Plato’s allegory of the cave and Ajakaye’s optical hallucination


By Abdullateef Ishowo

Last weekend, I was on my way to my family house, Ode’showo, an ancestral compound in Ilorin, housing the APC State Secretary, an aide to one of APC senatorial candidates in the state and the Director of Media and Communications to PDP Presidential Campaign Council when the oldest woman in a neighbouring compound stopped me and asked a critical question. Awon wo tun ni O su wa o (who are the O su wa people again)?

The educated nonagenarian asked, and I sincerely told her that they were those who were tired of the hardship-ridden government in Kwara and Nigeria. Her subsequent response was as sharp as an edge of a razor. Who isn’t tired of the current unfortunate situation? She asked rhetorically.

“If those chanting O su wa are those who are tired of the hardship in the land, then I am one of them”. She declared.

Dear CPS, when O to ge mantra rented the air as a campaign cliche in the run-down to 2019 electioneering, many Kwarans bought into it because it was no longer at ease in Nigeria, and Kwara wasn’t an exemption. The economic recession wallowing the country, which resulted in geri-gedi allocation to states from the FG, eventually led to the sacrifices SUBEB and LG workers had to pay at the time. The second reason why the O to ge slogan was vehemently bought by our people was the thought that they needed a change of scene in the Kwara leadership environment. It was like the experience of the Magis in T.S Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi”. I am sure you must have read it, but let me remind you of the closing lines of the poem written by an early 20th Century American expatriate poet, which read, “…we returned to our places, these Kingdoms, but no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, which an alien people clutching their gods, should be glad of another death”. The search for a better life by the Magi landed them in a harder situation that forced them to return to their old selves. It looked more like death than a rebirth.

The O to ge debacle was a journey conceived by educated people who felt Kwarans deserved better. Little did they know that leadership carries with its the ability to manage interests. Besides, knowledge plays an important role in leadership and interest management. This explains why Plato emphasised leadership based on knowledge. A Philosopher King or King Philosopher.

How the party, APC, that permeated a Professor of English Literature, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and other sound lawyers, Medical doctors, Chartered Accountants and experienced bankers, and many experienced politicians with adequate educated backgrounds eventually produced a knowledge deficit of individual with a shrouded SSCE is difficult to fathom.

His emergence as the flag-bearer of the party in November 2018 was the beginning of the end of O to ge in Kwara. This is because he was never part of the coiners of O to ge theory, hence his shabby handling of the post-election interests and eventual crisis.

Dear CPS Ajakaye, have you ever paused to reflect on the roles played by Alh. LAK Jimoh, Prof. S.O. Abdulraheem, Bar. Akogun, Hon. B.O.B, Hon. Alajagusi, Sen. Oloriegbe, Alh. Luqman Mustapha, Hon. Saheed Popoola, Comr. Musbau Esinrogunjo, Bar. Jawondo, etc.?Where are these people today? Of course, they quickly realised before long that a rotten seed would never germinate if planted. Those were some of the original owners of the O to ge struggle, and since they had long parted ways with the clueless man at the helms of the affairs, the ideology behind O to ge is dead and long buried.

If I may ask, where is the man that sang the popular song “Gbogbo Kwara lo so p’oto ge”? Where are the emergency activists that rented the air then? They’re either presently in the factional APC or SDP. Some have even returned to their original home, PDP.

O to ge would’ve made sense and continued to be the ideology driving the present government in Kwara, but it ended up producing a mediocre. Someone who’s not educated enough to understand the concept. It is indeed a sorry case.

CPS Sir, kindly be educated that those who are shouting the O su wa slogan are the workers of LGs and SUBEB teachers who sat for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 promotion exams but have neither gotten their promotion letters nor to talk of Cash-backing. The few that got their letters have waited for cash-backing and got tired in the process. The situation of their TESCOM counterpart is worse, as those who have gotten 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 are yet to receive the payment. The retirees of LGs and SUBEB teachers who have been collecting geri-gedi gratuities and SUBEB teachers whose cooperative funds have been siphoned are equally chanting and spreading the O su wa slogan. What about the rightfully employed teachers your government unlawfully disengaged by tagging them ” Sun set’? Are they not tired of this government as well?

The popular O su wa cliche equally resonates with those pensioners who are not benefitting from the paltry sum added to the salaries of Kwara workers called N30 000 minimum wage. Those in service who are beneficiaries of the so-called minimum wage are educated enough to know that the N13, 000 added to the salary of level 8 workers in 2011 N18,000 minimum wage is much more valuable than the N12,000 added to the salary of the same level as N30,000 minimum wage now. They’re equally tired of the situation.

