We live in a world where power is seen as the be it all,and end it all .Once one gets it within ones closet and control, nothing else matters.
With all the paraphernalia, sycophancies, false adulations etc the once humble, jovial and compassionate person may become a god to be worshiped , adored and spoken to in reverence and awe ,if not disrespect is seen.
Back in school days, he was the life of every gathering. Well built, facial smoothness and of course with a resilient mind and brain.
To all that come around him then, he saw from a single lense of human beings, worthy of honor and respect.
He was down to earth, even among the junior classes , a toast and a delight to be with.
I remember one incident that happened in our final year. Few weeks to our Senior WAEC exam, a junior student walked passed us without greeting. I guessed he was burdened by things , even the way he looked both in dressing and facial looks, one would know that something wasn’t right with him.
As he walked passed, he was called back, within a split second, all the three other class mates of ours, standing, decended on him, “kneel down! One would say! Are you stupid! The other one said, raise your hands”! Yet from another person.
The boy not only was confused but felt embarrassed. Before he could do any of those commands, they started beating him for what in their infantile and bullying mentality, an Intorable insubordination ,from a junior boy.
It took the intervention of Julian to stop such bullying. “Why would you guys beat him? What did he do? Because he walked passed without greeting? Isn’t he young enough to be your younger brother? Would any of you treat your young ones like this or stand the sight of someone bullying them? Power can corrupt, expecially when used in this manner”. Please let him go, this isn’t fair.
This was the reaction of Julian. He wasn’t given to those juvenile bossiness. To him they were Power -show- off from a mind riddled with complex.
The way he changed after his rise in the political space was one that left many speechless.
His walk to stardom wasn’t that smooth and brief. After our NYSC , getting a job was like walking pass through a niddle hole. From one menial job to another, trying to eke out a living.
I remember one incident that happened at a construction site where we went to look for a supply job. Unknown to us ,there was a theft case that took place the previous night.
As we were entering the site, three police men drove in and packed everybody to the station. It was later that they knew we were just jobless graduates looking for ways to survive. That was how far we went striving to eke out a living , not to mention other embarrassing situations we had to deal with.
Like a bang luck smiled at Julian, one of his kinsmen got elected into the National Assembly as a house member. He took Julian as his Personal Assistant.
Though there wasn’t much financial benefits attached to it, at least it was a good step, an opportunity for better things ahead. That was how the journey of Julian’ political adventures started. He never looked back, leveraging and made a vocation out of it, like it would anyway be said, every other thing is now history.
Today he is one of the heavy weights in his party. Power , authority and all the paraphernalia in full complement.
We lost contact over 15 years now. One day I ran into one of our class mates, catching up with him, he mentioned some of our classmates who have achieved excellence in their chosen path. Of course he mentioned Julian.
Hmmm!! Julian the gentle giant “Don hammer”! This present government as bad as it is, doling out bitters and woes to many, has scooped a spoon full of honey to Julian. Really! I said in awe. I lost contact with him years ago. Would make out time to see him before I travel back I said.
Is he still his humane and jovial self? I asked. Hmmmm! Who would, in his position, seeing him, now takes ages, when one eventually sees him, the crowd of hangers-on around would be too choking to allow for any meaningful discussions. Many of our class mates rarely see him.
Power can be very deceptive, creating appearances of things that weren’t there. It creates many characters around one, painting versions of oneself that would make ones head swolen with pride and feeling of ‘godly reverence’ .But only those with little mind would fall for it and get swallowed in its unreal world.
Why and how Julian should allow himself to be wrapped around this illusion of power, remained a puzzle.
The day we went to see him, was one moment that opened my eyes to see deeper than what I was known about the destructiveness of power.
He lived in a very poshed house, exquisitely furnished. The ambience of his house wasn’t anything less befitting of a country’ President. Walking into his living room at his instance, the sight of the kind of persons around him was awe-stricking. The ones outside waiting to be ushered into his presence were many too.
At my sight Julian was excited, in excitement he hugged me, shook my head and gave me pleasant spanks on my two cheeks. Boy!! ‘ oh! boy!! He bellowed in a boisterous manner.
The once gentle and modest guy has changed. The once decent and couth person has become an inverse of his old self. He now drinks, smokes and womanises ,something he despised with great passion then.
When he discovered how uncomfortable I was in such a scene in his living room, he beckoned, took me to his bedroom.
Julian what happened? You changed! Bros! He bent his head , shook it, even me, no believe I would be like this one day he said to me. At times I would shake and pinch myself to be sure it was me. Now I know, that we are capable of doing anything, only that most times the means to finance such may be in short supply.
“I lost all my childhood and school mate friends. These are people who know me, my root, my strength and weakness and can afford to tell me the truth. I lost them to strangers who come and swoop on me besieging my house like flies looking for nothing but honey, once the pot of honey is gone and dry, off the buss off, to the next person where it is happening”. Julian narrated in pains.
The dilema is, you can’t do without them. One needs them ,in as much as they come with selfish motives, as long as it lasts, they would be doing their own hatchet job to keep the position running.
You know what! those people outside, they can cook up things to get things from you I told him. I know, but what would I do? To avoid them? Send them away? That would even be the worse. Same way they would be coming around with honey tongues of fabricated lies to get favor, they would defame one . It takes wisdom to deal with their lies and spinning.
Do you know I don’t even know who I am? Each day, different people come to tell me how good and fantastic I am, how good a mobiliser I am, how they would die for me, supporting me till thy kingdom come. Brother I have lost my real self who I am?
This last question from Julian made me realised the very jinxed situations many politicians and those in an advantaged position see themselves. A lot of unfavourable baggages to deal with, lies, unrealistic hyping, creating an ideal world around them which in reality was non existent .
I see in Julian an exchange of personality and a lost of self for a pseudo one. He had his head in the cloud of praises and wishy-washy of political jobbers, who know nothing but how to use lies and sweet exaggeration of ones modest self to get something from one.
Julian is a metaphor for those who have lost their real self for power and position. Those who get entangled in the web of appellation, taking them for reality. He represents the very section of people who finds nothing good in their mates and childhood friends, simply because of a shift in status. Julian represents the majority of people out there who could not manage their new dawn of power, authority and wealth, allowing such an ephemerals to dent, dimm and stiffle the glow, sparkle and childlike chuckles of mates, trading it off for strangers and new found friends with no intention but to fleece and take a walk when the pot of honey gets dried.
If you are a Julian who has been sucked in by the praises of ones hangers’ on think twice for your doom, wouldn’t be long and the scale off your sight when the very rug of honor that attracts them to you is pulled off.
This #101 of life reality. Only those with skill of self consciousness live above such distractions.