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Olu Obafemi at 70

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I have known Prof Olu Obafemi, for decades, by reputation, as a great literary critic, playwright, dramatist and award-winning scholar. Initially, I only met him, casually, on occasions, usually, in the company of his fellow playwrights, at the University of Ibadan. Our close interaction began, not too long ago, when he became President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL). We bonded, instantly, and, effortlessly, largely, due to his well-honed social networking skills.

Prof. Obafemi does not give you a chance to be just an acquaintance; he becomes your friend, by breaking down the walls of ego, age and diffidence which, often, separate people, meeting for the first time.

The major instrument of his capacity for social penetration is his sense of humour. He is not only prone to see the funny side of every situation or discussion, he generates humour himself. I cannot recollect any conversation, with Prof. Obafemi, which was not filled with a lot of laughter; it is as if we have been friends, for ages.

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I also find Prof. Obafemi to be a very calm person. This, of course, may be due to the attrition of age and the restraints of experience. I find him unruffled, almost indifferent, in many situations that, ordinarily, would, have agitated the average person.

He seems to take it for granted that we live in an imperfect world and has resolved to do more of adjusting than complaining; to be a realist rather than an idealist. Although Prof. Olufemi and I are in different areas of the humanities, I find his perspectives on social issues deeply attractive and, very often, we find ourselves agreeable in matters of morality and social justice.

I rejoice with this amiable man, accomplished scholar, playwright, poet and relentless social engineer, on this very special occasion of his 70th Birthday. I wish him a happy birthday and many happy returns, in good health, peace and prosperity!!!

Sogolo, FNAL, fspsp, is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy

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NALProf Olu Obafemi
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