Tope Ogunfayo is 40 and suddenly, life begins!
Once again, time is giving us another opportunity to witness its ripening effect.
There is a sensation peculiar to human greatness. From the core, it emits from the innermost being, spreads around and amasses a quantum number of successes even as it projects and beams the essence of the great person. This smell is difficult to be contained in a forged can. However, while it does not blow its own trumpet, it is powerful enough to compel you never to forget it.
That someone could be scandalously large-hearted gives an impression that we are witnessing another rare occurrence in human greatness, yours sincerely is lucky to be counted as one of his subjects. We are talking about a man whose adversity and misfortune were turned into arsenal against the outrageous slings and arrows of fate by sheer mastery of human interconnectedness.
To examine and pay tribute to any great man is a tough task, but to pay tribute to the legacy of a great man among great men after 40 years of his existence, a paradigmatic figure of exemplary business wizardry, is a tough nut to crack.
In the past weeks, I had wished to sail away from my adventure into an enigma’s greatness, but I found myself equally affixed to the greatness of the circumstances that threw up Tope Ogunfayo, the greatness of his expectations and the greatness of the many historical distractions that crossed his way. Once again, the proponents of Electronic Chemistry should cover their faces in shame – humans are electrons, they excite from one orbital travel to another – outward, until they thin out. In a philosophical logic; the discourse on whether ‘humans’ in this theory can pass for personages like Tope Ogunfayo would be invalidated, even over some bottles of concentrated palm-wine. Tope has stayed on course!
By the way, I am not the one who is given to arm-twisting time for its ripening effect on human greatness. But time and again, the human race has seen greatness thrust upon the shoulders of people who have surrendered their very essence of existence to scavenging pure talents who are busy walling off existential impossibilities. To Tope Ogunfayo, greatness is born when your good is good in excess.
It has been a show of giants, and like a great boxer who can only achieve his true stature in contention with other equally great boxers, Tope Ogunfayo is a beneficiary of his own formidable adversaries, knocking off his adversaries even while throwing comic jives. Sometimes he is a philosopher, passive political theorist with a mind of business wizardry, an organizational genius and often times, a polemical warrior and a moral emblem.
We are talking about just one man because all these luminaries, this cluster of emeriti, are just the same man, Tope Ogunfayo. Somehow, it is an embarrassment of human riches; a genetic scandal that one single individual could be so strikingly endowed for living for just 40 years!
While someone of his enigmatic status would be swelling to the noise of his alleluia boys, Tope has risen beyond courting praise-singing soldiers to building a mass movement of young and hungry innovators who wouldn’t stop at nothing, but breakthrough!
There is always something intensely personal about Tope Ogunfayo. You always have this feeling that you have seen or met him somewhere before. He seems exactly the kind of fellow you could share a can of beer or a stick of cigarette with. He appears to have listening ears and steady nerves; a man who would keep his own side of the bargain no matter what, and who expects you to keep yours. He is a gentleman in the old sense of the word.
A man of muscular Christianity, deep spiritual faith and an avatar of the new creed of apostolic followership, to do justice to this man’s legacy, then, requires an intellectual operation of deep dialectical skills. Since I am not ready for this surgery as I am not ripe enough, I would just lay low and allow the passage of time to do the needful.
To Tope Ogunfayo, a friend, a colleague, my boss, Bukola’s best friend, Feyi’s dad, happy 40 cheers!