“Femi Segun was a cult here. A loving husband to his long suffering wife, he was there for his daughters. He lived for the church, he lived for his school, he will greatly be missed.”
– Mr. Femi Olubanwo
“He was a special person, he lived with passion and flair. He had an infectious smile, he was bold. Speaks the truth, he loved his family. He was a complete gentleman, a debonair. It is difficult to accept he is gone.”
– Mrs. Kemi Balogun
“In very many ways, Uncle Femi was a blessing. Perhaps our greatest tribute to Uncle Femi’s legacy is to find the strength to live on. We will surely see him again at the resurrection of the saints. Goodbye, Good night.”
– Pastor Paul and Pastor (Mrs.) Ifeanyi Adefarasin
TRIBUTES TO OLUFEMI ENITAN SEGUN (1958-2014)
THE BURNT LIBRARY ODE TO FEMI SEGUN
He loved the dramatic, yet he was never part of a film cast, as he was indeed his own theatre company, the Alarinjo of yesteryears. With the plot(s) written in his fertile creative mind, every social space was the actor’s location and the dramatist’s mounted wooden stage, albeit without the prompter.
With Femi Segun, the one we knew, and will continue to know, as Ojuorogbo there was never a dull moment, most especially amongst us, his classmates and friends, right from 1970 when we shared our ‘communal’ bath, baring it all to one another at dawn and dusk, breeding trust and loyalty within our tribe of innocent souls, opening animated dialogue with our individual futures, yet forging a collectivity whose bond was bound to survive our individual sojourn on this plane. Verily, we confess, no rites of spiritual bonding could be more efficacious. And, ever since 1974/76, outside of the gates, and beyond the manicured lawns of Igbobi College, Yaba, ‘Oju’ kept faith with our collective destiny, forged in the innocence of those formative years and nurtured by relationships of life as we, individually, wrestled with the greasy poles of ambition. In all of these seasons, and much as he was always eager to ‘instigate’ a ‘fight’, once past the initial skirmishes, his legendary friendly disposition was allergic to the ruffling of feathers of fellow ‘rascals.’
The son of a pre-eminent storyteller, one of the best our continent can proudly put on parade, especially in the children’s literature genre, Femi was a true descendant of the gifted tribe of writers. Infected with the gift of the garb, he graciously put this valued inheritance to the services of our common patrimony, our dear Igbobi College.
A linguist of repute, ‘Oju’ thoroughly ‘harassed’ us with his command of many languages. He was a seasoned polyglot. Now that the curtain is drawn, long before the last acts and scenes are staged, the main plot will become a reviewer’s prerogative. How the drama would have ended now resides in the protruded womb of speculative narration, bound to bear a child of multiple paternity. Surely, our own Oju was an unfinished book, the implication being that we, the participants-audience of his ‘book’, are today unfairly deprived of his epic for which we bear him a ‘grudge’. Otherwise, why should Femi deny us of his companionship, and in such a manner, without even as much as forewarning of the imminence of his departure from our midst.
Regrettably, our monthly rendezvous, rotated among the boys would, henceforth, be famished for his physical absence. Today, death, the inevitable and ever present companion of life, gloats and celebrates at our expense. But, to its eternal shame and damnation, we shall not mourn the passage of an icon; for FemSeg was life-personified.
Today, a griot in the true sense of the African village square moonlight gathering is interred, gone with his muse. No doubt, Oju’s departure is a library set ablaze, with the village’s ancient classics reduced to ashes. A tragedy has indeed befallen the village of ICOBA 1970-1974/76. But could this tragedy have been avoided? In other words, could we have doused the embers of fire that gutted the family encyclopedia that was Femi Segun. Amidst suppressed tears and bottled-up emotions, we must subsist in the consolation that ‘God giveth, and God taketh, as the Creator knows best.’ Human destiny can never be avoided. It was his time to alight from this train of life at his own chosen station. Yet, the wagon moves on, its propelling engine grinding its way to eternity, with each and every one of us oblivious of the unholy alliance between death and destiny. For now, the best we can do for the one who has arrived at his disembarking platform is to wish him a safe journey home. As John Donne admonished, “…send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
Oju is gone, unreachable, except in our dreams. Our ‘fights’ are over as he has raised his hands in surrender. He has indeed departed from amongst us, rudely terminating our on-going animated dialogue of engagement, as he would always do at our set meetings. Yet he lives on in our consciousness as he will refuse to be forgotten, just as we will always remember his taunts, especially his antics nudging us to end our shouting match and commence with the most ‘important’ item on our agenda, the unwritten ITEM 7. His face and presence can never be blotted from our individual and collective memory because, truly and sincerely, and beyond hyperbole, he was, as they say, ‘larger than life’. Because his legs are, metaphorically speaking, elephantine his pair of shoes may lack a viable and deserving inheritor. Indeed, Femi left with his studded boots. Thus, in the vacancy of his seat, we will always be reminded that Ojuorogbo played pranks with us in the dormitories, and broke bounds to keep ‘appointments’ with different gateman at the various cinema houses that dotted the Ikorodu Road axis in the 70s. Surely, his indelible footprints, etched in the sands of time, will remain a permanent testimony to his humanity in our recollection as a Set. As a poet of lost memory, but of contemporary relevance intoned, ‘a genius’ great creation will outlive its author’s mortal spell; to generation after generation they cast their light anew. So is Femi Segun’s humanness.
