My friend turned brother, Kunle Adeniyi marks yet another birthday today. It is not a landmark birthday and but I can no longer withstand the temptation of writing about this perfect gentleman. If I decide to let it slide and save it for another day, I might not come round to write this piece for which the inspiration presently abounds. So, I have quickly swathed away the spirit of procrastination and took up my ready pen.
As I grow older, personal experience has come to make me realize that, in the symphony of life, there are friendships that resonate beyond the ordinary, weaving a melody that transcends the years. Today, as the calendar marks another chapter in the life of Adekunle Adeniyi, a cherished friend and brother, I find myself compelled to articulate the profound nature of our bond—one that has not only weathered the seasons but has evolved into a brotherhood that defies conventional labels.
Navigating the labyrinths of memories we’ve created and one that has survived through the ups and downs of life, it is not surprising why our bond remains a thing of exceptional quality. From the laughter that echoed through the corridors of our shared adventures to the quiet understanding that spoke volumes in moments of quiet pain, each experience has become a mosaic, illustrating the depth and resilience of our friendship.
Friendships, much like fine wine, acquire richness and validity with time. I first met Kunle when I needed to fix a problem on the MTN line of my late Boss, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin (God bless his memory, as he continues to rest in peace) and my brother, Abiola took me to meet a former school mate of his who was then ‘serving’ (our way of describing those on the National Youth Service Corps). It turned out to be Kunle, and he promptly willingly and enthusiastically fixed the problem. Abiola was to later mention that he is a lawyer, a smart one who’d made a 2:1 (Second Class Upper Degree) in university, and was currently in Law School.
His demeanour and industriousness struck me, such that when Prof requested that I find a young person to join our team in the Executive Office of NACA (National Agency for the Control of AIDS) where he was then the Executive Chair, I didn’t have to look too far. And that was how the ties that binds us today began. Hence, what commenced then as a simple camaraderie has blossomed into a relationship that embodies the essence of familial ties. I rave about this friendship and brotherhood bond not merely for the moments of laughter and joys it has produced, but the transformative anchor of support it has provided in the tumultuous points of life’s journeys.
Kunle’s friendship is special because it is energising and complementary. I found in him a kindred spirit who shared the same level of commitment in the pursuit of excellence. Our energies align because our understanding of life and the meaning we attach to friendship remains profound. We have mostly grown together professionally, fell in love with the work that we do and share the same enthusiasm in making the world a better place. It sometimes feels like the harmonisation of two destinies, hemmed from the same cloth.
Birthdays are not merely milestones; they are reflective pauses in the journey, offering an opportunity to acknowledge growth, celebrate achievements, and anticipate the adventures that lie ahead. As my Friend and brother stands on the threshold of another year, I wish for him a path adorned with joy, success, and the realization of aspirations—a journey where each day unfolds as a canvas for new experiences and every challenge serves as a stepping stone to personal growth.
In a world that crowds and distracts us too easily these days, taking a moment to honor the people who shape our narrative is of absolute necessity for me. More so, for a deserving person. It is an attestation of a bond that has withstood storms, celebrated triumphs while staying unshakeable.
So, here’s to you, my brother from another mother. May this birthday not only mark the passage of time but also symbolize the flourishing of dreams and the fortification of our bond. As the candles flicker and the festivities unfold, let us raise a heartfelt toast to the extraordinary journey we’ve shared and the multitude of adventures that await us.
In the grand tapestry of life, some friendships are not just threads but vibrant strokes of color that define the beauty of the whole canvas. Today, as we commemorate the birth of a dear friend, we also celebrate the richness that true friendship brings—an enrichment that transforms acquaintances into allies, and friends into family. Here’s to the journey we’ve had, the challenges we’ve conquered, and the countless chapters that await our insatiable pen!
To those who know Kunle, and have taken the pains to read this piece this far, expecting that I will pop the ‘obvious’ outstanding question, I am sorry that I have to disappoint you, because we already know and pray that before his next birthday, we will sing the song of Dr. SID, featuring D’Banj ‘pop up, pop up, pop up something…….we dey pop champagne’
Happy Birthday to my brother of life !!!
Niyi Ojuolape is the UNFPA Country Representative in Somalia.