Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Parable of the Talents: Oga Benji and OGB

This is a story of a multi-talented man from a small town called Yoribohau...his name was Oluwasola Gozie Balewa or OGB as he was fondly called. OGB was a maven...he could dance, he could sing, he was good at acting, he was good at archery, he could swim, he was a very good hunter and a it and OGB could do it exceptionally well. As a boy, OGB used all his talents...not one was neglected. He became the toast of the town and everyone could see that OGB was a blessing to his family and community and it was generally felt that his family would be prosperous in no distant time.

As time went by, thing were getting better for OGB and his family and he continued making use of all his talents. However, at one point there was news that a certain talent could fetch OGB more money and fame faster than his other talent could…this talent was wrestling. This talent became in demand as communities far and wide paid and invested so much in wrestlers and wrestling. Prior to this, OGB had never wrestled in his life but he was soon to find out that it was something he was very good at... in fact, he became the best in his locality. Wrestling yielded OGB and his family so much that his father –Oga Benji- decided he should focus solely on it and not waste his time on other talents. OGB disagreed with his Dad and argued that it was better for him to continue using all of his talents but Oga Benji insisted he should focus solely on wrestling.

Now, the culture in Yoribohau demands that a son must abide by the wishes of his Dad no matter what and that the father has a say in the son's wealth. With this being the case, OGB had no other choice than to drop his other talents to focus solely on wrestling just as his father demanded. This seemed to have worked out well as OGB's income and prospects grew by the day. However, OGB still had a problem: the fact that Oga Benji controlled his wealth. OGB grew into his 40's and had little to show for all his sweat and income whilst Oga Benji was living lavishly...inasmuch as OGB felt cheated and wanted to revolt, he could do little or nothing about it as the culture prevented him from such. OGB also realised that he had lost touch of his other talents and has become known not for being multi-talented but for being just a wrestler.

OGB kept wrestling and making money; his father kept appropriating the income. Oga Benji would not even spare him the funds to train, re-train himself or revitalise his weakening body...and when he did it was usually few and far between. Oga Benji even started making OGB a mercenary wrestler...he would wrestle for another community and accrued funds are split between the community and his Dad. This went on for so long that even friends and well-wishers tried to intervene. They pointed out to Oga Benji that OGB was getting weak and that a continued reliance on wrestling will at one point wear him down so much that he would even be so weak to use his other talents. They told him that OGB would someday naturally age and unable to wrestle anymore and that the best thing is to re-invest some funds in re-vitalising OGB and in re-introducing his other talents which would tarry even when he fails as a wrestler. They reminded him that just as wrestling suddenly became a talent in demand, it may one day suddenly cease to be in demand. They also told him of the benefits of saving funds accrued from OGB's wrestling talent. Whilst these were good pieces of advice, Oga Benji never took them and he continued his lavish life style while OGB toiled and toiled and toiled.

In his 50's and just as well-wishers predicted, OGB's strength started dwindling but he was still able to keep wrestling and generating funds for Oga Benji. OGB's talent had become a curse unto him. He relied on titbits from his father and help from outside members of the outside community who felt pity for him...even such help would first get to his father who would then decide whether OGB receives them or not. Oga Benji was undoubtedly the sole beneficiary of the status quo. However, he was to receive a shock when he got news that OGB wouldn't be paid as much as he used to be for each wrestling match. In fact, the cut in performance price kept falling and is presently less than half of what it used to be and there are signs that it would still fall. There are now so many wrestlers that each individual wrestler seems to have lost his significance as was in the past. OGB is in trouble as he may be wretched for life unless something is done and fast...but his fate lies solely in the same Oga Benji who for over 50 years had run him down.

The question now is: although the funds may have dwindled would Oga Benji now realise the benefit of investing more in his son's wrestling training to see if he could make him more competitive and significant? Would he now realise that his son needs to go back to being multi-talented than being just a wrestler? Would he realise that things would be more difficult now because he hadn't saved in the midst of plenty when he had the chance? Would he learn from it? Or would Oga Benji remain on the path of selfishness and decide to accrue all he can now from whatever is left of OGB's wrestling talent so that he can live off those even after OGB is no more? Furthermore, would the people of Yoribohau realise that a prominent son of theirs may end up wretched because of a silly retrogressive tradition that prevents him from standing up to and challenging a father who had done nothing but steal from him all these years?

Surely, OGB’s future given the present circumstances depends on Oga Benji and or the actions taken by the people of Yoribohau...will he survive or will he not? Now could OGB be Nigeria? Could Oga Benji be the Nigerian Government? Could Yoribohau be the Nigerian people and constitution? And could OGB's wrestling talent be the Nigerian oil? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Oracle has spoken!!

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