While the gale of deconstruction of My Participations, an autobiography of Chief Bisi Akande, former governor of Osun State and pioneer National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) was going on last week, the photograph of another skyscraper property of his, built during his governorship of Osun and located in his hometown, Ila Orangun’s central market, went viral. It is different from the one that Baba Ayo Adebanjo queried where he got the money to build which one of my friends likened to a General Hospital in its humongous architectural arrogance.
The Ila Central Market property, a four-storey building of five floors, bore the paterfamilias of power and majesty.
Apparently, those who began weaving the narrative on the social media meant to show that in Akande, who claimed to be incorruptible in the book, and who, pre-My Participations, was held to be saintly, there was an Ayi Kwei Armah’s “the beautyful ones” who are not yet born.
On seeing the photograph, it reminded me of two almost similar incidents like this which took their roots from musical lines of late Apala music legend, Ayinla Omowura’s panegyrics for his patrons. One was a tribute he did in 1973 in one of his vinyl to Akanni Tijani, also known as Mufutau Baba Owo, alias Muhammadu. According to Omowura in the song, when he saw the house Tijani had just built, he assumed that it was a “secretarial” – Secretariat, he meant.
Apparently after Tijani built the house, allegations started making the rounds that he was an armed robber and he enlisted Omowrura to do an image clean-up for him. So while singing to launder the butcher, Ayinla sang that Akanni was a butcher who killed two cows for sale on daily basis. “Akanni ki se robbery, malu meji lo nsubu l’Odo eran…” Ayinla took his incredulity to high heavens because it was only secretariat buildings that were built in that byzantine fashion.
Another patron of Omowurra’s who he sang his praises but which boomeranged the way Akande’s book is doing today is Captain Eweje. Said to be of the pay office of the Nigerian Army, Omowura got him into trouble in a vinyl where he asserted that Eweje’s wealth was out of this world and that whenever he desired to build a house, he took contractors abroad to see the architectural designs of his heart desire. Being a time when public officers were expected to maintain decorum in perception and reality, that song allegedly got Eweje out of the Army.
Like Eweje, Chief Akande’s “Secretarial” house is causing him a lot of public troubles. If Baba hadn’t written the autobiography, he perhaps could have gone down in history as one of the most incorruptible men to administer Nigeria. My Participation put paid to all that mis-representation.