Any in-depth engagement of the historical dossiers of the world’s most famous villains, will leave us with no other conviction than that they were all great men, doomed by inordinate ambition. Think of Satan, the proud angel; Pharaoh, the vicious king; Hitler, the misanthrope, or the nearest to us: the dictatorial butcher – Abacha. They were men of unrelated cradles connected with the chain of ambition. They also have their fictional kindred in classical characters like the Trojan Paris, the German Faustus, and the Shakespearean trio of Macbeth, Claudius and Brutus, who all paid dearly for the hubris of unrestrained ambition.
We are not preaching the gospel of ‘No Ambition.’ And no one is saying that being ambitious is necessarily a call to doom. No. After all the greatest trees of the world are those with their roots in the soil of ambition. It only follows that, it is reasonable to marry ambition with reasoning. In fact, oftentimes, what is misconstrued as ambition is nothing but a whimsical plot of the mind, directed by rudderless wilful thinking. It manifests in all walks of life, including politics, where people dress it in the beautiful apparel of ‘zeal and passion to serve.’ I think it is at this juncture important to stop the riddle and put the issue in perspective.
As the school was preparing for resumption and the students, anticipating the implementation of the many political promises of the student politicians they had voted before the holiday, one of our own, the Director of Information -elect (still elect since he is yet to be sworn in) threw a jibe at AFASites. He sent a Whatsapp broadcast to announce his resignation from the office he had won unopposed in the last election. He gave many reasons but left out the most important. He said he had considered and concluded that being the Information Minister of AFAS would only be tantamount to playing the second fiddle. He preferred the top position of the Students’ Union spokesman. He thanked AFASites for believing in him even when he did not believe in AFASites. He also promised to be of immense support to the eventual occupant of the office of which he himself has no experience. He did not only announce his resignation. He also acted it by not making himself available at the swearing-in ceremony of the new executive cabinet. And his action has since been trailed by mixed reactions from friends and foes.
But to be candid, Bayo, no doubt, from the start, had never shared such dream as Progress with AFASites. One can only question the joint intellect of AFASites and the Electoral Committee that mid-wifed the election of such an obviously peripatetic candidate, with an ingrained political harlotry, into the students’ cabinet of a faculty, which reveres itself as the faculty of letter. The resignation broadcast of Radical Bayo was not the first evidence of his wavering loyalty to the Association. And this was even underscored by his double dealing act of seeking election into the office of the Information and Propaganda Minister of Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall the same time he was soliciting the mandate of AFASites into the office of the Information Director. No serious student-politician with committed passion to serve and excel, could have made an attempt to combine two political offices in an academically demanding citadel as University of Ibadan. Such decision can only be attributed to something: directionless ambition.
Meanwhile, we cannot shut our sight at the fact that Mr. Bayo has now rescinded his wilful decision and has offered contrition for his wrong doing; yet the Director of Information needs to be schooled on the wrongs in his rash decision. Firstly, it is imperative to know that great men only need little opportunity to make great things happen but the weak minds hanker for large grace and allow it to pass them by. The Information Director need not be the Spokesman of the University Union to be a great man. He only needs to plant the seed of greatness with commitment and attitude in the little AFAS office that destiny has tossed to his side. Also, a radical and impetuous man needs rational and restrained friends for moral guidance in times of serious decisions. He who walks alone has no good fortune, says a Kenyan traditional poem. But it is not only about choosing friends. It is important to choose the eggheads who should know that such word as “intellectual masturbation” in the public is an obvious display of ignorance and lack of moral restraint.
Finally, a fault quick remedied, wrote Soyinka, is quick forgiven. While it will be too harsh to demand for the impeachment of Radical Bayo for his media assault on our Association, on the account of having repealed his decision, it will not be too much to demand an open apology from a man who had thought little of our AFAS by placing it second to another. A copy of the open apology must be served to the Executive cabinet, the FLC and the AFAS Press, for publication. With that AFASites will have been fully assuaged.
In all, it is good to be ambitious but ambition needs to be tamed with reasoning, so that stupid decisions are averted!