WE have been counting days and praying fervently about it. Now the lengthy years and distant months have shrunk into a mere week—a touchable, palpable and reachable week. We are almost there!
Next week, by the grace of God, about this time, you my son Kehinde will be heading to the altar, walking, dancing and singing side by side her, the smashing, young woman you once described as “a special Christmas gift from God.” A hometown girl from a good Christian family. The Kayode-Ojo family from Ijebu-Jesha in Osun State. A pretty girl who is even more beautiful inside. A girl who can lighten up wherever she goes with her electric energy, vivacity, wit and expansive sense of humour. Ever since meeting her, two of you have been inseparable. I thank God, the giver of all things good. Today, I am so happy because you are happy. Your happiness is my happiness. I pray that the well of happiness between two of you will never run dry.
About the time you were born, Nigeria was boiling. There was a riot. The riot was called SAP Riot. It was under the Babangida military era. And I wrote a piece on Tai Solarin, a folk hero who led the SAP-riot amid rumours about EBONY magazine publishing something about the then military President Babangida that no one had seen or read yet many believed. I titled it: “May Your Road Be Rough.” It was one satire that many misread and started cursing and throwing “letter bombs” at me, thinking it was an anti-Tai Solarin article. Even graduates misunderstood me and wrote to insult me after reading my column upside down. But then, there were those who understood my tongue-in-cheek mischief and came to my defence. Ever since, I have learnt my lesson not to dabble into anything satirical.
You see, marriage is a long, long journey a long smooth and bumpy road with twists and turns. May your road not be rough. May your journey be smooth. May your tyre not puncture on the way, even if the road you travel is hard. May you not have accident of any form. For your sake, God will tar and smoothen every road you travel. You and your co-traveller, your beautiful jewel of inestimable value. Your double, as from now on.
How I wish this was another double event, a double wedding involving you and your twin brother Taiwo! From the very beginning, everything has been double. In the womb, you were double. At birth you were double. I remember that unforgettable day, September 13, 1988 when you both arrived in a blaze of glory. Two souls arriving with the same umbilical cord. Two souls, so identical that you couldn’t differentiate one from the other. I was the happiest and proudest father in the whole wide world. Ever since your visitation, it has been one blessing after another. I was moved from Sunday Concord to become the Features Editor of the National Concord newspaper. Then in less than a year, I was appointed the editor of a virgin Saturday newspaper, Nigeria’s first ever Saturday newspaper, the trailblazing Weekend Concord which I started from the scratch, supported by a crack team of journalists like the late Dimgba Igwe, Dele Momodu, Femi Adesina, Eric Osagie, Omololu Kazeem, Shola Oshunkeye, Aliu Mohammed, Wale Sokunbi, Bolaji Macauley, Ose Oyamedan, Ben Memuletiwon, Blessyn Okpowo, Sunday Umahi, Yetunde Francis (now Oladeinde), Gbola Adebayo, Lat Ogunmade, Lanre Ajeboriogbon, Felix Asimole, Gbenga Opebi, Mrs. Titi Balogun, Timothy Oyeola and a few others I can’t remember now. Then we had as our columnists, names like the late MEE Mofe-Damijo and Sam Omatseye. That was one era steeped in the honey of nostalgia.
The other day, I was reading Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man. Shakespeare who famously said that the world is a stage where all men and women are players playing many parts in an act of seven ages. As infants, I remember your wailing duets. One would cry, the other would join and what you have is a cacophonous harmony of twin baby wailers who would not allow their parents to sleep.
From infants, I watched you grow into what Shakespeare describes as “the whining schoolboy, with his satchel and shining morning face creeping like snail, unwilling to school.” I remember our newspaper house was shut down by the military authorities and there was no money and we had to change your school from a higher grade school to a lower grade one. It affected your studies. But luckily, the wind of fortune blew again, and we had to take you back to a better school. All through school, your academic results were excellent. I encouraged you all from childhood to read avidly. You read all the Harry Porter series and the books of Amos Tutuola—to name a few. I also ensured all of you wrote me a daily diary of your activities which I inspected every night. Most times, you won’t write the diary, until you hear the sound of daddy’s car coming and you would start scribbling something down furiously to avoid being punished. As adults you were all thankful to me for making you write your childhood diaries. It sharpened your writing skills and helped you at school. I hope you will also encourage your children to write their own diaries too.
Overall, you have all been good kids. I thank God and bless Bishop Oyedepo, the founder of Covenant University whose institution instilled in you some good moral values that have continued to influence you. I thank your mother, the Iron Lady surrounded by four men. I thank God that through your marriage we would be welcoming a daughter into our fold. Just like you also have two parents now. We couldn’t have wished for better in-laws in the Kayode-Ojo family. I am looking forward to the father and daughter dance and the mother and son dance. I am looking forward to you son holding your bride and walking down the aisle.
I have invited to this one-in-town celebration all the big guns who are my friends, my media constituency, plus my fathers in the Lord. As you all journey from different parts of the world to Abuja next Saturday to celebrate a good thing in the life of my son and our family, may the Good Lord bless, protect and grant you journeying mercies. And for you my dear readers, I count on your prayers, for me and the new couple.