Between Olumo And Aso – Reminiscences from Ogun at 40 by Prof Wole Soyinka

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Prof Wole Soyinka

“Why?” demanded my argumentative friend, “ is it always you people? “ Why do you make so much trouble? Always Ogun, Ogun, Ogun! – are you the only state in the nation?” And he proceeded to reel off a number of names of notorious “trouble-makers”, dead and living, pin-pointing their birthplaces in Ogun State.” It was a teasing, rhetorical question, no answer expected. If one had been required, I would have volunteered, as a birthday present to Ogun: Ise ab’ojumu. Sometimes Iwa ab’ojumu. A pursuit (or character) of what is right. Just conduct. The people of Osun articulate something close – Omoluwabi. Both, and a number of allied formulations, hover around that basic foundation of all humane pursuits – Justice. Perhaps we are simply more vocal, more persistent about it.
The precedent body of this mixed birthday offering is contained in a lecture that I first delivered nearly a decade ago, in Abeokuta. I shall resort to that lecture once or twice for purposes of invoking a comparative ‘state of the state’ – then and now – but only in the context of governance characterization that enables us to grasp the essence of ab’ojumu, not to make any invidious assessments. Memory is a crucial function of existence. There is much to recall, much that justifies breast beating, but also much to lament, deplore, even repudiate! Individuals make up nations. National anniversaries are not that much different from the individual, being, for some, not merely calendar notations for jubilation, but also pauses for recollection, reflection, and hopefully a positive surge of renewal, and progressive energy. It was a very well attuned mind that fashioned out those words in the Ogun State Anthem: Eyin omo Ogun, Ise Ya! (The …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper