AESOP TALES AND AMOSUN’S AKE TRAGICOMEDY
BY OLAMILEKAN SOTAYO
“The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.”— Aesop
Aesop was believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BC but the enduring legacy he left behind is his stories generally called “Aesop Fables”. In one of the fables, The Frog and the Ox, we are told of how a frog that tries to inflate itself to the size of an Ox burst in the attempt. This fable aptly captures the personality and antics of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the senator for the Ogun central senatorial district at the National Assembly, Abuja.
In his self-conceited effort to appear larger-than-life and further capture the attention of the APC Presidential Flagbearer— Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu— Senator Amosun had a welcome rally that took place at the Alake palace pavilion in Abeokuta where he denigrated both the past and present leaders of Ogun State before his rented crowd. He said, “In this Ogun State, since 1999–I am on camera, except for Baba Olusegun Obasanjo, I am not talking of pre-1999– no human being, dead or alive, has served Ogun State the way I have served. I have done 8 years as your governor, by next year it will be my 8th year in the Senate. Just between 1999 and now, I have served Ogun State with 15 years of my lifetime.” Every rational human would cringe on hearing such statement as it speaks volume of Amosun’s bloated ego, his level of rapacity— as millennials will say, only you 8 years as Governor and 8th year in the senate— and his utter shamelessness for by pontificating about the number of years he has spent in power without a long list of commendable achievements but empty political rhetoric. Thus, it would be appropriate to say that Amosun had served himself and his stooges all the years he used in power.
Aesop in another fable, “The Frogs and the Sun” told us about how animals were excited when it emerged that the sun would be getting married. Like the rest of their counterparts in the animal kingdom, the frogs also shared in the happiness by jubilating on account of the much-awaited marriage of the sun. However, it was just one frog that reminded his colleagues that the forthcoming wedding would mean the birth of a second sun, and the frogs already suffer from the drying up of the ponds and marshes in which they live.
The moral of the fable is that on many occasions, owing to lack of deep thinking, people rejoice on what would bring them disaster. It is characteristic of the mob mentality to think of the moment without reflecting on the long-term implications of some exciting moments. It is to that group of frogs that the rented crowd at Ake Palace, who hailed Amosun when he made the aforementioned denigrating remarks at the show of shame. I would not completely blame them as they were working for the crumbs that had been given to them as a fee. People are like chickens that had been made to go through gruesome pains but would still peck at grains that are, afterward, placed before them. It doesn’t matter how much pain you inflict on them. The moment you offer them what they need, they will still follow you and turn to you for their survival. This is the situation of Amosun followers who live at the mercy of what is barely sufficient for their survival from their egocentric and rapacious leader’s motivation is just the love of absolute power, which corrupts absolutely.
Several people who worked with him during his “regime” did not only complain about his intransigence and narcissistic nature, they also groaned about his habit of one-upmanship when planning policies and events with other members of his cabinet. This negative attitude of Amosun has become public in his ego-tripping quest to ruin Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, an institution named after the greatest benefactor of education in Ogun State, by relocating it to another venue. All attempts to prevent the relocation by leaders in the state, staffers, parents, and students of the institution fell on his deaf ears: he was the god. Power drunk. And he could do anything he likes: that’s his nature, his love for power is on the same wavelength as his love for using it catastrophically.
Again, as typical of the former Governor, on Saturday, October 16, 2021, he wreaked havoc. The All Progressives Congress (APC) state congresses were held across the country and Ogun State was not left behind. In an orderly and peaceful manner, participants were exercising their party rights at the MKO Abiola Stadium, the approved venue, in Kuto Abeokuta before reports circulated that there was another Congress ongoing at the revered Alake’s Palace. As expected, it was the Ogun APC Judas at work.
Despite his efforts to both thwart the ambition of Prince Dapo Abiodun and provoke his person during the 2019 campaign, he met mature traits of character in the Governor who neither had an altercation with him nor vilified him when he emerged the Governor of Ogun State.
More importantly, if Senator Ibikunle Amosun is hell-bent on getting favors from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he should honorably do it without deceit and cutting corners. Without any iota of doubt, he has no political weight in Ogun State as no councilor, or chairman among other top public office holders is with him. Also, the belittling remark about the leaders in Ogun State has revealed one of the low characteristics of Senator Ibikunle Amosun that would not allow any reasonable political gladiator to team up with him as his utterance in Ake reeks of desperation and deceit.
Taken together, Ake hosts one of the paramount rulers of Egbaland. It is a name that is identified with many heroic deeds one of which births the book, “Ake: The Years of Childhood”, a fascinating memoir of an African childhood from Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian novelist, playwright, and poet Wole Soyinka between 1934 and 1945 in the town of Ake in present-day Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. Amosun has continued to derive joy and satisfaction in desecrating the value and reverence of the Alake Palace and this condemnable act deserves to be reviewed.
Olamilekan Sotayo writes from Abeokuta.