Book Title: Quis Custodiet Ipso Custodes? (Gani’s Unfinished Business)
Author: Wole Soyinka
Year of Publication: 2018
Reviewer: Adeniyi Taiwo Kunnu
The country seems to be on the brinks, not tethered to a known pillar and running amok in its unfettered state, posing obvious dangers to many and few alike because as a ship on troubled waters, it appears to have become rudderless.
Then the poser! Who deserves a say in the matter harassing the sanity out of the most populous black nation? A retired military ruler, a former civilian president, an elder statesman who doubles as theologian, or an untainted Nigerian, whose ideals are altruistic, appearing genuinely to everyone as such, and in fact impressing upon spirits, souls and bodies of his ‘helpees’, that as the saviour much talked about, or as a sentry whose primary term of reference is to be a ‘dedicated watchman’, the specified roles have been un-hypocritically attended to.
Wole Soyinka’s eight intervention, ‘Who Keeps Watch Over The Watchmen?’, births unique issues at this juncture, keeping in tandem with previous editions but examining the traversing of a troubadour, whose role seems a stark contrast to Dennis Brutus’s anti-apartheid leanings in his poetry entitled, A Troubadour, I Traverse. In Brutus’s case, his actions matched his lifestyle as well as his detests of subjugation, oppression and limitations of the average South African and by extension every man, whereas the message may be similar in this instructive material, the messenger about whom one is engaged here comes up for a holistic dissection.
Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, is considered a serial letter writer, and one finds out that whenever he writes, the aftermath does not often favour the recipients. This brings to mind the one received by former President Goodluck Jonathan, as his exit from Aso Rock confirms how brutal such missives could be. Besides, the repeated discountenances of the former Nigerian president, Soyinka has asked that sentiments be jettisoned in considering facts presented in this work. On page seven Soyinka posits, “Regard everything in that book as well – founded, be they facts, fiction, opinion or symptoms of a degenerating mind.”
Referring to ‘My Watch’ – Obasanjo’s three–volume compendium of ‘riveting’ narratives, where Baba Iyabo, according to later revelations misrepresented Akin Osuntokun’s social critic posture and mooting. Following, Kongi gives a three-pronged direction of the ‘emission’’ viz: Legitimate Criticism, Questionable Self-assessment and a Sinister, Self-recycling agenda with Messianic delusions. Examining the last two of the aforementioned happens to be the core of Soyinka’s excoriation.
The trappings of power are evident and in this, the Ebora of Owu is not let off the hook. From the double speak on issues of re-structuring, to the evasive responses on serious national matters, not forgetting the need to come to equity with clean hands, Oluwole Soyinka, as they say, does not suffer fools gladly, when he punches holes into what was considered hitherto truths. On page 21, the Nobel Laureate writes:
“Again, I hereby remind us all that it is our duty to ‘speak up’, to point the finger of denunciation in the direction of criminalities and incompetence wherever found”
One may ask why Obasanjo could not leverage the shared geographical ancestry of his kinsman, but no, since what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander, everything must be made bare. Well, lack of charity at home resulted in non-abroad, which also prompts the examination of Obasanjo at the meeting of Amnesty International in Accra, Ghana, where according to Professor Soyinka, Nigeria’s diplomatic and linguistic capabilities was made very thin and grossly of little impact on the African stage, let alone across the Atlantic due to tactless verbal spewing
One of the heights of X-rays in Gani’s ‘Unfinished Business’ is the Obasanjo Library in Abeokuta, also called ‘Presidential Laundromat’ by the Ogun devotee. Revelations about making it enjoy a special UNESCO status, litigation and contentions are amongst other untruths, mistruths and perhaps goofs presented as ‘edible facts’ in this timely sieve of chaff from wheat.
Professor Soyinka pitches truths with unsubstantiated documentations in this newly published work, evidently in his bid to not err while on course the flip side of human existence. He calls Obasanjo, Divine Megadi, loosely put as the ‘Security Detail’ of The Supersensible, however, since we are all offshoots of Olodumare, he speaks:
“You hear from God all the time? I make my own equally valid claims – I hear from Ogun, Yoruba Deity of Sacred Oath”
Definitely, the ‘strength of the aged is their hoary hair’, let alone when the hair is desirably fluffy, who can match the wisdom!
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