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Edo State and the smouldering cauldron

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Oshiomhole. pHOTO: GLOBALVILLAGE

Were the setting the same or the equities equal to what is obtained in the old Oyo Empire respecting the face-off between Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, his erstwhile anointed godson, Oshiomhole would have been reined in by the Oyomesi (the traditional kingmakers and the polity’s ultimate kingdom power) to do as a failed god was entitled to do in the circumstances of his situation. He would have been invited to commit hara-kiri just to avoid dishonour. A god is not supposed to play in less than the premier league. His awesomeness or string of achievements must not be ridiculed or found to be a fluke, after all.

A god is a deity among men. He is above the foibles of men; he is a supernatural being imbued with divine attributes. He is adorned in glory, power, ardour, valour and in acts or events that magically break the laws of nature. His body language, carriage and mien are a study in the art and craft of divination and suggestibility – even as they may not be accurately or completely understood or interpreted.

The followers of a god are always in awe of him because of his larger-than-life stature and status. He is held in admiration, fear and wonder. A situation, therefore, whereof a god has become so familiar that his adherents literally look at his gift horse in the mouth is deemed unbecoming or infra dignitatem of the god. He has committed class suicide, he must therefore commit suicide real time – not in the metaphoric or metaphysical sense. But perhaps gods are the creation of men. In their ardent search for answers to their curiousity concerning the puzzles and riddles of life, human beings may have created proxies or algorithms.

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A lazy answer may have been found for passing the buck to some arcane, mysterious or obscure beings. Oshiomhole is clad in the armour of a god. The hood however does not make the monk. Erstwhile governor of Edo State and trade union impresario, Oshiomhole unfortunately comes through as aggressive, garrulous and offensively abusive. Obaseki has added yet another epithet to Oshiomhole’s long list of significations. He has referred to him as “pathological” in the art and practice of the vice of lie-telling or taradiddle.

In literary appreciation studies, one scientific way to identify the truth-value or otherwise of what a character stands for is to hear or listen to his associates, acolytes, friends or protégés. So it is in life. Oshiomhole’s mirror or true picture can only be viewed through his own men or foot soldiers. They have sat at his feet, they have drunk from his pot of wisdom or inanities even as they have learnt his antics and tactics. They are invariably jointed with him. The public have branded them correctly with infamy. They most likely have surpassed their paterfamilias in depravity and in other vices. So whatever they say of their progenitor is apt to be believed as oozing from their deep knowledge of the captioned subject matter.

The tension generated by the threatened political road-show for welcoming a returnee of the APC to the sagging fortunes of the faction loyal to Oshiomhole, and by the police authorities’ clamp-down on it in the form of a peremptory order stopping the proposed rally is the high point in the long stretch of activities positioned to heat up the polity. The fact or perception that the imprimatur of the chairman of the ruling party is legibly affixed on the attempt to affirmatively cause disorder or unleash mayhem on the hapless people of Edo State through a forcible celebration of a non-event or of a private affair in the public sphere speaks volumes about the true Lilliputian stature of one who is impishly clothed or arrayed in the mould of a deity or demi god. It is no accident that Edo State is the ancestral homestead of the living gods and their undisputed world headquarters.

Their presence or influence is felt everywhere in the State as no public policy or programme is contemplated or effected without due consideration of the predilection of the gods. No one may become Governor of the state if the gods do not give him a smiling countenance even as they continue to wear their usual austere, severe and frowning visage. No rascally aspirant or candidate to the office of governor of Edo State can afford to ignore or damn the consequences of a dis-avowal of obeisance to the gods of Edo. Probably deceived that Oshiomhole was not in the caste of knaves who will kow-tow to some ancient-looking odd fellows, inimitable Gani Fawehinmi counselled him not to run for the office of governor of Edo State. It is deep, brackish water, Gani had warned. Oshiomhole however dismissed Gani’s augury. Understandably so. For as he himself had been draped in the attire of a god in his halcyon days as labour leader, Oshiomhole has been bitten by the bug of the delusion of grandeur. Oshiomhole thinks of himself as larger than life.

He has probably become larger than life. He rides upon the storm even as he has feet of clay which are becoming more and more noticeable by the day. Edo gods hold sway all the way; the ruling ethic is as divined or prescribed by the immanent gods of Edo in their pantheon. The pervading situation of strife, contention and panic in Edo State has been revealed to be largely fueled by men who masquerade as the alter-ego of the gods of the land even as the gods themselves look on bemused.

The gods prophetically have a day to pick up the gauntlet regarding the flouting of their commandments or precepts. The gods are not to blame as those who parade themselves as their children or protégés are consumed in the anger or fury of the gods who are reputedly known to be ruthlessly impartial, insensately unyielding and generally lacking in mercy or pity.

There is to be noted a causal, even dialectical, relationship between our general concern for peace and tranquility in Edo State (or, in fact, in the whole of Nigeria) and the requirement to rein in brazen disrespect for and threat to law, order and good government of the polity masquerading in the guise of trouble-shooting or of playing the socially-acceptable mischief of being a gadfly for “whipping into line” interests that are anti-social or that threaten our stability or penchant for peace and progress. This particular event under discussion has put into sharper relief the requirement of the necessity for the abnegation of persons who threaten our peaceable living. We need to expose their antics and deflate their ego which is built on an exaggerated view of their relevance to our continuance or well-being.

We should make no secret of the difference of opinion between us and them regarding the danger posed to an early restoration of a country of about two hundred million souls whose prospects for the optimal performance of their social contract imperatives are getting dimmer and dimmer by the day. The gods in Edo are looking on ruefully wondering how times have changed under their watch; before their very eyes.

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