I suddenly woke up with a small fear. I had gone to town that he was coming. I had also gone to town with a huge billboard announcing his coming. What if he didn’t?
My mind then veered towards my somethingelse and the day wore on.
Then the call came, Baba wanted a holding hotel to stay. It was looking like he would come in earlier than planned. Small thing. Better than he is not coming.
I went to Raddison Blu and secured the presidential suite. It was Baba, he needed the best.
Then Nigerians started filling up the hall, the Glover Memorial Hall in Lagos. We were celebrating Sir Victor Uwaifo who had just passed away the previous night.
Yemi, kemi, Queeneth and myself danced to the pulsating tunes of his Joromi. Except Yemi, we had all spent time with the Maestro in Benin during the staging of Emotan.
So this kinda hit us. But we had a show to run and the call came,’ Edgar, Baba is here’
The Guard of Honour I had put in place was on standby. SEGUN Akintemi, Chike Iroegbunam , Collins Chikeluba , Annie Essientte of Ibom Air, Ernest Edgar, Olisa Adibua and the great Etim my only brother inlaw.
Without these men, we would not be here today. I still need them for Awo so I butter them.
It was Otunba Oyewole Fasawe that first emerged. Otunba looked good. He stretched his hands and said, ‘ Edgar’ and I said Baba mi.
Then Aremu came out. He looked tired just coming from a book launch. I prostrated and he said ‘ Edgar thank you’ and I said Baba you deserve more.
The guards took him and led him into the hall where Lagos State Top Officials took over.
My brother Bonu Solomon the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwoolu on Culture and Arts was there on hand with the Commissioner of Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo.
They led Baba to his seat and the show started. But the ever busy Baba had to take an international call and I said ‘can’t it wait’ and they said it couldn’t.
It was a call from one of the powerhouses in the world. Only that would take Baba out of this celebration of his essence
Then Kemi Bickersteth took it. ASHABI took over her soul as she begged for her son’s life. The three Queens standing stoic and regal and starring with indifference as Kemi put to life the very brilliant words as etched into immortality by the very brilliant Prof. Ahmed Yerima.
From where I sat, I could see the power this scene evoked. The pulsating energy mixed with the despair of a mother who had a son to save.
I knew this was the scene. I could feel it as goose pimples took over my whole body. It was mad, it was electric and it was exhilarating.
Yemi Shodimu playing the lead character of Aremu was brilliant. It rose to the energy of Kemi’s Ashabi and if you drank it with the fluidity of Olohunoyo’s pseudo comical interjection, you were watching theatrical history as etched by the daring Yerima.
Then Baba took to the stage to some dance steps and then took the mic and said,’ nothing I can say but thank you, thank you, thank you’
Then he kept quiet. The hall went silent and he choked. His best friend Otunba came for him. But Aremu himself, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had lost it by then.
The General was covered with emotions and he said it. “This presentation touched me. It reminded me of my mother and my regret that she didn’t live long to see what I became,”. He said as he struggled with tears.
I kinda laughed because his Man Friday, Ayo Aderinwale the hidden power behind all these had said to me’ Duke, I don’t know if it’s ok for a man to cry in public on stage’ when I cried during Erelu’s tribute show.
But this was his man, the General, the Elder Statesman, the Civil War Hero. The man who had stared death and walked away broken down by a steller performance that put him in front of his mother in a bold push at surrealism.
He handed over the mic and said thank you once again and I went straight to the toilet to ease myself.
AREMU Is over but in Awo the music continues.