By Opaluwa DonBon
Oji j’ęnę………. eee
Ęnę g’ębō…….. eee
Ębō m’oji ji, ęnwu ma ñō gō gę???… eee
Ętubę…… eee Ętubę
(we consult the oracle when something is stolen. Now that the oracle is the thief, who do we consult ?)
Ogijo ki wa m’uchu…
When the elder cannot properly identify yams and their types, then something is wrong.
Meister Eckhart was not joking when he said: “If God were to backside from truth, I would cling to truth and let go of God.” This sounds ridiculous but St Athanasius quite agrees as he affirms in his own words that “if the world goes against truth, then Athanasius goes against the world.”
Wisdom, Honesty and Integrity. These are attributes we expect among the descendants of Ayegba Ôma Idoko. An honest Igala man can never make himself a dog because of a bone.
We have the responsibility to guide our people as custodians of Religious and Traditional heritages.
In the wake of the visit of a group of traditional leaders from kogi to the Aso Rock Villa, so much has been said. Some say they went for the Cause of the masses, Some say they went because of the “Carrot” and others believe they went for fear of the “Cane”(Wherever the truth Lies, It will come out surely one day. For now , let the following interrogation suffice.)
The Cause of the Masses
This is what is expected of leaders. To stand up for the people. To be the voice of the voiceless and the downtrodden. To defend the vulnerable and the tatterdemallion of the society.
The throne is for the service of the people. If the traditional rulers use their revered and respected office to speak for the good of the land, it is in order and God will bless them.
Dangle it, and even hungry kings without principles will be persuaded or dissuaded as the case may be. The Biblical Esau sold his birthright for a pot of porridge, but he paid the price eventually when the time came for the rightful heir to take the blessings that conferred the right of succession and inheritance.
In our world today, even house rats have realized that it is not all free food that is a blessing. Yes. For over a period of three calendar months, I battled a group of rodents in my kitchen. I bought all kinds of potent rat poisons. I kept poisoned fish and assorted food on the floor by their hideouts, nay! They refused to eat. They resisted the urge.
Not all free food is a blessing. Ábià ę nii “ma k’ęnwu Ojima…” That is why a dog does not eat kola nut.
“álu ję, alu mu gō” The kind of food the mouth will eat that will bend the mouth to the direction of falsehood away from truth, is to be rejected.
“Ma kpeba a yęba n; ogijo akpę mudu ki ch’ogijo ikpani(u).
The ability to say no to what will make you compromise and speak from all sides of your mouth is what must characterise moral consciences of our societies such as royal fathers and religious leaders.
And I ask: where are the days when parents starved themselves for the good of their children?
Where are the fabled days when a typical elder will reject a “favour” if it will make him go against the interest of the land?
“eju li ęnwu a ję, eju li ęnwu a kō, onwu ję nw’abia kō jechu anya, I ma dabalęn, ado nwu kate ki ję, efu nwu kō….”
Cicero the Roman Orator says that the good of any virtue has some reference, direct or indirect, to the common good of all men. Therefore, each virtue has an aspect of” to others”.
No battle won without sacrifice. The statue of Princess Inikpi in Ęga market is a constant reminder of this fact. If you live in the fear of losing what you have, you can never get any new things. Even in betnaija, you must give away some amount of money in the hope of winning a bigger sum.
According to Gaylord Nelson, “The ultimate test of a man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”
People who put themselves on the line and sacrifice their own safety for the greater good and for others, and whose concern is for the welfare of other people instead of the individual are the true leaders.
Some persons have put up defence for the traditional rulers. That they were compelled to go to the villa, and I recall the words of R K Ryals “I was sure of one thing, it was not always the hero who saved the world. It was the person willing to die first”
For an ignoble act, no amount of excuse can suffice.
Every position and office of leadership comes from God. This can be so only when the leader fulfills the mandate of God for service to the people. Religious leaders, political leaders and traditional rulers are all called to service. We are duty bound to make the people smile.
When there is a gang up of or some unholy alliance between these categories of leaders to enslave the poor masses, it means our office is no longer godly, and anything ungodly cannot come from God.
Recently, Fr Innocent Oyibo (PhD), (A theologian , in a reflection on the temptations of Christ opines that the devil can also give power. Yes, I quite agree with him. If you abuse and misuse your office, you automatically fall into the class of those empowered by the devil to put people in chains of sorrow.
Let it be known…….
Esau sold his birthright for a pot of porridge. He paid the price.
Herod Massacred the holy infants for fear of the emergence of a new king, he also paid the price.
Herod the Tetrarch beheaded John The Baptist for speaking the truth, haha, both of them have long re-united in the hereafter.
Mobutu Sese Seko the tyrannical man of Zaire built the largest estate ever in the black continent, the last time I googled, the mansions have been overgrown with weeds and reptiles have become caretakers.
Why don’t we learn from history?
Every generation produces its fools. Those who ignore the abundant lessons of history. Those who repeat the mistakes of leaders past. Those whose mansions will fade, pale and peel away as their names are catalogued on the dusty shelf in the hall of shame. These are the the fools.
Áli ma ka….
Wisdom is ascribed to elders because it is believed that they have lived long enough to see and know that all things must pass away.
If the traditional rulers went to Abuja in good faith and spoke the truth on behalf of the kogi people, may God bless them.
If they went because of the “Carrot”,…. “efu ma kō n, alu a gbogwu”. May what they received from there last them a lifetime.
If they went for fear of “The Cane”. May they now live forever.