Letter from Lagos 6

20 Sep 2018

Hi Folks,

Before anything, I must express my profound gratitude to you, Emeka delivered the jersey right on time and it turned out to be the best for the event. I will gist you about the event in later paragraphs.

My week went a notch higher as I experienced almost the impossible in this age and time. I saw God! Yes, I saw God through the eyes of a man who left all to serve humanity. I saw God through the eyes of Samuel Atunde (Pastor and founder of Christ the Light of Hope Orphanage). After relishing in all the good the week had to offer, I thought to engage in some random act of kindness before swinging fully into the weekend groove mode and I found no other place to visit but this home in Akute, Ogun State, Nigeria. I was received by a bunch of kids, playing football within the premises, Esther, a teenager who appears to be the oldest of the lot enquired about my visit and I told her. She offered me a seat and left with some of the kids tailing her to return with Daddy as he is fondly called. Just as he emerged with his broad and reassuring smile, a downpour began, giving me reason to spend more time. After introducing myself, I jumped into a series of questions about the place and why he chose to found the home. My take away, it was a divine calling, Pastor Samuel Atunde had been enjoying his life as an accountant and taking good care of his family until his mind told him to change course. Luckily, his family didn’t object, so he got started. 23 years later, the home has produced a number of graduates, happy kids in primary and secondary schools and one huge happy family. Pastor Atunde probably settles more disputes than a court of jurisdiction as the kids fight on a per minute basis. I saw love in its true form; you would never be able to tell his biological kids apart, unless someone spilled for you. I left feeling really good and confident that there is still hope for the human race. We may not all have the heart to go all the way but occasionally showing up and supporting people like this, will guarantee a happier world.

As soon as I was done, I headed to the Victoria Island end of town for the grand finale of the first African freestyle football tournament.Typical of Lagos and little thanks to the rain, I couldn’t make it to the venue in good time but I was there in time to see the main competition.  As usual I got a chance to catch up with industry players like John Fashanu, Samson Siasia, Waidi Akanni, Kate Henshaw and Tonto Dikeh who were introduced as brand ambassadors for the tournament. The likes of Falz, Reekardo Banks, Mayorkun, KCee, Slimcase and their counterparts from Cameroun and Rwanda were on hand to add flavor to the tournament. The excitement was so much that I stayed all through the tournament and the award ceremonies. At the end of the tournament, 26 years old Ivorien, Abdou Kader Kone, emerged the winner walking away with $3,000 and a brand new GAC car. There were a few other prizes but my eyes were stuck on the big fish with my mind traveling back in time to those days when we used to compete on the ball. This tournament will go a long way in engaging and exposing the talents inherent in our youths.

Sunday in my books is either for catching up with family or attending association meeting, and it was exactly these that I did. Earlier, I joined my fellow farmers to discuss what the next planting season will be and plan on the most profitable crops to plant. I stopped by at Ismaila’s to see how he is recuperating, remember him? Ismaila is that tall friend of mine back in Ikeja, the same one who got me into the pyrotechnics space. He had broken his leg after a domestic accident at the African senior athletics championships at Asaba, some weeks back. He had waived the incident off as something small and has found himself at home for more than seven weeks already. I always encourage folks to see a doctor as soon as any accident or funny feeling arise concerning their wellbeing.

Finally, that was how I decided to take a keke (Tricycle), a means of commuting in the suburban parts of Lagos, here was this pretty lady sitting right there as my driver. The intriguing thing about the experience was how much education she has and the many other activities she engages in. We got talking and she promised to share her experiences with me soon. I will be sure to share when I write you next week. Have you or a friend of yours got any groove coming up that I can attend? Don’t hesitate to share and I’ll make plans to attend.

Yours,

Ilupeju B