There are only four elements you look for in a song. Intellectuals identify them as imagery, diction, sound and the flow or rhythm of the said song. What this easily means is that you do not need to be a literary icon or an art connoisseur to gyrate and move when a favourite song connects with you. You would likely just get up and activate your kinetic energy by shuffling or nodding in agreement with the feeling that those sounds, words and the pictures evoke in you.
We know for a fact that if the expression of the life in a plant is the fruit, dance then is the expression of life, joy, youth and the vigour of life. Sad people will never dance. Dance is a measure of your health, fitness and sometimes a powerful indicator of your well-being and worldview. In my estimation, there has been only one musician – Michael Jackson – who has matched the poignant, melancholic and sanguinary aspects of his life with dancing the meaning out. In one of his songs, Thriller, which gave him many Grammys, MJ eloquently interpreted the mystical relationships between the living and the dead, and used dance to give insights to how night can serve as a corridor to other realms.
Dance is not an activity for never-do-wells. If you think so, then go ask students all over world who take it as a major course in many universities. Dancing is a strong indicator and a key driver for governance worldwide. And again, if you were to doubt that, I would invite you to consider that the decision to cut off the head of a key player in the administration of King Herod was facilitated by the dance of a maiden. Therefore, our discussion this week is a tribute to the one and only Nigerian politician – Gov Adeleke of Osun state – who has used dancing to connect with his people. Prior to the elections, politicians begin their campaigns by engaging in one activity or the other. I have seen some of them frying akara by the wayside. Others eat corn, roast plantain and join children in their schools to eat the skimpy meals and drink poor water. The other time, I saw one of them plaiting a woman’s hair. But once they achieve their purpose and get elected, they immediately discard the corn, run away from roasting the plantain and erect a barricade in government houses from where they serve the rest of us very cold breakfast.
Whilst he was campaigning to be governor of Osun state, Gov Adeleke was not eating corn or roasting plantain by the roadside of frying akara. He would dance and gyrate and just play. In doing that, he served notice that in spite of, against the dictation of political correctness, here is a man alive, healthy, strong and capable of taking on the challenges of governance. If possible as well, he would dance around those problems. Whilst I watched him dance, I was to recall a similar strategy that Bill Clinton adopted to beat his Republican rival, George Bush senior, in 1992. Apart from engaging in tough and robust debates, Bill Clinton simply took to the streets shod in only a tee-shirt and boxers and just jogged around. Jogging around like that gave the American voters the idea that the chap they see on the streets jogging around fit their idea of a president – fit, strong, and healthy enough to rescue them from the painful taxes that George Bush had inflicted them. Some of that drama was also play out in 2008 with Barack Obama, who took to shooting perfect basketball shots, and which ultimately booked him a place in the hearts of a key segment of American voters – young people and the entrepreneurial class.
Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Adams Oshiomhole, Obaseki, Rotimi Amechi and many others belong to that group whose new statuses as chief executives seem to prevent them from further running around the streets playing basketball, eating corn, frying akara and plaiting women’s hair. But not Gov Ademola Adeleke. He is still dancing, still bubbling with life, and still letting Osun people know that he still has their back, and as if to say that even though he may not have all the answers but at least he still makes the attempt to rekindle hope and establish the assurance that some hope lies ahead. I recall seeing him dancing again as he enthusiastically welcomed two Osun soccer stars who participated in this year’s Women World Cup in Australia.
For most of us, this is the kind of politician Nigerians want, not those who campaign eating corn, frying akara and plaiting the hair of women only to dump us after they get to their promised land.
Politicians worldwide are verily known to campaign in poetry and govern in bland poetry. Nigeria has a good supply of them, with perhaps very few of them like Gov Adeleke of Osun State who campaigned in poetry – dancing – and who has continued dancing delightfully. We use this opportunity to tell Gov Adeleke to keep dancing jare and ignore politically correct predispositions. We also address our people in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states to be wary of those politicians who will come at them eating corn, brandishing fishing nets or frying masa or akara. We urge them to look for the Adelekes among them, and vote them in office.