The Man Who Taught Me How To “Gbe Agbara Si Le” (Relinquish Power)

IT was a private reading for a book launch. I have been invited to listen to the author as she reads from some of her writings on different issues. What an honour to have been invited to such an important occasion that had Nigeria’s richest, best and finest in attendance. There was glam everywhere with red carpet sessions and then the event started.

Ladies and gentlemen welcome to this private book reading… said the compere—a Nollywood actor and celebrity…. Then the author took to the podium. Throughout her speech I was itching to hear her refer to her husband, you know that way a successful Nigerian woman would eulogise her husband and your heart will melt. I didn’t hear it. Now I started getting worried and using a corner of my eye to check the husband who was seating quietly listening and smiling—his demeanor was the same throughout the event as I kept checking intermittently.

Me, typical Yoruba man was saying in my mind, you mean she won’t recognise this handsome, intelligent and articulate man that I have always admired from afar. Hmmmmm…. See how she is making this all about herself. Who does that? I was saying to myself world war 3 would happen in that house today if my wife ever does this. How could she not acknowledge and praise me in her speech—”a whole me—10 men wrapped into one’’.

I kept listening to her reading which was in a different format. The reading was panel styled, respected individuals were given a copy of the book to read in advance and they had the opportunity of asking her questions centered on what they have read. What a creative way to organise a private book reading and launch.

The reading was fluent, her reasons for penning those thoughts were valid. Yet she still would not say anything about her being married to an influential man and how that shaped her success. Ara adugbo e gba mi ke (Someone please help) and each time I look at the husbands face he was smiling and nodding in admiration of his wife. The day was far spent, and I needed to travel from the Island to mainland, looking at the programme the husband was meant to end the event with a vote of thanks. Today na today I won’t go until I hear what he will say. How can such an influencer, public figure and great African man not be duly recognised… pekele pekele arugbo je gbese ta ni o san? (an old man or woman is in huge debt who will pay?).

As soon as he took the mic, I adjusted my sit and was saying to myself e hen the moment is here for him to shine what I heard was ‘’I am here as the man of the house” forget all the offices I hold” at this point I was weak from head to toe. I felt goose pumps. I see a man who understands space, a man who values his wife’s abilities, gift, intellect, energies and who has kept his ego in wraps. I see a man who doesn’t see his wife’s success as necessarily being tied to him. Though he said they were each-others strong critic, he recognised the day to be her wife’s and honestly that day belonged to her and no one else.

Was she wrong in not giving the eulogies I was expecting her to give to her husband? Before you say yes or no, you had better gbe agbara si ile (relinquish power). That’s the slang you hear on the streets when you are influential, and you want to be flexing the powers you have. I leant a lot on that day—humility, simplicity, understanding, managing strong women, growing together as one, friendship, letting each other shine and the list is endless.

Was he pretending, NO. I saw a man who was genuine, real and above all a model for many men. But the day did not end without his wife talking about how they met and the values she saw in him, now that was far better than the eulogies I didn’t hear.

Any by the way na who eulogies don epp. Second base jare!


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2 Responses to The Man Who Taught Me How To “Gbe Agbara Si Le” (Relinquish Power)

  1. Femi Diipo April 30, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Nice one. Love the mix of yoruba with English and this was quite witty. That husband is a role model abeg

  2. Samuel May 14, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    You are such a great writer; comical and brilliant. That man is one in a million and i have learnt a lot from this simple act of humility. Truth be told, who eulogies help abeg…


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