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Consequences Of Our Votes
Published Feb 27, 2023 IN Opinion,
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IT is the day after. Fogs are gradually clearing (or not clearing) from the face of the firma­ment. Though we may not see as clearly as American singer-songwriter, pop star and reggae musician, Johnny Nash, saw when he magisterially pronounced that “I can see clearly now,” we can at least see beyond the ridges of our noses.

Whichever way, there are consequences. In philosophizing consequences, Yoruba go into the thrills and frills of the Egungun festival to explain what was and what is. Masquerade festivals – E’gunOdun – are moments of plenty, wild frenzy and flexing of muscles. For the son of the village masquerade’s chief priest – the Alagbaa – the masquerade festival season is particularly a momentous period. Aside from the plenty that the period offers, it is also a period to ride roughshod over everyone and anyone in the village. His father has plenty of EgbaOsunsun – cudgels carved out of Osunsun tree branches – which are kept inside a closet. Masquerades deploy the cudgels to terrorise inhabitants during the festival. So, the day after the Egungun festival, for the son of the Alagbaa, is consequential and sobering. He returns to status quo of want and, like every other per­son, scrounges for what to eat at the market square. From this narrative of the transit of the Alagbaa’s son, the Yoruba took their philosophy of consequences. They say that the E’gunOdun has its expiry and the son of Alagbaa will also go out to buy bean cake with which to eat his eko – solid pap – just like the rest of human­ity. They sum this up to say, “titan l’egunodun, omo Alagbaanbowar’akaraje’ko”.

For Nigerian politicians, their hirelings, sur­rogates and obsessive fanatics, the E’gun Odun has indeed just witnessed its expiry. And the reality has crept in. In a few hours time when the election results may be announced, we will all face the consequences of where we stood. Not only the politicians and their accomplices; those who sat on the fence, who refused to lend a voice, who saw evil and shrouded it in shawls of lies, as well as those who harangued those who stood where they were, will all face the nemesis of our respective choices.

So, who will be the next president of Nigeria? The political huffing and puffing have subsided. Anxiety and apprehension have taken over. Is it judgment day for political barons who over­estimate their relevance? Or Providence’s own way of saying all power belongs to Him? Is it time for this set of people to face the recompenses of their actions? Is it time for the light of truth to beam into the darkness of vacu­ous grandstanding, and muscle-flexing?

The period of the elec­tioneering was indeed deeply harrowing, though with its own tinge of ex­citement as well. There were exaggerated pres­ences which were pumped up by naïve party supporters. Science was relegated to the back­ground and un-science took over postulations. Voodoo became the god to whom vain propitia­tions were made. Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu’s supporters went berserk in their partisanship.

Arrogant and perfunctory analyses, followed by belief in the sanctity and supremacy of where each person stood, reigned supreme. None of them was honest enough to acknowledge their failings. Or, their limitations. On Sunday, however, the aisle of farmland which the Yoruba say will surely demarcate the farmstead of the lazy farmer showed where the politicians stood. Atiku, Obi and Tinubu must by now have known where their political brawns could take them. We will however not forget the cheap propaganda, lame political prowess taken to unrealistic levels and puffed-up political mileages by political hirelings.

For us all, as I said earlier, we must be getting ready to reap the consequences of where we stood. I will reap mine, you will yours. Each of the candidates we supported, whether they win or lose, also has consequences to bear. This reminds me of an audio interview I listened to some days ago. Conducted in 2011, it was an ace broadcaster, Dele Adeyanju of the Agbaletu fame’s encounter with the enfant terrible of Ijesa traditional African music, Chief AdedaraAr’unralojaoba. He was an Odofin, chief of Iperindo, a suburb of Ilesa. Ijesa is a sub-ethnicity of Yorubaland with Ilesa, in cur­rent Osun state, being its largest town and historic cultural capital. If you read British professor, J.D.Y. Peel’s ‘Ijeshas and Nigerians: The Incorporation of a Yoruba Kingdom, 1890-1970s’, you will know the worth of this kingdom.

By the time Ar’unralojaoba died in 2022, he was 92 years, having been born in 1930. He took Adamo music off from the pioneering efforts of OjoOluwasokedile, Leye, Ayandokun and Bisileko who sang Adamo music before him, as well as his contemporary, IgeAdubi. This Ijesa bard, Ar’unralojaoba, took the genre of music to a noticeable level in Ijesaland, popularising it even beyond its shores, to Ekiti, a kingdom that bears tonal dialect similarities with Ijesa’s.

