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Celebrating the Soni side of life


Listen ehn! There are some people you must apply utmost wisdom, discretion and attention while writing about them else you betray lack of knowledge (even of the use of English), bad breeding and all what not. So, when I woke up to the alert of his birthday today, I paused to ponder on how best to word my tribute to him. So, here we go!

Growing up in my village (which I dare you to locate on the Nigerian map, if you can) I used to see my father listening to and enjoying the Morning Show on Radio Nigeria. Like with most things, I emulated him. I came across and fell in love with names like Mani Onumonu (the host with the most); Jim Lawson Maduike (who later branched into Nollywood); Zakari Mohammed (the Radio Mallam); Veronica Osawere, Jones Usen, Bisi Olatilo and, of course, Soni Irabor, among others. The effortlessness with which these folks spoke the English language; the professionalism which they demonstrated in their presentations; the humor which characterized their show and the knowledge of virtually every subject which they displayed every morning, Monday to Friday, really made a great mark on me. So, I wanted two things, I told my father (who, ostensibly liked Veronica Osawere most. Chai!): One, I wanted to be a Broadcaster and, two; I wanted to meet these folks on Radio Nigeria. Well, I failed to accomplish all of them except one: I met my favorite of them all!!! He’s been a blessing ever since our paths crossed in my days in Cadbury Nigeria.

Warm. Vivacious. Gregarious. Modest yet Stylish. Brilliant. Professional. Gifted. Generous. Humanist. Gentle yet tough. Yeah, Tough!  A go-getter. He won’t take NO for an answer. Debonair in an unobtrusive way. You can add as many good attributes as you can find and you will be talking about this good man, rare man, good friend, senior brother, mentor (even if he couldn’t get me to become a broadcaster like him on account of  my horrible voice) and an unassuming change agent. He appears always, always happy doesn’t he? What’s with that ever-present, radiant smile on his shy lips-like he’s got no cares in this world. But he does; he does care a lot for others, especially the less privileged. 

Two SOFT things I have in common with this man: He loves good things. I love good things too. Ighotago? Then, he’s got the kindest heart I have ever encountered. I only try. He loses his composure whenever he encounters someone in need, and will borrow even from a shrine to see to it that the need is attended to. That is really the quintessential Soni, which that has kept me and him so close. He is a HUMAN BEING. Period! God didn’t make many of such. And that’s why he is so loved and adored by the young and the old. By the way, I used to call him Oga, but we seem to have grown into strictly first names. Such a simple, modest gentleman, much older yet so courteous!
  
I didn’t have to ask him to know two of his success secrets: Reading and listening. There’s only one problem you’ll have with someone who reads too much! How to cope with him in the intellectual department. At home, he must have met his match in his wife. Even the little matter of keeping his books out of his side of the bed is nothing to the ever-young and absolutely brilliant lady. Anyway, this guy has got to be a great lover of books to parade such an encyclopedic brain. I always thought he must have been to school to study LISTENING because the way he focuses with rapt attention when you have the floor is sometimes disconcerting. And when he starts responding, it is like he tape-recorded all you’ve  said.

I called to sing him a birthday song but alas he was out and about downtown in Ikeja getting things done.  At 64, he still has the sprightly gait of a 40-something-year-old; the swag of a 30-year-old; the acumen of a 50-year-old executive and the grace and sagacity of an Octogenarian. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I write of none other than the inimitable Soni, yeah! Soni Irabor. He actually needed no introductions, which is why I didn’t bother with what he’s done and what he’s doing except that he’s doing birthday today-as we say in Mbaise. 

Please join me in wishing him a most wonderful birthday and an abundance of God’s divine grace for good health, longer life and prosperity. The Hennessy XO is on me, Boss, with assurances of my highest regards.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONI!!! By the way, Soni, you haven't connected me with Zain Vergee...still waiting in patient expectation. You have the "conne". Ighotago?


Celebrating the Soni side of life Celebrating the Soni side of life Reviewed by Emeka Oparah on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 Rating: 5

1 comment

  1. Happy birthday Soni Irabor....My generation remembered you in the days of 'Soni Irabor life on AIT'. May God bless and increase your good work sir.

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