Home Opinion Ajimobi And His Fawning Compatriots | Ademola Adesola

Ajimobi And His Fawning Compatriots | Ademola Adesola


It is needless observing that human beings are incredibly complex and as such not easy to decipher. In the fields of literature, psychology, and sociology, there are tomes of research works about the impregnable fortress that the human person is for the curious mind. And where the provenance of the human is Nigeria where the polity is, time and again, floundering and the quality of life in all vital areas is consistently low-grade, fathoming the workings of their mind becomes even more Byzantine. Anytime death plucks off a self-serving person of power from the domain of unproductive power, most Nigerians are too needlessly predisposed to such cloying sentimentality that dispossesses them of the will to critically assess the deceased and the quality of their services to society. In flagrant disregard of the hard evidence from their socioeconomic experiences and the unadorned facts of their deplorable human condition – which the dead political figure(s) either created or worsened –, those Nigerians compose such dithyrambs that would make Lucifer green with envy in pointless praise and beatification of their tyrannical rulers. Obviously, many are the Nigerians who remain unaware of – and where they are, have obstinately refused to answer – Emmanuel Kant’s mind-liberating question: “How am I to develop the sense of freedom in spite of the restraint?”

Since the “authentic” news of the death of the immediate past governor of Oyo State, Senator Isiaka Ajimobi, clogged the artery of news portals latterly, most Nigerians have easefully demonstrated their imponderable but sickening view that a twig can pass off as a crocodile if it spends some years in water. As it was with the passing of other political figures, not many have considered the occasion of Senator Ajimobi’s demise an opportunity to assess his stewardship, particularly in Oyo State. Panegyrics detailing his absolute goodness have been hurriedly composed, wreaths in adulation of his imagined superlative statesmanship have been laid in the highways of information, and plaques eulogizing his contrived unprecedented transformation of his populous state have been unveiled by all shades of mourners, admirers, and whatchamacallits. Even those who once have been reasonable in their assessments of the colourful and loquacious politician’s eight years in office as a governor now want it to be known that tokenism no longer defines his achievements in those two terms. All, of course, in slavish obedience to some dubious unwritten cant that forbids a critical scrutiny of the life and time of any dead person.

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The point, to be sure, is not that Senator Ajimobi did not have bits and pieces of the qualities his circle of minders gush about in their tributes since his eternal exit from this world of joy and sorrow. He had his fine points. But those fine points cannot be spoken of as though they are without blemishes. To the incredulous mourners, the former APC stalwart was infinitely infallible and his time at the helm of affairs in Oyo paradisal. It is not clear from the tributes his death inspired that for every one positive step he took as governor, there were some more he ventured in the wrong direction at the expense of the suffering mass of his people. If he levelled one mountain of problem in the state, there were many more he was blank about how to bring them down. He did supremely excellently well for Oyo State, his base ululated impulsively. Yet, that state exists still as a conurbation crying painfully for modernization – a task the incumbent and his phalanx of fawners are unhappily discovering to be beyond their creative capacities. During and after his tenure of office as governor, Senator Ajimobi too found comfort in the myth that he turned water into wine for Oyo State. He hanged no fire in speaking absolutely about his tokenistic performance as a governor. Neither the self-styled “constituted authority,” nor those who speak and write of him exaggeratedly show any faint awareness of the wisdom of a Jew’s observation: “Whoever says he’s 100% right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.”

It is this cherished inclination to uncritically promote the myth of outstanding performance in office, tantalizingly hyperbolize modest feats, and giddily dispense with the spirit of questioning with a view to teasing out useful observations about what was not done right that has contributed to ensuring that Nigeria progresses retrogressively. More, the willingness of most Nigerians to see their rulers as saints and superhumans, rather than as humans who in spite of whatever intelligence they radiate (and this is in short supply in the public space) are still prone to errors, plays no mean role in increasing the excruciating burden of underdevelopment that they bear over and over.

Is it not a baffling contradiction and a demeaning hypocrisy that a country which is manifestly sick, going by all indices of development, has politicians that are praised effusively for transforming the country? Although Nigeria claims to be a democracy, virtually all its rulers loathe the principles of this system. They are instinctively despotic and brook no criticisms, no matter how constructive. As the howling wind of illiberalism and self-promoting rebellion blowing through the Special Project Platform called the APC shows to keen observers, it is not with the present characters in the various levels of government that a broken country can be made whole again. Still, lovers of half-truths and promoters of untruths bid us to congratulate ourselves for now having capable physicians who have cured our country of its morbid illnesses. Indeed, that social thinker is right: It is a sign of ill health to be well adjusted to a sick society. From South to North, the states in Nigeria are apt examples of how not to organize a society; but the tunnel minds who rule them think of themselves and are in turn thought of as visionaries and innovators of transformative ideas. When these profusely incoherent minds succumb to the grime reaper, they get even more festooned with petals fitting only for genuine achievers.

The wickedly witty Senator Ajimobi had his time and opportunity to serve his country. His passing should be more about examining the texture and quality of that service. We should mince no words in lauding what he did right; neither should we embellish the outward parts of the rotten innards of his failings. People who only cherish the sunny sides of their leaders, dead or alive, will always find themselves in nerve-wracking stasis. So long as Nigerians keep beatifying their underperforming rulers and using lavender language in place of condignly critical epithets when reviewing the stewardships of their living and dead rulers, so long will their country remain mired in the morass of grueling deterioration in all vital spheres.

Ademola Adesola writes from Winnipeg, Canada.

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