By Joseph Edgar…
Wale Oluwo is someone I have known all of my life. He is different and bold. He sees life and its vicissitudes totally differently and will tell you very clearly that one of his greatest regrets in life is not being part of the process leading up to his birth. The fact that his consent was not sort before his creation remains an abiding issue in his life and this colors his approach to life, including the fact that his consent will also not be sort for during his exit.
This priniciple stands him out as fearless and incorruptible. Sitting down with him that afternoon at the swimming pool of the very posh hotel somewhere in Ikoyi, I could see the fire burning in his eyes, the failing attempt to hide his anger. Anger with a system that has desecrated all that is of true value and has thrown up parochialism and feudal tendencies in its continued attempt at entrenching itself.
He sat there staring at me as he bided his time and chose his words. He was a strategic man and would not just jump into a hasty decision. This had to be calculated and aimed at getting the maximum impact.
Democracy had to be entrenched, it had to be brought back to the fore of public discourse The environment of servitude where big men have all but turned into babies suckling at feeding bottles, controlled and shared out from one source had to stop. He sat there drinking from a plastic botte of water as he stared in the far distance with pain in his eyes. This was not the Lagos of his youth.
Lagosians are asking a simple question – Is Lagos in bondage? That to me and so many right thinking Lagosians nay Nigerians is the question whose answer will determine the outcome of this election. J.K Agbaje, a man whose boat it is looking like Wale, judging from his statement, would be joining has asked this question and, in his bid to get the answer, has joined the race one more time.
The beauty of democracy is the ability for everybody to have a vote. A vote that counts either way and the ability to allow for the vote to be decided on the platform of sweet debate, deliberations and negotiations. This gives everybody a sense of belonging, allowing for the infusion of all minds and the cohesion that is required for sustainable development to the betterment of the vast majority.
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What we have seen in the last few years has been a scaling down in the society. A labelling of the people divided into two broad categories. The ones who have the power and the ones who do not have. The ones who have the power, deriving this power from only one source nestled at a centre where decisions are taken based on loyalty to the personality cult and not to capacity and ability to work for the greater good.
This is the system Wale and many more running into the millions is rebelling against. This is why this hot sunny afternoon, he sits by the swimming pool staring straight into the luminous waters seeking answers he knows he can only get by taking the kind of step he has taken this afternoon, by turning his back on the feudal Lord and choosing a path many have taken and failed.
Is he afraid? I will say no, for if you know Wale very well he has conquered fear long before he was born. He has said to me many times, Edgar a man has to be ready to die for something. The problem with most of us is that we are not ready to make sacrifices or suffer. He is ready to make that sacrifice and will for the betterment of Lagos.
I once watched him remain calm amidst a turbulence on a transatlantic flight. While we all were afraid and screaming, he remained calm and smiled, swigging from his glass of drink without a care in the world. When the turbulence subsided, I asked him why he remained unperturbed he replied as usual, Edgar I never asked to come to this world, so if what brought me without my consent wants to take me back why should I resist.
Same thing is happening now. There is turbulence, the whole place is shaking and lesser men are running up and down burying their principles, selling their conscience over a morsel of porridge and generally behaving like the irredentists that they are, Wale, just like in the plane has remained calm and calculating and from no where throws in a carefully aimed missile at the underbelly of the monster. A well timed and positioned missile that sends a very strong signal to the system. This just may not be business as usual. This is it. This may just signal the beginning of the unravelling. The dirge is being written and the songs of liberation is getting ready to be sung.
Wale remains steadfast in his believe of one man, one vote even as he continues his lonely walk down the path of fulfilment with his usual smile on his handsome face. This is the beginning.