Journalism in the service of society

So, who made who?

‘If you climbed on someone to achieve your goals, why not let him climb on you to achieve his? Why are you like someone who climbs a ladder to get to the top and thereafter removes the ladder and prevents others from climbing similarly? I dare to say that you are a bridge burner and not a bridge builder’

THE debate is on as to who made who! Did you make me or it was me who made you? Is this a case of the right hand washing the left and the left washing the right? Is this a symbiosis of what the Yoruba call “owo omode o to pepe, t’agbalagba o wo akeregbe”? Or “omode gbon, agba gbon la fi da Ile- Ife”? Let’s take a look at a few of the specifics. If you were a generator repairer in Alimosho local government area of Lagos State and someone picks you up from there and makes you a commissioner, and not just a commissioner but one in charge of, perhaps, the most important portfolio of the Ministry of Works for two unbroken terms totalling eight years – who made who? Yes, you might have contributed some leg work during the campaign; you might even have been a rough neck and enforcer – those we call political thugs – still, who made who?

If you proceeded from Lagos to another state, say Osun state, to contest the governorship primaries of your party; if the godfather ensured you got the party ticket over the heads of real sons and daughters of the soil; if people who had toiled to build the party while you were roller coasting in Lagos were made to make way for you, I say, who made who? If the election ended in controversy and the umpire said you lost; if the godfather said he would have none of that but urged court action. If he picked the bill, made all the contacts and plotted all the intricate judiciary networks; if he kept the course and ultimately got you into the coveted seat of governor, who made who?

So, for a whopping eight years you were a very important commissioner and for another eight years an “Executive Governor”, as our people, ever overdramatic, call it: who, I ask, made who? If the godfather now thinks that is enough and chooses not to put you forward as Minister of the Federal Republic, is that enough excuse for you to forget the benefits of the past and team up with outsiders and opponents to buffet and disparage him? If foes lure you with Ministerial offers, is that enough justification for you to mindlessly and shamelessly turn on your benefactor? As our people will say “enikan o kii je ki ilu fe” You must be an “anikan j’opon” to want to have it your way all the time! Na you alone! If only you can think deeply, you will remember the day before yesterday when you were commissioner in Lagos and yesterday when you were “apase wa” in Osun state. But it is said your kind only remember what they are munching presently. Your current masters, those feeding your loquacious mouth at the moment, had better watched it! Our people have a saying: The cane used to flog “iyale” (older wife) is hidden somewhere and it will soon be the turn of “iyawo” (new wife) to have a taste of it!

If you contested election as governor under the banner of ANPP and lost; if you were in quandary until you defected into AC/ACN, the party of the godfather, and if it was here that fortune smiled on you, who made who? If your complaint is that godfather is too exacting, the “Omoluabi’ way out of it is not to bite the fingers that fed you. It is now that you grin from ear to ear, telling whoever cares to listen how close you are to Sai Baba and how you are very close to the Presidency cabal. It is because they are in the Presidency that the cabal are powerful – but someone made that possible. Sir, that person is not you. Just like that person made your governorship possible, so also God used him to make their presidency possible, first in 2015 and second time again in 2019. Where were your today’s Presidency cabal when OGD trounced you at the governorship poll? Today, you run your mouth against your destiny helper! When you sell your own kith and kin cheap to outsiders, you are not going to be able to buy them back at premium price anytime soon.

You were an unknown quantity of a lawyer when someone in distress rushed into your Oga’s Chambers to see your Oga but you were the only one “on seat”, as they say. When, out of desperation or because something in him told him to put his trust in you, he entrusted his whole estate in your hands and ran out of the country into exile, who was in the process of making who:  Is it this already-made man or you who was just struggling to cut your teeth in the legal profession? To your eternal credit, you demonstrated character and this man returned from exile, contested election, won and appointed you his Chief of Staff, a new creation imported from the American presidential system. His choice of you was to the consternation of many. In your office as Chief of Staff you would not win an election. Your aloofness was legendary. You were through and through apolitical! Yet, this man insisted you would succeed him as governor. Hell was let loose by the politicians but he put his feet firmly down. And you succeeded him. You were governor for eight unbroken years. Truth be told, did your level not change economically? Even if this man did not nominate you as Minister; if political enemies tried to drive a wedge between you and this man, you should have chosen to float or sink with him. Without the ladder he afforded you, how could you have been where you are and how could you have become what you are today? Yes, you have not been as loquacious as some others but, truth be told, your silence is not golden. Remember Dante said: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality” If you have travelled this far, it is because, like Isaac Newton posited, you had the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of a giant.

You were a NADECO chieftain; you were one of the activists in exile. You participated in running the pro-democracy Radio Kudirat: Sir, you did well! But someone footed the bill. Someone also suggested that you contest the governorship election. We read the story of the person who took you to the godfather, who took you in his wings and funded your governorship campaign. You were declared the loser but he would take none of that. He headed to court, footed the bill, worked the phone and tirelessly dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s. At one point, it was said you got fed up and almost gave up. Lily-livered and fickle-minded! But the godfather trudged on. Your election entered into our history book as one of the most contentious ever. What with the Ido-Osi rerun after rerun! Eventually you won and were crowned. But today you are like that bird in China Achebe’s Things Fall Apart; you have eaten and fallen into things; your stomach bulges. Your neck is as thick as the baobab tree and you dare your chi (godfather) to a wrestling bout. Like biblical Jeshurun, you waxed fat and forgot your god. The other time you even declared Othman dan Fodio as your ancestor! From Ekiti to Sokoto, where is the connection if not “atenuje”!

There are so many others like those mentioned above all over our landscape. They defend the indefensible and justify what is not. A man was forced out of office but was told by the godfather to chill, as they say. Soon, he became the governor and began to rub his predecessor’s nose in the dust. He sat on his former Oga’s seat and rode in his cars. He began to chop what his ex-Oga used to chop, including the very delicious security votes. Even his former Oga began to address him as “Your Excellency”. Tell me, is that a small thing? But because he was denied a second term, he forgot where he came from. Why are men like this? Why are they so forgetful? Why are they inveterate and remorseless ingrates?

If a man helped you to achieve your destiny, why not help him to achieve his? If a man lets you use him, why refuse to allow him to use you as well? A man had three monstrous qualifications – he is a university don, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and a senior pastor. Yet; he was unknown, unsung and amounted to not much until his path and the godfather’s crossed. It was after that, that he became Number Two. Tell me, who made who? If you climbed on someone to achieve your goals, why not let him climb on you to achieve his? Why are you like someone who climbs a ladder to get to the top and thereafter removes the ladder and prevents others from climbing similarly? I dare to say that you are a bridge burner and not a bridge builder.

*Bolawole can be reached at [email protected], 0807 552 5533

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