Opinion: Are Aristocrats Made or Born?


By Dr Jimanze Ego Alowes



Speaker, Nigerian House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila



Whenever barbarians take over the realms, the first thing they do is abolish history as a subject of study. To them the past is haram. To them, they only are the measure of all things. Thus nothing worthy of records would have pre-existed them. If you wish to visualize the barbarian, just imagine the image of a thug wanting to be god.

Anyway, the point that history is not a part of the educational curriculum still tells our history. Without realizing it, the fact suggests, we may have all be ruled by barbarians, especially in those years that the locusts ate. If you still wanted a proof, then ask why and who banned history out of Nigeria’s school curricula. Those are the barbarians, those for whom the past never existed.

It is however not that the barbarians are still in of power. Apparently they are gone. But the twist is that before going, they set up ”the supreme laws” of the land. In other words, they left, but not before spraying on us their body odors.

The tragedy of ”new era with ancient body odor” is that those whom you expect should be leading in the recovery of our national psyche are those abusing it, are those stinking of the old farts.

Nothing smells of this fouled up age like the ”bubble” destination party, Mr. Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, threw for his mother in Dubai.

One is simply at a loss what to make of this. From some distance, the rumor is that Gbajabiamila is a well-born kid who has grown in power and privilege. In other words, he has little to prove to any persons. With a mother who was once a City Mayor herself, and a locally famous family name, coupled with his ”colorful” American sojourns, Gbajabiamila for all purposes appears a made to order moral majority leader or politician.

So when he rose to be Speaker, the ruling sentiment is that some well- cut man of timber has come for a high caliber office. We looked forward to his glory. But was that to be?

Apparently, he has fallen foul of proprieties, one or two times in his just one term. Any example? Then this. Granted that 90 is a very celebrative rare age, granted that Gbajabiamila has the money etc. the fact of the matter is that he is the Speaker, the number 4 most powerful man around. At the point of being number 4, Gbajabiamila simply stops being Gbajabiamila, the Reps boy from Surulere constituency. He becomes, as long as he holds that office, something of a national asset, if not icon.

If he is aware of his iconic status then the following: Something should have held him back that a national number four man cannot be celebrating a homespun anniversary abroad. This has nothing to do with the millions of tourism dollars he has to overrun Dubai. The dollar part is chicken stuff, fit for bean counters and peasants to bother about. The bigger issue is it is a matter of national integrity and honor. As number four man, wherever it is Gbajabiamila goes, he goes for Nigeria, officially or otherwise.

That is there is no room for a private Gbajabiamila anymore. If he wants to be private citizen, he did do well by quitting the Speakership. Then, he could turn up the Owambe grandee he is so hungry for. As a private Gbajabiamila and rich to match, he can hire Elon Musk to fly mommy to Mars for a celebration. Definitely, not as a speaker and not in these times.

Meanwhile, his principle, President Mohammadu Buhari, also goes with a penchant for smoking millions, of naira or dollars, into cold Europe, on health tourisms. Here however, one may visit Buhari with some empathy, if not pity. It might just be that Nigerian physicians, in Buhari’s eyes, don’t have the expertise to cure an ailing old one. It might just be that Buhari, is soaked in the make-belief, as he was sold to Nigerians, that he is a messiah. In other words, it doesn’t make sense for a messiah to share same medical or other services deliveries with the very damned he is hired to save? But to celebrate, to laugh, from ear to ear abroad, for a homestead matter, OMG, what has come upon us?

This is where the matter of being an aristocrat, barbarian or a peasant in power comes in. The essence of being an aristocrat is in being a self-restraining political animal. You are thus to do, not all the multitude little things you can, but only the few big things you must. To be aristocratic is to know that there are unmarked boundaries and unseen limits you dare not overstep. If you don’t know these limits, then you are a peasant, no matter how powerful your office.

In civilized realms peasants are not allowed to run around power. An excursion into some history may help us grasp the point.

There was once the British Empire. In its salad days, with a fast growing empire at hand, the British came to certain knowledge. It is that;

1.That only a minority of men is fit for public office. 2. And to be such, these men must be born aristocrats, albeit by definition. 3. Aristocrats are men who care about the propriety and security of state even more than their estates. 4. That with a burgeoning empire – in which the sun never sets – that the required quantity of aristocrats cannot be produced by uterine births. 5. Thus there were wildfire needs for public officers far more than aristocratic baby bumps can generate. 6. To solve this conundrum, the British invented one of the greatest socio-technological solutions in human history.

They redeveloped the Grammar School and [the Russell Group] Universities Systems as nurseries, not just for the production of new knowledge, but above all, as boot camps for the ”war economy” manufacture of aristocrats. If you checked, you did discover that nearly all of those kids who wobbled around as District Officers, during the colonial era, passed through Oxbridge, Eton systems.

In other words, running a state has to do with the manufacture of aristocrats, by uterine birth, or better, by studied systems. And one may recall the confession of George Orwell, himself a colonial officer in India: ”The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.”

It is this aristocrat-leadership nexus, that accounts for the miracle of why Britain, an island of a few ”crooks,” ran the world like it was their orchard. The Brits know that public office is the domain of aristocrats, not parvenus. That explains how till tomorrow these same aristocrats run shop at 10 Down Street and related institutions. The Brits know it in their bones that if you dared give over the imperium to peasants, to parvenus, no matter how well meaning, that that something wrong in them will push them to depreciate the state, with partying around and junketing abroad… Dubai, birthday shindigs and all that jazz. This is all we have to say for now. All else is in humor.


Oshiomhole Reloading?


APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole


If another top gun is in the news it is Adams Oshiomhole. What does one make of Oshiomhole? It appears Oshiomhole is the kind of guy who can’t endure peace or stability. It is not that he is vicious. It is just that he is a troubled soul.

A closer look at the man brings us back to the issue of peasants in power. Oshiomhole is an example of a man who is least prepared for the great offices and powers he stumbled into. For those who kept an eye on him the matter started with his labor union days.

Without much qualification, perhaps his case was as bad as not even possessing a NEPA bill in lieu, Oshiomhole emerged a labor leader. And from there he vaulted into being a governor, etc. – only in Nigeria.

Having come from the low end of things, as a leader of coolies, to mighty offices, Oshiomhole as most parvenus, declared himself an all knowing genie. That is he discounted all the luck and chance of a shithole Nigeria that really catapulted him far. Routinely, with his uncontrolled egregiousness he talked down on everybody, including even Buhari, in one public instance.

In all, Oshiomhole has to be understood as a moral of how the rains started to beat Nigeria. It is in the rites of peasants, not necessarily poorly born, but in being unprocessed, coming to great powers and offices. They are wont to cut the empire down to the size of the huts they grew up in. That is the story of how Nigerians, peasants in power, totalized the sub-empire the British bequeathed them into a Bantustan, of bloodletting, darkness and prostitution for power. Ahiazuwa.