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Of Mimiko, Femi, mni

Of Mimiko, Femi, mni.

A number of experiences have I recorded between then - a rudderless teenager - and now, trudging adult. Sometimes tough, at other times tepid. I refer to those impactful situations and persons that have bruised and blessed unequally. Those instances I celebrate individually but differently.

I remember them with striking fixations: those circumstances and characters since they resonate with me too often. And of the evocative subjects, I am going to single out for treatise the man behind the noun Femi Mimiko. He occupies a distinct space.

Femi gave me my first job as an image maker of a university. That's not the meat. Before then, I have met his rich ideas, albeit those already expressed before the labour of large scale leadership that birthed a boisterous offering on 'getting  our universities back on track', before the making of 'democradura' - another of his rewarding sociopolitical interventions.

Yes, job. But as so huge a difference that this makes on my personality, humanity and prospects, so much as I banner the story for family and friends to relish about an agent of God whose signature changed the story of a peopleless young man, the lasting impressions I live with are not those things of the surface.

They are those things the heart harbours, those things that make him an incurable attraction for me. He is variously defined. What seems more of a popular impression is his addiction to distinctions. Distinctions that stemmed from sturdy hardwork and lifelong penchant for difference, not the passing polish attached to political influence as unbelievers hold it.

For me, those lessons he never deliberately taught. Not because he wouldn't want to but because the time was meager for him, for the assignments before him and for the assignments waiting for him. The few encounters we had after his golden tenure as Vice Chancellor were either too decorated for a lowly to plough or too brief for lengthy exchange. But he knows I carry special affection for his aptitudes. I have confessed this for the umpteenth time. What I do not know is whether he actually attributes the attraction to the role he played in my employment. That impression, if there is, is not aptly true.

What's is truer is that I am naturally attracted to mental lustre. So, I love Femi's fevour for intellection; I love his taste for aesthetics; I love his zest for creativity, his sense of adventure, his concern for humanity and his hunger for excellence. I always itch to be around this prodigious scholar who knows what it means to learn and live for others.

Femi spurs without words. He teaches without billing. The other day I was preparing for my regularisation interview as an administrative officer employed into the University's Information, Protocol and Public Relations Unit. Frayed for no one reason, almost panting. Not for want of the words for interviewers. Maybe for how to convey the thoughts. But while waiting to be called, in that state of stress, I recalled one of Mimiko's offerings.

Femi once said it is not for nothing that a President in America would visit a kindergarten to interact with the little, impregnable citizens; he reckoned that the whole essence of such effort is to transmit a culture of confidence, to instill courage into the minds of the young Americans, so that in their future encounters and dealings, they will unlikely blink an eye facing any man on earth no matter how highly placed.

Still disorganized, his message came and I was charged, now well infused me with the courage that gave me the sought win of the outing. I gained from Femi what I lost by not being an American. That's what Femi is. A motivator,  a consummate teacher and an edifying friend.

In another commentary, a colleague recalled how Professor Mimiko's imminent entry into one of the university senate meetings was announced and the hint got some members of the University Senate spontaneously reordering their dressing to be correct for the taste of a consummate debonair. Another professor, when Mimiko was rounding up as Vice Chanllellor and exiting, said he would miss his making and mastery of fine lexis.

Another writer defines Professor Mimiko as 'a man of gregarious mien, a man every youth of purpose would like to be with and follow diligently as a mentor. Even when you see him from distances, he touches you not only by his eloquent sagacity and palpable brilliance, but also his appearance'. Truly, Femi is of special breed!

I won't see him today. I would have loved to know how it feels nearing sixty with a youthful visage. Only the cloud knows where the busy guy is presently perching. Wherever life's tide takes him to, this time, I hope he finds time to relish this tale and enjoy a beautiful birthday.

Debo Akinbami writes from
Akungba Akoko.

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