I was presented with my membership card of the Labour Party today at a very low-key but well-attended ceremony in the little town of Wasimi in Ogun State, my home constituency.
Ago Odo is the compound in Abeokuta that I come from. Wasimi Orile is my village. Wasimi is the settlement that sprung around the railway station servicing the rice and cassava farmlands in Wasimi Orile and 19 other villages that make up Mosan ward in Ewekoro LG on the single stretch of an untarred sandy road that runs from Wasimi to Mosan and terminating at the boundary with Benin Republic.
That road used to be a car smugglers route, now abandoned as a result of its unmotorable nature, as well as the recent construction of a cargo airport near Mosan, that has drawn ‘unwanted’ attention to it.
So, I had to go to my roots to be registered as an official member of the Labour Party.
There was nothing dramatic about the event. Party members, a few friends, some villagers, a handful of journalists and Labour Party leaders from the entire local government area of Ewekoro, made up the audience.
I paid my dues, signed my card and registered my name in the presence of all. I was asked to say a few words and I did.
The inspiration must have come from above. It felt like I was speaking in spiritual tongues because Yoruba started to pour from my mouth with effortless ease.
Believe me, everyday I become more and more convinced about the source of the script of this unfolding political drama of my life.
The ultimate glory of the impending success shall not go to any flesh and blood because the cry of suffering people is being heard in celestial places where such glory belongs.
I thanked everyone present for different reasons and asked them all to note the historic significance of the day, one that marks the start of an attempt of a ‘local’ boy from Wasimi to aspire to the position of governor of a sophisticated state like Ogun, making the welfare and wellbeing of the people his priority.
I urged them to take the message to every home in Ewekoro and to spread the news that a local boy wants to undertake the transformation of the entire state, every nook and cranny of it, through people-oriented engagements driven by all the citizens.
The day could have been excellent fun but for the dampening call I received from my childhood friend and classmate throughout secondary school at St. Murumba College in Jos, Geologist per excellence, Latif Adebesin. His wife died during the night. I was one of the first persons he called up to share the grief. Through tears he could not hold back, he told me what he and Yemi had gone through in the past few months with her health situation that could not be dealt with here in Nigeria.
Yemi, his late wife, was a family friend, an epitome of womanhood, a model wife and mother, a first class educationist that moulded several generations of children through the primary and secondary schools the family founded and she ran in Jos.
The news was a sobering moment, a reminder of our mortality and vain human pursuits.
It also affected my spirit even as I struggled to get through the ceremony in Wasimi without showing my grief.
As we were rounding off the event an emissary interrupted the proceedings with a letter from ESCAE University Benin, Benin Republic nominating me for the award of Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration (Honoris causas). The ceremony will be held some time in August in the university.
I did not know what to make of it. The rate at which awards are falling on my lap in recent times is humbling and frightening.
So, I only eventually shared it with Ayodeji as we drove back to Abeokuta to start my last assignment for the day – an evening of some nuts and good coffee with the great IROKO of Nigerian politics and the Labour Party.
Meanwhile, as we left Wasimi the car radio was reporting ongoing unbelievable drama in the National Assembly in Abuja.
I was left wondering where, exactly, we got it all wrong. How on earth can such endless crisis in politics hold an entire country in a vice-likè grip, and play ‘football’ with ordinary people’s lives? These are the ones that will also bear the brunt of the consequences of the struggle for power by a small college of politicians that keeps recycling themselves.
I don’t know what to think any more.
– Segun Odegbami