By Dave Baro-Thomas
One of the finest moments of the 2023 presidential election campaigns was the performance posted by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the historic Mapo Hall, Ibadan, Oyo State. It was in that same hall in 1983 that the Sage and best president Nigeria never had, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, held a campaign rally leading to the presidential polls where he made that famous speech in Yoruba dialect translated into English meaning: the lion would rather hunt alone than be the bag bearer for the Tiger. So, the 94years old Mapo Hall traps in it a deep spiritual reservoir and ancient spirits with unprecedented national consequences, and Tinubu refused to share the fate of Pa Awolowo of seeing the presidency at arms-length and not grabbing it.
In what appears to be an intercourse between the celestial and terrestrial, the man at the centre of the Mapo Hall dialogue, the Jagaban, delivered one of his most profound speeches devoid of hitherto goofs that characterized his campaign adventures. Incontrovertibly a master of wits and oratory by any measure as he worked the Yoruba language like an experienced craftsman as Pa Awo did 40years ago, but Asiwaju cut the demeanour of a man who had had a frank conversation with the gods hence engaging low-level spirit beings was no hassle for him.
Like a priest soaked by the spirits of the Mapo Hall, he swayed left and right, threw his agbada like an enraged son of Oduduwa, signalling a battle-ready warrior, and he spoke audaciously to the powers at Aso rock and any Nigerian that cared to listen about his presidential ambition.
Bola Tinubu’s speech was beyond just a mere revelatory of the powerplay and underbelly intrigues amongst politicians in their struggle for power but a reflection of their insatiable passions to seize power as a birthright.
He reminded Buhari how he (Buhari) hit the canvass thrice and cried publicly on national tv that he would never contest for the presidency again on account of his repeated failure at the polls. Tinubu, whose lips were on fire and guided by the extraterrestrial, told Nigerians how he stepped into that predicament, and the rest is history because, at this juncture, Buhari is at the twilight of an ill-fated 8-year administration.
Like a bolt on an already mesmerized audience, an inspired Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu released the awe-inspiring lexicon into our democratic dictionary, EMILOKAN, meaning it is my turn to be the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because I have paid my dues in creating platforms for others to become.
Emilokan was an instant hit. It was pristine, refreshing, audacious and a territory only spirits tread. It birthed countless hit songs, splashed on t-shirts and face caps, and it appears to confront every weakling to dare and demand what is theirs.
The lexicon Emilokan may have happened to us suddenly, but the spirit, content and essence have always been in our DNA and everything about the average Nigerian. It has nothing to do with politics, sadly, even when it appears the politicians have hijacked or appropriated it for themselves. Emilokan means it is my turn, but when subjected to further interrogation, it could mean I do not care what you think or feel, hand it over to me, then wait for your turn. It means do not cross my part after all I have done for you, and it is in your best interest to hand it over without contemplation because I am a moving train. Emilokan can be a doctorate thesis because it defines the essence of being a Nigerian.
A quick case in point Is the ongoing drama currently unfolding at the National Assembly over leadership positions. Ironically, the Emilokan exponent, Asiwaju, who is today the President-elect, the number 1 chief executive of the Nigerian project come May 29, is meddling in the legislative arm to disrupt others from exercising their Emilokan rights.
The other day, Senator Kalu Uzor Kalu stated plainly with an Igbo accent that Emilokan for the Senate presidency, Hon. Wase, the current deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, is lobbying his colleagues on the mantra of Emilokan, given his pedigree and same goes with other contestants. Yes, it is their constitutional right, but is it a birthright, be the judge.
Again, the spirit of Emilokan dictates that I come first, exemplifying how it plays out in our daily interactions. From the religious centres to the citadels of higher learning, Emilokan holds sway, and little wonder there is the proliferation of churches because nobody wants to remain an assistant pastor for long. Look at the tussle for VC-ship and heads of departments at the tertiary institutions, and alleged to go fetish sometimes because the demon of Emilokan inside us detests allowing others to become first.
The same applies from the civil service to corporate Nigeria, Emilokan is incontrovertible and from the palace to the marketplace, the demand for Emilokan is inconceivable. From the military to other forms of security architecture, Emilokan is brutal and has led to coups and counter-coups. From the street corner and public places to the private spousal confines, Emilokan is legendary. From the Airport to the bus and train stations, Emilokan is true in our everyday lives.
Otherwise, why do we jump queues everywhere, and why would a motorist drive disorderly and wants to emerge from nowhere and be in front? How did driving against traffic (one way) become a culture? Why is it difficult for a motorist to alloww the next car to come in front when necessary, but Emilokan can’t allow us?
This Emilokan mantra also is pushed by groups even within the Nigerian polity. The geopolitical arrangement is a bedrock for Emilokan and sometimes a bedlam for chaos when the national cake is little and cannot go around.
If not for Group Emilokan effectively translated to Awalokan (it is our turn), why are certain leadership positions in some government MDAs dominated by certain ethnic groups in this country, e.g. NPA, Customs, Immigration, NNPC, NLNG, NIMASA, e.t.c. Now if you can single out the dominance of a single ethnic group in the above-mentioned-government institutions and more, then you understand the power and spirit of Awalokan and the magnitude of disaster it has brought to the nation.
So, to a large extent, Emilokan comes with some baggage of corruption, self-centeredness and self-seeking interest for one, his family, ethnic groups and a few friends sometimes. No nation worth its salt has transcended and broken the shackles of underdevelopment and poverty where Emilokan or Awalokan is entrenched.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President-elect, the medium for this national consciousness, is set to go to Aso Rock, so may this Emilokan spirit bring good tidings to Nigerians and may his promise for a government of national competence, a higher version of a government of national unity, not be hijacked by the hawks/cabals milling around him to perpetuate ethnic and religious bigotry like Mr Buhari institutionalized. May anything that will make Asiwaju continue in the good works of Gen. Buhari not happen to us again.
Emilokan lives in all of us, but a few sacrificed theirs to positively push the frontiers of humanity for our common destiny and prosperity.
May we make a difference when it is our turn (Emilokan)
Emilokan lives in all of us and can kill us if we don’t kill it!