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Power and its impermanence


Sir: One with power is the person in charge or control of affairs in public or private settings.

A power holder has the capacity to influence the actions, beliefs or even the behaviour of others. Power can be acquired legitimately, forcefully or even naturally. Power may be of political, physical or social type. Whatever type it is, the holder of power must bear in mind that the power in his possession is transient and it is like a whistle.


If the wielder of power regards it as a whistle which when blown, may either make or mar the future of his fellow human, then he would do well with a conscious and constant view of an after-power life and living.

For instance, a football referee or any sports game umpire has the ultimate power to decide who wins on grounds of fair judgement. As a power holder, are you blowing the whistle of death or life in people? Are you intimidating and oppressing people with that power in your possession? Have you thought deeply about how many lives must have been ruined from the judgement your whistle has delivered so far through the power you possess?

The judges are another class of whistle holders carrying the power to seize one’s freedom or even end life on grounds of conviction. They have the power to imprison or sentence an accused person to death.


A popular maxim in Yoruba says: Bi egun ba ronu pe ohun npa da bo wa di eyan lasan, iwon ba ni yio roro mon.” If the man in the masquerade garment thinks deeply that he would become ordinary when he pulls off his covering, he would soft-pedal in riding. Power is transient. When a power holder bears in mind that he would, someday disembark from the horse of power he rides presently, and walk barefoot with ordinary citizens, he would be humble. Power and position should be used to better the lives of the led for long-lasting impact. When people vacate the seat of power, the honour or dishonour they get from people is a reflection of what they did when in control.

People only accord honour, respect and dignity to the office and position one holds, not to the holder in the real sense. So the moment a power holder leaves his power seat, the respect and honour accorded that position also desert him immediately. Every leader is also a power holder and must lead with a mind that power will desert them someday. Let everyone in a position of authority be regularly reminded that, they are their own memories.

Kayode Ojewale is of the Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA.


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