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The Rebellion Of The Godsons Part 1 By AKIN OSUNTOKUN - Politics - Nairaland

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The Rebellion Of The Godsons Part 1 By AKIN OSUNTOKUN by esere826: 8:42am On Aug 01, 2015
Aside from Buhari
I have never been able to understand why APC is a saintly party,
while PDP is a party of demons considering that APC has a lot of former PDP members
I have not been able to understand why Tinubu is a saint,
while Akpabio is a demon, and even Ribadu has become a demon
However I am very much observant that such narratives appear driven more by those from the Western enclaves who happen to be more vocal and dominant in the critical information dissipation channels,...and information is power

A read of Akins article has helped me better understand the history of this social DNA that seeks to make one's thief better than that of the other

My fascination with this theme partly stems from my personal history. My dad, Chief Oduola Osuntokun, was a Cabinet Minister of the Western Region from 1955 to 1966 straddling the Premiership of both Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Ladoke Akintola. In the bitter factional feud of the Action Group, within the then ruling party in the Western Region in 1962, my dad took sides with Akintola. My full name is Akintola suggesting I was named after the Premier on account of which I was given an early lesson in the politics of demonisation. Adjudged guilty in the popular imagination, the name Akintola became a byword for Yoruba-wide malicious derision. The lollypop candy we loved to suck was baptised with a new name derived from a member of Akintola’s private part.

A stubborn grass species was similarly rechristened there were innumerable folk songs adapted to invoke Awolowo as a hero and his sparring partner a villain. I was made the butt of jokes and was frequently brought to tears. I pleaded with my parents that I wanted to change my name to Akinjide. They were heedless and dismissive and my dad took to lecturing me on the virtues of the late Premier and how history was being distorted to cast him as a quisling and an archetypal villain. In the event I took the unilateral decision to effect the change of name-something akin to a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI). At the age of six years, I must be the youngest guy to resort to this degree of autonomy. I have only now realised that this youthful assertiveness tantamount to rebellion not only against my parents but also against my godfather, Ladoke Akintola.

One abiding critique of history is that it is little more than a rendition of events as selectively recollected by the victorious party and its ideologues. It is no less the case with the memory of Akintola, whose foibles were grossly exaggerated and his accomplishments severally diminished and misappropriated. If he had survived well beyond 1966, the propaganda against him would not have gone unchallenged and unrestrained. My uncle, Akinjide Osuntokun, Professor of History (whose name I once appropriated) was old and proximate enough to have a clear and objective understanding of this bit of history and he restored a measure of balance to the hitherto one sided account in the biography he authored on the late Premier-The Life and Times of S L Akintola.

The demonisation of Akintola also derived from a traumatic strand of Yoruba history encapsulated in the implosion of the Oyo Empire resulting from internal contradictions and external pressure. The epoch was set in motion by the highly consequential duel and reciprocal duplicity of two important Yoruba historical figures. The ill-fated actors were the newly crowned Alaafin, Aole Arogangan (the godfather) and his field marshal, the Are Ona Kankanfo, Afonja (the godson). The former was a paranoid, insecure and sadistic Prince who duly proved himself with the first step he took on his succession to the throne.

By tradition, the newly crowned king was required to initiate his reign with a declaration of war on any victim community he fancies and instruct the Are Ona Kakanfo accordingly-a battle the field marshal is sworn to win on the pain of being put to death if he failed. Aole then practically sentenced Afonja to death by choosing a target (town) that is reified and forbidden to any external violation-it was sacrilegious for any entity to engage the sacred community in war. On the other hand, defying the orders of the Alaafin was tantamount to a declaration of hostilities. For Afonja, it was a moment of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. He resolved to take the battle back to the Monarch and enlisted the collaboration of the Oyomesi - the all-powerful kingmakers. The hunter then became the hunted.

Re: The Rebellion Of The Godsons Part 1 By AKIN OSUNTOKUN by esere826: 8:42am On Aug 01, 2015
The Oyomesi invoked the ultimate power (of checks and balances) by inviting the Alaafin to commit suicide. Before submitting to regicide, Aole pronounced the infamous curse against his people-the Yoruba. He condemned them to eternal perdition; enslavement to alien aggressors and the unrelieved tragedy of internal insurrection; social misanthropy and the boiling cauldron of the everlasting lake of hell fire. May God save us from the sadism of evil ancestors. The curse seemingly took effect as the Oyo Empire and other outlying Yoruba districts plunged into a century long quagmire of internal strife and self-immolation; social dislocation; mutual destruction and attrition. The vulnerable imperial capital at Kaltunga (old Oyo) was sacked and destroyed by invaders and prompted relocation to the better secured and more defensible location of Oyo-ile.

