One of the most excruciating experiences one will not pray to have is to witness a bashing of one’s father by minors and one finds himself helpless because the culpability of his dad is not in doubt. I’m talking about the Yoruba race. I may not be able to vouch for any other tribe. Some people of Yoruba extraction may commit murder in the process of fighting their father’s fight all in an attempt to ensure that the old man is not insulted, molested or maltreated by outsiders unjustly.
However, when a Yoruba man is molested in the full glare of his child and the child could not do anything, he automatically concludes that the boy must be a bastard.
But one thing I still find difficult to unravel is if there is what we call a ‘bastard father’. When a man feels ashamed of the conduct of his child, especially in the public, he describes the child as a bastard. But when a child is ashamed of his father’s conduct in the public, what do we call such a father? Elder Godsday Orubebe’s conduct at the presidential election collation centre in Abuja is a classic example of what I’m talking about here. Some children would have called the former Minister of Niger Delta, a ‘bastard father’ for bringing global shame to them his family members.
Orubebe’s case was worsened by President Goodluck Jonathan’s stoic position on the outcome of the election which he took in good faith as a good Christian and statesman. President Jonathan’s decision to congratulate the President-elect, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, I’m sure, must have made Orubebe look stupid even to himself. His children and relatives, particularly his wife, would have felt scandalized for their bread winner’s reprehensible conduct and attitude which made him cry louder than the bereaved.
Interestingly, throughout the period of madness exhibited by the Urhobo man, Prof Attahiru Jega, the INEC boss stood firm and unruffled on his seat. Without sounding immodest; those who know me say I’m blessed with patience and humility too. But ever since the Orubebe’s scandalous display that historic night coupled with Jega’s deafening silence too, I’ve been asking God to give me the kind of Jega’s patience, humility and wisdom.
Jega’s patience, humility and wisdom are the key attitudinal ingredients that are missing in our highly revered Oba of Lagos who threw decorum to the dogs on Sunday when he threatened our hard-working Igbo brothers and sisters in Lagos with death if they failed to vote Akinwunmi Ambode of APC as governor in the Saturday governorship and House of Assembly elections across the country. Oba Akiolu, a former Assistant Inspector General of Police is known for his no nonsense stance on issues that affect his domain.
Igbo residents in Lagos had overwhelmingly voted for President Goodluck Jonathan in the March 28 presidential election. As a matter of fact, APC only defeated the out-going president with a negligible margin. The Oba must have felt scandalized that the Ndigho in Lagos ought to have voted for Buhari since Lagos is an APC state, forgetting that Nigerians anywhere they find themselves have the constitutional right to vote for any candidate of their choice without intimidation from any quarters.
I can’t imagine how Oba Akiolu would have reacted if Obi of Onitsha had compelled all the Yoruba residents in Anambra State to vote APGA or PDP against their wish failing which they would all die in Okija shrine. Watching the video clips of Oba Akiolu’s meeting with the Ndigbo leaders in Lagos; I was ashamed of the first class oba’s vituperations replete with unbridled arrogance. I’ve never seen a mortal play God as Akiolu did:
“On Saturday, if anyone of you goes against Ambode, who I picked, that is your end. If it doesn’t happen within seven days, just know that I am a bastard and it is not my father who gave birth to me. Jonathan is my son and I speak to him every day. By the grace of God, I am the owner of Lagos for the time being. This is an undivided chair. The palace belongs to the dead and those coming in the future.
“On Saturday, if anyone of you, I swear in the name of Allah, goes against my wish that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos State, the person is going to die inside this water.
“I’m not ready to beg you. Nobody knew how I picked Ambode. Jimi (Agbaje) is my blood relation and I told him that he cannot be governor in Lagos for now. The future belongs to God. I am not begging anybody o, but what you people cannot do in Onitsha, Aba or anywhere, don’t do it here. If you do what I want, Lagos will continue to be prosperous for you. If you go against my wish, you will perish in the water.”
Unknown to Oba Akiolu, his outburst was not offensive to only the Igbo residents in Lagos but sympathy infested other non-Lagosians living in Lagos who are eligible to vote on Saturday. This category of voters includes non-Lagosian residents of Yoruba extraction.
My take of the whole incident is that Oba Akiolu had surreptitiously resolved to give his support to Jimi Agbaje of PDP whom he described as his blood relation. Akiolu must have decided to break the extra-ordinary influence of Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu, whom PDP’s documentary had depicted as the world biggest landlord. Akiolu must have felt cheated. He must have cried: in my own domain? Tinubu Gbe! I’ll show him that I’m a bonafide Lagosian and not one ‘Aare’ adopted from Iragbiji. Proto! A fast one on APC leaders with the ‘die in the Lagoon’’ gimmick.
If proven otherwise, then I’m afraid, henceforth, a week of confinement in ‘Yaba Right Side’ should be part of the traditional rites for coronation of a new Oba of Lagos. The Oba’s unguided utterances have done more damage than good to the expected fortunes of his professed or supposed candidate. There can never be a better de-marketing strategy than the one Akiolu employed in the Ambode’s case.
I thought our Obas should even be apolitical. If Akiiolu’s Ambode wins, is he going to be governor over only APC members or only Lagosians? Is Agbaje not qualified to be governor of Lagos now? Oba Akiolu should go and take tutorials from Awujale of Ijebu, Oba Sikiru Adetona. I don’t want to believe that Awujale does not have allegiance with any political party. But he is so discreet and fatherly in his approach to partisan politics in his domain, hence the immeasurable respect he enjoys from his subjects.
Lagos is a cosmopolitan city. What Akiolu seemingly forgot is the fact that there are hundreds of Lagosians that are married to our South Eastern brothers and vice versa. God forbid. Assuming Akiolu’s curse comes to pass, then there will be thousands of young Lagos ladies who would have become widows due to their Oba’s uncontrollable anger.
My greatest worry however, is the aftermath of Oba Akiolu’s drum of war after the election. Are we still going to have a peaceful Lagos where all tribes inter-marry and relate with one another like brothers and sisters? Has Oba Akiolu not inadvertently created room for the emergence of another Ife-Modakeke imbroglio in Lagos in the near future? Time will definitely tell.