Thursday 29 October 2009

Nigeria: Otunba Daniel - A governing example of hubris

A time to be forgotten

There was a time when this was a mere Mr., who had been given the title of Head of Department in a fledgling college of science and technology that was the sin bin for all who could not get into a more prestigious higher institution that year, the year was 1981.

I am of the opinion that the rate of attrition was high after the first year when the higher percentage of students made it into other schools that made you proud to say you were now amongst the learning and becoming one of the learned.

Lagos State College of Science and Technology was just that, I spent more time playing Scrabble and Chess than being in class where the perfunctory lecturer marked time nonchalantly; in one chemical engineering class the lecturer used German names for the compounds – this was a suburb in Lagos not Dusseldorf.

He was just Mister

The only course that seemed to be up to anything worthwhile was the architecture class where modeling took up all their time, all our practical engineering classes were conducted at the better equipped and famous Yaba College of Technology.

Within this melee of listless students and happy-go-lucky lecturers; young, handsome and bestowed with titles by reason of their being available rather than being all that capable was a Mr. Gbenga Daniel; things are a lot different now.

The difference is exemplified in an episode that happened in a church two Sundays ago [1] and it reads as both interesting and deplorable.

The once Mr. Gbenga Daniel is now Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a 2nd term executive governor of Ogun State in Western Nigeria, who by the time he was running for governor literally had a chieftaincy title in every city, village, hamlet and hut in Ogun State, I counted 53 then.

Prayer for harmony or discord

At a church thanksgiving after the marriage of the Lisa (Prime Minister to the King) of Egbaland's daughter, Chief Bisi Macgregor (Probably of Scottish Descent), the pastor at the Redeemed Church of God, Peculiar People’s Parish, Onikolobo, Abeokuta had just finished praying “that God should intercede immediately in the crisis in the state and engender the return of peace and harmony.”

Now the ruling political party of Nigeria is a cesspit of garrulous uncouth egos in interminable conflict and discord, Ogun State simply mirrors the chaos of misgovernment, anarchy and the hell that the ill-disciplined and categorically reprobate party represents.

It would appear the Executive Governor has not been able to bring the order of mechanical engineering which was his specialty to the affairs of state, querulous factions abound and every public opportunity they find is used to up the ante to the most despicable conduct with reckless abandon.

No sooner than the pastor had finished his prayer of conciliation, the Executive Governor who enjoys some elements of constitutional immunity and wields great power seized the microphone from pastor and proceeded to negate the prayer of the pastor by raining curses on his supposed enemies to the chagrin of the families of the newlywed couple who were in church for entirely different business than this political calumny.

The burden of patronage

But then, you should expect this because the Nigerian society is so patronage, nepotism and influence-peddling driven, important but rather obnoxious people have to be invited to your functions lest they get slighted and you end up in the crosshairs of their villainy. In any case, the family of the Lisa of Egbaland would have acquired a pall of shame and well, that is par for the course considering the bridegroom’s family is of another tribe.

The audacity and effrontery that allowed the governor to think it was right and proper to disrupt an august occasion for his own ends in a church is breathtaking but Nigerian politicians would put themselves above God in the quest for recognition if they could; hubris, pride and megalomania is personified in these people with characteristics that brought the downfall of Lucifer of old.

Be titled or un-entitled

Beyond that, it was interesting to read about the entourage of the governor, he himself as Otunba (Right-arm of the king) in many towns, then his wife who has the title of Yeye (King-mother), had Akogun (War logistician), Are (War general), Aremo (High Chief of war), Prince, Architect, Comrade along with the common Chief.

These are supposed to be leaders of society in Ogun State, respectable, honourable, demurred, cultured, agreeable, virtuous, patient, honest, longsuffering and diligent in fostering peace, harmony and community spirit – I am deluded, I think.

Woe betide anyone who bears rudimentary address of Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms. In fact, I am now of the opinion that being plain Mr. in Nigeria might just show you have either not yet been contaminated by the system or you cannot afford to pay to be awarded a chieftaincy of a hamlet in some non-descript forest where people wear no clothes.

More curses rained

Having seeded that church with commotion, he moved on to the annual Tarborrah campmeeting of the African-Initiated Church – Aladura sect, which I once attended in 1980, where again, his enemies were subjected to the threat of God’s wrath.

To have moved so deftly from a Pentecostal church setting to an Aladura setting where apparently his father is an Archbishop is quite amazing to say the least.

Now, the question is what if his so-called enemies are praying the same prayers to assumedly the same God in their own religious settings?

Nothing would be as peacefully rewarding as to see the ground open and swallow all of them up, in the re-enactment of a dreadful Pentateuch (Mosiac books) quake so that the better people of Ogun State might just breathe a big sigh of relief and praise the Most High God.

Can we rise and pray?


[1] The PM News - Nigeria’s leading evening newspaper » SHOCKING: Daniel Curses Opponents In Church

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