My son’s image looms large as I watch the political campaign on my black and white TV. Sadly, I do not feel my allegiance to him is strong enough to risk empowering him in such a manner.
You see, I come from a long line of great and politically inclined men, who regally stride where lesser mortals dare not tread.
History has it that my great grandfather pioneered a series of bloody revolts that dethroned an autocratic king in the then Egbaland. My grandfather led an anti-colonial protest which escalated into an uncontrollable unrest. The scoundrels whom he gathered to himself felt the peaceful route was a waste of time. They can be credited for a series of lootings and destruction of British cargoes and ships at that time.
My father, for whom I have the highest regard, even if my next statement does not affirm so, was a scoundrel of the highest proportions. He was a bank clerk who rose to the pinnacles of power as a financier, but did little or no credit to the already mangled family name. He lived up to the expectations of ‘greatness’ however, as there was never any public officer of his time who commanded such liberties and authority as he.
You see, an understanding of this issue with my family is subject to your definition of the word ‘great’.
The gene of greatness must have skipped a generation however, for I do not have the means or the influence of name which my predecessors commanded. I am a man of lean and simple means. As a pensioner having retired from an organization of no reputable name, I live in a bungalow for which I still pay annually. What I have lacked in strength, wealth, and influence however, I have found in my very own son.
How do I explain the fact that my son from the age of twenty five has been riding a vehicle, of which brand and value I do not have the nerve to think let alone purchase? How do I explain to you that all my life I have never stepped foot or finger out of this country but my son- through means of which I have no clue- is currently globetrotting, seeking alliances and support for his political ambition?
Do you wonder? I wonder too. For I have never seen any office or establishment which my son claims to have managed in the past except for a house on Gerard road, bought for millions of naira, where he keeps his trophy wife, my supposed daughter-in-law.
I have heard rumours and even stumbled on well meaning folk who attempt to fix my dysfunctional relationship with my estranged son by letting me in on the source of his extravagance. I decline to think about it but my wife will have none of that. She desires to see and maybe even live with him as he is our only son, just like I am my father’s only son, who was also his father’s only son.
Even though I have voted quite a number of times in the short years of democratic governance in my country, this time I’ll pass. For how can I wash my hands clean of the evil, negligence and misconduct which I know will be the order of the day when my son is sworn into office?
No. I shall just lie on my flattened mattress and stare at the ceiling and hope, for the good of the world, that this gene of greatness may skip another generation.