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Tuesday 10 January 2023


By Samuel Otitoju 

"Managing director ko niye; awon iya alakara contractor ko lopin o; international engineer ko niye; emergency contractor ko lopin o....."
                                        I. k. Dairo (1930-1996)

For the Davido and Whizkid generation of youth, the name Paul Play Dairo may ring a bell but not Isaiah Kehinde Dairo AKA Baba Aladura. 

The great Juju maestro, I. K. Dairo was the father of Paul Play Dairo. Incidentally He was born, and spent his earlier years in Offa, Kwara State. His music, unlike present day noise that we call music, contained lyrics that taught virtues of hard work, diligence, patience and contentment. 

I chose to start my essay by taking an excerpt from one of his popular songs titled ISE ORI RAN MI NI MO NSE. Here in this song I.K. Dairo mocks and condemns those he called 'emergency directors' and 'emergency contractors' whose source of wealth is fishy; who become suddenly rich overnight and begin to dazzle, daze and benumb the people with questionable wealth. He warns his listeners to beware of such rich people. 

The election season is here, and such people have sprung up everywhere in our community, nay in our state. All they rely on is the power of their deep pocket and the command of their war chest. In their warped mind and disillusioned thought, they think that money can substitute for what they lack in managerial capacity, intellectual profundity, moral probity, educational discipline, eloquence of speech, impeccable character and other ingredients of leadership. Maybe it is not their fault, the fault lies with our value system as a people. When we worship the men of means whose source of riches we cannot tell, we give them the license to impress us, and in the process oppress us.

Back to the issue of discuss. As there were emergency directors and emergency contractors in the days of I.K. Dairo, so there are 'Emergency Alaanu Mekunnu' among us today. They have bidden their time and targeted the election season to make themselves emergency Alaanu Mekunnu. They think (or they convince themselves) that the masses are gullible to fall for their antics. Their acts is not borne out of selflessness and genuine concern for the people's plight, it is from the perception of a shrewd merchandiser-- give money to temporarily soothe away the people's pain, obtain their votes to gain political power-- then loot the treasury to recoup the merchandiser's investment with even greater returns on investment.

Professor PLO Lumumba, the respected and renowned scholar and erudite public speaker delivered the public lecture at the 10th Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki remembrance. He gave us the allegory of the cattle rearer and his cattle. He told us the Shepherd shelters the cattle, protects the cattle and takes the cattle out to graze on pleasant pastures. It turns out that the Shepherd does all these not because he loves the cattle, but because he loves himself! This perfectly describes our selfish, self-centered politicians who jump onto the stage on the eve of elections, donating cash here, building a house for one widow there, buying a tricycle for one transporter over there, turning to a philanthropist overnight. 

It is good to do good. It is good to be a philanthropist; to minister to the needs of people and provide them succour from the abundance of one's wealth. It however becomes suspect when one suddenly wakes up to that responsibility only when he has a political ambition to pursue. Where were such ones before the election season? Where were they when Covid-19 ravaged the land and rendered many helpless and hopeless in hunger and lack? Driven by political ambition, they are masquerading as the emergency messiahs to the rescue. Mark my words, they will evaporate into the thin air when the election season is over. We welcome all that they do, but they should bear the names we have always known them with. They should not appropriate to themselves the name that is reserved for a man who truly worths it neither should they arrogate to themselves the title that suits them not. We see their giant bill boards in town and we hear their radio jingles. They now call themselves Alaanu Mekunnu. They are not; the people do not see them in that light.

Are the masses gullible? No, they are not. Do they know the true, real, original Alaanu Mekunnu? Yes they do. They know Waziri Yakubu Gobir whose other name is ALAANU MEKUNNU. His philanthropic gestures are visible to the deaf and audible to the blind. One factor that stands him out from all those Usurpers who are laying claim to a title that is not theirs is that Waziri Yakubu Gobir has been into this long before the advent of the election season. He is synonymous with philanthropy from way back. From the fringes of the patched lands of Chikanda,  Okuta, Lafiagi, Kosubosu, Gwanara; down to the temperate portions of Oro, Omu Aran, Omupo, Ipee, Ekan meje, Igbaja; and back to his home base--Ilorin--Waziri Yakubu Gobir is known by old and young to be an impactful individual who gives generously and untiringly from his wealth to help assuage the plight of the poor, the weak and the down trodden of the society.  It is one thing to be a philanthropist for impact, it is another to be a wasteful spender for showmanship. A wasteful spender, better still, a spendthrift, spends to impress or to oppress. A philanthropist spends for impact so as to bear a burden, take away pain or restore joy. The latter is what Gobir does.

I am a jobless man. Sorry, I have a job. My job is listening to the radio. Is that not a job? Okay, let us not digress. As I listen to the radio, sometimes, on some days, by a stroke of coincidence, I tune to one radio station or the other where beneficiaries of Waziri Yakubu Gobir kind-hearted gestures are being informed that their cheques are ready. I realize that the people are being helped to pay hospital bills, offset debts, pay school fees, upscale their business, cater for rents and such like that take away burdens from the shoulders of the masses. I have never bothered to listen to such radio programmes to the end because the list of beneficiaries being reeled out appears to be endless. And, because this type of program airs on different radio stations day in day out, I can fathom that the beneficiaries must have gone into thousands by now. I am not a member of the Gobir organization, otherwise I would have a comprehensive detail of his great, grand good gestures. I hope to lay my hands on extensive details of his exploits, then I will come back to write about Waziri Yakubu Gobir with magisterial authority and clinical dexterity. 

There are indeed innumerable 'emergency directors' and there are countless 'iya alakara contractors'.
Likewise there are varied and diverse 'emergency Alaanu Mekunnu' in town, moreso as they have political positions to contest. For that reason they have suddenly found that title a beautiful robe to wear; a worthy title to bear; a melodious song to sing.
There are 'emergency philanthropists' in town. They are the usurper Alaanu Mekunnu, faker Alaanu Mekunnu, joker Alaanu Mekunnu, masquerader Alaanu Mekunnu, fraudster Alaanu Mekunnu.

There is one and only one Alaanu Mekunnu, the one the people know from the days of yore until now. He is Waziri Yakubu Gobir, the valid, original, true, genuine Alaanu Mekunnu.

Otitoju Samuel (The Grandmaster Of Grandiloquent Grammatical Expressions) writes from Ilorin, Kwara State 

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