By Olukayode Oyeleye
Isn’t a tale supposed to be about the past only? But this tale is a hybrid of the past and the present as it entails an evolution and societal transformation. These two men are contemporaries in the same country somewhere on earth. Both had met, mingled and merged before later splitting and breaking ranks. One thing drives their efforts: power mongering. Each one has built political empires over time and has common “lifetime ambition” to rule their country. At no time in history of of that country has there been any politician like both men that came into the political space on the shoulders of older politicians but turned themselves into political tin gods and money bags. By their actions, they seem to be saying that democracy is the ladder to self-enrichment and affluence and politics is the sure safeguard for keeping the wealth.
These power mongers are magicians in the sense that they suddenly became billionaires without touching public money. It is possible that they have secret money minting machines so they really did not need government money. They love the people and they like people to line at their gates for crumbs. They are philanthropists; they donate freely to many causes that would advance their ambitions. They have diversified their portfolio by buying up many state-owned enterprises, turning them private so as to create private employments when the public enterprises fail or flounder.
At various times, they have attempted to become, or helped someone or the other to become, a president. They are shiny examples of those redefining politics and power play in the sense of cash and carry or highest bidders. They are redrawing the lines that define the limits of public morality. They each have one leg in one party and another leg yet in another at the same time and have been at the “forefront” of cross carpeting in their quest for power. They control some critical sectors of the economy and have vast private investments based on the strength of their wealth. They have, at various times had to fight off questions on their integrity. They seek to take accolades for circumstantial developments and want to be seen as economic reformers. As political entrepreneurs, they have what it takes to turn a nation into private business empires if given the opportunity to do so.
These two political power mongers operate often on the same seesaw plank and have planted vast number of stooges in various arms and levels of government in anticipation of their times of rewards. The two forcefully demand for recognition as frontliners and never ready to concede privileges. These two believe in one same thing: Instead of a rat finding the beans too hard to chew, it prefers to scatter them. They are not content with playing the elder statesmen: they want to remain the gladiators on the stage even when past their relevance. They proclaim themselves as democrats even when everything noticeable in their utterances and actions depict and expose their dictatorial tendencies.
They saw through the power of money to buy loyalty and they have deployed this method to great advantage. Their songs are on the lips of many who lick their boots. They seem poised to take that country by the jugular, come what may. That country awaits the battle of these two Titans if that becomes inevitable. But, the concerns are that, hopefully it will not be the case of two elephants fighting, thrashing and destroying the underlying grasses at their battleground.
Dr Oyeleye is a senior journalist