It’s with great excitement and sense of obligation that I write to laud the notable achievements of a man whose existence exudes humility, integrity, modesty, resourcefulness, godliness, selflessness and astuteness. I have been privileged to know him for a brief period, but the short while has been a remarkable while. Our first meeting created the opportunity for me to closely assess him and relate what I had read and heard (about him) to what my eyes could discern. Being in his presence is being allowed an uninterrupted and unintimidating audience. As I conversed with him, requesting for a patronage of my e-publishing services, it would be very difficult to convince an onlooker that I was an undergraduate student, and he, a professor and a prolific scholar.
For a man who became professor of Linguistics and African Languages at the age of 37, ‘brilliance’ is one of the many euphemistic words that could be used to describe his extraordinary mental capacity. Having started early in the academia, that noteworthy attainment though expected, is exceeding. He’s always a step ahead of his peers due to his foresight, well-channeled wisdom and highly receptive mind. As a creative writer, he has authored series of publications (both academic and creative) vindicative of his esteemed status. Many would have thought him routinely boring considering his lifelong investment in scholarship, but few moments spent with him were enough to reveal his good sense of humour and unrepentant and unbiased friendly nature.
Interestingly, his scholarly nature is comfortably matched by his philanthropic and benevolent nature. I’m sure many of those who have benefitted immensely from his selfless deeds would have testimonies affirming his charitableness. There were so many instances where he served as a middleman connecting potentials to opportunities, linking dreams to realities. A pathfinder who wouldn’t shut doors of opportunities behind him with the hope that many would rise to take strides lengthier than he took. It’s not surprising that he has a lot of protégés who have realised excellence and greatness in their various endeavors.
It’s quite difficult to profile a man who at 54, has comparably achieved what was only possible if that age had been triple-lived by another. At 54, he has orbited the sun 162 times. I could remember him humourously referring to himself as an ‘Alaafin’. I would have preferred to see him say that with all sense of seriousness considering the numerous barricaded territories he has conquered, the untrodden paths he has trod, the countless feats he has achieved.
Happy birthday to the Alaafin of borderless exploits.
Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom
Author, Punctured Silence