Home / Arts & Entertainment / (Lailai to Lailai) Elegy to Nimi Dimkpa Briggs, The Indomitable Spirit Of our time By Professor Olu Obafemi
Prof. Nimi-Briggs

(Lailai to Lailai) Elegy to Nimi Dimkpa Briggs, The Indomitable Spirit Of our time By Professor Olu Obafemi

Prof. Olu Obafemi

On a day like this

I should rise

In my voice, with a song

A flute and a gong

Even though the season is drenched

 with the wetness of loss

I shall lift my heavy feet

 to dance

For a living hero.

 

Refrain from Ogunde’s song:

(Eni ba mo Agbe, ko bawa daro Aro

Eni ba mo Aluko, ko bawa daro osun

Ebawa daro Agbe ti o fo

Ebawa dara okunkun ti okun)

Those intimate with Nimi

Sing his eulogy

Those close to the son  of Abonema

Chant his praise name

Commiserate with the broken calabash

Condole on darkness that palls

 

Never, say, and never, die

Nimi

You will never die

In the grateful hearts of

The nation and humanity

Whom you serve

In immortal humility.

 

Lailai to Lailai

So you always say

In moments

Of timeless rejection of the spirit of failure;

You are the man

Of timeless hope and die-less optimism–

To the assailants of your indomitable spirit.

 

Every good thing must happen

In our time,

That, Dimkpa, is your homily,

Your dictum of human possibilities

Even in the staring and glaring

Gaze of obstacles and challenges to the course;

By Agents of the cave-bound-ness

Of the human nadir–

You’ll rage-Lailai to Lailai!.

 

And so,

You led as though being led

In dogged love of mankind

Though we know,

In virtue of your chosen calling,

That your scalpel probes

With clinical finality

Into the uteral anatomy

Of womanhood at birth-pangs

 

But,

It is your dominant commitment

To the cure of the human soul

That breeds both the baby, and

The human mind.

 

Ah, Nimi Dimkpa Briggs

The eloquence of your turn- of- phrase

The redolence of your drinkable oratory

The sweetness of your fighting tongue

The agility of your sprightly jogging feet

Every early mornings of your life,

In ready preparatory of your pursuit

And quick-thinking

For work-a-day jobbery

For the survival of our land’s dream.

 

Lailai to lailai

(Gbala gbala

Olorun maje!

Tufiakwa! 

Allah ya sauwake!)

In all the tongues of your polygottal word-thoughts

Never ever-die;

Not even death can blur your dream

Of what must happen

To the future of our beleaguered land.

 

All the sages gather

For a timeless vigil

But they cannot garner

A totem of regret

That death must rage forever and for aye.

 

Yes! Emeritus Professor Briggs,

Lailai to lailai

Your spirit cannot die

Until and even after your dreams come true,

Dear friend,

Since you planted the live- forever tree,

Our lives are sole witnesses

To your never die-ness

Your never-say, and never die

Forever- live, forever- be

In the grateful heart

Of the nation and humanity

Whom you serve ,

In immortal humanity.

 

Goodnight, then,

Dear leader, dear friend, dear patriot.

 

Eni ba mo Agbe…

 

Professor Olu Obafemi is a Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) award recipient and a distinguished Professor of English.

 

 

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