Sunday, March 23, 2008

Adegoke Adelabu RIP ' Ibadan Leadership of Ideas'

I have never liked Reuben Abati's analysis, they drip with the sanctimonious indulgence of the Nigerian elite. His editorials have generally embodied the intellectual laziness of ignoring complexity and settling for a sweeping personality overreach in terms of analysis. I often do not have the patience nor the interest to finish his editorials. It is with great surprise I read his piece on my beloved Penkelemese and the tears of appreciation dotted my ducts. I am no one if I am not Ibadan, the most eclectic and authentic construct in the layers of identities that shape the Nigerian spirit. It is Ibadan that is and was the bellweather for the country. The first city in the pre-colonial times to be truly multicultural and embody the civic pride that is lacking in any urban landscape in Nigeria today. A shining citadel of possibilities to its founding fathers who essentially built it on an idea and ideal big enough to be an umbrella for strangers from diverse lands and identity so they can engage , innovate, survive and prosper. There is no Ibadan man before him and after him that has fully embodied the potential of a true Omoluwabi like the late Adegoke Adelabu. A learned, erudite and inspirational man of ideas and ideals .

How do you judge a man other than what he does when his back is to the wall in moments of great opportunity or incredible adversity. Penkelemese stood against tribalism and discrimination when it would have been convenient and even more self serving to support the Yoruba first approach of Awolowo's AG. Had Adelabu won the Premiership of the Western Region or even had he lived beyond his brief 43 years we would have had an alternative to the now depressing position where an Ibo man only can be a Governor in the east and Yoruba in the west et al. We would have seen a Nigeria where the Nigerian ideal of any citizen holding political office in any state irrespective of ethnic origin have a powerful inspirational voice. Maybe then the Nigerian experiment in nationhood would not be so fractured and polarised with every crack and fault line puled asunder by rent seeking opportunists .

For me as an Ibadan man whose most romantic childhood moments were Sundays mornings with the smell of 'alapa' or 'ekuru' and my father playing some serious apala music usually Yususf Olatunji. I remember the raised voices in the living room likes of Dr Dejo Raimi, Dr Lekan Are, Dr Adetunji, Chief T Akinyele, Chief Aboderin amongst many other Ibadan intellectuals all discussing the topical issues of their day with my mother running interference. The hushed tones that always accompanied any discussion of Penkelemese, the distinct pride and unqualified respect that his incredibly difficult audience gave this man shaped an hero worship in me. The stories never finish without the loss my family suffered during the riot that followed his death. I was not alive to see what happened but my fathers story always includes the many non-Ibadan indigenesthat he had to rescue from a certain death or loss.

50 years after it this same tradition in authentic character, originality of ideas and the dignity in celebrating the human complexity that Adelabu lived that this page seeks to elevate. It is the very same that the verdict of the Oyo State Election tribunal continues to tarnish. In the end as my people would say " Alagemo ti bi omo e tan, Ahi mo jo di owo omo e" or for those who cannot read Yoruba accented or otherwise it is that the Alagemo masquerade has given birth to its child fully , it is now left to the child to live up to her traditional of exquisite dancing. Akande has given his all, Adegoke has risen to the challenge of his times, Adelabu has given Ibadan his life's narrative of a intellectual warrior with fierce uncontested and uncompromising intellect. It is now our turn to rise to the challenge of these times . Sun re O

Link to `Rueben Abati's piece below

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wisely Said