Soyinka’s humanism eulogised in The Aparologist, ode to a laureate

Daily Nigerian
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Wole Soyinka

Dan Abata Fula (Muyiwa Dipeolu) in The Aparologist, Ode To A Laureate reminisces how as a child, he rollicked and pranced with other children in his rustic community.

And drawing from the past, the author in his younger mind wonders the import of life and why we must appease the gods to keep us alive, when after such oblation, the gods still take lives, not sparing our loved ones.

Seeing life as a strife and illusion, the author wonders why human beings are so desperate to acquire wealth, laurel and fear conquest, when life is full of deceit, plunder, vanities, gullies and uncertainties.

He sees death as ‘an end, yet a beginning,’ as a ‘destiny and a continuum.’

Moving from his childhood to adulthood, the 45-page book published in 2017 by WANJIRU, London, begins to unveil the author’s perception of life, describing all human activities as bequest of impenitent perverts.

Personifying Nigeria as Alumoni and as well giving the various military heads of state that have governed the country a moniker, beginning from General Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi (Olugbona), General Yakubu Gowon (Aresa), General Murtala Mohammed (Mongudu) to General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (Maradona) the book satirically reveals the ineptitudes of military governance. It showcases how each regime impacted on the country, the people and the economy.

Taking on Olugbona, the first military regime, the book uses women to depict the opulence and wastefulness. The regime gives way for Aresa, whose myopic leadership further drives the country to prodigality.

Aresa, it also reveals led Nigeria into humiliating war, whose scars etched in the subconscious of victims have continued to be the determining factor of current issues.

The author sees the regime as a mixed grill, describing the Nigerian Civil as dehumanising, an anathema and an aberration.

In like manners, he shows Aresa magnanimity in making Nigeria one, his love affairs with Victoria, who later became the wife and how his government turns totalitarian, stripping civil courts of its jurisdiction.

Mongudu, the authors describes as miracle worker, whose regime and life was cut short just like an abiku. And then a Maradona, who transfigures from khaki wearing military officer to decking flowing babariga.

Maradona, the book notes is like a chameleon, making mockery of humanism and using treacherous Gestapo agent to silent opposers.

Fula using the various appellations to describe Nigerian past leaders, discloses that bad governance cuts across Africa.

Vividly painting the scenario, he says: “Like mules the aborigines were carted away in bondage to a Guantanamo Bay like Taliban where no law could set them free from the shackles of the colonialist bullies; might in power and prowess.

In chains they sang negritude; ballad of the deprived, and oppressed slaves from the Dark Continent.”

This tells the awful situation, where the Aparo (bush fowl) never minding the hunter’s (government) arrows goes out to use all in his arsenals — poems, literary works, plays and others — to speak against all forms of misgoverning in Nigeria and Africa.

Metaphorically, Aparo is the Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, who at different times has criticised and even led rallies against successive governments — military and civilians.

His condemnation of the Nigerian/Biafran War, where he described the killings that majorly took place in the Eastern part of Nigeria during the war as a pogrom against Biafrans cannot be forgotten in a haste, neither is his involvement in the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), set up to make the military hand power to civil rule and his numerous activities across Africa against oppressive governments, civilians or the military, forgotten.

These illustrious acts are testimonies of the Aparo and his Aparologist (humanism)

Praising the Nobel Laureate, the author describes him as a literary pundit, a rare genius, a wordsmith whose language stirs human conscience, pierces the heart and even the marrow.

Highlighting Wole Soyinka’s attitude of gentility, wariness, determination and calculative approach to life, the author says he is: “Shy but eager, in hot pursuit sought literary prowess, power of the pen though swords, arsenals of mass destruction, man-made tornadoes … wordsmith, his metal caustic, satirical, cynical like some of his intellectual kin and kindred, his vituperation were stabbed in the heart of villains who raped the weak and nonchalantly robbed them of their inviolable right.”

With high and impressive dossier, Fula wonders what specie of rhododendron to use for the laurel of this great gem.

Drawing from the Yoruba mythology, the author likens the various governments as an Abiku (an evil child who dies repeatedly before puberty) to tell the nature of their oppressiveness, especially as they have short life span and leave Nigerians worse than they met them.

This malevolent attribute of Abiku is replicated the insensitive regimes.

The author employs personifications and symbolism to highlight Wole Soyinka’s (Aparo) personage, his determination at seeing the society better for all, irrespective of who is gored and most times at the detriment of his life.

With major themes as deceit and avarice on the part of our leaders, selflessness, patriotism, among others, the author highlights that while Wole Soyinka (Aparo) remain at the epicentre for the campaign for positive social change, the contributions of other literary scholars including Oluwasanmi, Ola Rotimi remain legendary.