In the interview, Ar’unralojaoba narrated how he humbled another enfant terrible in the musical firmament, AyinlaOmowura, clearly making him suffer the consequences of his haughtiness. Talk­ing about consequences, the Adamo musician, in trying to stave off allegations that he was highly steeped in traditional mysticism, said that rather than traditional African medicine, what appeared like a talisman was his Maker in action. “If anyone stands up to me today, in a week’s time, the per­son will see the wrath of my Maker.” Contrary to this however, self-effacing, self-underscoring and boastful Ar’unralojaoba was reputed to be a mem­ber of the Ogboni fraternity and was dreaded for the awesome powers of his traditional medicine. In one of his albums, after singing the panegyrics of Obeisun, a rich entrepreneur from Ijebu-Jesa, he heaped curses on whoever nursed evil against him. With their family, they will dash into and get lost in the forest – Abinueni lo sekejiaroni pin/Enibinu mi laiese, \se la k’omok’aya re a binuwo’gbo o.

In the case of Omowura, however, the wrath of Ar’unralojaoba’s “Maker” was instant. While singing praises of King Sunny Ade for how he treated him with humility and respect, as well as HarunaIshola, who he said related with him affectionately, he narrated how he once had a spat with Omowura. Ar’unralojaoba said his contact with the Apala lord was by reason of the spat. A burial ceremony held in the Ikoti area of Ilesa had him and Omowura as musicians contracted for the afternoon and night sessions respectively. While the elder child of the deceased invited Ar’unralojaoba, Ayinla’s invitation was from the younger brother and both were programmed for afternoon and evening sessions. He said in the interview that he had however been forewarned that Ayinla was combative and pugnacious but he had prepared for him “with prayers”.

So after he finished his show by around 10pm, Ar’unralojaoba waited for Omowura’s arrival. Then at about 10.30pm, Omowura entered with so much uproar and storm. Bouncers, with brawns and deadly gaits, took over the whole place. In his words, Ayinla walked in with huge self-confidence and looked down on everyone else. He was clutching a huge pipe of marijuana which Ar’unralojaoba nicknamed Kelebu, that he smoked with a terrifying relish. The Apala music petrel had always been a harbinger of strife. In one of his tracks, he boasted that any musician who underrated him on the bandstand had signed his death warrant. Virtually all the crowd in Ar’unralojaoba’s show then migrated to Ayinla’s bandstand. The Adamo musician was clinically prepared and parceled for shame in his own Ijesa kingdom. So, according to him, he looked up to the sky and had a dialogue with “God”. When asked to go and do obeisance to Ar’unralojaoba, the Adamo musician said Ayinla retorted, “Aree! Who is so called!” So, Ar’unralojaoba said he murmured to himself, “they said so and you did exactly what they said about you!” Then, in what he called a conversation, he looked up to God again, and in his Ijesa dialect, said “Iwo OlorunOlodumare, o mohii me gbon, o a damilarebe e?” God, you know I lack wisdom; will you vindi­cate me, please?

Then, “God” began to avenge for Ar’unralojaoba instantly. In subsequence, four of Ayinla’sGangan drums got torn as his lead drummer hit them with the drumstick. Bowed and bruised, said Ar’unralojaoba, Ayinla then crawled up to him to do obeisance. Not only did he prostrate to the Adamo lord, but he also gave him the sum of N500 and drinks. “I gave him two Gangan drums and assured him they will not get torn again,” Ar’unralojaoba concluded, still insisting that it was not the power of mysticism but God’s intervention – Me l’ogunsughonmol’Olorun – he said in Ijesa dialect.

In the elections conducted on Saturday, there will be consequences, both for us and the candidates themselves. For the latter, the aisle is about now showing the farmstead of the lazy farmer who sold dud worth to the world. The brawns and the sinews of their muscles must have headed for recess now after the real measurement of their political worth was determined. For Ayinla, who thought he approximated the beginning and end of traditional African power and brawns, prefacing his haughtiness on his fame, wealth and brawns of traditional African medicine, the consequence for him was being humbled by a person he thought was a provincial musician, who he grossly underrated. He faced the consequences of his arrogance; an arrogance not matched by what was on ground.

For us too as Nigerians, there are con­sequences for our last Saturday’s deci­sion or indecision. We will either begin our sessions of national tribulations all over again or enter the phase of national redemption. This latter rationalization doesn’t look plausible on account of what is on ground. Nigeria and Nigeri­ans do not seem to possess that innate mechanism for self-redemption. We are like Sisyphus, the mythic Greek god who, for his punishment in the underworld, was condemned to roll a rock up to the top of a mountain; roll the rock backwards again, down to the bottom every time it reaches the top, all the days of his life. We are always engaged in an eternity of futile efforts at choosing good lead­ers, perhaps a hideous retribution from God for some infractions we committed against Him.

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