It happened not in any far past. Of the several feeds popped up on a social medium, the particular commentary was, for one, both of consequence and distinct import. The manner of statement critics would call hasty. It reads, “Another name for Ajibefun is a promise keeper.” But I paused, and fetched the stance for deliberate keep and checking.
As I pondered on the possible premises of such affirmative verdict on a man who, for what he holds or knows, should inject ready restraint in any itchy word maker, lest a risk of hagiography. Understandably so in a clime badly bedeviled by patronage and pretense. The ifs and buts, however, one must regard that part of liberties which allows for individual beliefs or disbeliefs, impressions or expressions, as we set out to answering the validity of a conciet while setting the tone for intervention.
We must therefore admit, from departure that, like a cylindrical piece, defining wholesale any personality will rely on a particular shape in show. And since any earnest portrayal will necessarily answer which side of the subject one views, and of course, the viewers’ placement, intent or timing, a writer bears a peculiar risk. The risk, notwithstanding, this humble effort becomes worthier in a season as this, when a man whose standing represents different things to different folks should be bannered for either polish or puncture.
Here, standing trial is a subject who should be sincerely estimated by folks and friends whose offerings must measure his mileage of impacts and perhaps infuse him with new energies, just as punctures should mirror the distance yet uncovered while inspiring improvements. In so doing, we shall be contributing bricks to the building of a man who provides, for a generation of young men and women, mentoring; whose his beginnings, ordinary routes and raising have yielded consequential fruition and lessons to keep in clench; whose drawings, orderings and offerings offer lessons in edification, and his works, words count for huge weight.
The debate endures on the manner of definitions. From those that shows reclusivity to those that suppose stubborn fixations. The space is replete with suggestions that beg either for mendacity or veracity; yet they persist and compete fiercely for both space and weight. It’s a normal situation with leading and leadership. He’s got his own styling, peculiar but propitious. He has been a recurrent subject of diligent debates, sometimes understood, other times misunderstood, sometimes misconstrued.
For what is true or untrue, it’s safer not to loose sight of the axiom that he is human after all, having his own limits as the rest of us. What is hard to deny him, however, is his well meaning for persons and actions; same way it’s hard to deny that his consistent drive is penchant for impact. He aims, always, to make a pleasant difference. Yes, he wears a harmless frontage, yet contains strands of positive hards. Tough but he is thorough. Not gregarious but carefully chooses his own friends. His grace fetters on consummate hard work, knack for excellence and sturdy faith.
What is also true is that beneath the fragile frame is a thorough family man and a consummate disciplinarian. Affable but a firm figure with lean patience for the slothful. A committed community leader and builder. Peace loving, yet fights untiringly for any cause he considers worthy. Passionate lover of pets and nature. Always appreciative and does his words.
Moving forward, we borrow this liberty to warn him against complacency, for the world await his new expressions; to warm him up for stouter exploits beyond the passing points of the moment; to encourage him to receive both the fair and unfair punches that his placement attracts with equanimity while converting same into useful energies; to put less faith in man but more in the maker of man, who unlike man, is always true. We borrow this moment too to urge him to win more friends, to live his dream to always be for all and make many happy.
While the persona has been variously defined, irrespective. What can be taken for granted, however, is that Ajibefun carries a good heart, he truly cares and in him are traits that tame absurdities. Yet the years ahead are a promise of new expressions. The best we shall do is entrust him unto God’s hands to further use to better humanity as he begins a new year.
Debo Ikúésèwò-Akinbami writes from Ibadan, Nigeria.