July 25 is World Tallest Day: Tribute to a lifetime mentor


By Yusuf Mutiu Olaitan

For the gift of life, I say Alhamdulillahi. For making me a Muslim, it’s worth praising the name of the Most High. For the life I’m living, I say big thanks to the Almighty Allah. For blessing my life with Tallest, every adoration be unto Him.

Like a loose dog, I left the secondary school, wandering from the street of Adewole and Ilorin at large. Playing local football all over the street. I almost became a scavenger. If I wasn’t arguing football, I must be attending an “owanbe”. God is so good.

I was called to be manning a viewing center in Idigba by a friend, he knew I could do it. He knew I’m a no nonsense type of guy. He knew I’m always hot. I accepted it honorably. I didn’t have an option. I wasn’t doing anything meaningful then. It was a terrain I didn’t know so much about.

Whenever there seemed an uproar, Tallest will call me and talk to me as if he had known me before I was there. Whenever there was an argument, he’ll listen to what I have to say. I knew he had an interest in me. I saw it. It was clear. As he was looking out for me, I was more than elated to be associated with him. The feeling was mutual.

It all started like a play. On a faithful day, he asked me, “Which school are you?” I just wrote JAMB and I scored bla bla…. I replied. “That’s good,” he remarked. He asked why I was just writing JAMB then, but I couldn’t come up with an excuse. He encouraged me to push for it, I did and I was admitted into the university. He was happy. The feeling for me was a mixed one. I was happy because I gained an admission while I was sad because I wouldn’t be able to be wandering the streets anymore.

In prestissimo, the relationship grew. No one understands how it was so brisk. Not me. Not him. I couldn’t do without him, he couldn’t do without me. I became his best friend, he became mine. I became his confidant, he became mine. He pushed me beyond what I think I could do. Assignments he gave me sometimes seems a punishment but he’ll tell me, “Ogbeni, you’re the one to do it. I won’t do it for you”. From there, I started picking myself up. I started copying everything he does. I never missed a moment of his activity.

December 13 was a red lettered day for me. I broke my leg playing for my team and the first person I asked the first aider to call was Tallest. I intentionally didn’t asked the first aider to call my parent. I was so confident that he’ll leave wherever he is and join me. It happened. By the time he was called, I knew he’ll still be on bed for the second round of his sleep. He can sleep for the world. He came to the hospital, looking lost and fidgeted. I knew he wasn’t himself. He couldn’t talk. He was looking at me pitiably and sadly. He was wagging in the premises. I knew he was confused.

For the debacle, I was to stay for three months in the hospital. We were together for the whole of the three months in the hospital. It was like we both had a fracture. He was everything good that happened in the hospital. Financially, no one could boast more. Spiritually, he was up and doing. Mentally, he was my psychologist. We left the hospital but we continued the rehabilitation together. Gracias boss!

Recently, countless people have said it to my face that we speak the same way, we react the same way, we write the same way. Frankly, this remark is the best anyone could have for me. I love it dearly. That I do things like Tallest is a blessing and joy too many. Few of those that have made such remark were Egghead, Comrade Idiagbon, Seun Awogbenle, Ruqqoyyah, Fabulous, and a host of others. Someone told me recently that my stubbornness is that of Tallest. This, I love too. The resemblance isn’t at the peak yet. I’m just starting!

I could write and not get tired for everything is so real. No additions but there are lots of substraction.

Tallest, for the few decades you have spent on earth, you have made a whole lot of impacts. Your personality is admired by all and sundry. Continue living the dream. People within and outside your fold believe you’re the hope for the hopeless. This isn’t a mere statement, you merited it. Everybody wants to be your associate. Thank you for making me one. I’m not just your associate, I’m proud to say I’m the closest associate you have. I’m proud!

On this day, sir, I wish Allah bestows your life with immense blessing. I wish He grants you peace of mind. I pray He blesses your home with divine blessing. I pray you walk and never stagger, let alone stumble. You’re a force worth reckoning with amongst your caliber, I pray you continue being the head. You shall never suffer but excel. May Almighty take you to the glory land effortlessly. For all you do for humanity, may you be rewarded in manifolds. May the Creator of mankind elongate your life. May He maneuver ways for you when man thinks no way. May all your overt and covert prayers be answered.

This is me telling you, you’re valued. And you shall be valued for life!

Note: If you want to see me lose my home training, be in a feud with Tallest.

If Tallest is your enemy, automatically I’m your enemy.

If he’s your friend, I’m your friend by default.

Happy birthday, Comr Tajudeen Habeeb Omoluabi!


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