In Yorubaland, located in Southwest Nigeria, themasquerade, known as “Egungun,” represents the spiritsof forefathers and ancestors, who periodically visit hisdescendants and give them a lot of blessings in prayer.Renown among those masquerades of elders inYorubaland are “Oloolu” and “Alapansanpa” in Ibadanand Esuu, Kanmololu and Paramole, all in Gbongan,Osun State.In the ancient Yorubaland, there was a masquerade ofelders called Boosere. This masquerade, an itinerantplayer that moved all over the Yoruba nation, wasrespected for its unique style, its secretive mode ofoperation and its principle. The unique principle ofmasquerades of elders was that they did not dancearound like others but only visited certain family heads.Indeed, they were masquerades of proverbs.Boosere moved with just three people: its handler(Atookun), its interpreter and its drummer. Booserewould not move from house to house in the morning orafternoon or evening, rather it moved in the dead of thenight. However, the heads of the families that he wouldvisit would have been informed about his visit, so thatthey could wait for him at their ancestral meetingpavilion.Each time the masquerade met a head of any givenfamily, the drummer would talk with the drum and theinterpreter would interpret with parable, telling thefamily, “continue with your behavioral pattern.” Forseveral years the masquerade ruled the night withmystery and myth.However one of the elders one day summoned modicumof courage to ask his guest why the masquerade madethe same statement everywhere, and the handlerstressed that Boosere was only trying to draw theattention of the world to the leadership style of any givenindividual head of family.The masquerade’s handler said the head of family whoused his native wisdom and humility to bring kinsmenand women together would not be forgotten, while thehostile ones who had the habit of scaring his familymembers away would not be forgotten as well.It was learnt that the masquerade through his lonecrusade has saved many families from poor coordination,power mongering and sel1shness of some heads offamilies, a situation that assisted greatly instrengthening the bond of so many families inYorubaland.From the analogy above, it could be seen that AtikuAbubakar has a resemblance of these masquerades ofelders. For one, he is not the everyday masquerade thatdances in every market square. He is not the attention-seeking politician who dances to every tune and by sodoing, dances himself lame before the actual dancecompetition is 3agged o4. He is de1nitely the big player.
Like the masquerade of elders, he knows the point menin every nook and cranny of Nigeria and has theirunderstanding. Few Nigerian politicians know thiscountry as he does. Indeed as a bridge builder, Atiku isat home in every geo-political zone and has his tentaclesin almost every Nigerian nationality. As an o4icer in theNigerian Customs Service, he traversed the length andbreadth of Nigeria, an experience that prepared him forhigh o4ice.He is not only an orator but also a goodconversationalist, one who is equally good at speakingand listening.A man of strong conviction, once he is sure of himself, henever shies away from being alone, even if it means1ghting alone. Eagles don’t 3y in companies anyway;they 3y alone. He is a veteran of many life’s battles andwinner of them all.But the beauty of it all is that he is a team player, ademocrat to the bone marrow. He believes in strongalliances and has proven to be a loyalist to goodprinciples and causes. At the commencement of theFourth Republic, he led the biggest political machineryin Nigeria and probably in Africa. Up till today, and inspite of shifting alliances here and there, the Atikumachinery is still largely intact. His political associatessee him as standing head and shoulders above others asa reliable leader of men, money and materials.
Today, there is probably no political 1gure in Nigeriawhose followership cuts across every geo-political zonelike the Turakin Adamawa. Like the masquerade ofelders whose constituency covered the whole ofYorubaland, Atiku is a national leader whose in3uenceshines nation-wide like the sun.To be continuedAdebisi is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees,Atiku Cares Foundation
The number one problem plaguing Nigeria is not corruption or even the absence of regular …