Ojuorogbo, the drummer who chose to remove his sculptured hands from the talkative face of the bata drum when the practiced legs of the village damsels were yet to thrill village suitors, in search of virgin waists, continue your rest, in peace, because it is well with you. For your classmates and friends of 44 years, we shall not subsist in mourning your departure, but live in celebration of your translation to glory. For, in our hearts, you live…till we meet to part no more. Femi, it is good night, for now…
PROF. AKIN ONIGBINDE and FEMI OLUBANWO on behalf of the ICOBA 70-74/76 SET
A MUCH LOVED COUSIN
Femi is a special person. He lived with passion and flare. He was quite a presence with the loudest, most infectious laugh in the room, always exhibiting animated gestures during story telling. Even as a little girl I remember looking up to him and just wanting to be in his company.
Femi spoke his mind with boldness, fought for causes he believed in, sought hard after truth and listened intently with an authenticity that made you feel that he loved every minute of being with you. And he loved his family.
Femi’s mother is my father’s older sister and my god-mother. Growing up with him at our home on MacDonald Road, there was never a dull moment. I cannot remember when Femi came to live with us. I only know that he was a part of our family.
Even after moving into his own home at 1004, my siblings and I looked forward to weekends when he would arrive at our house in his black Passat and hang out with his younger cousins. Femi played the role of a wonderful egbon perfectly.
He was truly debonair, a gentleman to the core, his knowledge and command of many languages added to his persona of ‘totally cool cousin.’
We miss Femi. It is difficult to accept that he is gone. We thank God for the privilege of the time we shared together. My siblings, Erepitan, Aigboje, Aig and I will cherish the memories we have collectively and individually. Life will never again be the same without him…and that is life.
We are thankful that he is in the best place, at rest in the bosom of our Lord Jesus.
-OLUWAKEMI BALOGUN, on behalf of Frank and Emily Aig-Imoukhuede’s children
YOU WERE FULL OF LIFE
Writing a tribute to you post-humously is just so surreal because you were full of life and the cat with nine lives who was pulled back from the brink of every crisis. We really did think you would beat this one as you did all the rest. But I guess ‘it is appointed unto men once to die’ and we can’t question God on the why, how and when.
You didn’t do things by halves. To you, life was meant to be lived, period! I will never forget seeing you one night in my form 2 or 3 in St. Anne’s, Ibadan in Aunty’s car; a car which to all intents and purposes, was supposedly safely parked behind the padlocked garage door in Lagos!!! And there were many of such episodes.
But it was mainly shakara! As a friend described you, you were a real softy. Tough exterior with all the biking gear and Hell’s Angel’s-type demeanour but soft interior. Plus you were the one who practically every family member was connected to in one way or the other because you really did reach out to touch people.
I will miss you and will never forget you and trust that you are now at peace with your Maker jetting about full blast at the speed of light! (Someone, I can’t imagine you on a cloud playing a harp!)
Rest in peace Femi, and thanks for passing this way and touching our lives.
IT IS WELL
From the moment I heard of Uncle Femi’s passing to this very day, I have been haunted by one phrase, ‘It is well.’ My question is, how can it be well when a man with so many unique talents, so much love, so much excitement and so much passion has left this earth?
How can I pretend that all is well when his swagger, his voice and his unending jokes and tricks have left this world as well? It is difficult for it to be well for me or my brother as we have lost one of our Fathers, his children have lost a King among men and his wife has lost a soul mate. I refuse to accept that it is well, but I accept that it is as the Lord had planned. I believe the only reason he has left us is because God wanted such awesomeness to be closer to him.
I love you Uncle Femi and I know that wherever you are right now, you are still putting smiles on people’s faces.
– Your nephew, CHIEBUNIEM MBA
TRIBUTE TO A GREAT GENERAL
Uncle Femi, the gift God Almighty sent in 1998 when He chose in His pleasure to start the Protocol Directorate of House on the Rock. You shone forth with professionalism, forthrightness, love, humour and style, as you brought forth His vision and mentored us.
Your Excellent and Intellectual Leadership template is modeled to date. The seeds you sowed have grown large and mighty by the Grace of God and will always be a tribute and legacy for you to smile on from heaven.
A Fine Gentleman, Charismatic Leader, Protocol Personified! You will be greatly missed Boss! A talented and inspirational leader, an astute teacher in many ways. You made us believe in ourselves and brought innovative ideas to the directorate.
An exceptional person who encouraged us to keep on keeping on, however difficult the situation was. A great mentor and truly a big brother. Always watching and guiding! A breath of fresh air as we built the directorate! Thank you for all you are and did.
An epitome of protocol, amiable, distinguished with the spirit of excellence.
A pacesetter, a passionate leader and a true visionary! Thank you for opening the door for us to serve in the Protocol Directorate.
We love and miss you greatly.
Rest in peace Uncle Femi.
– The Protocol Directorate of House on the Rock