QUITE interesting reading through page 18 of a prominent National Daily-the Punch Newspaper of Sunday August 24, 2008 wherein the response of a political cum administrative liliputian was published alongside the article of a literary ‘Quinbus flestrin’.
Without attempting to do a review of that great literary work-Gulliver’s Travels by the great satirist, Jonathan Swift and for the purpose of those who are not familiar with the book, liliputians are the extremely small creatures who inhabit the land of Liliput (in Jonathan Swift’s Gullivers Travels) while a ‘Quinbus flestrin’ is ‘a great man mountain’ who found himself in the midst of liliputians in the course of life adventure.
Ever since the publication of that great book, the word ‘liliputian’ has become the English vocabulary to describe extraordinarily small people. The usage is not however limited to human size alone. It is also employed to describe ‘smallness’ in all ramifications. In the world of animals, the word liliputian is best to describe rat while the elephant will be the animal form of a human ‘Quinbus flestrin’. The brief explanations above simply summarises the difference between Professor Wole Soyinka and ‘Governor’ Olagunsoye Oyinlola whose stories were read on page 18 of the Sunday August 24, 2008 edition of the Punch Newspaper. But for the fact that each time Professor Wole Soyinka has an issue to grind with anybody on the pages of Newspapers, the reading public is the better for it.
One would have told our revered Noble Laureate to stop joining issues with a human fry like Oyinlola. Yes, the reading public is better for it in a situation like this because we stand to gain more from his (Soyinka)‘s reservoir of knowledge as an erudite scholar. I recall here the media war period between the Noble Laureate and the father of ‘do or die’ politics in Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, some eminent Nigerians had called on the duo to sheathe their swords then. But a top Nigerian writer-perhaps Mike Awoyinfa (not really sure now) had written an article then that Soyinka should continue to fire Obasanjo because Nigerians were adding to their vocabularies each time he responded to the mere watery but more empty speeches from Obasanjo then.
At last, the latter was dwarfed by the more powerful pen of the former. Thus, in the unfolding media war between our literary ‘Quinbus flestrin’ and the political cum administrative liliputian who is currently occupying a seat that emits the odour of illegitimacy in Osun State, the Nigerian public may want to be interested in a protracted ‘pen war’ between the two and watch to see who will first exhaust his basket of vocabularies.
But really, you and I need no soothsayer to tell us who will bow for the other between Soyinka and Oyinlola except, of course, where futile ego is involved. It is like a race between a tortoise and a horse. But Oyinlola, like the proverbial cunning tortoise, he is a crafty person indeed.
Because he lacks the intellectual savvy to confront Soyinka, all he has to do his to tell his Chief Press Secretary, Lasisi Olagunju or engage the service of a hack writer to respond to Soyinka and just put his (Oyinlola) name underneath as if he is the one who actually wrote it so as to give the impression that he is also up to the task intellectually-just like he did in the August 24, 2008 edition of the Punch newspaper.
But in an elitist society like ours, it is not difficult for the people to differentiate the hands of Esau from the voice of Jacob. Thus, like I said, the reading public is waiting to see how a Rtd. Brigadier General who had only two credits in his WASC examinations in 1968 is going to withstand the intellectual power of a world acclaimed scholar. Is it not when a statue wants to engage in Russian roulette that it will make attempt to swim?
As for Lasisi Olagunju, Oyinlola’s spokesman, I must say unequivocally at this juncture that I really pity him a lot. I pity him because, being the only one in Oyinlola’s cabinet with a semblance of intellectual capacity, he is being saddled with too much intellectually tasking responsibilities such that one only prays for him so he doesn’t burn himself out defending Oyinlola’s inept and corrupt administration.
The general belief among the people of the South West today is that once you remove Lasisi Olagunju from Oyinlola’s cabinet, ‘’ katakata don sele be dat ‘’ because the rest are just a bunch of intellectual dwarfs-people of no ideas and substance which also accounts for the reason why Oyinlola’s performance in that state is at the ebb.
Kudos to Kongi for exposing another planned fraudulent transaction between a god son and his god father. Rather than expressing gratitude to Kongi for given him a useful advice, Oyinlola prefers to haul insults on an elderstateman on the pages of Newspapers. His action is basically antithetical to his claim of being a cultured yoruba son who has respect for elders. The insolent Okuku prince who has no achievement to showcase other than his late father’s needs be reminded that a kid who has the effrontery to say that the mouth of an elder smells, he should be looking forward to the day he too will be so accused by his junior.
This write-up will not complete without commending Professor Ulli Beier and his wife for their painstaking and legendary efforts for coming all the way from far away Sidney, Australia, not only to collect our artefacts but also to preserve them for generations yet unborn. A white man preserved our artefacts, a black man wants to trade them away to satisfy the selfish wish of his boss. What an irony? A highly condemnable act of prodigality indeed. Black man, here you are? To conclude this piece, I like to echo the prayer of a prominent yoruba scholar, Professor Adeyeye in one of his recent articles to which I implore my readers to say Amen-May God save our souls.
By KOLA ODEPEJU