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Ode To The Radio By Olawoyin Oladeinde Olamide

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Sometimes, memories step into the human mind unannounced, like marauding thieves in the middle of the night. At other times, they arrest our consciousness like a cop’s handcuffs, then lurk around the verandah of the mind for days, or months even, unperturbed by the chaos of happenings during those periods. Like memories of my radio years. And of Kola Olawuyi, Gbenga Adeboye, Akeem Enudunjuyo, Sikiru Alimi and Olalomi Amole; of Ibadan, Akure, Idanre, Lagos and Eruwa; of those windy, serene evenings when radio served as my only companion.


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Radio, that magical box that manufactures sounds from mystical sources, is, in essence, man’s most fascinating invention ever. And notwithstanding man’s flirtation with his new-found bride––the internet, I THINK (and fervently pray that) the radio will continue to live with us. Forever. Of course to support this thesis, I do not have empirical evidences. But I take great solace in the words of Descartes whom, in his famous pronouncement––‘Cogito ergo sum’, rationalized his conviction based on the end-product of ‘mere thought’. And so, to mimic Descartes, “I THINK, therefore I know”: that the radio will be here forever. To some extent, I believe my dubious version of Descartes’s philosophical postulation is strong enough to validate my prediction about the longevity of radio’s life, in’it?
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Brethren, the radio must not die; it’s a jolly good fellow. At the cusp of the millennium, Radio took me to different places across Yorubaland, almost literally, particularly on occasions I yearned for indigenous Yoruba contents. On days I got tired of Keke and D1 (Raypower), Kamal Salah (Metro FM), Kally Ikpe, Tuebez (Eko FM), Bouquie (Eko FM) et al and their endless fixation on hip-hop and Soul music, Radio brought me alternative contents, and various dimensions of artistic beauty became familiar.
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There was the abundantly brilliant Akolawole Olawuyi (‘Irinkerindo’ on OGBC 1&2), urbane and well read, so analytical and fearless that he was revered across Yorubaland and beyond. There, also, was the jovial, immensely talented, almost restless Gbenga Adeboye Abefe (Radio Lagos 107.5fm), unusually funny yet philosophical. With raw talents running endlessly through his veins, Gbenga dished out all forms of artistic contents one can ever imagine under the sun––from Ewi to esa, Ijala-ode, and Ekun iyawo; from fuji music to juju, Apala, Awurebe and Sakara; from ingenuous creation of the fictional Laisi Abesupile to Jango and many other fascinating characters he created with his many voices! There was Bashiru Adisa Baba Gboin (BOND FM), the polyglot whose sardonic humour was, and still is, a delight for millions of listeners on radio. And there was the comical Omo Baba Tisa (BOND FM) and Sikiru Alimi (Radio Lagos), the one with the tender voice. There were others: Akeem Enudunjuyo, Abiodun Oropo (Oyinlomo jooo jooo marketer!), Sulaiman Adegbenro Konsoligbadun, Bimpe Atofolakin and Opeyemi Fajemilehin.
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In Ibadan, there was the overly boastful, playfully pompous Kola Olootu Omo Adabanija (BCOS, Oke Mapo), the popular runaway moviemaker whose facility for highfalutin words was incomparable. There were the Siamese twins of Olalomi Amole and Komolafe Olaiya (RADIO OYO), comic acts whose words were always wrapped in piercing satirical jabs. There, also, was the delightfully entertaining ‘Ode Ilu Ibadan’ and his flute; the comical Gboyega Lawal and his numerous wives; the young, suave, and amazingly successful Yemi Sonde Jigan Akala (oko Iya ife); the wailing dude with migraine-inducing voice, Wale Lawal (Mr Promo); the calm and mature Feranmi Babalola (Feranminga); the admirable, handsome, lovable Abdulrazaq Abdulganiy (Mr. GRA). There was also the brilliant, philosophical, sagely, astoundingly knowledgeable Baba Supo Kosemaani.
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In Abeokuta, the revered Alaagba Bunmi Ayelaagbe (OGBC 2) was the nightingale; Idowu Taiwo Ode-Aperin (Gateway Radio) mesmerized everyone with his uncommon knowledge of the animal planet; Awikoko hurled curses on those who dropped feaces at the junction of Iyana-Mortuary every Thursday; and Kasnati-elele was always a party rider. Wale Dada (the good!), Rasheed Ore-oba, Alawiye egba and others at PARAMOUNT FM provided good entertainment.
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The culture of radio listenership wasn’t well entrenched in ONDO/AKURE during my brief stay in Idanre. Ditto Ilorin. But worthy of mention is the visible, fatherly, and extremely revered Fatai Adeniyi Dan Kazeem (ROYAL FM), Gbenga Filani (POSITIVE FM), the late Mayowa Orishatola, Baba Ela l’oro (ADABA FM), Omidan Olayinka (ROYAL FM), Ode Ilu Ilorin (MIDLAND FM, apata Yakuba) among others.
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Radio came to me in my formative years, and it didn’t matter that these folks, with the exception of a few, peddled tales that hovered between the macabre and the grotesque––tales that were most often doctored. Their narratives shaped my consciousness and influenced my thinking, so much so that I memorized the time of each programme with razor-sharp dexterity: Monday was when Sikiru Alimi boomed on the airwaves; Tuesday was Idowu Taiwo’s moment; Wednesday was for Feranmi Babalola; Thurday was Baba Ela l’oro’s; Friday was for Kola Olawuyi’s haunting, fear-inducing Irinkerindo Iriri Aye tales; Saturday was Olalomi and Komolafe’s moment; and Sunday was for Alagba Bunmi Ayelaagbe.
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But all of these moments came before I discovered Teju Cole and Descartes and Rumsfeld, years before I met Kant and Locke and Wittgenstein. So these days, whenever I hear them talk on radio, their voices come to me like the title of Teju’s new oeuvre: known and strange things. Known, because I was once a die-hard fan; strange, because I have gone through a mental shift in my conception of reality and I could see through the ordinariness of all what they wrap in mysticism.
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In all, they were/are all wonderful folks who made my formative years eventful, warts and all. And all that was made possible by the power of that tiny box, the radio. God bless my favourite indigenious radio presenters; Long live the radio!

Oladeinde Olamide is a Mass Communication expert based in Ilorin the Kwara State capital

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