I’ll always remember how I met Doyin. Or how I realized I had met her. It’s one of the things I love most to keep in mind; how, and under what circumstances I meet a person. It remains with me, many times long after the person is gone.
Before I met her, I’d already met her by word of mouth. My neighbor who attended the same school as she did always came home with stacks of gist about a certain girl in her school who was a genius, and in some way, reminded her of me. She even went as far as showing me a blurry picture of said girl in her yearbook, and went on chattering about how it was an interesting coincidence that while I ended up the assistant Head-Girl of my school, this girl had winded up the assistant Head-Girl of her school as well, never mind that both schools were Federal government girls’ colleges.
‘You should meet her.’ Neighbor said to me before we concluded our lengthy gossip and University admission talks, and went our separate ways.
A few months later, my location moved completely from home to a small room crammed full of young adventurous girls. In the midst of the chaos that was Mozambique hall, a number of us who belonged to the same fellowship gathered together to pray on Saturday mornings and on other days the occasion demanded it.
One evening while we were gathered to pray, we were waiting on the organizer to show up when I heard two ladies discussing. It must have been something they said about the boarding house that caught me, and so I asked them if they both went to the same secondary school and what the name of the school was as well as the set they finished with. (Yes, I can be an amebo like that. What? Is it your amebo? 😜). One of them pointed to the other and said:
‘She was even our assistant Head-Girl sef’
And at that very moment, the world fell silent. I could see nothing and hear nothing and perceive nothing, save the girl that was before me; a striking image of that harmless face in the blurry photo.
Then it all began to click, and when, with a voice I myself didn’t recognize, I asked: ‘Are you Doyin Ibigbami?’and she smiled and said ‘Yes.’, I placed my hands over my mouth like a daughter of Eve who had just been proposed to, and barely said anything else for the next few minutes. Certain truths need to be swallowed with patience, you see.
Doyin became an acquaintance immediately. The following year, she became my friend. Two years after, she became my close friend. A year after that, she became my best friend. And now, she has become my sister. Doyin has been with me through some of the most remarkable moments of my life, a strong pillar and support and believer in my possibilities. Doyin is smart (nah, that’s the understament of the century) and hardworking and kind and humble and sound and sweet and pleasant, generally carrying an infectious air of goodness about her. She is the kind of friend you know you can rely on even if the world turns against you.
Doyin, I’m grateful for the many years you have stayed by me. I’m grateful for how you been patient with me in my worst moments, and genuinely rejoiced with me in my best. I should also add that I’m so proud of you; of all your accomplishments so far and the ones to come. I’m proud of the woman you have become, and of your love for God that is so palpable, so true. As you add another year today, I can only wish you all of God’s promises to you. I want you to know that my life is better with you in it, and I do not take you for granted. Never have, never will.
Happy birthday darling.
So my good people of the e-world, shall we all raise our glasses to the celebrant of the day, the fine and fabulous Barrister Doyin Ibigbami. Cheers! 😁😁😁🍷🍷