By Adebayo Fajinmi
In his memoir, “The Man Died,” 1972 prose account of his arrest and 22-month imprisonment, inimatable and master prose stylist, Wole Soyinka asserts that, ” the man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.” Either in a junta or democracy, power brokers do not like hearing the truth because it put them on hot seats. That’s why George C.Lichtenberg said in 1780, that, ” it is impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing somebody’s beard.” We have had Soyinka,Chinua Achebe,Festus Adedayo, Sam Omatseye, Ray Ekpu, and other noble people who have ceaselessly singed the beards of the megalomaniacs in nation building with a torch of truth. Among the new generation of people hitting scoundrels and carpet beggars in the polity with unkind cudgel and putting policy makers on hot seats with journalistic art and act is Chief Osasu Igbinedion.
Formost nationalist, peerless and unyielding statesman, Obafemi Awolowo,in his Allocutus delivered on September 11,1963, when Justice Sowemimo declared him guilty on charges of treasonable felony blatantly declared in Peter’s words,not the biblical Peter,but Peter,the hero of Hugh Walpole’s novel, in a gutsy manner, “It’s not life that matters; but the courage you bring to it.” Rubbing salt on a festering sore and fighting for what one believes is not affluence; it takes a valorously baptised individual. She exemplifies courage.I dare say the title: ‘Nne Odum 1’ meaning ‘Mother of Lion’ is befitting.
Chief is many things rolled into one. People’s journalist. Chief Executive Officer of TOS TV. An advocate of good governance. Another superpower she commands is humanitarianism. It is a road less traveled. You dare not ply it without love. One of the books my American teacher Beatrice Hines told me to read during my supplemental course in American English was on psychology of love by an American psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck in 1978; it was titled: ‘The Road Less Traveled.’ It’s a spiritual classic, combining scientific and religious views to help us grow by confronting and solving our problems through discipline, love and grace.
One of the lessons in the book is that, “Love is an action, not a feeling.” Evidently, many people do talk about love as a feeling, but not putting it into action because it’s sacrificial. In essence, there’s no sacrifice that won’t take one or two things away from man. That’s the point where people’s love fizzle out. That’s why it’s a road less traveled by men. “It’s easier to fight for one’s principle than to live up to them,” says, Austrian psychologist, Alfred Adler. For Chief, it’s a different ball game. She’s traversing this road for humanity. During the Osasu gala night on August 16, one of the people who caught my attention were TOS FOUNDATION KIDS.They came to dramitise gratitude in a playlet for a philantropist for taking responsiblity for their education. Only a compassionate heart can do this.
As a boss, she has taken a position as a sworn enemy of mediocrity. In a society laden with mediocrity like ours, her zero tolerance for the phenomenon, and how she berates young people who have accepted it, and her campaign for conscious effort to normalise excellence rather than reject it as an utopian quest has made many people guzzled spins,feasted on innuendo and relished in half-truth and absolute falsehoods on her personality. Unarguably, she is a Lombardian. She belongs to Vince Lombardi school of thought. A school of thought that believes intrinsically that excellence must be pursued, that it must be wooed with all of one’s might and with everyone effort. The Lombardians believe that you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right everytime. Excellence is not a sometime thing; it is an all of the time thing.
James A.Autry in his engaging book, ‘Life and Work: A Manager’s Search for Meaning’ observed by saying, “when you hear about the crash of four military planes flying together in a formation, the reason for the loss is: when jet fighters fly in groups of four, one pilot- the leader- designates where the team will fly. The other three planes fly on the leader’s wing, watching him and following him wherever he goes. Whatever moves he takes, the rest of his team will make. That’s true whether he soars in the clouds or smashes into a mountaintop.” The lesson is simple: you can not outgrow your leader. Your leaders’ direction will determine whether you will soar or crash. It captures John Maxwell’s “Law of The Lid”, an essential law of great leadership. For what Chief has done and still doing, I can’t but say myself and fellow colleagues are under a great leadership which I am very proud to identify with.
As she ascends a new ladder, I pray that she remains as fit as a fiddle to continue to emblazon Nigeria and humanity with a rarity of service. Happy birthday, Ma.
Adebayo Fajinmi is editor with TOS TV NETWORK.