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HRM DR. SUNDAY AIKUIRAWO ANIYI: An Intellectual On The Throne

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Our paths crossed by virtue of the political appointments we were both privileged to have been given in the second coming of His Excellency Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, the outgoing governor of Ekiti State. 

While the crossing of these paths, in retrospect, is likely to be seen as some kind of predestination by the religiously inclined, if not the spiritually discerning, the closeness of the friendship, again in retrospect, can be described as serendipitous because of the age disparity and other extenuating circumstances that ordinarily should not have  given oxygen to the friendship.

BAO Felicitation

Courses under Mass Communication and Media Technology includes:
- Advertising
- ⁠Broadcasting
- Development Communications⁠
- Film and Multimedia
- Information and Media Studies⁠
- ⁠⁠Journalism and Media Studies
- ⁠Mass Communications
- ⁠Public Relations
- ⁠Strategic Communication

BAO Felicitation

Courses under Mass Communication and Media Technology includes:
- Advertising
- ⁠Broadcasting
- Development Communications⁠
- Film and Multimedia
- Information and Media Studies⁠
- ⁠⁠Journalism and Media Studies
- ⁠Mass Communications
- ⁠Public Relations
- ⁠Strategic Communication

BAO Felicitation

Courses under Mass Communication and Media Technology includes:
- Advertising
- ⁠Broadcasting
- Development Communications⁠
- Film and Multimedia
- Information and Media Studies⁠
- ⁠⁠Journalism and Media Studies
- ⁠Mass Communications
- ⁠Public Relations
- ⁠Strategic Communication

His Royal Majesty Dr. Sunday Aikuirawo Aniyi and I gravitated towards each other perhaps because of our mutual desire to always seek out people of like minds. This gravitational pull was probably exercebated by the fact that we are also both in the write environment (his is more of a sterner stuff) until I found out, to my pleasant discomfiture (perhaps an oxymoron) that being of like minds with HRM Dr. Aniyi may not be enough as your mental alertness must be akin to thinking not only outside the box, but sometimes without it if you’re ready and willing to have deep intellectual discussions with him, as I shall explain presently.

The office of the then Principal Private Secretary (PPS) became a place for me to unwind, smooch or when I am in need of a different ambiance with the attendant fresh, executive air of the Governor’s Office building. Occasionally, Dr. Aniyi would also reciprocate my visits but without any of the appurtenances in my office as he had in his. He didn’t mind sharing the low grade air in my office. But hey, what are friends for?

Although I cannot now remember exactly when I experienced the gravitational force that pulled me into the orbit of HRM Dr. Aniyi, but it could not have been more than a few weeks after our appointments as I discovered in no time that he was my “go-to” colleague. Dr. Aniyi has ready answers and suggestions for those questions and issues I was at sea about as a first timer in the public service despite the fact that he’s himself a first timer. 

It was also not long before I found out, from our various discussions of critical state government policies, national economic and political issues, and international issues with wide global implications that, cocooned in that genteel demeanor and small frame is a very sharp mind and high degree of rugged intellectualism. 

HRM Dr. Aniyi has acute knowledge and recollection of the country’s political events of several decades back with names, places, figures and statistics to buttress his arguments that I sometimes wonder about his uncanny information retention capacity. On national economic and political issues, I must concur to him, having realized and accepted my limitation because one spent a substantial part of his midlife outside this “geographical expression.” But I always tried to keep my gunpowder dry for our international discourse sessions, most especially American politics or her foreign policy and the fundamentals that undergirds them, which I consider to be my forte, in order to have my own “pound of flesh.”

Boy, was I wrong!

It therefore didn’t take me long to conclude that HRM Dr. Aniyi is a liberal on the country’s social issues, a conservative on economic issues, and a middle-of-the-road on political issues. What’s perhaps perplexing is the ability of this Erinmope Ekiti monarch to stay true to logic and intellectual preponderance of his presentation even when it was perfectly normal to inject emotion into an argument. With Dr. Aniyi, there’s no room for mental lethargy when serious issues are being discussed. He would always explain his position (like a surefooted lecturer he once was, as if to some confused students who could not immediately grasp the complexity of his thoughts). It is because of the complexity of his thought pattern that has made me to conclude that his conservative views on international politics would have earned him an enviable place in a Donald Trump White House, most especially in relation to the former US president’s policy on Africa (which he supported, and to my chagrin) if he were to be domiciled in the United States. 

What started as perhaps a cruel joke of the day for me has now become a scrupulous reality of eternal dimension. I had gone to his office because I wanted an official document to be printed in full colour. While waiting for him to end his phone conversation before making my request, I sensed that the conversation centered around the Obaship selection process of his Erinmope Ekiti hometown to which I was already privy as a result of previous discussions on the issue.

“So, who is going to be your next king now,” I inquired out of casual, nonchalant curiosity after his phone conversation.

“I am in the race,” he said, gently and matter-of-factly. 

“I beg your pardon?” I asked again just to make sure that my ears were not trying to play pranks on me. He repeated the same statement but this time with a gentle smile. I almost fell off the chair with laughter not only because the Obaship tussle, in my considered opinion then, should be the least of what should interest this vibrant, gifted, highly educated, public intellectual young man with a brilliant future ahead of him, but also a seat he should not even touch with the longest pole. 

As characteristic of him, he allowed me to laugh to myself hoarse after which he gave me, again like a lecturer, the historical and spiritual pointers that informed his decision to throw his hat into the kingship ring. It was after this explanation that what began as a joke taken too far turned into a sober reflection for me. It was at this point that I started to think about the inevitability of destiny in human life, most particularly in his own life. I could only wish him the best of luck in his bid before I left his office on that day. And the rest, as they say, is now history.

Whomever added “Aikuirawo” (a Star that never dies) to his name at birth undoubtedly saw the future of this young king. And this future is perhaps that, on the strength of this immortal star, Dr. Aniyi would be the one to reclaim a throne that had been deliberately denied his forebears for about 400 years. Who says there’s nothing in a name?

Your Royal Majesty, since your ascension to the throne of your forefathers, I have no illusion about the enormous responsibility that has been placed on your kingly shoulder. Henceforth, you’re now more likely going to be blamed if your subjects suddenly start giving birth to more girls if they would rather prefer boys, not to talk of their experiencing unusually less rains during the rainy seasons because you’re now seen as God’s representative on earth who should not only be able to determine the sex of a foetus but a rainmaker to boot. You’re now expected to communicate directly with Him and the lesser gods to make life more abundant for your subjects. And since I have no doubt that your ascension to the throne was purely ordained by your Creator, He will guide you and bless your land. He will endow you with the wisdom to navigate through the labyrinth of this unstructured, no-textbook traditional leadership, making it perhaps the most complex leadership in the history of mankind.

Here is wishing you long life, God’s guidance, abundant blessings of the land under your care as you prepare for your First Anniversary coronation on Saturday, August 27, 2022. 

Kabiyesi!

Femi Odere is a former Senior Special Assistant (Diaspora Affairs) to Ekiti State Governor.


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