At a friend behest, I attended Alhaji Lukman Mustapha Freedom Squad’s rally and solidarity visit to his graceful father, Alhaji Usman Mustapha, the Wali of Ilorin, at his residence and I was swept away by the poise, energy, passion, determination, hunger, readiness and loyalty displayed by the youth and the supporting pubic. It was like a carnival staged on the streets that needed no invitation for all. It was a movement that seem an answer to their calls. It was there I truly know that people truly know their own.
I was in one of the buses with my keen eyes on the street and my ears were grounded listening to the voices of the masses; from the market women, commercial bike riders, to the traders and artisans, including students and even the beggars, I saw the spark in their eyes upon sighting the buses displaying campaign posters of LOM 2019 defying the hunger in their bodies, the weariness of their bones and the anguish in their minds to hail and pray for his emergence so much I was surprised. As it turned out, it was just the tips of the iceberg.
Until we got to Chief Usman Mustapha’s abode at GRA where I saw LOM’s vision begot the wings to soar and transverse from coast to coast to success as my ears regale the tact and wisdom in the the songs sang by them and I was moved. Plethora of morale boosting and energy bubbling renditions rented the air announcing the presence of vibrant youth. In no time, the candour and youthful exuberance transformed the hitherto lifeless and insipid but restful environment to that of festivity and atmosphere of glee. And there and then, Lukman Mustapha became the sun, rising to light the state to growth and development. Akanbi became the name not only on their lips but safely tucked deep down their hearts no amount of money can buy!
I wasn’t the only one surprised by this show of loyalty and unwavering support. So seemed Baba Wali of Ilorin. He looked so lost about the reality, apparently he never imagined such. Baba; a man rumored to be in a dilemma, and in the recent news slandered to have anointed his older son, MM as the family’s knot to the state seat of power didn’t look any devilish or cunning. Here was a man of tact and wisdom who knew the choice of the people through their sweats. Amidst the displays of support and loyalty by fans and loyalists, Mustapha Snr stood flabbergasted but calm and composed. Alhaji Mustapha tactfully bore his heart by acknowledging the people’s sacrifice, bravery and determination and rounded off by saying these very powerful words in Yoruba” Ni agbara Olorun Oba ti o lagbara ju, oun ti e fe, ni Olorun o se! Oh that was straight, plain and assuring. But now what? What more is left for the rumour mongers ? Let the mischief makers found a new song to sing to Gbedu because right now it looks perilous for them. Yegelu yegelu ko wa tan bi? Akanbi ti gbe won san le….. A song of victory arrested the air.
And jubilantly we headed to Isale Aluko, a very strategic area in the ancient land of Afonja till date. The support wasn’t less to what I described above. From Post office to Ipata, Gambari to Isale Aluko our destination, the fanfare was heartwarming. It portrayed LOM like some god. Remember these are people so hardworking and industrious who will never sing your praises for any price unless you earn it. So obviously, Mai Sobi must have won them over too! With pomp, they sang to high heavens songs of hails and such encomium must reach that man wherever he was. Luku ni ilu n fe, Luku ni ilu nfe o, ilu lo fe Luku, Luku ni ilu nfe o. It’s no campaign time and it wasn’t even a political rally but just a solidarity visit and look at that! That amazing moment piqued my interest in this man and I made an enquiry about him. On the spot, I was told by a man the virtues of Akanbi. I was intimated of his philanthropy. I was shown some graduates sponsored by him. I thought Lukman maybe a Kwankwaso to Kwara. He maybe the prophet sent to us. With such show of solidarity, I pity his political adversaries, they may just be like the village rejects, singing songs of friendship, please who will take the chorus for them?
Without further ado, I called my inner sense to decode what my eyes had seen and the messages my ears heard. It needn’t no soothsayer to tell me, oh dear Man,” Look, it’s Lookman’s time! And so I came forth with this message of a new life, rebirth of our dying state to the place we dream, a home to all and sundry where we can be gainfully engaged. Home, where the youth we feel belonged. Home, where our fathers get the rewards of a lifetime of service (servitude to those useless regimes). Home, where our mothers do not mourn their children and husbands. Home, where we can all proudly defend as ours; our beginning, our end.
Ibraheem Kolawole Abdulateef Egghead writes from Ilorin