By Wole Olujobi
In our sortie today to further probe into the Ekiti State conundrum, we shall build our narrative around an allegorical construct, a literary genre that often explains reality in unrealistic props, and in this we shall explore the mores and imagery of Ajantala, a genie in Yoruba mythology with his fiendish exploits.
No doubt, the polity in Ekiti State since the last three years depicts a society that erects its frame on the “strangeness of democratic change”, a compound-complex farcical metamorphosis of sorts that best explains its existence and earns its soul to the allegorical essence of fictional make-believe representative of her current leader’s persona.
These indeed are desperate times! For in the last three and half years, Ekiti State, largely marooned in the throe of poverty, has earned its existence to the inevitable anti-climax of democratic ethos, courtesy of a garrulous pseudo democrat in democratic garbs, who interprets democracy as a winner-takes-all conquest.
In the Ekiti world where “strangeness of democratic change” best illustrates human conduct as once espoused by Tatalo Alamu in a sizzling essay, there can be no method to the madness of the 21st Century Ekiti State conquest than to explain her condition in the absoluteness of this “strangeness of democratic change” foisted by a grotesque democrat in a representative democracy.
Indeed, Ekiti State has become a fiction on motion, where two Ajantalas, one a scurrilous dopehead and the other with paradoxical morals of the Pharisees, foist their ethos to confound their victims.
Democracy is thought to be the government by the people for the majority. But in Ekiti State, the current reality has forced a metamorphosis difficult to explain even by the most accomplished political sociologists, for everywhere you turn, your senses are assaulted by new inventions encrusted on the unpredictability of democratic curves forged by a taskmaster who sees the 2.7m people of Ekiti State as sharing the same fate but must endure different destinies to ape the Orwellian world where all animals are equals but some are more equal than the others.
When he started his campaigns in 2014, the grand taskmaster declared that his vision would be driven by the collective vision of Ekiti people and to share pains with the people.
As it turned out, his personal pains have indeed become the collective pains of the populace, but his personal comforts are the exclusive pains of the people; a marriage of heaven and hell that explains contradictions in the foul order of existence.
Here, George Orwell in his book “Animals Farm” seems to have had Ekiti State in mind when he did a portraiture of a society that survives on unequal terms with extortionist grace.
Not only have Ekiti people now come face to face with the reality that the collective comfort promised during campaigns are not only unattainable, but also that the purport of that promise is a nightmarish exuberance.
Like in the Animals Farm, it is now plain that some animals are more equal than the others in Ekiti world where millions of other animals survive on the whims and fancies of one big animal, Ajantala the Napoleon of Ekiti State.
From campaign promise failures to unconscionable manipulation of the weakness of the people in absolute terms to corner state’s resources, the Ajantala has grown so monstrous so much that not even the fawning yokels through whom he claimed to have climbed to power can sure prove that they share same world with the taskmaster. As it were, the falcon can no longer hear the falconer as the umbilical cords that bind the democracy of the unequal partners have since snapped.
Worse than the survival of the fittest, Ekiti State has gone broke, so much that there is no one in millions bound to the grass that is fit enough to square it up with the elephant in a survival duel. At best, every one is an ant in a subjugated enclave where the ravenous Ajantala perches on the want of the weak like in the kafkasque world where the poor are at the mercy of the capitalist whims.
Franz Kafka, a socialist and German-speaking Bohemian Jewish novelist and realist writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature, in his epic novel “The Metamorphosis” found his principal character and invariably himself as an insect in a society that elevates material possession above other ethos to climb the fortunes’ ladder.
Other mortals wrecked by the callous instincts of the capitalists are mere anonymity in the mould of insects; the classification and proposition that another realist writer, György Lukács, a Hungarian Marxist philosopher, literary historian and critic, dismissed as a modernist orchestration constructed in American Hollywood scripts where farcical world of make-believe is presented as reality.
