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Beneath the smiles of Okegbemi @60

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The book, Beneath the Smiles: Compendium of Opinions, on Ogboye Kayode Okegbemi@ 60 is a collection of appraisals of the life of the retired army Major Kayode Okegbemi, who turned 60 on October 22, 2020. In the 172-page book, retired Major Okegbemi’s friends, old school and course mates, business associates, community and family members across the globe express their appreciation of the life, times and the personality of Major Okegbemi. They appraise Okegbemi’s special attributes.

The book chronicles the personality of the hero. The contributors to the book, describe the person of the retired soldier at different levels, especially at the level in which they came in contact with him.

In an interview granted Captain Wole Akinyeye, the editor of the book, the person of Major Okegbemi was laid bare to the world. From the Preface to the last page of the panegyric, the encomiums heaped on Okegbemi showed him as a highly determined, focused, brilliant man of integrity.

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In all about 59 people had something to say about the protagonist. That is one person per year of his past.They agree, Okegbemi is a very brilliant man. He is a hardworking man, straightforward, man with a huge intellect and determination. In the context of the Yoruba culture and awareness, Okegbemi is an Omoluwabi. As an organizer, he lives a sociable and polished life of a celebrity. On page 13, he said and I quote, “Having had the conviction that my father’s aim of taking me to my Uncle wouldn’t be met, I decided to run away from the house to face the challenges of my future. But no money for transport fare. First, I had to trek from Eleyele to J Allens bus stop at Dugbe area. I enrolled as a bus conductor to raise money to eat and for transport to Abeokuta.”

And yet another, “When it dawned on me that I might not be able to raise adequate transport fare for my trip, I followed a commuter bus to Bakatari, the boundary village between Apata and Abeokuta. From Bakatari I trekked to Abeokuta.”

Someone not strong and determined could not have taken such decisions and actions. A chicken-hearted person could not have taken them.

Okegbemi reveals in the book, he is a man whose fate and fortunes God has determined. The circumstances of his entry into the Nigerian Army as revealed in the book are a testimony to his valor. Here is a man whose application form was squeezed and thrown into the waste paper basket, but who at the end was eventually enrolled. In his wildest dreams he would never have expected to be so honored.

He truly deserved a book of tributes to his honor. The event has been coordinated by the registrar of Adegbenro ICT Polytechnic, Itori, Ewekoro, Ogun State, Mr Bayo Ogundimu.

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Kayode Okegbemi
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