Essay of the Week



By Uthman Shodipe

He is a man of screaming proportional largeness who towers far above  everyone else in huge complete physical sturdiness. He looms in massive, abundant aspect, pushing his swollen girth with a huffing ungainly mighty frame. He breathes heavily with tremendous effort as if weighed down by an immensity of excessive tonnage.

He cannot be ignored even in the most teeming circle. He is typically loud and boisterous, verging on a repulsive profile. There is an air of intimidating fierceness about him: the rough hewn street brawling presence of the circus fighter, the brash, combative intimations of a big, indifferent urchin, the primitive aggressive totality that announces itself with crude, assertive license.

From his big misshapen, massive crown to his loose, ill-fitting limbs that hang and sway about him like some half-breed giant, he walks with loud, heaving strides, pushing about him with rude, absolute confidence.

In his determined gait and lofty certainty, he gives the impression of a settled, uncontested firmness of purpose, the arrogant import of conquest and unbending will. His eyes are orbs of flashing flame, glowering upon the world in flaming, inscrutable crimson. His voice booms in thunderous alarm, quaking with the knife-edge cutting tremor.

He is a grim portrait of the dark undergrowth of civility; the untidy wildness of the untamed, the harsh, rankling posture, the feral offensive intrusions of a reckless savage.

He is a grim symbol of all the searing aberrations affecting this land. There is nothing edifying about his past and his present nudging. He is totally wrapped in despicable antecedents; a souring reference of nefarious centrality. He is woven in endless legends of flurries of rancorous felonies, open banditry, trafficking in illicit substances and all allied larcenous pursuits.

There are also stories of numerous incarcerations, jail breaking, identity theft, serial fraudulent activities that span from coast to coast, breaching international boundaries with brazen criminal offensives.

He has often resides on the pale  margins of legality, switching identities with practiced  dubiosity,  concocting alliances to serve the moment, believing in nothing save crude survivalist instincts, shedding off sworn friendships  at the sight of a better deal, reducing all relationships to a farcical game of hopping the minefield in desperate search for a refuge.

Even with all his crudities and obscene mercenary largeness, he has somehow mastered the adept intricacies of maneuvering in the shadows, scavenging for the right alliance, immersing deeply in any contrivance that would give him a protective perch against the haunting specter of a despicable past.

He has now carved a dubious, bewildering presence for himself in the partisan fray, bringing to bear all imaginable depravities as he bribes and swindles his way to the top. He has cobbled together a corrupt and fearsome political machine that distorts and annihilates the truth with a blatant purchase of influence and relevance.

With a seemingly inexhaustible flow of dirty money, he has graduated beyond his local confines where he had served as a mere enabler to partisan position, vaulting to an odious perch on the national platform where he presently occupies an unbelievable height at the acme of legislative articulation. It is a mind- boggling laundering of fortune. The rise from petty thief to armed banditry, narcotic merchandising, endless larcenies, fraudulent maneuverings, big time swindling and now to the reaches of a perch in the hallowed chamber!

It is a transformation that cheapens our collective values, negating a conscionable referential standard, betraying a frightening  normlessness where a society sinks into a depraved immoral anomie where all ethical illustrations of civility are observed in the breach, where  all un-probed riches can purchase media stardom and intrude  boldly upon well earned distinguished circles without a query.

It is as if any aberration can gain an enforced acceptability once it is coated in affluence and brazen, hawkish indications. Here a declared reprobate and fugitive from the laws of Chicago presently consumes our normative distinctions, distorting traditional verities, savaging our mores, subverting all ethical guidance that preserves the normative pattern of an orderly society.

In an inverted spectacle of illogic and glaring immorality, a serial convict and established, obdurate felon now summons a gaggle of unthoughtful journalists, articulating about corruption and good governance, pontificating on purging criminals from public office !

Had this not been real and startlingly contemporaneous it would have been a riveting satirical sketch from the dark, insidious plumbings of the immortal Aristophanes springing from the undergrowth of eternal Hellene.

But this is the savaging reprove of the hour; a scathing diminution of all our conscionable tenets, a brash, twisted assault upon all that is just and appropriate, a declarative toxin against the dictates of propriety, negating the uplifting spirit of moral uprightness, rupturing polished integrity and the Omoluabi significations of the Yoruba people.

Alas, this wandering ogre with manufactured identity even presides as a leading light of a fractured party, gallivanting in monstrous ubiquity, sowing seeds of discord everywhere, purchasing inequitable judgements from suborned judges, excoriating well meaning leaders, curiously celebrating the arbiters on the other side of the divide to secure a protection against imminent extradition.

As the warped fugitive prances about in deliberate mockery of all that is just and fair, the conscionable merely watch and dither, unsure of how to grapple with the new debasement of the collective values, conflicted on the border line between acquiescence or a splendid indifference to the new malady.

Either way, the fugitive triumphs. In our silence and indifference, in our unconcerned levity and splendid distancing, we become complicitous and fettered, an unwitting accomplice in the creeping dissolution of our moral compass.