'Sikirinmidin' is a special leaf that is reputed for its naturally endowed aura of drawing people closer to it for good and favour.

It possesses the magic wand of bringing favour to those associated with it.

There are many other leaves in the bush. For example there is "esisi" leaf that sends the kids back home hastily from farm. There is also fire leaf (ewe ina) that burns anyone that unconsciously gets in contact with it.

The elders know the attributes of each leaf and they can combine their forces together for evil and for good, for love and for hatred.

Yoruba elders particularly those that have deep knowledge of roots and leaves describe "Sikinrinmidin" leaf as "afaimoni konimora" i.e a leaf that possess the ingredients of radiating favour, love, accomodation, peaceful co-existence among many good attributes. Whereas "esisi" and "ina" leaves are described in the contrary "kankan l'ewe ina joni, wara wara l'omode ti oko esisi bo" ( Ewe ina does not waste time to burn someone, a child that encounters esisi leaves will have to hastily return back from farm unexpectedly.

"Sikinrinmidin" is not a common leaf that grows everywhere. It grows in a particular type of soil.

The attribute of "Sikinrinmidin" leaves aptly describes the great late Iyalode Alaba Lawson, a woman that possessed the aura of bringing everyone closer to her without discrimination.

Typical of "Sikinrinmidin" leaves, Chief Alaba Lawson had a distinctive emotional aura. She was a nimbus, a penetrative radiant light that could not be held back by clouds. An embodiment of love, a benefactress and a fairy godmother.

Sometimes in 2008 this writer received a congratulatory letter from Iyalode Alaba Lawson on my election as the President of the industrial union I belong as a media practitioner. What a surprise!

Yes, it was a surprise because I was not close to Iyalode in anyway. I later got to know that she admired my presentation style and she was a fan of "Nifaaji" a chit-chat entertainment programme I was producing and presenting at 1 pm every Saturday on OGTV channel 25 uhf.

However I have some friends that were closer to her but I was not close.

Iyalode had long before sending the congratulatory letter invited me on many occasions to the yearly fetes for members of Ogun State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists but I was not attending.

Surprisingly a very close friend and brother Sesan Bankole who was very close to Iyalode drove his car to OGTV to deliver a letter of invitation from Iyalode inviting me again to the yearly event with a statement that "Iyalode had noticed that you have not been honouring her invitations to the yearly event and requested that this invitation should be personally delivered"

I told him all previous invitations were delivered but I only decided not to attend. Of course I attend functions even as much as seven marriage , chieftancy and burial events on a typical weekend with many ceremonies but I seldomly attend events that is tagged with free lunch.

Most of these events are baits. "Eat, drink, do my biding or close your eyes to my wrong doings" . That was why in those days many of us were always identified with wearing branded T-shirt to cover events as if we combined marketing with journalism. I am glad the situation is gradually changing today.

Now that a cherished friend came with the invite and with a message from Iyalode, I had no choice but to attend that year's event. What came to my mind is the elders' word of wisdom "O nwa owo lo, opade iyin lona, bi o ba ni owo naa tan kinni of fe fira". You are running after wealth and you are offered position of honour on the platter of gold, what is the essence of wealth but to buy honour.

I attended the event that was largely populated by colleagues in the media. I was sitting in the midst of the people when the event anchor, during recognition of the attendees announced my name and I could see the excitement in Iyalode's face. She requested I should proceed to the high table. Sumptuous lunch was served with assorted drinks. There are spirits and there are spirits. The spirits of alcohol provoke argument, history telling and big grammar in the midst of elite.

During goodwill messages, I was given the privilege of making remarks. I remembered I described her as rare breed that strives to accommodate everyone that crossed her path. Not because of the event of that day, but because of what I have distantly observed her doing.

For example she followed Mr Sesan Bankole to his place of birth during the burial of his mother. I had met her on such occasions many times bringing people with her to occasions and she will come with prepared foods and drinks to take care of her invitees not putting the burden on the celebrant.

Iyalode Alaba Lawson was a typical example of giver that never lacks.

Certainly there are many women out there that possess the attributes of open arms as displayed by Iyalode to all and sundry in her life time but I have not come across anyone yet exhibiting the uncommon endowment as displayed by Chief Mrs Iyalode Alaba Lawson.

The last time I saw her was at Raddinson Blue Hotel, Ikeja Lagos precisely 9th August 2023 .I was a guest of National Broadcasting Commission at an event held in that Hotel.

Iyalode Alaba Lawson came for another programme entirely in the same hotel with some of her followers. It was Mr Kayode Dimeji Adedeji of Penpushing online media that informed me of her presence in one of the exhibition halls. Together we went to greet her. Her statement was " My dear brother, where have you been since all these days? After exchange of pleasantries, Iyalode said, "please pick your choice out of the numerous Adire fabrics on display". I asked Dimeji to pick one for me.

In showing appreciation the following day, I sent her the following WhatsApp message on 10th of August, 2023

"Good evening our lovely mummy and the Iyalode of the Source, ma.

This is to thank you immensely for your kind gesture at all times most especially the precious gift you gave me yesterday during an unscheduled meeting at Raddison Blue Hotel, Ikeja.

May the Almighty God continue to bless you and all yours in Jesus name.

I appreciate, ma"

She read the message. Mr Adedeji informed me that Iyalode told him I sent her an appreciation message.

There is no masquerade that can be equated with Lebe masquerade. "Egungun bi lebe osi" Lebe's costumes is very attractive, its dancing steps is majestic.Lebe is very accommodating, unlike some other masquerades associated with thugs and thuggery. Lebe wards of oppressors away from its followers.

Chief Mrs Alaba Lawson was not doing good for political reasons, she was rallying people around her not because of votes. Yes, as a primus inter paris among women, politicians were always seeking her support but I never heard of her contesting for political offices .

She was a defender and a liberator of those being oppressed. A lively creation, a woman of substance with ability to walk the talk.

Alaba, eketa ibeji, die niti Alaba ni ibeji, eketa omo niise.

Do we still have people with "Sikinrinmidin" attributes around?. Who will fill the vacuum suddenly created by the exit of Iyalode Alaba Lawson, the "Sikinrinmidin"?

Yemisi Bamgbose writes from Abeokuta, Ogun-State.