An ancient tale portrayed an itinerant alcoholic who usually went to town with a bottle and message. Of the two items, one belonged to him and the other for the public. The man who was incorrigibly alcoholic, we learned, also had a reputation for nocturnal outings. Anecdote say the toper would regularly recite a snippet when he is fully drenched in the spirit. Holding his bottle close to chest and staggering, he would give the message “Marks attract erasers, guard it or loose it. I’m guarding mine as a super star of the bar”.
The story provokes an interesting contradiction, a bewildering contradiction as it were, leaving the readers to marvel and hardly masticate the thought of reconciling the iniquitous character of the bar who tipsily arrogated lustre to dregs with the axiom that nature weirdly delivered through him. Nature may be weird, sometimes. It does odds, tastefully, at other times. And unquestioning mortals would accept its offerings, gladly or sadly, as they come. In this instance, it puts meaning on the lips of the undiscerning, incredibly.
While the toper constitutes a contradictory character, posing to ideologues the challenge of drawing the line between a persona with objectionable identity and the message nature has sent through him, wisdom requires, however, that we examine the message and the relevance it holds before returning to its putrefying bearer, for what it’s worth. Meanwhile, logic and life experiences have often proven true the stance of the drunkard, to the extent that marks, truly, do attract erasers, which is why stubborn detractors naturally come handy to a man’s route the moment destiny delivers success to his pouch.
Luster is immanent with marks, and it is the luminous sheen of marks that usually attract to itself both friends and fiends. But while the friends marks attract usually mean well, the fiends are killjoys who would vainly travel to the farthest extents as erasers in an attempt to conquer the glint. Erasers sorround us all, daily, as humans; they encircle us about, in family, social, spiritual, professional and religious circles. Worse still, politics provides a sprawling space for certain human erasers, who having fell twice turned malcontents and now resort to brazen lies in the cloak of opposition.
The message of the contentious character speaks aptly to the present political situation in Ondo State, where, lately, there seems to be a resurrection of lies being sponsored against the First Lady, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu. Sprouted by characters already befuddled by the towering stature of Mrs Akeredolu and the jaw-breaking garlands that daily punctuate her identity from far and near, the situation presents a typical example of the gathering of erasers seeking to expunge the luster that comes with the First Lady’s dumbfounding marks. Initially, one had thought it was a case of beatified dementia that may heal with some help, but new symptoms show sore paraplegia and foreclose the hope of early heal, hence this Intervention.
One should, in intervening, however, sympathise with deluded detractors and their doomed voyagers who from the positions of ignorance, would merely opinionate on issues about which they are starkly uninitiated or even dish out outright lies so that simpletons would take them seriously and be dragged along the path of pending doom. These sadists know the truth. What they wouldn’t say is the fact that the steady glint that Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu enjoy is not fruited from political roots. And it is a fact!
Of a privilege as aide, I have the space to relate to the traits and tastes of this distinguished woman. Perhaps not as a spin doctor per say but her own variant of “Simon Peter”, who must wriggle his way through a knotty encounter of semblance to Christ’s identity bicker with disciples. Christ, at rendezvous around the region of Caesarea, Philippi, had queried his devotees, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
This time appears to literarily bring equal query. And in answering, I would say Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu cuts the shape of an incredible genius whom being her gauge comes with sizeable stress. Here is a classy debonair whose eclectic, civil taste and unexampled penchant for human development looms her larger than life. To tie her to a forte and pointedly portray would require virtual sorcery. She appears a wholesale package of what a genius should be, so that you can hardly fault her cognitive finesse. Betty is not the regular first lady we are used to, and I feel strongly that accounts for the disorientation of her fault-finders.
Those who vainly labour to misportray the woman who was singled out nationally for honour among the thirty-six wives of governors in the country deserve to be pitied for want of wisdom. Those who suggest that she attracted awards with monies deserve immediate brain examination. None of these lustrous laurels was built on nothing. Infact, many of her awards, particularly those with global consequences, came far ahead of her office as first lady. And the many others heretofore added were credence to hard-work.
Each preposterous claim expelled from the slanderers’ larynx exposes their level of mundanity. From the specious and tendentious impression that Mrs Akeredolu supervises the finances of certain government ministries to the porous painting that her sterling initiatives thrive on the tax payers’ monies, all lacking any scintilla of truth and logic, and smacks of lean intelligence on the part of the sponsors. The lies all show that those finding the first lady’s fault are thoroughly befuddled by her unmatched strides, and that the bad purveyors are as cheap as their offerings.
They are the stars of the bar. Drunken dumbs who feigns fine preachers and seek to desecrate public alter. They are liars and impotent erasers who share the traits of a cobra. Like a cobra, they are active in the day, wearing the garment of objective critics but moves stealthily in the night to applaud the the subject they abhor in the day. As in the nature of cobras, they feed on their kind, destroying the same fount they fed fat on. They are imprisoned by their own iniquitous acts and desperate to win more souls to ruin.
The eighteenth century English Baptist preacher and witty writer, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, pen-named John Ploughman, has said, “If men only said what was true, what a peaceable world we should see!” Ploughman’s, apart from underlining that falsity that has since travelled with mankind from the get-go, also drops a glimpse of what huge harm lies have done and still do to humanity by mankind. But having taken the message from their jaws as itinerant alcoholics who as subjects of scorn in the hands of nature typify the erasers they seek to mock, they are now nude, staggering only with a bottle, their vain gain.
We should all, therefore, having taken from the proverbial drunkard the substance nature blindly dropped through him as a contradictory character, seek to deliver his breed from the path of imminent doom, or at least, make affordable effort to retrieve the bottle they trudge around with, lest they fall for the third time, possibly on the edges of pieces of the bottle, loose more of their leprous fingers or loose more blood and shorten their existence as in the transient lifespan of their lies; fleeting as the ghosts who gather them.
Betty is already far above their stunts. She worked her way to worth.
***Debo Akinbami is the Special Assistant to the Governor of Ondo State on New Media & Archives.