Born to Rule: Soyinka

Nasiru Suwaid

“I, however, identify hardcore northerners as in hardcore pornography. There exist hard-core northerners. They may be in the minority, but they believe that they are divinely endowed to run any society.” – Professor Wole Soyinka

During my days of learning  the lexical rudiments of English literature, which was also the period when I became acquainted with classical philosophy, two words that have always left me in a state of delirious frustration is the similitude between the word confusion and the personality cult Confucius. The former being an unsettled state of mind of an individual, while the latter is merely the philosophical thoughts and beliefs of the famous Chinese thinker, a personality that has forsaken God and proclaimed the impotence of the almighty creator. Yet, his admonishing and teachings are quite similar in context and form with the scriptural texts and verses of the holy books of the monolithic faiths, the confusion being whether Confucius the Mandarin prophet was nothing more than an exceptional plagiarist of a bygone era.

The newfangled concept of born to rule, evidently gaining notoriety from its plagiarized root of dark street corners, un-synthesized public squares and infantile minds of experts and conspiracy theorists, is now gaining eminent intellectual acceptance through the laureate grace of the likes of Professor Wole Soyinka. Who in one of his recent interview offered to The News Magazine, affirmed of his belief that some of the Northern Nigeria’s establishment figures have been infected by a bug and state of mind and carnal belief that it is the destiny of the North to obtain and maintain power. Thus, the elite of the region would do almost anything and everything to thwart any administrative leadership that is not of their own. He claimed the elite would do anything, including siring terrorism as an intimidation tool against an administration they hate for breaking a gentleman’s agreement of periodic zoning of leadership arrangement between either the northern and the southern section of the republic or among the six established and recognized geo-political zones of the country.

Born to rule has its origin and history in the realm of royal monarchism, which is a tradition of lineal succession of blood connected heirs from generation to another. However, such a hegemonic belief cannot have a place in the modern republicanism of our democratic electoral system, which is premised on the right of each and every individual to seek and aspire for any leadership position in Nigeria in so far as he or she is blessed with the citizenship flag. But it is within the endowed grace of democracy for a group to coalesce into a community for political action, where it organizes itself to legally and legitimately seek for power with the protection of its core values and fundamental interest uppermost on its plate. Perhaps, that is the aim of the Northern Political Leaders Forum and other such groups that are now being condemned by detractors. After all, isn’t politics a high stake chivalrous sport for gaining the attention and affection of gullible voters?

Perhaps, it is within this realm of mythical thinking when the professor of folkloric arts proclaimed the fusion of credo-northernism with Islamism, which is a monumental fallacy and interpolation. Because, a little perusal into the socio-religious background of an essential northerner reveals that the two are one.  Just like his Muslim brethren, the Christian northerner, like in the deep-south of United States of America, clutches his bible with the patriotic fervor of a good citizen. After all, even a petulant democratic party strategist like James Carville never for once doubted the patriotic intent of religionists such as former President George Bush. It is also within the context of this belief system that the internationally celebrated inventor of stage classics inserted theatrics into what could have been a great interview when he single handedly transported a literary icon to the very top of Boko Haram elimination list, containing political jobbers, military generals and influential money men.

But could a group that has the name western education is a sin appreciate the real value of a Nobel Laureate? Essentially, people who do not appreciate education cannot simply appreciate the eminence of a literary icon within the intricate mechanics of power attainment and the corresponding balance of its applicability. In other words, men of books are neither relevant nor important in the mental psychology of a power seeking rebel and as the celebrated laureate once confirmed to Jonathan Mann of the Cable News Network, at the eve of transition to the current democratic republic, were Soyinka to ever seek for electoral mandate even of the lowly councillorship, he would spectacularly falter. The Kongi personality cult is a deeply polarizing concept among the Nigerian voting public, and that is in tune with the celebration of mediocrity, corruption, criminality and general lack of principles in politics.

The most amusing, yet confusing statement, in the long and windy interview is the identification of hardcore northerners with the hardcore pornography. This surely is an allegory in the most profane way because a deeply religious people universally acknowledged as conservative can never share similarity, even in a metaphoric sense with hardcore pornography, which is a trade that has crossed the border line of accepted societal norm, even in a society as open and free as the United States of America. Thus, for eminent men and women of letters, sometimes it is better for them to allow their works to speak for them and where the necessity arises to talk, then, the way of Professor Emeritus Chinua Achebe is always the best, short, sharp, incisive and occasional.


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