the Rhodes Vivours’ their ancestors were at least all born free. They were never slaves and never needed to be emancipated from slave traders.”
This article was originally published on Naija News
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Author: Richard Ogunsile