Sustaining The Future

by | Oct 17, 2015 | Learning | 0 comments

Sustaining The Future…
By ICOBA Europe, Aug 18 2014 11:20AM
My dear family of Igbobians,
I thank you all for a great and inspiring weekend. Can you believe that we did so much in only 40 hours and that some of us still managed to get some sleep? Kaye watched over us day and night conducting the orchestra, coaxing cajoling, staring, suffering no fools, cracking the odd flicker of a smile before turning stonyfaced once more like an army general passed over for promotion after he lost the combination to a joint bank account.
As the clock struck 4pm on Friday afternoon, evidence of months of planning, countless meetings across London and the Midlands in homes pubs and wherever else we could find the space started to unfold…

On Friday we registered, met and greeted, bought a house tee-shirt, wore the teeshirt and caught a glimpse of the future through Carl Clement‘s robotics. I loved it when the robot did the Michael Jackson routine then feigned fatigue and sighed. At least that’s what it looked to me. The younger ones lapped it up.

Careers session next. To a heavy back beat provided by the Seguns as the “street Mcs”, Oke gave us an inadvertent hint of his bling lifestyle when he confessed that his profession earns at least one whole logarithmic multiple of a solicitor’s salary, that we should look to the air traffic controllers and to the actuaries not just medicine and dentistry for careers. Emanuel Orebajo filled the floor with his questions, Yinka Essien warned us of the perils of inadequate pension provision (I think we will revisit this topic) and Deola Oludemi told us her inspiring story of how she became one of the few female engineers in the country (black or white) and that to be successful we need more than one string to our bows: in other words, broad experience, not narrow focus on A levels etc.

Intoxicated in the embrace of comrades, and their families, some of us did not need a drink; wine flowed nevertheless, as if by miracle. Jerry Coker has much to answer for. I think he will not be reading this until next week because, though his eyes may be open, he is probably still asleep.

Saturday dawned, the room echoed to the sound of combatants in the debate. Two cubs fought the grizzly bear. Words exchanged about Trust, thrust back and forth. The grizzly moaned, wounded. Audience intervened. Do you want to kill this man? In Nigeria it is just not done. So Tomiwa Essien and Ayomide Segun relented.But who can forget Niyi Orebajo’s retreat and call on his great reserves of experience when Tomiwa turned his comments back on him during the audience question time? Priceless. E no finish, e no finish, e no finish as Fela would say.

A fiery session on what to do about Igbobi College, Lagos followed, compered with skill by Mrs Folake Segun, who should have joined the diplomatic or fire service, there is still time. Mrs Bose Agbesanwa and Atiti oozed class and facts, Oke was isolated so I sat on the other side of the panel for balance. Each of the groups from the floor fed their conclusions to the panel. A summary will emerge in some form soon and we will let the board of governors and the rest of ICOBAland know what you all think and feel.

The younger generation gave us hope, impeccably behaved, they hardly had time to play the electronic devices. Not a whimper from even the famished smallest of them at any point. Well done to them and their parents.

After school we mixed it up (serious stuff and playtime); just as in the old days football, badminton, nature trail ensued in the afternoon.

Thank you to all the volunteers for arranging these and to Atiti for arranging the robotics and the
L’s Boudoir ladies pampering session. This was packed to the door. I know because I tried it a few times so positioned myself strategically outside pretending to nurse a drink while the ladies emerged one by one “Oloris“, queens.

Pre-drinks were served at 6pm courtesy of Deji Okubadejo and dinner started promptly on schedule. With the esteemed Otunba Falase presiding over the order of events for the dinner dance, I was hastily passed a brief communique. Our ‘Special Guest’ the Ambassador from the Island of Roko off the coast of West Africa could not attend and the attache he sent got lost, but from the fragments of the speech we received, he sounded even more Nigerian than Nigerians. I don’t think we’ll bother next time.

We paid tribute to the immense contributions to ICOBA made by Atiti, Oke and Tade. Now they know how we feel about them. They have set such high standards for the rest of us. No pressure then.

The DJ surrendered at 2am, beaten into submission by the packed ranks on the dance floor stomping, stamping, waltzing to hip-hop, Afro- beat, anything he threw at us you were ready, alone or in pairs or in formation. From the first bars of any chant he chose you knew which moves to make, which libations to pour, and incantations to invoke in retort until, desperate, he changed the tune only to be repelled again.

On Sunday two of my favourite hymns brought the reunion/retreat to a close smoothly delivered by Rev Tade Agbesanwa . Pastor Akin Coker summed up the weekend: our dreams are ours and are ours to fulfil. At this point we would like to say “a special welcome and au revoir to Sola Aderemiomo oga” to the Orebajos and Osinugas who travelled thousands of miles to be with us.”

And then without warning, all too soon it was over…
With ears still ringing, skin tingling, hearts singing, heads spinning, we departed, hopeful.
Thank you.
Sola Odemuyiwa
ICOBA Europe – Chair