Home / Opinion / ATIKU ABUBAKAR : THE MASQUERADE OF ELDERS (1)- Adebisi Moses


  • In Yorubaland, located in Southwest Nigeria, the
    masquerade, known as “Egungun,” represents the spirits
    of forefathers and ancestors, who periodically visit his
    descendants and give them a lot of blessings in prayer.
    Renown among those masquerades of elders in
    Yorubaland are “Oloolu” and “Alapansanpa” in Ibadan
    and Esuu, Kanmololu and Paramole, all in Gbongan,
    Osun State.
    In the ancient Yorubaland, there was a masquerade of
    elders called Boosere. This masquerade, an itinerant
    player that moved all over the Yoruba nation, was
    respected for its unique style, its secretive mode of
    operation and its principle. The unique principle of
    masquerades of elders was that they did not dance
    around 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. Boosere
    would not move from house to house in the morning or
    afternoon or evening, rather it moved in the dead of the
    night. However, the heads of the families that he would
    visit would have been informed about his visit, so that
    they could wait for him at their ancestral meeting
    Each time the masquerade met a head of any given
    family, the drummer would talk with the drum and the
    interpreter would interpret with parable, telling the
    family, “continue with your behavioral pattern.” For
    several years the masquerade ruled the night with
    mystery and myth.
    However one of the elders one day summoned modicum
    of courage to ask his guest why the masquerade made
    the same statement everywhere, and the handler
    stressed that Boosere was only trying to draw the
    attention of the world to the leadership style of any given
    individual head of family.
    The masquerade’s handler said the head of family who
    used his native wisdom and humility to bring kinsmen
    and women together would not be forgotten, while the
    hostile ones who had the habit of scaring his family
    members away would not be forgotten as well.
    It was learnt that the masquerade through his lone
    crusade has saved many families from poor coordination,
    power mongering and sel1shness of some heads of
    families, a situation that assisted greatly in
    strengthening the bond of so many families in
    From the analogy above, it could be seen that Atiku
    Abubakar has a resemblance of these masquerades of
    elders. For one, he is not the everyday masquerade that
    dances in every market square. He is not the attention-
    seeking politician who dances to every tune and by so
    doing, dances himself lame before the actual dance
    competition is 3agged o4. He is de1nitely the big player.
  • Like the masquerade of elders, he knows the point men
    in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and has their
    understanding. Few Nigerian politicians know this
    country as he does. Indeed as a bridge builder, Atiku is
    at home in every geo-political zone and has his tentacles
    in almost every Nigerian nationality. As an o4icer in the
    Nigerian Customs Service, he traversed the length and
    breadth of Nigeria, an experience that prepared him for
    high o4ice.
    He is not only an orator but also a good
    conversationalist, one who is equally good at speaking
    and listening.
    A man of strong conviction, once he is sure of himself, he
    never shies away from being alone, even if it means
    1ghting alone. Eagles don’t 3y in companies anyway;
    they 3y alone. He is a veteran of many life’s battles and
    winner of them all.
    But the beauty of it all is that he is a team player, a
    democrat to the bone marrow. He believes in strong
    alliances and has proven to be a loyalist to good
    principles and causes. At the commencement of the
    Fourth Republic, he led the biggest political machinery
    in Nigeria and probably in Africa. Up till today, and in
    spite of shifting alliances here and there, the Atiku
    machinery is still largely intact. His political associates
    see him as standing head and shoulders above others as
    a reliable leader of men, money and materials.
  • Today, there is probably no political 1gure in Nigeria
    whose followership cuts across every geo-political zone
    like the Turakin Adamawa. Like the masquerade of
    elders whose constituency covered the whole of
    Yorubaland, Atiku is a national leader whose in3uence
    shines nation-wide like the sun.
    To be continued
    Adebisi is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees,
    Atiku Cares Foundation

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