Dr. Adeleke’s mirthful day
Lagos was thrilling me with real delight and I did not want to jet out and to land elsewhere. I was in March mood of pleasure that was pleasurably pleasurable. Of course, I was billed to travel to Warri and Sapele and thence to Port-Harcourt and Abuja. I, traveller of travellers, always in quest of the morning light beyond any cloudless weather with the joys of my senses always intact, have embraced my self-promise to keep affiliation with my safety. We are in evil times of daredevils everywhere, but especially on our roads, and train-routes. I don’t ever want to find myself taking a walk through the landscape of danger. Bandits who are more than bandits and herdsmen who are more than herdsmen are everywhere prowling.
They have even been patronizing our airports under different guises. Hell! No road, train, air or water trips for me in the present or in the near-by future. I am not thrilled with any pleasurable or troubled delight with respect to any trip or to any invitation. My theocentric state still possesses its bounteous grace and my fidelity to it is as strong as ever; but I do not allow myself to lose the skill and loveliness of decorous submission to the authority of spiritual warnings. Always I find it delightfully delightful to do so.
All these thoughts encircled me in Lekki in Lasgidi, our one and only Eko City, when my phone yielded itself to a thrilling message from Benin City of Edo State. “Dr. Adeleke will be celebrated on March 28, 2022.” The venue would be the Billiard Room of the UNIBEN Staff Club at 1:00 PM or so. It was going to be a close-knit, brief and measured event that would not yield itself to the instigations of wild and wide social and ceremonial contrivances dragging everyone into the long evening or lengthy dusk running to prolonged night. It would, however, yield itself to the keen sensibility and day-dreaming pleasure of the originator who wanted Dr. Adeleke to be in the dark in order to surprise his pleasure that would be full of perplexity.
But would I truly hop-step-and-jump in view of the delicately short notice to Benin City to grace Dr. Adeleke’s mirthful day that he was not prepared to be intoxicated by because he did not even half-dream it for the reason already given? My mind raced to the past. I would race to Benin City and to the Billiard Room and yield my remembrance to the merry-making of that day of adorable charm.
Who is Dr. Adeleke? Let me now name him fully. He is Emmanuel Babatunde Adeleke, Doctor of Philosophy in English, theatre director, actor, critic, dancer, pianist and suave political animal of no mean order – and above all a fine person. This denizen of Oyo City in Oyo State has made Benin City and Edo State his true home away from his true home for decades especially after his capture by his Benin damsel aeons ago.
How our paths crossed is not a subject I want to recapture here. There is no need to define the time and period here. We are in April and I am in the April mood of creation which is raining forth in profusion. Many of Dr. Adeleke’s class-mates, playmates, juniors and friends “heroize” him hugely on account of his deft handling of the literary society, the Literary Society of Nigeria, which he helped to mid-wife to reality in the Society’s re-birth by yours truly after its years and years of hiatus. Rightly or wrongly, I see Adeleks, as I call him, as an exquisite man of bright shadows to paint and colour him as my mighty little man who is more than a mighty little man. At times some persons, lovingly or un-lovingly, called him a broken crayon, but I also always told them that a broken crayon also colours brightly, brilliantly and radiantly. In any case, the wonderful man is fine crayon of colourful colour.
I braved the storm and appeared at the Billiard Room – even when I almost forgot the actual date and time of the event which I left Lagos, our dear Lasgidi, for – save for a text message at its pertinently appointed time. A shower of activities was not lost sight of as I was ushered to Adeleks whose damsel was by his side beaming with the smile of inspired poetry. Clearly, Adeleks’ damsel of ages is a woman, the woman, that his destiny in this life and the other one showed him, and whom he will always mirthfully be with.
That afternoon of interminable merry-making that was devoid of monotony had no forced and fostered and fostering illusions about it. It was an afternoon of a really mirthful get-together of reality, of describable reality of wining and dining of the creative originator and sponsor Dr. (Mrs.) Stella Kpolugbo – a long-standing friend and forever classmate of Adeleks. There was no dancing throughout the time I was there. There were speeches of lines of poetry and of remarkable prose created by several of Dr. Adeleke’s former class-mates, colleagues and friends (and other unrecognizable persons) who occupied everywhere in the landscape of the large Billiard Room of the smell of deliciousness. What an imposing birthday for Dr. Emmanuel Babatunde Adeleke on that mirthful afternoon of Monday, March 28, 2022! That day he was a year older – in fact, to put it poetically and poetically, he was three scores and charmingly and mirthfully so – on that day of mirthful mirth. I was glad to be there to relate what I am relating with gleeful glee!
As I left the event and entered the sun in a clear sky of endless heat, I worked in my head the new risk I was going to take in my return road journey to Lagos. Do we still have a country we can call our own, a country where horror will not claim affiliation with horror? When are we going to reclaim this country your country my country our country and stop it from horrors claiming affiliation with horrors as we find in poetry and prose and drama of fiction? When can we fill and re-fill the present void in the land?
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.