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The Paradigms Of Ajantala's Story For The Yoruba And Nigerians by Olabode Ayodele


Ajantala’s story is apposite to all Nigerians in general and particularly the Yoruba who crave for the progress of their country and their people, very important allusion to the mismanagement of the country by several leaders for a long time and veritable ground to revise the wrong paths taken so far in leading the population of about 180million to this faux. It is also verily important in the understanding of the people behind the unending transitions since 1993.

Ajantala is an important character in the book written by a famous Yoruba writer in the name of Daniel O. Fagunwa and translated to English Language after the death of the metaphysical writer. The title in English Language reads: “A Forest Of Thousand Demons” .

The  Ajantala man in the book could be likened to the Nephilim in the Holy Bible who were destroyed with the flood but returned to the Spirit realm and have been creating problems all over the World. The devil has found them useful in carrying out his desires and they do enter into the hearts of men and women to perfect their dangerous acts whereas they justify themselves as
working for the good of the people.

The prophesy before Ajantala’s birth was very foreboding to his parents, his extended family, his relations, his Community and his entire town. These were grimly discomforting to his pregnant mum and the father had to summon some manly courage to hear it all. It was the vogue in the days of old to check with the oracle what manner of child was in the womb of a pregnant woman. The Ajantala parents were made terribly unhappy with the future their in-womb child.

The child was, as revealed. going to be heartless, his people would be brutalized, his friends would be suffer from his hands, he might be the harbinger of death for his friends or families, he would be a scatterer and not a uniter, he would not like a good competition and fail to learn from history.

Now Ajantala’s parents had been without a child for a very long time and they told the oracle that they have got to take the child as it was. On the very date Ajantala was born, there were deaths on the streets and the pandemonium was most felt in Ajantala’s town. Properties were vandalized by people protesting some thing or another while some lives were lost for no reason. The Oracle said it that the coming child might bring some harms with him.

Ajantala started within the very month of his birth to show his true self and behaving to prophesy.  He was at wars with almost everybody in his family and town. The head of his people was envied by him and Ajantala once told the overall head of his empire that the head of his people was planning to topple his regime. His hatred for the people’s leader was so glaring that he was treated like a leper by most of his people. Ajantala had one edge: he belonged to the warriors, an opportunity seized by him when the camp was the way for most people like him. In the days and months following the departure of the whites from Africa, recruitment was usually from the drop outs and almost ‘seeming no future ambition guys’. Ajantala held a big grudge against
his people’s leader over the town’s aids or grants for promising ones. His village boy was given the town’s Aid because the guy was better and also very promising. Ajantala never forgave the town’s leader for this and held on to this grudge even after the demise of the leader.

Such was the living to prediction of Ajantala that his various pronouncements and utterances were that of a man on a revenge mission. All knowing and self righteous were his alone. He also arrogated the monopoly of not just wisdom to himself but elevated the power of coercion over all including supposedly close friends.

The immediate relations and townspeople of Ajantala did not enjoy any privilege from his reign in power and openly admitted that the time of people not from their midst brought more benefits.

The Yoruba should agree that since the departure of Awolowo, the principled voice of dealing with regional and national matters was down and totally out after the exit of Ajasin. Now, Ajantala is a scatterer and no respecter of popular will. The great Awolowo who was globally revered and also by almost all Nigerians whether on his side or not, was despised by Ajantala who quickly showed reverence to Papa Ajasin after he became the leader. It was the first time that Ajantala was on the side of populism.

The Yoruba presently are divided because of the politics of ‘divide and rule’ played by Ajantala in the last eight years. The Yoruba have also lost their “ homo sequiedum” which an Igbo man - Dilibe Onyeama acknowledged through his comments and book on Awo. The principled stances of Awo, Ajasin, Adesanya, Ige and many others have been corrupted while it is now the vogue for many young politicians to sell their principle for money.  This is the fall out from the politics of ‘do or die’ doctored by Ajantala.

However, a popular Yoruba adage says: “A twenty year count will flame out one day”. Some men will always forget that they will not live forever and power as the great Cicero always mentioned would always be transient. Ajantala’s reign was full of many abnormalities which customarily should not have been if the Yoruba adage of: “ An elder does watch while things go bad”
had been applied. Ajantala was the one who insulted men of God, sent soldiers after governors of his geographical zone, declared shamelessly that the elections would be a ‘do or die’, supported crimes all over Yoruba land and elsewhere in the country and refused to ask his Police to buckle up against criminals.

His reign would be remembered as one in which the Police, some army guys and uniformed thugs were used to terrorize the people whose offense was to do their civic duty of casting votes. Ajantala is on his way out of power but dumb or deaf against the historical writings on the wall. Julius Nyerere, a more educated and decent man than Ajantala tried to rule from retirement but
failed in Tanzania; Arap Moi too in Kenya and even Babangida despite his bag of tricks had to kow-tow to Abacha after the General took over power in Nigeria.

It is always the problem of history that people like Ajantala never learns from history. Umaru Yaradua, if he scales through the hurdles of Elections Tribunal may end up as Ajantala’s albatross. The man will obviously be fighting for legitimacy and also to make history as the first real educated leader in Nigeria. His tolerance of semi illiterates like Ajantala will be for some few months to put his foot in the door and that will be it.

Nigerians will cry to Umaru Yaradua for help over so many problems created by Ajantala and the irony of it all is that many people who presently hail Ajantala will shout crucify him after May 29, 2007. Some of his present hangers-on will disappear from his sight very soon and will expose his many weak points well known to Nigerians.

The cries of Nigerians to Umaru Yaradua will be to find the killers of many men and women who lost their lives between 2001 and 2007. The blood of Harry Marshall, Bola Ige, the PDP zonal chairman from Benue, Daramola, Williams, several unknown Nigerians and many others should turn to a big red sea to grumble into the ears of the new President for finding these killers and their collaborators who made them to escape the long arms of the law. The victims of political killings and mauling should be able to put sensible pressures on Yaradua to right all the wrongs of the Ajantala era.

The Yoruba people will realign their muzzled principle, separate the sheep from the goat amongst themselves and regain their undoubtable appellation of“Homo Sequiedum” won for them by their greatest leader since 60s - Awo, while the whole of Nigeria will surely witness a new era of decent culture of politics which will move away from a ‘do or die’ era.

The Yoruba know their true leaders even though there are pretenders now who have not only been forced by the guns and naked power on the people. The fakes including Ajantala who have used power of the guns to impose their unpopular will on the people must flame out into oblivion while posterity will heap lots of hisses on them.

The struggle definitely continues.

Olabode Ayodele,,
Lagos, Nigeria.


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