There is a way nature prepares a man to fulfill his vision and purpose, and in most cases, it is often the hard knock way. It is always full of thorns, name calling, but at the end, the world celebrates such men.
Such it is for Adekunle Rasheed Adegoke, aka K-Rad, the Osogbo born radical lawyer who has declared his intention to vie for the governorship of Osun State. Many of his teeming followers are quite enthusiastic about his candidature as he represents their dream governor, young, swave, intelligent, crowd puller, and someone who had been there in the battle field and knows what it means to be involved in popular struggle.
As a student, Adegoke was at the fore front of political struggles since the days of June 12, 1993 believed to have been won by the late Chief MKO Abiola. He belongs to the category of the young men who sacrificed their all for Nigeria to attain democracy. Such youths were then considered to be too young to hold political office. But now, the chicken has come home to roost. The young man of yesterday has become politically matured, and he is ready again to fight for better life for his people.
K-Rad as he is popularly called has seen it all. He is a battle tested soldier of popular struggles. From Osogbo Grammar School where he did his advanced levels, to University of Ilorin, and University of Lagos, K-Rad has paid dearly for fighting the cause of the students and masses.
Adegoke was born on September 5, 1969, in Osogbo. He attended Ansar-ud-deen Primary School, Osogbo between 1975 and 1981. From there he proceeded to Ansar-ud-deen Grammar School, Osogbo between 1981 and 1986 where he obtained the West African School Certificate in flying colours. As a secondary school student, he had started reading about class struggles as propounded by Karl Max, and Engels. It was while in secondary school that he came across words like the bourgeoisie, and proletariat. While reading a book, an elderly man asked him the meaning of proletariat. “Workers”, he replied. “From that moment, I knew within me that I would love to fight for the masses”, he said.
The test of his resolve came when he did his Advanced Level studies at Osogbo Grammar School. Adegoke took on the school authorities over the rights of the students. He was expelled from school and it took the intervention of his father to get him back to school.
He later gained admission to the University of Ilorin where he studied English Language and Literature between 1989 and 1992. In Unilorin, he joined the Marxist-Leninist movement under which he contested and won the post of Secretary General of the Students Union. He also became the Secretary of Zone C of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). It was in Ilorin that students began to call him “Kunle Radical”. He was in his final year when he was rusticated from the school. ‘Kunle Radical’ defended the interests of his constituency to the end and paid the supreme academic sacrifice when he was expelled in March, 1992 by the authorities of the University.
It was following this unfortunate incident that he wrote the University Matriculation Examination (UME) again in 1993 and, upon a brilliant performance, was offered admission into the University of Lagos in 1994/1995 Session. In 1994, he served as Secretary at the NANS Convention that held in Obafemi Awolowo University and later as Chairman, Convention of NANS which held in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1995.
His academic sojourn in the University of Lagos was another challenging experience as he was suspended on the 5th day of September 5, 1997, his birthday and subsequently expelled in the same month of September, 1997 by the authorities of the University who considered his voice of dissent a sacrilege.
He lost a year in the course of challenging the decision of the University in court until he was later re-instated in May, 1998 by Justice Tajudeen Odunowo of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
Despite the horrors of victimisation and undisguised poverty necessitating self-sponsorship, Adegoke completed his LLB studies with Second Class (Upper Division) in the University of Lagos in the year 2000 during which he represented University of Lagos at the All African Universities Human Rights Moot Court Competition in the University of Legon, Ghana. He later attended the one-year vocational studies in the Nigerian Law School between 2001 and 2002. He was later called to the Nigerian Bar in February, 2003 as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in most challenging moments, the details of which would be an excellent scripts for a Nollywood movie. He later obtained his Masters’ Degree in Law with 4.0 Grade Points from the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos in 2009.
Now a seasoned lawyer with many laurels to his name after cutting his legal teeth with the distinguished law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP between April, 2003 and September, 2004, he has been into private practice in a thriving partnership in the law firm of M. A. Banire & Associates from August 2004 till date. He was counsel to the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, as he represented him during the long battles to reclaim the people’s mandate between 2007 and 2010 and the infamous forgery trial that accompanied it. He was counsel to many serving members of the House of Assembly of the State of Osun during the same period.
Kunle Adegoke is an election petition marshal as he was a frontline team leader in the Benue State governorship petition between Steve Ugba v. Gabriel Suswam in 2011, the Kogi governorship election petition between Prince Abubakar Audu v. Governor Idris Wada, the Adamawa election petition between Markus Natina Gundiri v. Rear Admiral Murtala Nyako and 2014 Osun governorship election petition between Iyiola Omisore v. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. He represented many former and present members of the House of Assembly of Lagos State in 2007 – 2008 and 2015 in several election petitions and was counsel to the All Progressives Congress in several matters including the case of Agbaje v. Ambode. He is also an expert in legal drafting and commercial law practice as he currently serves several governmental establishments, giant telecommunications and other big companies.
Kunle Adegoke is a prolific writer whose writings have graced the pages of many Nigerian newspapers and legal journals.
He is, above all, a respected litigation lawyer with rich accounts of legal exploits in many Nigerian courtrooms. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, the International Section of the American Bar Association, and the International Bar Association. He was a distinguished Nigerian NGO delegate at the September, 2013 United Nations’ Conference in New York on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples where his non-governmental organisation, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), was conferred with observer status of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Adegoke served as a member of the Strategy Committee for the election of AB Mahmoud, SAN as the President of the Nigerian Bar Association in 2016. He is today the Secretary of the North East Task Force of the Nigerian Bar Association responsible for rendering legal service for the rehabilitation of the victims of boko haram insurgency in the North Eastern States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. He also currently serves as a co-opted member of National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association. The Chief Judge of Lagos State swore him in as a Notary Public in 2017.
He is happily married to Olufunmilola and blessed with four beautiful daughters, Mofe, Tara, Sewa and Funmi.