“In the game of power, only the fool flails about without fixing target.”
–Robert Greene, “48 Laws 0f Power”
By CHIDI OBINECHE
as Richelieu discovered at the beginning of his rise to the top of the French political scene during the early seventeenth century, it was not king Louis XIII who decided things, it was the king’s mother. And so he attached himself to her, and catapulted through the ranks of the courtiers, all the way to the top. Senator Yele Omogunwa representing Ondo South struck the anvil of this antic last week when he left the Peoples Democratic Power, PDP for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
He was not the first to do so in Nigeria’s political history, but the circumstances and timing elicited tension and incipient combustion in the senate. The senators on PDP platform demanded that his seat be declared vacant and when that failed, they staged a walkout. Omogunwa evinced in his action that you gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time.
He showed in practical sense that when looking for power and pasture, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time. As they say in local parlance, a new bride in enchanting flames sends the old bride packing. The politician’s mouth has two edges, and it is murder both ways. He begs and prostrates for votes, but his mind squats like a hungry dog. Omogunwa acted in tandem with the communist ballet dancers of the cold war era.
Their defections to the west and United States of America were in the main driven by the hunger for more opportunities in western dance. But what may not have been fathomed in his defection is that just like the regular bird migrations between breeding and wintering grounds, it carries high costs in predation and mortality, including from hunting by humans.
Therein lies the paradox; the trial of the man of power. In the years of yore, many empires, including ancient Athens came to ruin by overreaching. Drunk with success and sick with ambition, they expanded to grotesque proportions and met a ruin that was total. “ If you are not in danger,” says Sun-tzu, “ do not fight.”
Omogunwa was born on May 22, 1950 at Gbeleju- Loda, Ode Irele. He began his educational career at Methodist Primary School, Gbeleju – Loda, Irele in1956 and between 1962 and 1969; he was at Methodist Secondary Modern School, Ode Irele and Ondo Boys High School, Ondo. After obtaining the Higher School Certificate, HSC at Molusi College, Ijebu- Igbo in 1974, he got admission into the University of Ife, ( Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1978 and bagged a Bachelor’s degree in History/ Education in 1982. He taught in many schools for about 13 years before he ventured into politics in 1991. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007, and was commissioner in the state at various times.