It is a well-known fact that nothing scares humans as death. And because it scares us, as Mark Manson posits, we avoid thinking about it; talking about it, sometimes even acknowledging it, even when it’s happening to someone close to us. To say the least, the last thirty three days, from December 12, 2021 till date in Oyo state, would go down as some of the most disturbing, frightening and disrupting periods in the anal of the state historic trajectory.
In part because the abrupt demise of high profile personality seems to caught everyone off guard. From Ogbomosho, to Igangan to Ibadan then back to Ogbomosho, the story of death and the tragedy it leaves behind seems to caught across, spreading like wild fire, leaving traces of cries and hues along.
In a way, death by its very nature is counterintuitively made to caught people off guard. Unlike other human predicaments which sometimes leave signs and signals; death doesn’t act in such a cheesy way. It came quickly, swiftly and perhaps in human ridiculous and unconscious assumption, untimely. But nothing is untimely about death. As Martin Heidegger declared, once you are born, you are old enough to die.
Particularly disturbing is the share of the ancient city of Ogbomosho in this rude and shocking death of prominent personality. Given the way leaders of the city have died in quick succession, from the Chief Imam of the town, to the Paramount ruler and now to the most influential political leader the town has produced in modern day politics; in essence, it seems vitally important to mourn and sympathize with the people at this heart wrenching time. May God rest the souls of the departed people in peace. But perhaps, it is crucially significant to identify with the state at large over the demise of crème la crème of the society whose inputs in the development of the state would be dearly missed.
While much has been said about power, politics and death in the last week column, today’s will be centered on what it means to live and not just to exist whether as leader or follower, ruler or the ruled, and importantly the price of living a life of meaning and fulfilment under amazing grace. To take just one bold example, the death of former Governor Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala on the twelve of January, exactly sixteen years after his Boss, Senator Rashidi Ladoja was unconstitutionally impeached in a hotel room is instructive.
To steal from the 2010 ‘Doctrine of Necessity” when President Umar Musa Yar’adua’s ill health became a National tragedy; Otunba Akala became Governor out of the need to fill the vacuum created by that illegal impeachment plus his subsequent re-election in 2011 further etched his name among rulers of the pace setter state.
Noteworthy in his time as Governor of the state was his overwhelming popularity and his bold vision to spread infrastructural development to other parts of the state way from Ibadan. It was this bold move couples with his populist ideology that made him the toast of the people. In a sense, the life and times of prominent people like Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala reminds us that our background does not mean our back will be on the ground forever. This kind of story alongside hundred of similar ones inspired us to believe that with hard work, and dint of luck on our side, we can reach for the coast and become what we set out to become.
In addition, the integral role of courage, compassion, care, empathy, love in a man’s life can never be underestimated. This become crucial when looked at through the lens of prominent, high profile personality in the society. To become the king of a cosmopolitan city like Ibadan, or an emerging city like Ogbomosho or a troubled town like Igangan is no easy task. And to rule for years, maintaining and sustaining or fighting for the enthronement of peace along the way is also no walk in the park.
Similarly, to become a Governor when it means looking your boss in the eyes plus when odds are stacked against you is no joke. Going by the conventional wisdom, and as examples of highly influential people have shown, nothing is absolutely free. This fact further reinforces the paradox of power. Though transient, the powerful still never stop in their quest to seek more power.
Really, the powerful cut across both major political spectrums and are responsible for what becomes the lots of the people under their care. The events in just a month and three days therefore should be a wake up call to those in position of power, that there is a bigger, more influential and far reaching and invisible power than they can imagined.
To understand this better, it helps to look at the fact that in just a matter of two years, two former Governors whose tenures in offices have now become some sort of folklore left this planet earth at a time they didn’t prepared for it. But maybe they didn’t need to prepare because death itself is the light by which the shadow of all life’s meaning is measure. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero as Mark Manson puts it.
To sum it up, we shouldn’t waste precious time mourning the dead, it’s important, I think, that we learn from their perils and pitfalls, story and survival tactics and essentially their good deeds and selfless services. It only through that we can achieve a better state of their dreams.
OYO101, Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion on issues affecting Oyo State, is published on Saturdays. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and 09065176850.