So many people who have called me are busy worrying over this stay at home period and getting stressed up. I guess some are,effortlessly, developing hypertension. This is I dare say is very sad.
Have you heard the biblical directives-“In every situation, give thanks” and “rest still and know that I am the Lord” ? If you have and you are still worrying it means you have not internalised the eternal message therein. Let me assure you that in the end everything passes away. Even COVIC-19 will pass away. For those who worry, this may be the beginning of their passage. But, my dear friend, you must make sure you don’t pass away.
The first thing to do is to stop agonizing over this period. Let me share my little experience with you.
I was 37 when the military struck in 1983. I had been in government for 4 years and 3 months. To this day, I am grateful to God for the opportunity to have served and wish I had done more. I gave the very best of my life in service. It was always what I wanted to do.
But I received an unjust, crude and inhuman recompense from the military government. Col. Oladipo Diya who was Military Governor in Ogun State thought I was so close to Onabanjo that there was no getting Onabanjo without getting Adefulu his political son. The whole purpose of his governance was bile.
No wonder he is no more than a footnote of history. I was subjected to the most scurrilous of interrogations and mental and physical torture. But they soon learnt that it was a waste of time. They had a wrong candidate. Onabanjo has run the most accountable of administrations which to this day remains a reference point.
I had been prudent in my affairs before and during government. My affairs were so scrupulously document that I dazed their several panels with documents and accountability. At a stage a Col Adeleke ( I think that’s his name from Ondo town) after the final interrogation of the SIP- State Investigation Panel said to everyone, “now this is off the record- I want to learn from this young man.
How were you able to keep records like this? If anyone asked me to account for how I spent my salary over the past 6 months, I can’t do it. Yet you have given us compelling records several years old which preceded this job. Did you expect that this day will come? You were obviously doing well in your profession, why did you accept a job like this?”
I will not go into my answer to the panel in this short discourse. Suffice it to say that I was in detention for 18 mths with no offense and no charges- not one accusation. I woke up from day to day with no idea of when my nightmare will end. I just stared at the outside from the distance daily and life went on without me. If I had died nothing would have stopped. From across the road i looked at the gate of the Governors Lodge which swung open any time I was spotted in my hey days, from across the road every day for 16 months. I no longer mattered. The truth of life is that no man really matters. With or without you, life goes on.
Now back to my story, how about that? As I said, I was well under 40 with a young family. Getting heart attack from my experience or ending in Aro Psychiatric Hospital would have been very easy to accomplish.
But I learnt from very early in life that
the challenge to a good life is to always look at the good or positive side of any situation. At a stage I said to myself “with all the tension from the terrible injustice being meted to me, somehow this was still an opportunity that must not be wasted.”
That meant I must use every moment well. From that moment, I ended up going to bed exhausted every night. At a stage I started reading the Bible determined to read it from cover to cover complete with commentaries here and there. I learnt to speak French taught by a prisoner from Togo, studied case files for prisoners on the death row and wrote legal opinions for their lawyers.
I wrote to some Attorney General colleagues of mine seeking reprieve for well reformed prisoners and I got quite a few of them pardoned. Mrs. Airat Balogun the then AG of Lagos State was particularly helpful.
One of my prisoner friends was a man called Baiyewu who was a childhood friend of Ayinla Omowura. When Ayinla became a famous musician Baiyewu was his Manager. They were both from a similar rough background, fought with knives and and bottles. On one occasion they had one of their scuffles.
Ayinla has sacked Baiyewu and wanted to collect the motorcycle he had bought for Baiyewu. He rode in his Mercedes Benz in search of a motorcycle. They met and a fight ensued. Baiyewu hit Ayinla with a bottle in the head and Ayinla died instantly. By the time I became a guest in Abeokuta Prison, Baiyewu had given his life to Christ and became an incredible influence in the prison.
Every prisoner felt the influence of Baiyewu. He called them to prayer very early in the morning and late at night. This condemned prisoner became a good friend of mine. If any man was ever totally and completely changed by the in living of the Holy Spirit, Baiyewu was a truly changed man. He saw Christ before he saw death because he told me, in confidence, a week before his execution, that his end was near.
Three days later Col. Diya came on a visit to the prison and signed that all the “fat” prisoners on death row be killed. Baiyewu was hung with 13 other prisoners in Abeokuta Prison wearing his best prison gear leading the others in singing to the gallows. We wept bitterly. But that’s the story for another day.
Needless to say that in the terrible condition of Abeokuta Prisoner I was very very busy. Today, those who are in the comfort of their homes for the COVIC-19 lockdown are complaining so much! This is futile.
My conclusion and counsel to everyone is that the challenge for you today is “what can I do at this time, how can I profitably utilize the time in my hands.” You may want to re arrange your wardrobes or kitchen, get rid of the many things you have around which you don’t need or do some reading, learn some gardening or bakingetc. You may even want to think about your future or rebuild the broken walls of your life. This can turn out to be a wonderful time you will never forget. It will not come again. The secret is to use it well and profitably. Enjoy your COVID-19 Lockdown.”