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By Kayode Aderinokun

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few hours after the cock had crowed at dawn in far away village destinations, far from the madding crowd and din of urban Lagos, I called my brother to ask after his welfare, knowing fully well that he was in good health.

I heard his voice faintly telling his steward, who picked my call, to assure me that he would return my call soon. It never happened.

Alas, that was the last time I would hear his earthly voice, because the next time I received a call from his phone by 7pm, it was for the caller to inform me that my brother had passed to the great beyond and had done so several hours after my last call.

From report, my brother eased out of life instalmentally but peacefully. It is not any consolation that it was not COVID 19 that took him away. Very much unlike the intermittent smoky puff of the ancient locomotive railway wagon, that our late father Solomon used to operate under Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), he receded systematically as an artist that he was.

Incidentally, he glided through climes and episodes of life with the elan of an accomplished dramatist, upon the stages of life. He progressed one beat at a time. One episode on top of another. Then episodic interlude, benchmarked by his fetching brilliance in executing grand feats in several dispensations of life.

Like the Obatala of folklore, he towered above targets of life aspirations in different endeavors. His gradual descent began after his darling daughter Bisayo passed on in the open glare of noontime, after an asthmatic attack on the street of Lagos. He mourned her tragic departure soberly and sadly, often saying, he wished he had gone in her place. But the grim reaper always selects his victims irregularly.

My usually effervescent Brother Eddie slipped into bouts of melancholy. But the scholar in him was reflected in his stoicism and philosophy of a poet laureate, that he was. Ever in repose,ready to be possessed by the muse that inspired the cascade of those lyrical verses that flowed through the volumes of his enchanting poetry.

I reflect on some of his books. Some like Ebony on Snow were travelogues, others, including From Zero to Hero were prime exaltation. And there were lamentations, like the collection: “Dark Days Are Here”. Other volumes are “ Dance of the vulture “, Meridian Hours, “Milestones”, and “Indigo Tears”.

A well-traveled and keen adventurer/observer whose itinerant pleasure has translated into torrents of ballads in prose and poetry, tumbling down volumes.

He was a highly detribalized person, whose friends and associates included Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Olusegun Obasanjo, former President; Bamanga Tukur, former Governor and Federal Minister; Olusegun Osoba, Fellow Journalist and former Governor of Ogun State and Femi Adesina, Senior Special Adviser to the President. He had friends I would call his co-oracles of the Pen fraternity. They include Ben Lawrence, Sola Oluwole, Tony Amadi and Jibade Fashina-Thomas.

Eddie Aderinokun: “dispensed words and images in harmonious splendid metaphors and similes, with such fluid delivery in the manner of a master painter..”

Brother Eddie was Nigerian correspondent of Ceteka, an international News Agency based in Czechoslovakia as a trailblazer of international journalism in Nigeria. He was the youngest of the enterprising pack of international newshounds of yore. You should see him gliding about town in his gleaming Mercedes Benz car, a rarity at the time, in pursuit of breaking news. Always decked in catchy and fetching Africans attires that depicted the neo- emancipation gusto of that age – ala Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi. His pen- name “Ado Sarak” reverberated in the horizon.

The can-do revolution of the newly emancipated Africa of the fifties and sixties excited all of the continent.

Those times were vigorous and vibrant. It reflected in the journalism and roaring debates of that era. Eddie Aderinokunpersonified the conversation of that age.

Ghana opened the floodgate of freedom, and Nigeria and other African countries followed. His pen name “Ado Sarak”, captured the possibility spirit of the newly- independent Africa of the fifties and sixties. It was the Age of “Uhuru” in Jomo Kenyatta’s Kenya. Kwame Nkuruma lit the torch in Ghana that illuminated the continent. Nigeria which had been liberated by Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Aminu Kanu, Michael Okpara, and other patriots of that generation, inspired fertile minds, including my brother, a young turk and other young aspirants, basked in the cacophony and ideals of those days.

I, his constant mascot and disciple, was ever trailing him from our keyhole-large single room at Mushin, Challenge Bus Stop, to Alagomeji in Yaba.

