By nature, I am not a tribalistic person. I acknowledge and respect people for who they are, irrespective of their ethnicity.
In spite of my neutralism, the Yoruba in me keeps playing its roles from time to time. It continues to show in the way I speak and behave. Little wonder why I often quote one Yoruba proverb or the other to support my points. It doesn’t matter if I only have a few of them in my kitty. At least I am better than most of the Ajebotas of Lagos who don’t even know their origin.
I guess we Yorubas are the true direct descendants of David, Solomon, and, of course, Jesus Christ. You will recall that these forefathers of ours were fond of speaking in proverbs and parables. It runs in the family, you may say.
The Yorubas are full of wisdom, and we even have a proverb to support that. We say, “Ti oro ba sonu, owe la fi n wa – if a statement is lost or so knotty, we use a proverb to clarify or disentangle it.”
As I reflect on the happenings in our country in recent times, a popular Yoruba proverb quickly comes to mind. It says, “Igba kan o lo bi orere – a season does not last forever.” Hmm, how true! But how many people take this to heart?
In the last 48 hours or so, the media have been bombarding us with the news of James Ibori’s trial and eventual sentence by a court of law in London. Remember, James used to be a state governor in our country. How true is the saying that a season does not last forever!
When I heard of his 13 years jail term, I immediately remembered what Olusegun Adeniyi wrote about him in his book, “Power, Politics and Death.” Going by Segun’s account, James Ibori virtually “owned” Aso Rock when Late President Umaru Yar’Adua was in power. He was an Afobaje, an original kingmaker. But a season does not last forever. Today, he’s somewhere else in a strange land.
We are all living witnesses to what happened to some banks’ Chief Executive Officers after Lamido Sanusi became the Central Bank Governor. Those CEOs were the powerbrokers of the country called Nigeria before the “judgment day” came. As that Yoruba proverb attests, a season does not last forever. They are no longer the same people they used to be when they were at the helms of affairs.
I have been following some of the probes going on at the National Assembly in Abuja. I have listened to revelations about how billions of our money (and Nigeria Police money), went into the private pockets of some public officials. The disclosures have been so disgusting and disturbing. But one thing keeps reechoing – a season does not last forever. Would those being invited to “come and say something” have ever thought that one day, somebody somewhere would start asking them questions in the full glare of all Nigerians? Hmm! “Ojo gbogbo ni t’ole, ojo kan ni t’olohun – everyday is that of a thief, but one day is that of the owner of the stolen property.” In other words, if you keep stealing every day, you will be caught one day. A season does not last forever.
As I reflect, I remember all those who have held and wielded one form of power or the other in recent past. I have tried to list some names in my notebook right here with me. Sadly, most of them are no longer to be found in public. Many of them are either on the run, hiding somewhere, or in one jail or the other paying for their past actions. Only a few are still in the good books of the people. Even someone I personally consider as a hero; someone I so much like and have a lot of respect for, is also having problems defending himself on the issue of third term agenda – that notorious third term hullabaloo that would not allow baba to sleep well in his Otta farm – well after leaving power. Yet, some people have the audacity to say that baba, a whole baba, should be summoned to the National Assembly! It’s true; a season does not last forever.
Can somebody please tell me the whereabouts of all those sycophants of those days? Where have they all disappeared to? Of course, you know them. They were the self proclaimed courtiers of our past leaders. Without them, you could not get your contract approved. Without them, you could not get to certain position. Without them, you could not win an election. They were the powers behind the powerful men. Their words were final, and they operated mostly behind the scenes.
If, for any reason, you don’t know the people I’m talking about, I am ready to lend you my copy of Segun’s PPD book mentioned above. But don’t think I’m marketing for him. Don’t ever think I know Adeniyi in person. I just like what he has done. He has been bold enough to tell us what many of us had been suspecting. And for the first time in recent past, we have someone telling us what we should know about our country and its leaders. God save Nigeria.
But the question remains: Where are those people today? A season truly does not last forever.
It happens everywhere – offices, churches, schools, associations, governments etc. People play dirty politics. They abandon truthfulness for deception. They lie and connive. They rig and mislead. They mill around the leaders to cause confusion. But at the end of the day, it dawns on them that a season does not last forever. As we say in Nigeria, “Soldier go, Soldier come.”
How I wish people could learn lessons from the experience of others. How I wish they could reflect on that proverb that says, “Eni to jin si koto, o ko ara y’oku logbon – a man that falls into a ditch serves as a lesson to others.” But why can’t my people learn? Why do people continue to make the same mistakes made by their predecessors? Why can’t people be honest and stand on the side of truth? Why do we like hailing when we should be warning? It’s quite a shame.
My reflections take me to those who live life as if it will never end. They act as if there is no tomorrow. They are the gods and lords of NOW. But NOW will soon become WAS. Pomposity is their first name. They have no regard for anyone. They forget where they were some years back. They see those in lesser positions or situations as the “collateral damage” of the world. They treat others as if being poor or unfortunate is mainly their fault. Hmm, a season does not last forever ooo.
Somebody stole my heart a couple of days ago. His name is Desmond Elliot. Yes, that same Nollywood actor. If you know him, please direct his attention to this article. He needs to read it.
You see, it rained heavily in Lagos and traffic was so bad when I was closing for the day. I rode in the car with two of my colleagues and, after spending about 20 minutes on Adeola Odeku Street, one of them phoned somebody to inquire about the traffic situation outside Victoria Island. Of course, we predicted correctly. There was “no road” anywhere. We also followed the ongoing phone- in program on the radio and the callers’ reports were the same from all parts of Lagos. For that reason, we voted for Silverbird Cinema to cool down till sanity returned to the roads.
A few minutes after our arrival at Silverbird Cinema, Desmond breezed in with some of his friends. The guy was so natural. He was in a simple blue shirt and jeans. He spoke and joked with everyone. He came to where we were standing and we held him “hostage” for a few minutes. You would have thought that he actually came with us to the place. Oh! I admired his simplicity.
Later on our way home, I remarked that “I like that Desmond Elliot of a guy. He’s not like many of his colleagues.” We all agreed and praised him to high heavens. But one of my colleagues was quick to add that it was probably a marketing strategy on Desmond’s part. Maybe he has chosen that style to let everyone know that he’s actually approachable and reachable for any “show business” one may have for him. Ha! My colleague is a case! How could that kind of thought have crossed his mind?
Well, the fact remains that Desmond gave a good account of himself. He probably knows that a season does not last forever so he has decided to stay on the side of the people. He doesn’t want to be like his colleagues who must move about with bodyguards and retinue of beautiful babes. He seems to understand that fine advert by Leadway Pensure that says, “Today’s ‘SWAGGER’ can be tomorrow’s ‘STAGGER.’” That’s a great proverb from a Pension Fund Administrator.
Everyone – you and me – must always remember that, “Igba kan o lo bi orere – a season does not last forever.” If you are guilty of any of the “offences” listed in this article, jawo n’be – have a change of heart. A season does not last forever!