Senator Adesoji Akanbi is a coat of many colours. The good thing is that each colour he embodies signifies a differently unique virtue. He is not a man in the dark whose colours appear the same. The illuminating colours which combined to form a personal identity that marks him out in the society as ‘peerless’ is his personal driving force. The title of Okanlomo, the befitting suffix that is added to his honorific status symbols can only be conferred on a man of granite that he is.
When I read the beautifully worded piece celebrating his 57th birthday, the first thing that flashed through my mind was in form of a rhetorical question; Can one write up be sufficient to summarise the beauty inherent in a man whose heart is made of gold?
Without additional emphasis, whatever is written about Senior SOJ in one single publication can only be a story half-told. Or can we compress all the attributes of a great man that he is in one single piece?
Chiefly, the birthday post which started with his childhood tale pontificated only two of his numerous virtues – Humility and Gratitude.
I could not help but asked what of other nobility of characters that S O J embodies that underpin his social relations? What of the bright colours he radiates to Oyo state politics like an Orchid in the Spring? Or can it be controverted by anyone that he personifies what Merkl called ‘value politics’ in a political environment where power politics has almost become a norm? That he adds colour to Oyo state ‘politics’ like a boon in a boom town is too obvious for extra emphasis.
He is also genial both in words and in deeds and flaunt his Omoluabi values and his promethian spirit like eppaullete where others brandish material wealth and overdose of power. Senator Soji Akanbi can be best described borrowing the words of Kurt Baeir as the “man who has adopted the moral point of view and act only on a supreme principle- to do whatever he is required by moral principle”
In one of our telephone exchange we had before the last election, I told him enpassant that from the look of things, he might be denied APC ticket to return to the Senate. He was unflappable. He merely agreed with equanimity that he was having a similar feeling but that, or even anything worse, would not push him to pick a tiff with Governor Ajimobi whom he said , he has uncanny regard for. He took the opportunity to tutor me never to be worried about what could go wrong but to be always excited about what can be done right. And he added, “the only right thing is the pursuance of common good which is the supreme good.” He said without equivocation that, he would leave no stone unturned to get the Senate ticket and win or loose in the election, nothing will ever take the “supreme good” away from him. Behold! It happened as predicted, SOJ only hitched to another party to avoid open confrontation with his “Egbon” who was seeking a second chance to make a first impression. He lost the election, for some obvious reasons, but retain his values in the unshaken zeal to promote the interest of his constituents, Ibadan agenda and the overall interest of Oyo state. The rest, as they say is history.
What of his role in propagating Islam, I began to think aloud? That I know, Senator SOJ always donate huge amount anytime the lot falls on him to support a cause of promoting his religion, but he does not make a headline story of such gesture. In fact, you can hardly notice him in any religious gathering, he will looks so furtive that it will take time to ferret him out among the Congregation. I once searched for him in a front row after the last Eid prayer observed at Ansarudeen mosque, liberty road when his presence was announced. After a futile effort, I called his number and he replied “Eyin ni mo wa”
And to talk of gratitude which was mentioned in the post, my agreement is total. Gratitude, what Cicero says “is the queen of virtues” is what Senator SOJ has in large quantity. Funnily, for any favour he dispenses to others, no matter the weight, he doesn’t wait for any words of appreciation. Yet, he is always burning with the desire to do more.
The Okanlomo, as I earlier mentioned is full of virtues that can not be explicated in one single write up. We will continue to celebrate him as a man who in the words of Marcus Aurelius ‘is living according to nature.’
According to Marcus Aurelius “it’s not poverty nor even death that man should fear, but not beginning to live according to nature which is promoting the good as best as one can.”
Let me join other numorous well wishers to celebrate my Senior and a moral compass as he adds another year. He is a true honour which can not be attained by specious dignities. I pray you will live long in good health and abundance to touch more lives and honour God all day.
Wishing you many happy returns, the distinguishingly distinguished Senator and the primus inter pares, the only Okanlomo of our land.