By Ibraheeem Abdullateef.
If someone ever told you humanity died,
Do not mourn.
It resurrected in Ilorin
In blood and flesh;
And there it was named Akanbi, by the unsuspecting kinsmen.
From cradle, they say his eyes wore the colours of the sun
And he dazzles like the fireflies.
The rose that grew on a thorny field.
A man may live with thirst and hunger
But a child dies everyday without his mother’s care.
He’s the rose from a thorny field.
The sun has risen and the rain has poured.
Nights have birthed Days for fifty graceful years.
Time was a boy clenched in his fist to muffled cries of survival;
Maybe Mama and Baba would remember the sound,
But the world do not know.
Allow us to hum songs of victory
For the man who never held a Gangan stick,
Yet command happiness into a stranger’s home.
That would only fit the Captain
A golden medallion for the jubilee of dying: rising and dying
For others to live.
Read and savour the sweetness of these lines,
You taught the baker to own a bakery.
That living without trying is dying
When he said he liked to live
You said living is dying trying,
That time do not change good deeds.
Death has no power to kill the truth.
Do you feel life in them yet?
These soldiers across coasts and the sea
You lived raising to touch the sky,
Winged on your wide shoulders
For them to rule the world.
In Wigs, with Pens and Stethoscopes.
The agents of change.
Those you said were only investments.
The gains would outlive the Investors soon enough.
The successors of Conqueror coming with seasons.
No matter the East, South or the West
The world is home to you.
For a great man does not die only in his bones, get soaked to earth;
His spirit dwells in the rustles of the wind.
The wind blows perfumes of purity.
The world wears it in shapes and patterns.
Do make another jubilee;
Weaving relief for the downtrodden,
Was that not your mandate?
To raise boys up the ladder;
To give destitutes hope to live,
To show your mates how to die
But live in the tempo and tide of time.
The calling of a priest is divine
Yours was to be an Apostle of Hope;
For the voiceless, the weak and the peasants
With dry leaves and empty bellies,
Heavens chose a Captain for them.
You have a mandate of Heaven
To row the boat ashore.
Fine fettle, oh Akanbi.