The rave of Bobby Benson’s Caban Bamboo to Kakadu night life of Rex Jim Lawson and EC Arinze/ Victor Uwaifo’s high- life galvanized Sunday jump to night life in the then peaceful, but bubbling Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Enugu. We must not forget his publicity blitz for Ebenezer Obey and the irrepressible King Sunny Ade to liberate juju and owambeexposition spearheaded by Eddie & Co. Fela Ransome (Anikulapo) Kuti came with a jazz brand of Afro beat on Olonode Street, Yaba. My brother cultured me as a keen observer/chronicler of the dazzling heart beat of life. When he was in Yaba, he founded and fostered Afro pop in Nigeria with inspirational formation of the group, the Clusters. Apart from facilitating and germinating contemporary music of that era, through him several pop groups flourished. Segun Buckner, Johnny Haastrup, Laolu Akins all became stars.

The much talented Eddie Aderinokun, veered into sports and defined himself in remarkable strides. His foray into promotion of both basketball and volleyball has propagated the sports to National and International climes such that his name has been permanently written in indelible calligraphy.

The essence of Eddie Aderinokun cannot be complete without the narrative of his exploits in the literary world, which is expressed, in seven books of scintillating poetry. Hot, debonair and savvy, he dispensed words and images in harmonious splendid metaphors and similes, in such fluid delivery in the manner of a master painter, dancing deft tap dance on canvas with paint and brush. He deploys the syntax of vivid description in verses that awaken consciousness to the height of ecstasy. He was at once a preacher, as well as purveyor-activist of patriotic ideals. He worshipped at the altar of nature in its abundant goodness and grace. Hence, he interrogated nature, both animate and inanimate dimensions with reverences and care. Nonetheless he was always ready to disrupt and challenge cases of injustice, deprivation and violence of thought and deed.

My brother was a humanist. Openly migrant and mobile in nature, thus he traversed glades and borders easily with intense aplomb in search of information and knowledge to contribute toerudition and wisdom. African Development was the centerpiece of his drive and devotion.

I miss my dear brother Eddie badly. He was agile goalkeeper of African Church Grammar School, Abeokuta who was ever a bulwark between the goal post during football matches. He had a fertile imagination and lofty dreams of life. He sprouted melodious verses on luminous streams that ferry readers into romantic flights of fancy, even at noon- day.

He was the Otunba of Ode- Remo, who left in his wake, memories of evenings and nights, replete with lores of hunters and drummers from the origin and cradle of Africa. He was the Wordsmith of beautiful songs that conjure love and celebration. Merchant of fables, stuff of the dreamy nightingales. The crow of agile anthems, will now sing no more. The song may have abated but the memories will linger. I miss my brothers badly.

First, it was Tayo, my younger brother the banking Titan. Gone but never forgotten.

Now Eddie my big brother, has translated to the realm of Angels. May God bless their souls. We will always maintain their presence in our consciousness. Brother Eddie was particularly peculiar in his journey of life. He hardly trod the well beaten paths in life. He was conscientious, friendly and compassionate.

I remember with relish our road trip from Miami to New York, through Washington DC. My friend Folli Adeoye and I alternating as drivers. Those were unforgettable moments, which typify the essence of Eddie Aderinokun. The sheer simplicity and devotion to making capital out of ordinary elements of everyday life to create joy and laughter. That was my Brother Eddie.

He was seldom fazed by mundane pursuits common in humanity, but preoccupied with elevated vision for the betterment of all. These are exemplified in the narrative of his prose and poetry. What a blessed package.

The story teller of rainbow tales is gone. Yet the aftertaste lingers; sweetly.

We his kingfolks, and we are legion, celebrate his passing, because in the life he was simply magnetic. To him, everybody is his family. His network is vast and deep. Many people will miss his human touch. I never had a fitting and better time to say a proper good night to my illustrious brothers. First it was Tayowho went in a blaze of banking glory. Adieu Tayo, Late LukosiAje of Owu Kingdom. I, Kayode Lukotun Aje of OwuKingdom, say bye bye, beloveth brother. May you Rest in Peace. Then Big Brother Eddie exited as dramatically as he functioned in life. Fare thee well on the wings of Angels my iconic brothers. Rest In Peace. We shall hoist the flags ever high. God help us. Amen

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