Princes And Princesses On The Streets

by Lakunle Jaiyesimi

In the years preceding the acute westernization of African countries, there were established Empires with great civilizations. They had an intricate measure of checks and balances that ensured the continued smooth-running of the affairs of the Empires.

Everyone had a clear understanding about relationships, political and familial; and the one knew to whom he/she is subordinated.

In those days, there were the Kings charged with the sovereign role – the supreme responsibility of administering the affairs of the empire, including the vassals – and nothing must go wrong. However, if an unexpected and unfavourable event occured and the Basorun declared “the King is rejected”, the King had to commit suicide.

There was immunity only as far as things went right. No one would seek, and definitely no one would grant such immunity to a King or Chief who (though with no complicity) was in charge of affairs when things went wrong.

Such was the pride of our Empire (the Oyo Empire, in particular), when to be called a Prince was a thing of Pride and Dignity. On occasions, the Streets had the privilege of playing hosts to the feet of renowned Princes and Kings.

The gates opened and new entrants emerged! A whole empire became a sprawling pathetic monstrosity of its former glories. The inhabitants had been rather too lukewarm about this metamorphosing fate that one can conveniently liken the development to the ‘Frog placed in a gradually heated bowl of water’. The catastrophic end will come at a very short notice.

The gates opened and new entrants emerged! The streets are no longer occasionally privileged to play hosts to the feet of Princes and Kings. They have become the standing victims of the assiduously bruising and hopeless feet of supposed Princes and Kings, who scuttle about seeking unavailable daily bread. With such, the term is common ‘From-hand-to-Mouth’. If this be the fate of our supposed Princes and Kings, what would be happening – in one’s estimation – to the supposed subjects?

I am concerned with the issues that bring us to this point in our national history and this will always demand a critical analysis following adequate deliberations on the matter – herein and more, hereinafter.

I do not think, in my widest imagination, that we – as a collection of Government Office Holders, Corporate Managers, Private Investors, Teachers of the Leaders of tomorrow, Political Activists, Opposition Party Members (who is yet to win any election after counting of votes), Market men and women, Students, Retirees, the Monarchs, Military Personnel and all other Civilians who have hitherto evaded (or have been forced to evade) national recognition – have given sufficient attention to the statehood of unmitigated mesmerism of actions, crimes and reactions; with the prognosis and an attempt to curb.

Have we exhausted all the available alternatives, before slouching to push the blame on the protagonists? In the first analysis, do we have clean hands? Alas; maybe that’s the more reason why we cannot think (or we have none) of the proper approach to arrest the situation than to arrest the victims (who we call the criminals).

Why are we so quick to arrest the persons, whom hitherto we have cared less about and for? These are the Princes and Kings, prowling the streets for want of food, clothes, shelter, some relief to bone-deep affliction and an inevitable escape from ingrained disaffection.

I recall here the old saying “The neglected child grows to pillage the properties we had cared all our life for and about.” The child must do something either now or later; with or without our cares. I feel a string of pain when I remember that the country enjoys some good leadership today due to the type of education received, and the environment such was received, by the objects of today’s leadership. Beyond being free, there were prospects and it was carried on in an atmosphere of assured rewards.

Today, the children – including those in the Secondary and Primary levels and even the Kindergarten pupils, who are not yet privy to the fact of their educational existence – are all thrown to the streets, playing and protesting, molesting and harassing and engaged in various other unbecoming idiocy. These are the children, who would have gladly dropped out of school if their choice had been sought on the matter. They had suddenly been presented with a blank cheque to decide, all to no fault of theirs.

I’ll ask anyone who cares to participate; would the teachers have gone on strike if they were remunerated appropriately. Would the students embark on indecent sprees, if the teachers had not gone on strike? Would the teachers not have been remunerated well if the Pastors had lobbied for them? Would the students pick up bad habits from the streets if they had not been thrown there?

I repeat; we are rather quick to arrest the victims than to arrest the unbecoming situation. And we all have a role to play.

Often times, I have come across university graduates who rode motorcycles to earn a living. No one cared about or for them, while they did. No one even remembered to encourage them. But we are rashly too quick to arrest and prosecute them, when – out of frustration, neglect and looming danger of abject poverty, malnourishment and death – they had abandoned the motorcycle and taken to crime (or work, with the appearance of crime).

The season we are in is very much still appropriate to redeem the glory-past; except of course if we are content and would desire an extreme madhouse. It is, for the records, no longer news that there are many entrepreneurs who make a living out of the flourishing madhouse phenomenon.

However, the well-meaning citizens of the ancient prided Empires, the Religious Leaders, all those who desire a homogenously progressive and egalitarian society need to aggressively espouse the principle of arresting the situation rather than the victims.

This is the only means by which the Princes and Princesses will be taken off the streets and returned to the palace; the prisons decongested; the bridges left to the mosquitoes; with less and less of the people drinking and smoking to insanity and the whole system revamped.

There is therefore the need for calculated deliberations, the type that had been nicknamed the Sovereign National Conference, which had been contrived to an arranged tête-à-tête.

However for the moment, there is also the need to look critically at the demands of the TEACHERS of the LEADERS of Tomorrow and respond favourably. I believe this is in order to arrest the development of untoward corollary.

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