“Everything about everyone of us points to the fact that everyone is unique… This is the foundation on which I have built my persona which has become a brand”
The editor appreciates your desire to grant this interview and prays you oblige me a copy of your private part.
Do you really mean that? Are you sure your editor actually said it the way you've put it to me? I guess he must just have asked you to ask for a copy of MY PRIVATE PART for review in your magazine.
But, sir, we are saying the same thing. You yourself have just said it, so what is the problem? Once again, in case you didn't hear me well, can I have a copy of your private part as requested by my editor?
Okay, you will have it at the end of the interview. Or are you in a hurry to have it now?
Wharrrever!.... Let me just begin the interview by asking how you came to be so different among all men I have ever come across. You are the first area fada (father) I ever knew and you are so punky!
Thanks for the compliments. You are really knowing of area fada for the first time? Maybe it's because you are such a young girl. Have you ever heard of somebody called King of Boys before?
No! But what kind of man would call himself king of boys?
Late Pa Majekodunmi of Ibadan was the King of Boys during his own days. He was a first generation area fada (father) whose popularity and generosity went beyond the Ibadan city walls in the 1970s and 1980s. At over 70, he was as agile as his young followers. At such an age, the King of Boys stood out of the crowd. He treated the boys like his equals and they loved him for it...
But you have not really answered my question, sir.
If only you will stop interrupting ... As I was saying, it's people like late Pa Majekodunmi who tend to prove the point that it pays to stand out in a crowd and make the difference. I had the best of liberal education that money could provide and after graduation, I felt within myself that I needed to be different from the pack.
What's the philosophy behind this choice of yours?
Thank you, my sister. I borrowed my philosophy from one author called Herman Melville who once wrote that "it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation". I just wanted to be myself. You see, everything about everyone of us points to the fact that everyone is unique. And this has been scientifically proved. No two people have the same fingerprints. My DNA coding is just as different from that of yours, even if we are twins! So, why can't I be me? And you be you? This is the foundation on which I have built my persona which has become a brand. I refuse to be like the Joneses because he who blends with the crowd can easily get lost. Look at Muhammad Ali, the boxing legend. He refused to be like other fighters of his time by promoting his talents on a higher and unique pedestal. While others fought with only their fists, he brought razzmatazz into the fighting profession with his legendary 'Louisville lip'. Our own Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, too, stood out from the pack after rediscovering himself as a revolutionary musician. He was more than an avant-garde artiste. He was an irritant gadfly on the private part of the powers that be and...
Sorry to cut you short. Since you mentioned private part again, maybe I could just quickly ask this question: why the reference to your private part in the title of your book?
Have you really seen MY PRIVATE PART?
Nnnnnoooo, sir! And...emmm...emmmmm... I don't intend to. O ti o. No way!
But your editor asked that I should give you a copy?
Yyye...yyyeee...yes, sir! I didn't know that's what you meant.
Look at you! Even if one wants to eat toad for supper at least one should look for a fat and juicy one for that matter... I don't blame you. All grasscutters claim to be big, robust and mature. Well, to answer your question, MY PRIVATE PART, no pun intended, is just a semi-biography detailing aspects of my private life hitherto unknown to the public, especially my constituency, made up of the performing musicians, dispatch riders and the 'footwagen owners' association of Niagara.
You said your private part...
Point of correction. The correct title of the book is MY PRIVATE PART...
We are still saying the same thing. It is your private part, not mine...
Young girl, don't get on my nerves. What's really wrong with you? Or is this temptation by subterfuge?
Sir, I'm not tempting you by whatever. The point is that my pastor will not forgive me if I mention the title the way you want me to...
You are like the squirrel in the tale who will not listen to corrections and warnings. I say MY PRIVATE PART, not YOUR PRIVATE PART, is the title. Now, say it...
Sorry, I can't say it as it is.
There you are! And you say you work for a media house that is bold, daring and different from the others. Do you want me to change the title of my book because of your religious sensibility?
Sir, this thing you are asking me to do is ethically and morally wrong. It offends morality … But if you don't mind, let us proceed with the interview... What advice do you have for the youths of nowadays on this philosophy of being different?
Let me first of all start with you. From the little I have seen of you, you need to reexamine yourself, identify your strengths — your gifts and talents — and give them expression in your own special way. No doubt, you were designed to be an original unto yourself. You are a reporter today. Tomorrow you may rediscover yourself as a Bimbo Odukoya or Mrs Okonkwo or Mrs Ashimolowo, go for it. Mount the stage and prophesy... Every individual should realise his or her full potential. Just be yourself. And that reminds me of John Mason who said: "You are born an original, don't die a copy". If you try to be like someone else, then who will be you? Be different. Brand yourself and become a marketable prodigy.
Thank you, Mr. Shirley Boy. Now, for the umpteenth time, can you give me a copy of your private part?
Over my dead body!
*First published in TELL July 23, 2007