Those who are equally tired of your government and chanting O su wa are those who understand the shady reason behind the sack of the state Auditor-General for issuing an audit query into the corrupt government of AA and the unlawful retaining of the Clark of the KWHA when she’s supposed to have retired. Kwarans are not stupid, my brother. They are not oblivious to the fact that the sacking of some selected permanent secretaries in 2020, thereby eroding the institutional memory that has broken the chain of succession in civil service, was to cover some shady deals.

Workers of parastatals who are denied payment of the paltry sum called minimum wage until this electioneering period are equally in the train of O su wa. What about the ongoing inhuman treatment being meted on the staff of KWIRS and the continuous threat that they must not complain? Do they need to be told to join O su wa train? The staff of the Rural Electrification Board and the continued retention of the illegal appointment of the DG, Mr. Muazi, whose profession has nothing to do with the activities of the board nko? An administrative officer heading REB? How come he is still in acting capacity even after two years in office, as against the six months specified by law?

Similarly, are the workers of Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin, whose performing Provost was dubiously removed and replaced with the Governor’s puppet, needed to be told to join O su wa train? Why was the former provost, Prof. Abdulkareem removed? How come he won the case in court but yet to be reinstated? Flagrant disregard of a court order! Why is the Governor’s puppet spending years as acting provost as against the constitutional provision of six months? What happened to the cooperative funds of the institution? What about the return of geri-gedi salary to the institution?

Other campaigners of O su wa are the common men on the streets whose lives have been mortgaged with unreasonable bonds and white elephant projects that no direct impact on their lives. Beggars are increasing on the streets of Kwara without any concrete step by the government in power. Prices of commodities have become so skyrocketed that even market traders are finding it extremely difficult to convince buyers.

Who is not feeling the ineptitude nature of this government? Is it the vulcaniser who buys fuel at an inhuman price to power his machine? Or the commuters who, in spite of the high price of fuel, are paying strangulating taxes that have turned them to nothingness in their community.

What’s the rationale behind the appointment of inexperienced and kiddies Commissioners? Why is a sensitive ministry like education refused to be given a commissioner for almost one year now? Is Mr. Governor hiding something? Or is he afraid? Of what?

Why is there a permanent suspension of Security Council which has led to security collapse in the state capital and other areas that turned the known state of harmony to a kidnapping-den? What happens to the monthly security votes from the FG? A sensitive government would have done something to checkmate hunger kidnapping scenario in Oko-Olowo, Medina, Madi, Ganmo, Egbejila, Panpo, Laduba, etc. Do you expect the affected families not to be tired? O su wa o!

Dear CPS, can you explain the rationale behind excessive borrowing (about N50bn within 3 years) without knowing what to do with it that has forced Mr. Governor to hide part of the loan in only God knows bank while Kwara taxpayers’ money continued being wasted in the name of deduction of loan interests? This is a sheer display of a lack of wisdom!

In Barbara Tuchman’s “An Enquiry into the Persistence of Unwisdom in Government”, the eminent historian opined that leaders who lust for power cannot admit error because they lack self-confidence and magnanimity. They’re more interested in the image than substance, they rarely get the right information let alone know how to action it, and it’s because they’re just plain stupid.

My CPS, kindly note that it was a government that built all the schools you’re renovating today, and that water is yet to run in the taps of Oloje, Ogidi, Okoolwo, Madi, Oke-fomo, Pakata, Adeta, Alfa Yahaya, and many other parts of Ilorin is an eloquent testimony to the fact that lies can’t be built upon lies.

Kwarans that witnessed yesterday, the “16 years of rot” in the unknowledgeable phrase of your government, that produced KWASU, Diagnostic Centre, renovation of general hospitals with equipment, renovation of airport and its upliftment to international standard, cargo terminal, Aviation College, shonga farm, Post Office flyover, comprehensive renovation of selected secondary schools, creation of Quality Assurance Bureau, School Improvement Team (SSIT, SSO, LSS), launching of every child count policy, war on cultism in tertiary institutions in the state through anti-cultism legislation by KWHA, Rural Teachers Allowance 27%, war on examination malpractices by strengthened examination department, construction of 12 Police Stations, construction of housing estates (Mandates 123 in Ilorin), Mandate estates in Omu-Aran, Offa, Kaiama and others, Harmony and Royal Valley estates, Judges Quarters, Mandate International Market in Ilorin, construction of about 300 roads, establishment of IVTECH, KWIRS etc but now witnessing excessive borrowing with uncomplicated projects here and there, are the ones saying O su wa!

Why you have failed to see all these isn’t blindness but the baffling optical hallucination that confronted the prisoners in Plato’s allegory of the cave, in his work, “The Republic”. They represent people who are immersed in the superficial world of appearances. They’re people who have lost the ability to know the reality and the world’s authentic needs.

The reality you may not have noticed is that, O su was is naturally sweeping away O to ge and it will soon become a national slogan. Watch it bro!

Abdullateef Ishowo is the Director, Media and Communications, PDP Presidential Campaign Council in Kwara


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