Essay of the Week

THE EMBATTLEMENT OF A GADFLY

THE EMBATTLEMENT OF A GADFLY

By Uthman Shodipe

In the trailblazing largeness of their enlightenment, in the long etched tradition of their significant attainments, their ancestors rightly defined themselves in enviable distinctions and cultural pulchritude. Having sprang from a discerning beginning that encouraged the unceasing plurality of thoughts and promoted a constant pitting of ideas and the invariable collision of ideals, they often repose in instinctive impartiality and liberal expansiveness.
From their originating fount in the primeval depths of The Source to the various migrations, internecine wars, transplanting adventures and ceaseless searches for new roots and new platforms in the grapple with the endless contentions of existence- they unfailingly reside in a declarative vision of principled pursuit and sworn, observable puristic attentiveness. In their ancestral nudging and primal focus, they do not bend to distort the truth nor eclipse the moral balance of forthrightness to serve the hour.  Even without a measurement of their moral  compass, you can easily plumb the gestural trajectory of their will. You can fathom the promptings of their ultimate resolve.

In the cosmic unity of their ancestral journeys, in the unique appropriation of their heroes and gods, they painstakingly illustrate the tenets of hard work, the nobility of truth, the value of consistency, the dignity and pride of a moral anchor and the stabilizing fulcrum of personal integrity. They abhor the scoundrel, the loudmouth opportunist who hovers in deranged availability, stripped of a conscionable pivot. They treasure family, honor, truth, the bonds of friendship, the sinews of brotherhood, the paramount mustering of loyalty and the ultimate defense and protection of the collective cause.

In this unifying idealism, in this sworn recourse to uphold the cultural banner and traditional identity, they graduate naturally into a formidable consensus beyond the initial conflict and plural contributions. In the eventually agreed synthesis, all acrimony is discarded; all riving concourses are healed, reconciled by the force of truth and logic. Such was the defining spirit of the inheritors of Oodua in the conscionable days of old.

Not anymore. The confronting reality now is a revolting theater of total reversal of all ethical guidance and traditional verities. There is no moral anchor guiding the pathways any more. There are no ideals of principled balance and visionary purity. What subsists now is a confusing welter of survivalist refuge where opportunistic time-servers, stark illiterates, ill-bred half-wits, crude charlatans, mongrelized howlers, pretenders to knowledge, oafish impostors, blatant back-stabbing conspirators and perennial gadflies all congregate and struggle in a bizarre leadership bazaar for the putative shepherding of a now rudderless people !

It is an abysmal descent from the acme of a bristling intellectual ferment where the fundament of logic, the thoroughness of exemplary scholarship dominated and determined a people’s summative leadership, and now to the depths of the frightening flourish in the stampede of the primitives rioting in the front lines of power.

We must begin with the indecorous, ill-mannered, loud- mouth vagabond who presently presides over the fortunes of a midget backwater state swaddled in provincial totality. A man of despicable garrulity who leaps upon the public space without rational contemplation or cautionary gracefulness, he has mistaken a clowning ubiquity for courage, misapplying a patent idiocy for wisdom. This muddled illiterate who speaks and acts in rolling flurries of anger without tact or restraining moderation, huffing and puffing in thoughtless vapidity, represents a tarnishing diminution of a people’s wilted leadership.

In tall, gangling idiocy, in feverish lunatic outpouring, he is totally without any tempering suasion, devoid of the barest contemplative civility, always latched to the nauseating din and anger and the noisome clatter of the streets as some weird symbol of populist identification. This provincial rabble rouser who is benightedly resolved in a contemptible fixity, ceaselessly rails, curses and vilifies all imaginable bogeyman that comes to his fancy.

In some warped crusading agenda, he sweeps across the national horizon in media hugging madness, blurting out inanities in crazed regurgitations, droning angrily in dubious sanitizing piety, savaging everything and everyone, especially the irreverent Caudilo, in the most vicious toxin of primitive acerbity. Had this half-baked illiterate, who had rigged and swindled his way back to the seat of power, restricted his malady to the uneven grapple with the Caudilo, he would have still roused some sympathetic concern. But even here, this would have eventually waned because he cannot comprehend any restraining terminus.

But alas, in his blind, impulsive and erratic wanderings, the loudmouth, bumptious fraud has now withdrawn into indecent ethnic cannibalism, blatantly forfeiting the just deserts of his own people in some quixotic maneuverings for personal gains ! He is like the proverbial traitor of old who stands at the village outpost driving away anyone who brings good tidings, insisting that the village was undeserving of such honor !

With this unbelievable treachery, the blustering gadfly and public nuisance has now etched himself in caustic damnation, a branded and unforgivable quisling stained with the blood of his own people. And now in the natural order of the retributive sanction and the law of karmic inevitability, he has collided presently with his own tons of crucibles and a furious dismantling of his house of cards.

The noisome braggart who mocks and tramples on the elders in the market place, savaging the inherent interest of his own people, furiously lashing out at every invocation of his fancy, pretending some privileged channels with the gods- he is now increasingly embattled, constricted on all fronts by the inquisitorial hammer of the Caudillo’s goon squad.

He now stinks in felonious putrefaction; a damaged pretender unveiled in compromised largeness, with his numerous holdings impounded by the widening venom of a vindictive Caudillo. And yet there is no intervening bridge of popular support. He stands alone. Having sabotaged the normative cultural guidance of his people and having blindly inverted the long-held traditional practices of standing up for the collective good, he thus stands in deserted, orphaned desolation; a solitary abandoned scoundrel without supportive fillip, stripped of the natural rallying of a people’s consensus.

Save for the purchased rabble and the mercenary twaddle of the hired hands, he stands unpitied and unmourned, a forlorn outcast at the edge of a self- provoked ruination. Even as the clock races and his tenure draws to a definite terminus, he is still rooted in aberrant declarations, somehow incapable or unwilling to sway in corrective renewal. He is consumed in the distorting inebriation of a transient power, heedless and furious, detained in crippling delusions of invincibility.

But the bell tolls. The curtain draws near. The darkness creeps closer. From here there is no brightness again for him, save tumult, unalterable forfeiture and a dismal, unenviable termination.