It is my fervent wish for youths to be exposed to having a great mentor at least once in their lives. I have been fortunate to have three over the years and the former deputy chief of staff to former Governor Alao-Akala, Alh. Abdulkareem Abdulrasaq Gbadegesin Alabi Onikepe (Agbeti) is Number One on my well-thought-of list.
Those that genuinely know, follow and/or work with Alabi will agree with me that Baba Kareemah is humble, peaceful, compassionate, kind and merciful. The members of Agbeti family (including myself) feel comfortable, equal, and have a very good relationship with him, and he has confidence in us.
Baba AbdulBasheer is more than a boss, leader and mentor to me; he situationally plays the roles of true father and friend in my life. He is also a boss who says, “If you need my help in any way, please let me know,” and he means it. He is willing to listen and never short of wise advice and opinions. He never, ever cuts short a conversation with a “listen!”, even when he disagrees.
Baba Ibeji is always ready to go the extra mile to make meaningful impacts in the lives of the people in his world; and YSO Olaniyi is a star beneficiary. Agbeti has never been in dilemma situations in matters involving me and any other party (not minding the relationship status), he takes my side. Oga mi is consistently consistent in taking bullets for me.
He has taught me the importance of family, too. His fatherly demeanour is exemplary; GRK is indeed a proud father to us. The Ogbomoso-born politician is a great leader that deflects credit to his people, unlike some egocentric leaders that always look to take credit for themselves alone.
The Onikepe I know has his share of mood swings. However, I have hardly seen him losing his temper. It is never his style to vent his anger and frustration on any of us. He is also one who is never afraid to admit his mistakes. That is definitely not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength, courage and responsibility.
This is my 10th year under the tutelage of GRK, therefore I must thank God for the journey so far. The Great Oga has seen me through the important stages of my life; he never failed to take time to share his personal experiences with me at every stage. I am proud to say you’re a jolly good Great Mentor!
Alhamdulilah! February 14th is here again, HAPPY 54TH BIRTHDAY to my great boss and benefactor. It brings me so much joy to pay a tribute to you on this special day of yours. I pray to Almighty Allah to continue to bless you and wraps His Mghty Arms of Protection around you on this extra special day and forever. Oga, please remain your humble self because you’re destined for greater heights. Warafanau Monkana Aliyah! (Amin).
YSO Olaniyi, a political analyst and former NANS leader, writes from Ibadan.