This week, when I got to my mentor’s home, though earlier than usual, he was not playing host to any of his numerous visitors. And in fact, no one was seen sitting around and the home was unusually bereft of the usual array of visitors. To me, this was strange and unusual. As my car halted in front of the gate, a smart, young gateman putting on well starched uniform probably from one of the private security companies peeped through a hole. He asked for my name and wherefrom which I told him. He disappeared for few minutes and re-appeared, flinging open the gate. He said with a soft tone: “you’re welcome sir, ‘Oka’ is expecting you”. As I drove in, the word ‘oka’ kept ringing in my ears and this was what revealed the part of my country he comes from: my sweet country, with hundreds of beautiful, unique tribes and tongues.
I was ushered into one of his living rooms. I noticed portraits of Mahatma Gandhi, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as well some group pictures which he took with late Prime Minister of Nigeria Tafawa Balewa, President-General Nnamidi Azikiwe, and of course, the sage Obafemi Awolowo. He was even in hand-shake with Chief Awolowo in one of the group pictures where late Western Nigeria Premier S.L.A. Akintola was looking on with keen interests. It was as if I was in a journey into the earliest history of Nigeria. When my mentor entered into the room, I saw smiles pasted on his face. He sat by my side asking after my family.
“My son”, he started. “I’m happy to receive you today as one of my very few guests. Being a Friday, I normally do not receive guests until the evening, long after my return from the Jummat service. One of the things I do not joke with is my spiritual life, because I realized very long ago that our spiritual lives guide and improve upon our everyday activities. In my very younger days, I used to think that all you need to make it in life are your intellect, education and skills, but events that have happened to me and to people of high profile around me proved me wrong”. He paused, went through one of the dailies on the centre-table. Then continued: “Our Governor in Osun here is a unique man of faith and intellectual brilliance put together. He confounds me how he combines Marxism and Communism traits with faith in God, all at the same time. Marxists are generally known to be atheists. Events in his life too must have paved the ways he now treads on faith. Scholars need to do some intellectual work on him because he is rare bread in so many ways.
“Ayo,” whao! this is the first time he would be addressing me by my name. With this I knew instantly and intuitively that I was in for another round of incisive coaching.
I was right: “What do you know about Stockholm Syndrome?” I closed my eyes to be sure if I have heard of the “disease” before now. I couldn’t remember having heard or read of it and I told him so. He laughed at my ignorance.
“It is a social and political disease”, he said as he continued smiling.
“ Stockholm Syndrome literally is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity and even afterwards. These alliances, resulting from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time spent together, are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System and Law Enforcement Bulletin shows that roughly 8% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome”.
“Sometimes, I ask myself if this syndrome has not eaten deeply into the fabrics of our social, economic and political existence. What do I mean? Whenever I’m privileged to be in social gatherings and listen to discussions about governance generally, I cannot but remember this syndrome.
“What do you think would make people develop love for their past oppressors and hatred for their present redeemers in Nigeria, with special reference to Osun? I hear careless comments like
‘bring back corruption…at least, we will have money in our pockets
what have roads got to do with my existence since I don’t have a car?…
“Our lives would be better off if corrupt people come back to power…..’ and the like and these careless statements make me feel like weeping. Don’t they know that the hardship we face today is as a result of the misrules of past years?
“The voting pattern of the last gubernatorial election, even though grossly monetized by the opposition, wanting to come back by all means, shows that some voters are ready to be bought, not minding if this will bring us back to the old order where the self and the now seem to be more important than the altruistic and future of our state.
“Stockholm syndrome describes the reactions of some abuse victims beyond the context of social and economic deprivation which they suffer. Actions and attitudes similar to those suffering from Stockholm syndrome have also been found in victims of sexual abuse, human trafficking, discrimination, terror, and political and religious oppression”.
- To be continued