Long before the democratization of the blogging culture among Nigerians and the viral spread of opinionitis on social media, Philip Adekunle and his Nigeria Village Square (NVS) was one of those early platforms that provided opportunities for the free exchange of ideas on Nigerian affairs – from books to technology, money matters and the foibles of politicians. And the conversations that evolved were animated, rich, enlightening.
Thanks to Big K’s industry, NVS became a social media institution for many Nigerians who just wanted a forum where they could discuss, argue and let off steam. Big K made the space lively, open and interactive. Over time, he created a large following both in diaspora and at home, but more importantly, an online family. I am proud and grateful to be associated with this family. For years, Philip Adekunle has kindly published my writings, including many rejoinders to my views, not to talk of direct attacks.
The dedication with which Philip Adekunle has sustained the blog is commendable. The more pronounced focus on opinions is a certain kind of nichemanship, which may be somewhat tricky, but he has managed to pull it off so well creating a community of loyal readers and writers, who more than once have even ventured into philanthropy under the NVS umbrella.
Big K is a compulsive networker. He builds bridges. He keeps in touch. He is generous with his time and ideas. While I served in Abuja, he would oftentimes engage me with online chats on different subjects offering much-needed counsel and support. He was one of those who understood the challenges of the assignment and was always ready to make things easier. I thank him for his friendship.
Well, Big K, you are just turning 50? Welcome to the club, my brother. The age of fifty can be somewhat oppressive. A few weeks thence, you may find yourself in a solitary moment of reflection, counting the numbers 1-50 in your head and wondering how time managed to pass so fast. This process becomes even more intriguing when the children begin to treat you like you are “old school”, a social dinosaur, and you no longer seem to understand the latest fashion or music, and worse, those pretty young ladies who look tempting begin to put a tag on you: Uncle Philip! Or they may even call you Da-dd-y! One day you may be tempted to look in the mirror and ask if age is beginning to show on you.
But that is life, my brother. Time is an impatient oppressor. It doesn’t wait. We thank God for the many blessings he has bestowed on the work of your hand and your family. I wish you many more years of service to humanity in good health, and in the company of greater blessings. Happy Birthday, my brother. Many happy returns.
Dr. Reuben Abati was spokesman and special adviser, media and publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan (2011 – 2015). He tweets from @abati1990.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.