Further up North, similar tragedy befell the Ilorin-based Afonja. He was consumed in classical betrayal fashion by his Fulani spiritual consultant, Alimi, who connived with the forces of the Sokoto caliphate led by his brother, Abdusalam, to defeat and kill him. The enduring and far-reaching consequence of this defeat was the incorporation of Ilorin into the Fulani feudal emirate system. The loss of Ilorin has left a permanent scar in the psyche of the Yoruba and predisposed them to the paranoia of holding in suspicion any political figure who sees virtue in alliance with the Hausa Fulani (until now).

It is striking to note that this peculiar tradition and history of rebellion has resonated in the contemporary politics of the Ilorin writ large Kwara State. The late Waziri of Ilorin, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki, was one of the unique discoveries of the post military politics of the Second Republic. He was the quintessential godfather. He made a very good run at becoming the President of Nigeria in 1979 and subsequently settled for the weighty office of the Leader of the Senate. All high political office holders from Kwara State got appointed or elected as his proxy, particularly the governors. And one after the other they rebelled against him. As it was with Adamu Attah in the Second Republic, so was it with Shaba Lafiagi in the Third Republic and so it became with Commodore Alabi Lawal at the onset of the Fourth Republic. Tired and frustrated with these unending insurrections, he personally appropriated the office by foisting his son, Dr Bukola Saraki, as governor.

What subsequently transpired was the stuff of a drama plot horribly gone haywire. I have been trying to think of similar occurrences in the annals of the modern history of Nigeria and I have always come up short. The nearest I could find was the instance of Alvan Ikoku and his son Sam Ikoku. The Ikokus contested against each other in different political parties which resulted in the son defeating the father. In the case of the Sarakis, it was crystal clear that the son owed everything to the father and short of becoming governor himself it is hard to figure a better option. But man proposes and God disposes.

Re: The Rebellion Of The Godsons Part 1 By AKIN OSUNTOKUN by esere826: 8:43am On Aug 01, 2015
After spending two-term tenure in office, it was time for the son to pay back a monumental debt of gratitude to the father, mentor and guardian angel. The son paid back but it was not with the currency of gratitude. In the ultimate enactment of rebellion, Saraki junior turned his back and shut the door in his father’s bewildered face. If the dead can see, Adamu Attah and Alabi Lawal will be laughing themselves hoarse. Two years later, the legendary strong man of Kwara politics passed on a broken man. If there is any character trait that Nigerian godsons have contributed to the culture of politics, it is rebellion. Unlike the Kwara State exemplar however it is not always the case that the godson played the Brutus.

Let us begin and call proceedings to order. Enter Abia State. Governor Theodore Orji was the chief of staff to his predecessor Orji Kalu and he was in prison when Kalu the godfather demonstrated the full measure of his power to make and unmake and got a man in incarceration elected as his successor. I will not waste time describing the state of their relationship today. We still have a long way to go. Step forward Adamawa. Professor Jibril Aminu played a decisive role in getting Governor Murtala Nyako elected into the coveted seat but I’m not now sure if Nyako can still locate Aminu’s house in Yola. Governor Peter Obi of Anambra has been in orphanage since the death of the Ikemba but the precedence of Chris Ngige and Chris Uba has contributed a lot in shaping the history of the Fourth Republic. Let Benue State come forth and reveal what George Akume now thinks of Governor Gabriel Suswam. Alhaji Ahmed Muazu and Malam Isa Yuguga were as entwined as Siamese twins; both of them now play the game of cat and mouse. Governor Babatunde Fashola knows he is serving his second term in office not at the pleasure but at the sufferance of his mentor and benefactor. My friend Governor Dankwambo of Gombe State knows he has to contend with the hostility of our mutual friend Danjuma Goje in seeking second term in office.

Governor Wamako of Sokoto State left as deputy governor of Governor Attahiru Bafarawa under the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)’ defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), supplanted the existing PDP governorship candidate and got elected as governor. My two friends, Governor Liyel Imoke and Donald Duke are too much of pals and gentlemen to publicly reveal the true state of their political relationship. Enugu State is in the second generation of this rebellion; in casting aside his predecessor, Governor Sullivan Chime was doing no more than affirming the tradition and example set by Dr Chimaroke Nnamani when he put Jim Nwobodo to the sword. Mrs. Pauline Tallen walked out of her office as deputy governor to Jonah Jang and squared up against him as Labour Party (LP) candidate at the last general election. She lost. In Zamfara State, the initiation of ‘political’ sharia and justifying spousal conjugation with a 13-year-old minor are not the only controversies Senator Ahmed Yerima has ignited, he also left the legacy of rancorous break with his deputy, Mahmud Shinkafi. It is possible that Senator Ahmed Markafi and Vice-President Namadi Sambo are now reconciled but there was no love lost between the erstwhile mentor and the now higher ranked protégé.

I have just now been prompted by Ijeoma Nwogwugwu that I’m running out of time and space our side. For this reason we will now stand on existing protocol and assure the rest of equal measure of recognition. We have saved the big masquerade for the last encore. And in so doing I hope I’m not liable to the charge of speaking ill of the dead if I reasoned that the honeymoon between President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and his godfather ended prematurely and long before death did them apart.


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