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Adieu Aderinokun, visioner in the light of the word – Part 2

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Milestones were published after Ebony On Snow, Dance Of The Vulture, Indigo Tears and Dark Days Are Here. Characteristically, Eddie Aderinokun breaks a new ground typologically with every collection. For instance, he calls Milestones ‘ an autobiography in verse’, dedicated to his father, Pa Solomon Aderinokun, his mother, Madam Rebecca Adebisi Aderinokun and siblings – Stella, Kayode, Tayo and Gbemisola.

Appraising Milestones against the backdrop of earlier works, Professor Stella Johnson writes: “Unlike the colourful flashes of impressions presented about foreign cities in Ebony on Snow, the focus of Milestones is the self at home. The collection thus seems to have been conceived as salient sketches in the life of youth just budding into manhood in a specific socio-political environment. Multi-faced, the narrative poems are sometimes juicy, sometimes bitter, sometimes soft and at times abrasive.

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This critical comment tells of the dynamics of Eddie Aderinokun’s literary craftsmanship, the thawing of a figurative glacier in Ebony on Snow, giving way to a flow of rivers and rivulets of innovations.

Meridian Hour was published in 1998. According to Maxwell Oditta in his foreword, “Eddie Aderinokun takes up various postures, the historian, the journalist and the surrealist seer.”

Oditta adds pointedly: ‘In Meridian Hour, we are reminded with rebounding hindsight of the redundancy that characterised the second half of Gowon’s administration and its subsequent overthrow. We do also remember the corrective ideals and socio-political reforms under the Murtala/Obasanjo regimes.”

The collection also beams its light trenchantly on the economic reform efforts by the Shagari, Buhari and Babangida administrations, not ignoring Madam Rebecca Adebisi Aderinokun and siblings — Stella, Kayode, Tayo and Gbemisola.

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Appraising Milestones against the backdrop of earlier works, Professor Stella Johnson writes: “Unlike the colourful flashes of impressions presented about foreign cities in Ebony on Snow, the focus of Milestones is the self at home. The collection thus seems to have been conceived as salient sketches in the life of youth just budding into manhood in a specific socio-political environment. Multi-faced, the narrative poems are sometimes juicy, sometimes bitter, sometimes soft and at times abrasive.

This critical comment tells of the dynamics of Eddie Aderinokun’s literary craftsmanship, the thawing of a figurative glacier in Ebony on Snow, giving way to a flow of rivers and rivulets of innovations.

Meridian Hour was published in 1998. According to Maxwell Oditta in his foreword, ‘Eddie Aderinokun takes up various postures, the historian, the journalist and the surrealist seer.’

Oditta adds pointedly: “In Meridian Hour, we are reminded with rebounding hindsight of the redundancy that characterised the second half of Gowon’s administration and its subsequent overthrow. We do also remember the corrective ideals and socio-political reforms under the Murtala/Obasanjo regimes.”

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The collection also beams its light trenchantly on the economic reform efforts by the Shagari, Buhari and Babangida administrations, not ignoring the paradox flung by such economic policies at the sensibilities and subsistence calculations of individual citizens. The paradox is captured proverbially when the persona says in Poem 4: ‘ To rinse my buttocks clean/you wear grim gloves of thorns’.

In Meridian Hour, the poet condemns the abuse of power serially. But he extols the virtues of leaders whose regimes are recorded in history as being people-friendly. The brief, but positively impactful administration of Murtala Muhammed (1974/75) exemplifies the latter. The General halted ‘hefty hoofs of decadence’, raising hope among a forlorn populace. In a similar manner, Eddie Aderinokun reflects in a state of sobriety the June 12 saga of hopes raised and atrociously dashed as he laments the trials of Chief M.K.O. Abiola the popularly acclaimed winner of the presidential election for that year.

Crystalball, a follow-up to Meridian Hour, was published in the year 2000, at the turn of a new millennium. Such an epoch marking year is particularly inspiring to clairvoyants in their acts of prognostication. With Eddie Aderinokun, spiritualism, in a positive manner, has a place. It is one aspect of the gifts of artistry with copious antecedents. George Orwell is famous for his prophetic novel 1984, among other classics. Aderinokun demonstrates a similar trait in Crystal ball.