But Lukacs himself later found out that actual reality can be unrealistic, as he was jailed for the offence he did not commit, just like the reality among the innocently hopeful Ekiti people who have now become the victims of circumstance they neither canvassed nor envisaged in the hands of their malevolent taskmaster; a confounding logic that also defies the logic of the sociologists of moral decadence.
But in the same fable of a society, the Ajantala has dazed our brains, amazed our eyes and has also ‘offspringed’ a cub Ajantala, another bustling fiendish scion that hopes to sustain the incredulity of the strange world that Ekiti State has found herself, where nothing and who knows nothing now hopes for the future among the thoroughly abused people that live in the maze of rolling hills in South West Nigeria.
Though this cub Ajantala with morals rooted in pretentious ethos of the Pharisees in Christian garbs suffer the worst deprivations like other victims, the amateur political surgeon must all the same come to his boss’ rescue in times of trouble at his own risk.
Here again, a great French socialist writer, novelist and playwright, Honore de Balzac, who loved to find salvation in the unrealistic world of fiction, also comes to mind.
Just like the old Ekiti Ajantala is now seeking political assay from his cub to survive the consequences of indiscretion, woes and ruins into which he has brought the state, in his critical moment of desperation to survive the reality of life on his deathbed, Balzac had cried out: “Find me Banchioc; only Banchioc can save me now.”
But Banchioc was never a medical doctor but a fictional character in one of his books who Balzac thought was the only one that could save him from the throes of death just the same way that the cub Ajantala, sadly lacking in requisite skills, is being corralled into a devious scheme by the taskmaster to save him from the consequences of a tortuous end that stares him in the face.
As in both senses in the Orwellian and Kafkasque worlds, Ekiti State has become an incredulous metaphor of an embattled society where representative governance is by one man who justifies his theft on the people’s patrimony on account of his street shows to dine, sell and haggle with roadside market women as if the fame and epic records of achievements by the late Obafemi Awolowo, Ladoke Akintola and Michael Ajasin were predicated on street shows to build hospitals, schools, industries and create employment opportunities for the Yoruba people like the Ajantala wants us to believe in his deceits.
These former leaders never held any banquets at motorparks to applaud the rabble in sedentary living while they kept their own children in Harvard and most glamorous of the world capitals like the Ajantala is doing in the most vicious manner. Neither did they plan to breed male populations that would be unsuitable for their daughters’ suitors like the Ajantala is doing today in Ekiti State.
But all the same, to preserve himself, Ajantala has raised a successor reputed to be reared in the best of academic environment but has so far not proved to have the brain and mind of his own for proper evaluation of his place in history. Neither has he demonstrated the courage and convictions of his scholarship as we saw on Channels television recently when he lapsed into the hooliganism of name-calling instead of addressing issues, and topped it with his alleged thugs in night gun-battle to destroy his opponent’s billboards while also threatening arson on the property of his townsman for supporting his opponent and a few hours later, an APC ardent supporter, Williams Ayegoro, was murdered in cold blood in Ado-Ekiti by a fleeing assailant on bike, while early this morning, another Fayemi’s supporter, Ayo, was shot dead in front of Captain Cook in Ado-Ekiti while campaigning for Fayemi with a hand-held megaphone, signalling Ajantala’s usual murderous instinct to take care of his opponents.
At best, the poster continuity totem seems to be comfortable to be chief suspect in the theft he never committed and by implication has accepted conscription into the scheme that holds no promise for societal good.
That is the cub Ajantala for you, who hopes to inherit a world that blurs Ekiti people’s hopes as designed by the old Ajantala to preserve his own fortunes in his fiendish ruthlessness and indeed in the exploitation of Ekiti patience and resources to bake hunger, want, despair and hopes and then bequeath his legacy of waste and misery to his heir in his continuity agenda to perpetuate mass poverty.
July 14 presents a window to change for good the paradoxical fortunes that Ekiti State has become. The best way to do that is for Ekiti people to inter the Ajantalas with their votes on another Freedom Day to crown JKF the visioner.
Best of luck!
- Olujobi is the Director of Media and Publicity, Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation