By Babatunde Jose
Having read Chief Olusegun Osoba’s book; Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics, and my personal life journey with the author, my take away from the book is that it is a story of an unending adventure with fate. A man whose resilience, hard work, perseverance and belief in himself and service to God and man has paved the path for a successful life in what we could describe as the cauldron called the Nigerian post-colonial state. Born during the colonial era of the early constitutional development in Nigeria; precisely 1939, during the governor generalship of Sir Bernard Bourdillon 1935-1943 who laid the groundwork for the constitutional proposals which his successor Sir Arthur Richards (Lord Milverton) later submitted in 1944 and which became the Richard’s Constitution. He succeeded in convincing the Northern Emirs of the advisability of coming to join with the southerners in the Legislative Council of the country.
It is one of the mysteries of life that 80 years after, Osoba would be in the vanguard of progressive politicians who are bent on returning Nigeria back to its roots of ‘true federalism’. It has not been an easy task and it is still a work in progress. Whether it would succeed or fail is to be seen as the political climate of the country is in a state of ebullition.
Today, the gulf between the political elite widens by the day in terms of ethnicity, religion and a glaring lack of ideological persuasion. The Awolowo school of Hegelian philosophy and welfarism which Osoba belong to, has become divided and the unity of opposites which is the bedrock of Hegel’s dialectics has failed to produce a synthesis from the union of thesis and antithesis of Nigerian politics. Even within the political parties there is no unity of opposites. Hegelianism is the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel which can be summed up by the dictum that “the rational alone is real”, which means that all reality is capable of being expressed in rational categories. His goal was to reduce reality to a more synthetic unity within the system of absolute idealism .True to form; Hegel was criticized as being’ not a logical thinker but a master in the use of trenchant aphorisms’.
What we are witnessing today is a schism in the political class; a crack in the political pot and a return to primitivism, parochial and primordial tendencies. In all these however, Olusegun Osoba stands out as one political animal who has cut a distinct persona for himself and a different breed from the hubris of ‘come and chop’ political class; a collective of brigands and ruthless socio-economic barracudas, hell bent on robbing the national coffers of all that it contain.
His sojourn in journalism started during the time of his adopted uncle and godfather, late Alhaji Babatunde Jose. Being a good student of human philosophy, Osoba would imbibe the salient qualities of his mentor to rise and shine above his peers. Despite his apogee in journalism, he was not only cool headed but worked hard to maintain his comportment. This is attested to in the wide network of his associates, particularly in his youthful, clubbing and rascally days. He never lost focus and at the back of his mind was always the dictum: Remember the son of whom you are.
As it was in journalism, so had it been in politics. Having worked closely with the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the man with a mission, Osoba had no choice but to pitch his tent with the progressive elements of Nigerian politics. It worked and has continued to work for him.
In all these however, one trait that has been discernible in Osoba’s personality is his contentment in life. This is the takeaway from his book. Contentment is a sign of a true believer. The virtue of contentment is closely connected with the quality of putting trust in God. With contentment one feels inner peace and increase in spirituality. He does not compare himself with those who are in better conditions, but rather he remembers those who are in worse conditions. For example, if someone is one-handed, he should be content and remember those who do not have hands at all. It is said that a man complained about his old shoes until he saw a man who had no feet. “Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.” Contentment and patience earn one Paradise in the Hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “Allah will not accept other than Paradise for a believing person who is afflicted with the death of his beloved one from among the inhabitants of the world and shows patience.” (Al-Nasa’i) Allah said: The (material) things which ye are given are but the conveniences of this life and the glitter thereof; but that which is with Allah is better and more enduring: Will ye not then be wise? (Quran 28:60) The greatest cause for the lack of contentment is greed and avariciousness, covetousness and ‘long throat’. And I can attest to it that Osoba is none of these. These are very objectionable traits in any human being and they are the root cause of corruption; I can also posit that to all intents and purposes, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Akinrogun Egba is an epitome of contentment. May his days be long!
Barka Juma’at and happy weekend