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‘And the governor to be has passed on’ – Part 1

By Afis Oladosu
26 November 2021   |   2:43 am
Brethren, he was a former governor of our village, of our city- and how sad human existence could be; an existence that can only be referenced either in the present or in the past

In the name of the Almighty, the Beneficent the Merciful

Death, which you are running away from, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible and He will inform you about what you did.”Qur’an 62:8

Brethren, he was a former governor of our village, of our city- and how sad human existence could be; an existence that can only be referenced either in the present or in the past. He was a former Senator- and how empty earthly opportunities and positions could become- opportunities and positions that are sweet, enjoyable and pleasurable simply because they never last. Like sexual relations, earthly pleasures are like illusions- they are ‘discharged’ as soon as they are tasted.

He was a former governorship aspirant. Yes. Nothing pays better in this clime than public office. Thus, like the proverbial chair in the theatre, which goes round, and round without end, a former governor could become a former Senator who could become a local government Chairman who could become a local government councilor. To be a politician is an experience only the politician can tell. The other day an intellectual icon was offered an unsolicited portfolio in the cabinet of a former governor, the former exclaimed in wonderment: “Could you imagine that? I Professor XYZ as Commissioner; in whose cabinet in this state please?”

But life is all about choices. Before he passed on last Sunday, our brother had achieved earthly successes the like of which thousands of politicians would continue to envy. He had seen it all, so we thought. “But I have not seen and cannot see it all”, he would have argued. But who can actually see it all? Those of the world would always want to “see” it all. To be in the world and of the world is to lose it all. To lose it all is to be in the world. To be in the world is to fail to spare a thought that the bell could ring at any particular point in time. But again, show me a politician who cares what happens tomorrow. The hallmark of political correctness is to build castles in a future one is destined never to witness.

Thus it came to pass that hour before he died, plans were being made on how he would emerge, once again, as the governor of our village. Strategies were being marshaled. Campaign leaflets and mementoes were being produced. Hours before he passed on, he had joined the social gathering in town. Political jobbers had found new castles in his house to inhabit. Praise-singers had found new patronage in his persona to adulate. Once again the town was rising again, so it seemed. Nobody knew he had only a couple of hours left to spend on earth, not days, not months, not years. Agents from the celestial had already begun to do the count-down for him. The “stones” of life were being counted out for our brother at a time neither his wife, his aides, his children nor the coterie of political jobbers who usually camp on the margins of social events like vultures in search of prey, knew they were looking at a subject whose last day on earth remained only a few hours.

Sometimes when I ponder the reality of our lives, I marvel at the illusion in which most of us are steeped; the rain that led to the destruction of the people of Lut began like droplets. When it started, the people of Lut brought out their pots and utensils to fetch water; little did they know that it was not rain but destruction. There is no way humans could know the unknown and the unknowable.

I thought we could seize this opportunity to re-learn what Islam has always striven to teach us: that nothing in life shall be important once it is time for you and me to expire; that death would come not at your own behest or that of mine. Remember that it is an infraction against our faith to situate our faith in entities who are by and in themselves pawns in the chessboard of the Almighty. No human power can fathom or control death- that reality which lies like a camel at our doorsteps waiting to be ridden by all to the great beyond. My Sister, to come to life, to emerge from the wombs of our mother is to keep an important and inevitable appointment with the destroyer of all happiness. It means we are permanently at the mercy of the ‘silent crawler’.

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Afis Ayinde Oladosu Ph.D
Professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Cultural Studies,
Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies,
University of Ibadan, Nigeria

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