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It is firmly acknowledged by Maxwell Oditta in this submission: “In Crystalball, Eddie Aderinokun departs from his role as a chronicler of history to that of a literary seer, foreseeing the cogent events of the 21st century, expanding the metaphor and change appropriate for the new millennium.”

Again, innovation in style and exploration of fresh vistas in the perception of society manifest in Eddie Aderinokun’s works like a trademark. He is not one to be formalistically pinned down. Neither is he predictable in thematic preoccupation. He is eclectic, but in a positive sense, enamoured with bringing a rich variety of stylistic effects into his poetic enterprise.

As one begins to wind up, what would have been the next collection of Eddie Aderinokun’s poems will be saved for the last. It is about his mortality.

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We’ll therefore examine Zero To Hero: Ode To Artist Without Compare. This is a collection that explains elaborately Eddie Aderinokun’s special relationship with the Almighty God on the one hand, and universal significance for the entire humankind on the other.

Ben Lawrence, renowned veteran journalist and literary critic view the work as ‘the author’s excursion into “The Infinity”.’ Lucidly, Lawrence explains the magnificence of God and His unequalled transcendentality, which manifest in the immeasurable stratosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and, most especially, the limitlessness of the universe.

‘This Ode To Artist Without Compare’, Lawrence writes, “mirrors in poetry the many wonders of the Almighty, the limitless boundaries of the oceans and the mighty billows of their waves; the interlocking mountains high as zenith without measure. Yet the sky we see on earth here really has no height because the earth is delicately fixed at a degree to revolve around the sun, defying all the laws of relativity. No strands hold it. No visible magnetic structure in the firmament suspending it at that degree.”

Ben Lawrence concludes: “This book is written to glorify God for His mighty works and deeds.”

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Through Ode, Eddie Aderinokun affirms that God is at the centre of his creativity. God is the Supreme Artist, incomparable, and one that endlessly powers the productivity and proficiency of the poet.

In his overall bearing, Uncle Eddie was generally self-effacing. You could only see him through his works as well as the after-effects of his genial intervention in promoting the good cause.

In the history of the Association of Nigerian Authors and as Vice-President, he was the one who charted the path for the invitation of the organisation’s executives to Aso Rock Villa for a strategic roundtable with a sitting President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He funded the publication of his friend’s – Chief Alex Akinyele’s – biography as a way of honouring the PR guru for his landmark achievement in his chosen career. There are many more exemplary humane gestures of Uncle Eddie. Other individuals will testify. But it is needful to place it on record here that he was instrumental to our taking performance poetry to a higher level of artistic realisation on stage with the GTBank-powered Pan-Nigerian Poetry Festival 2009/2010.

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These and more are the stuff a man of vision, mission, passion and action is made of. Propelled by the spirit of altruism, disrobing himself of egoism and the burden of self-adulation, Uncle Eddie subjects himself under the will of the Supreme Entellechy and flows effortlessly along the path of creative accomplishment. The renowned scholar, critic and dramatist, Professor Bode Sowande marvels thus in a personal appreciation of Uncle Eddie poetry: ‘Ah!… Who says philosopher-poet Eddie Aderinokun is not a gbedu drum that rumbles deeply? ‘

That is for humans to ponder. But Uncle Eddie in all his physical, spiritual and intellectual voyages across this globe has had his life divinely scripted – or so it seems. Death for him is no threat. He stresses this in his work as he chants his dramatic poem, Dialogue of Poet and Death. (Wordsworth 2010). The lines run:

‘God unpin me/ Unpin me God! / Sunder my iron trammels / and let me flap free / with my tinsel wings, better to dwell / with the vilest worms / inhearsed in petty earth / than live with serpents / in a world so begrimed.
‘When death outs my/ candle on earth, angels in Heaven / Will relume it – This I believe. ‘
And so be it.

Adieu Otunba Eddie Olayiwola Aderinokun; Visioner in the light of the Word.

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