Emi l’okan entitlement bogey as metaphor
For Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the widely-reported Ogun State event which inadvertently added to his long list of praise names will go down as contretemps or an inopportune or ill-timed pass.
Expectedly hard on the incident has been the agog social media and to a lesser but nuanced degree, the usually restrained traditional or mainstream media.
Many who had been sympathetic at first towards the Tinubu presidential ambition witnessed the precipitous collapse of their endorsement of him before their very eyes. They had supported Tinubu in the persuasion that a strong showing by him will force his party to reorganise along “constructive, progressive” lines or, in the alternative, suffer a waiting or inevitable defeat at the polls.
A body of the nominally “progressive” South-west elements for who Tinubu represented its alter-ego totem has been bitterly disappointed by Tinubu’s Emi l’okan maudlin preachment at Abeokuta. Tinubu himself seems to have had a second thought on the matter even as he indicated that he was anxious to panel beat a clear and unambiguous diatribe.
That flop at Abeokuta has a special but grave implication because of the probable huge swing of ethnic-irredentist votes to candidates who have been deliberately suave, restrained or cultured in their public pronouncements.
A measured closing statement by Tinubu has illuminated his real grievance. He has been carrying the burden of everybody including President Muhammadu Buhari’s on his shoulders. He is tired or weary now. It is time now for others to help him off-load the burden and crown him “lord of all” This Abeokuta incident has exposed the underbelly of the Tinubu political philosophy Ultra conservatives have chided him for his rude readiness to ascribe all the achievements regarding the Buhari success at the polls in 2015 and 2019 to himself alone; progressive elements have quipped that Tinubu has yet to prove by book evidence that he had served the cause of progressive politics rather than a personal predilection or a private penchant for power.
Even though the whole of society has been nettled or piqued by the back and forth irresolution of a nagging matter, it has awaited a strong-willed determination of the controversy regarding the truth of the Tinubu mysterious immanence or deity status.
To Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political plank, Tinubu’s political creed is personal to him and is distant from his self-professed claim of being an Awo acolyte. His two-term governorship tenure in Lagos State and his political dominance in many South-west states spanning many years including the suzerainty of Edo State under Adams Oshiomhole have further put his reputation as a follower of Awolowo in sharper relief than ever.
To compound Tinubu’s difficulties, his style of leadership was proving singularly objectionable as many of his foot soldiers in terms of thinkers, pragmatists and foot-loose grassroots operators have been shedding off the yoke of the alleged strong upper lip tactics of their leader. Only one small advance has punctuated the dreary setting of the Tinubu political years. It is his continuing stranglehold on the affairs and events or of the politics and economy of Lagos State.
Lagos has remained Tinubu’s launching pad or window on the world. With an inestimable war chest, Tinubu has been able to affect the politics and sociology of far-flung places. Some of the support he has received in return for his efforts has however proved nominal.
The Ogun State event under discussion has confirmed Tinubu’s inner circle fears. Even as huge and responsive crowds gather to welcome Tinubu everywhere he goes, his self-estrangement from the current Yoruba worldview or of the reasoned template for the resolution of its national question has rendered him a loner or an irritant to the cause of the people.
Whereas the current opinion in the South-west regarding the 2023 presidential election is in favour of a continuing affirmation of the Yoruba values of fair play, accommodation and fellow-feeling in a pantheon of choices reflecting an agreed rotational arrangement, Tinubu has demurred.
This Emi l’okan singsong will appear to fall flat in the face of the popular desire to re-affirm the culture of the people undeniably anchored on cherished values.
The values are noted to have been a strong building block in the moulding even of the Nigerian nation and to the delightful envy of many other cultures within the country. Tinubu has conveniently substituted igbo l’okan for a personal self-seeking Emi ‘lokan bogey.
This Tinubu one-man up-ism with its attendant repercussion on a projected orderly entitlement procedure has become a central issue of ensuing electioneering and is casting a dark shadow on the future of the Nigerian contraption.
Within three days of its enunciation, Emi l’okan has gained currency and is today a household metaphor for an unyielding sense of entitlement even in the face of values that are inconsistent with its continuing pursuit or even with its original dubious conception. Perhaps we must all begin to cultivate a sense of entitlement regarding issues or policies that are incidents of our citizenship. It is our entitlement to live free of want of basic provisions like food, water, healthcare, education, housing and, above all, peace and security. It is our bounden duty as citizens to demand all these from our government. It is the turn of the ordinary people for the machinery of state to be deployed for their benefit. Inherent in this body of demands is the requirement of an orderly succession template according to laid down rules or procedures.
Regarding the 2023 presidential election, the orderly succession template does not favour an all-comers game or the abandonment of the well-thought-out or reasoned plan. An Emi l’okan bogey has appeared on the horizon threatening an orderly panoply and frightening men of moderate means out of the way or out of contention.
Igbo l’okan as a deep-seated conviction for order and fairness has been cavalierly substituted for Emi l’okan without compunction. No thanks to an inclement season of money and power politics.
There is in the air some eerie feeling of a combustible mass insistence of Awa l’okan.
Rotimi-John, a lawyer and public affairs commentator wrote vide firstname.lastname@example.org