By Biodun Okunola
It’s my turn
With no more room for lies
For years I’ve seen my life
Through someone else’s eyes..
It’s my turn
To start from number one
Trying to undo
Some damage that’s been done
But now it’s my turn
To reach and touch the sky
No one’s gonna say
At least I didn’t try…
Human history has proven again and again that the biggest wars are not fought on the
battlefields but in the mind. Everything is absorbed by the subconscious and as we have
learnt from one of the greatest war strategists, Sun Tzu. The best wars are those fought
without firing a single bullet. It is best to first defeat the minds of the aggressors thereby
rendering their arsenals waste – a psychological warfare. Many Nigerians have interpreted
Asiwaju’s Abeokuta outburst in different ways. Many have questioned his effrontery and
right to unapologetically demand that it was his turn to run as the flagbearer of his party
which he stated quite pointedly as Emi Lokan. This writer will argue that the assertion Emi
Lokan can be interpreted in different contexts and in this article as the knowledge of the right
time to strike a red-hot iron.
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Emi Lokan reverberates the idea that those who must win battles must understand time – the
time to fight and not. The statement shows that the individual already mentally own what
they ask for even before making the demand. They see beauty in whirlwind – opportunities in
chaos. How beautiful will victory be if there was no need to fight? That was what Asiwaju
Bola Ahmed Tinubu did, he did not need to fight, he only made a demand when he knew it
was time. Did Sun Tzu not admonish that it is by knowing ourselves that we win battles?
Asiwaju simply knew the time to reap where he had sown over the years. Those who
condemn him for making that statement never denied that he deserves to contest the election,
they vilified him because they are jealous and lack the audacity to make legitimate demands.
I do not hold the view that it is wrong to understand time. His declaration to run for the office
of the president by going to the Aso Rock, quite unexpectedly, his campaigns strategies
culminating in the ‘Battle of Eagle Square’ shows strategy and ingenuity. If Nigerians master
the art of making legitimate demands and questioning attempts to cheat them of what they
deserve, we will not become the world poverty capital.
I believe that one of the reasons people do not succeed at a venture to which they invest their
resources and time is their failure to understand time. This contest has shown that if we
understand when it is our time and turn, there is a tendency that we labour less and achieve
more. The strategy of Emi Lokan holds the promise of helping individuals, organisations and
states in understanding their responsibilities and expectations and making the right move at
the right time. At a time when the world and indeed the black race squirms and screams for
leadership and development, if Nigeria and Nigerians understand that Awa lokan, we will
make more strategic choices in politics, policies and leadership and rise above the present
ruins to lead Africa to become the doyen of a new world. When dealing with people who are
selfish and believe that emi nikan (only me), you must also learn to demand your right and
tell them Emi lokan!
Emi lokan carries with it the understanding of the burden of responsibility. Accepting to lead
a people outside the woods rather than taking a piece out of the commonwealth which is
called National Cake. Asiwaju smelt danger, confronted injustice even while it was being
planned – he turned to politics before it turned on him, he brought down his adversaries and
sustained wounds in Abeokuta but those scars became stars in Abuja. Everyone may not be
pleased with his ways, but at least one person is happy he acted the way he did – himself. For
the first time he made a demand and it was public and resounding. He has stated repeatedly
that power is not served a La Carte and he clearly made a demand – he did not fight, he did
not curse or cause chaos. Just a demand. Perhaps Emi lokan stems from many painful years
of labour to build heroes, building several of them but realising that he is the finest of them.
We often don’t realise that while building others, we are refining ourselves – perhaps his
search for light pointed at him and he became the right person he has been looking for,
leading him to cry out ‘Emi lokan’. When his enemies sowed fear, he refused to see it, he
rather chose to see the other side of it. Many people underestimated his wit and they declared
victory too early. For me, Asiwaju through this statement did what many thought he could
not do, and he gave who cares to learn the audacity to dare.
I am impressed with the recent photo on social media. He has been going around to build
bridges with those who contested with him. Assuring them that victory can be shared in love.
He has befriend those who maligned him – dined with Arnold, kissed Quisling, embraced
Iscariots and held the hands of Jafar. He is painfully being himself all over again – the orange
tree that gives everyone the sweet ripe fruits, the man at the door holding it for everyone to
get in. If found in this situation, it is also important that we forgive ourselves. It should not be
our fault that we were blinded from seeing those who plan our hurt and fall – it is always
difficult for a beautiful heart to see ugly ones. Asiwaju has been vindicated at the convention
that he does not need to prove anything or defend himself – he only needs to be himself.
Many are surprised to see him in the company of those who set his traps so quickly but some
of us would have been surprised if this did not happen. He embodies the kind of forgiveness
which brings freedom, peace, happiness and progress all at once. This is one reason he has
remained a bridge builder from the West to the East, North and the South of our country and
beyond. He does not believe in ruining friendship and relationships. His actions shows that
he possesses 800 stomachs, eight brains and the heart of an Elephant. His forgiving heart
unclogs the muck of bad feelings that blocks the true channels of love, harmony and
friendship – it frees him from anger revenge and hurt. Ghandi taught us that we must be
strong to forgive as this is only an attribute which only the strong possess. Asiwaju knows
that the new radical is a noble and compassionate one. Many things may have been plotted in
his absence, but the plotters forgot that some people have a way of being present in absence.
They failed to realise that being loyal to those who are absent is a good way to gain the
loyalty of those present.
He has clearly shown that he is a serious man with a serious purpose. He has turned mirrors
into windows. He demystified his backstabbers and haters, and he punctured their over-
bloated ego ballooned by eminimotoyist idea by those who forgot the road they rode to Abuja.
Many brought themselves into political obscurity by forgetting the river from which they
drank. Asiwaju has won the most important election of his lifetime: In one night, he became a
character of two important verses of the Holy Bible: The Lord did not allow his enemies to
triumph over him. He also prepared a table before him in the presence of his enemies, and He
anointed his head with oil and the results of the primaries shows that his cup ran over. His
political sledgehammer landed on their heads in one swoop, and they all went on their knees
in submission to his political ingenuity. He exemplifies Oke – the mountain in Ifa divination
system. When the hoes and diggers conspired against Oke, Ifa admonishes Oke not to be
afraid as they shall all rub their mouth against the ground and Oke shall be victorious over
them except Eji Ogbe ceases to be the King of Ifa. Just like you conquered your enemies, I
pray that for every good thing that today and tomorrow holds, Emi Lokan!
*Biodun Okunola is a freelance writer who enjoys the theatrics of politics.