Sowore: When Tomorrow is too far!

by Yahaya Balogun
Omoyele Sowore

Omoyele Sowore must remember Et tu brute! As he goofed few days ago, those who high-five him today may downgrade him or be his adversaries tomorrow. He should beware of Brutus, and take heed of Cassius; but he cannot escape from coming near Casca, because Cascas are the Plebeians.

If I were Omoyele Sowore, I would instructively read a page from Buhari’s ‘The book of Nigerians.’ Smile! The conceptualized book hypothetically exposed the mind of a typical Nigerian prior to 2015, and the opportunistic disposition of the same Nigerian in 2018. The sad reality in Nigeria today is that the Nigerian youths aren’t ready for tomorrow—they prefer to savor yesterday for today in order to cast off tomorrow.

In retrospect, I have admonished Omoyele Sowore consistently that he needs strategic approach to facing the Nigerian politics! His hydra-headed posture to tackling Nigerian youth problems can’t work in our polarized and complex political environment. Sowore has good intention but he doesn’t play politics tactically to deal with our intricate and contradictory political clime. You can’t disrespect people and expect reasonable people to wow and high-five you when you most need them. What’s bad is bad, bad has no other embellished name!

In recent times, instead of constructively criticizing Buhari’s policies, Buhari’s personality has been the target of rubbish by takeitback’s supporters. If Sowore is strategic to face the national problems with its supposed transformational approach, he wouldn’t be making so many gaffes like we have seen in the last few months. In politics, your opponents are fallible and are prone to making honest mistakes. #Takeitback movement has been very transactional with no transformational strategy in its approach to national politics. The movement continues to abuse and disrespect those who should be helping it to climb the ladder of future success, and to achieving its historic movement and transformational agenda.

Nigerians are very sensitive to politics of emotion, and Sowore knows the contradictory nature of our politics. I knew Sowore would be meted with profound repudiation by the ugly incident that surfaced at Ooni of Ife’s palace. Our tradition, custom and mores are highly valued. We constantly pay homage, respect and hospitality to our visitors and host, and that’s our tradition. I presume Sowore and his movement were accorded the respect of the Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. For Sowore to have been received at the monarch’s palace with enthusiasm speaks volume of Yoruba values and mores! Yoruba has custom and tradition that are unique amongst all other traditions. Sowore should have given respect to the sacred throne and the symbol of our collective Yoruba tradition. It is concerning that Sowore took a huge step backward in his honest approach to achieving or solving our political problems in Nigeria.

Sadly, in the first 24hrs of the unfortunate incident, it’s very disheartening to read all the competing vituperations being hawked, traded and howled on Sowore’s person by cyborgs on social media. We have completely lost our moral compass by washing our dirty clothes in the full glare of the international community. Sowore brought it upon himself by being recalcitrant and heady with his posture and demeanor at the Ooni of Ife palace. My political prescription for Sowore is to sincerely apologize to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. Sowore must recompense to move on with his political aspiration. My observation in the last 24hrs about our politics in Nigeria gave me a great concern. We are just journeying on a bumpy road to nowhere, and it is very sad that we cannot constructively criticize our own without going to the gutter.

Meanwhile, Sowore should avoid playing into the noxious hands of his political detractors. Truth is a nuance that is very scarce, only the inquisitors are sure to finding the truth. It bleeds my mind to see how we run down the brightest minds among ourselves in Nigeria. Omoyele Sowore needs to be schooled (I am sure he’s already a student) in the department of African or Nigerian time keeping! He should have known better that keeping to time is of no essence to us in Africa, nay Nigeria. When some of us-Nigerians (including this writer at times) in the diaspora could import from Nigeria a profound incapacity for time keeping at a function or event; an event slated for 4:00pm always begin between 7:00pm and 8:00pm. We have no respect for time keeping; we only keep to time when our actions will have opportunistic or adverse consequences on our motives. Why are we blaming Sowore who was making observation (possibly to prevent future occurrence) of our revered Oba’s inability to keep to time? Lateness is in our DNA in Africa and it is part of our national nomenclature. Also, who are we to blame our dignified Iku Baba Yeye to have come late for his function or appointment? We know fully well African inappropriateness at time keeping for any appointment or occasion. It’s literally unAfrican or unNigerian, and a taboo or misnomer to be so early, exact or tidy in our appointments or occasions?

I strongly empathize with Omoyele Sowore for failing to be methodical and strategic in his approach to germane national issues. My good friend has had two steps forward in the last one year only to take several steps backward. Unequivocally, the indefatigable strongman Sowore has triggered a national conversation on how to review our attitude towards time keeping. Every year, Nigeria loses several billion of dollars on time wasting. The number of hours we spend in the “houses of God” (if at all we worship God in trust, honesty and in truth) in Africa is more than the hours we spend on our earthly and continental or national productivity. Yet, Africans complain of avoidable poverty, low productivity, squalor and underdevelopment. We always yearn to eating our cake, even before we have it; only to crave to having it after we must have consumed it.

Seriously, I wouldn’t call Sowore and Ooni of Ife saga as a youthful exuberance, because Sowore has morphed from student activism to emancipation of the deprived members of our society. I will rather call his action an attempt to rewrite the way we treat or keep to time in our clime. Sowore’s action was rudely misconstrued, but Sowore displayed it with “arrogance” and flagrant disregard for our revered tradition and expectations of the Nigerian people.

It is heartwarming that the ebullient and remorseful Sowore, and his entourage honestly apologized to a considered and the magnanimity of the young Ooni of Ife, the Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi is a gentleman and very respectful person who doesn’t like the ‘hilahilo’ that signifies our society. A closer look at him shows a man who prefers love to hate! In the last one year, the Oba has been the envy of other Obas because of his sense of inclusiveness, and peaceful disposition to resolving brawls among the dissenting people.

Takeitback must take those who are fueling the unfortunate event back to where they belong. He should revisit the palace with the understanding and approval of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. The monarch is a revered man with good gesture and homily, Sowore and his movement must pour libation and pay a sacred homage to the palace to settle the sacrilegious nuance made during the historic visit. His remorse must once and for all, close the raging issue in order to appease the palace that was despoiled by Sowore and some unprofessional men in the Nigerian Police Force uniforms. It is sacrilegious for the police to have teargassed the people in the sacred palace! We are in a season of anomy in Nigeria.

The hateful dispositions of the cyborgs who constitute a chunk of the Nigerian youths is preposterous and disingenuous. Nigerian youths like to maim resent the characters of the best among them. Nigerian youths are quick to canonize the nihilists amongst them who are the representations of the ugly part of the Nigerian system. How we can advance to meet the rest of the world in this 21st century democracy is very daunting and concerning! We must trigger our collective sense of imagination for possibilities.

The naughtiness of the Nigerian cyborgs on social media is a great impediment to national revival. The youth must begin to do a collective self-talk and jettison needless impulses and naughtiness to issues that are of great importance to national discourse. We are on the wrong rat race to tomorrow; and our collective action now makes tomorrow too far! While, we are yearning for a collective destination, we seem to be taking different bumpy and ignorant routes to getting to the promised land!


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