February 2019: That Love For Alice, By Remi Otuneye

Alice Okojabhole

February 2019: That Love For Alice, By Remi Otuneye

Genesis 2:18, God commanded that it is not good for man to be alone. As a fresher in University of Ibadan, as a novice finding my ways to settle down and get the right info, I met Alice and some others. Alice was my classmate. At my first meeting in RCF, the largest fellowship on campus, out of the multitude, I saw Alice again. A young promising girl, she had young looking gentle and shy face, an hour-glass figure shrink wrapped inside a skirt and blouse with deeper-life headscarf, and alluring innocent eyes. Alice was intelligent and classically beautiful. She was a good spec for a man born of a woman.

After many permutations and calculations considering my stipend and my primary purpose in the school, I practically perished the thought of running after a wild goose chase. And In University of Ibadan, the fear of Tsunami is the beginning of wisdom. Academics are the major while other extra-curricular activities are the minors. So I chose not to minor in major and major in minor. I faced my book. In another twist, as a fresher competing with the stale students who ‘see’ the October rush as harvest period to catch them young would be a herculean task. Instead, I succumbed to Robert Greene’s Law36 of power to “disdain things you cannot have.”I suspended the commandment – I decided to be alone.

Two years later, in our 300 level, this time around, man’s not hot. I was able to do. Though the feeling has died a natural death but the thought has not been revealed. And as a man of honest with good intention, who knew his onions no matter whose ox was gored, I kept it to myself. She was not aware of it. In our third year, in one of our compulsory courses –where all majors of my class gathered – assessment was based on group work on presentation of political ideas and thoughts. We were divided into groups, unluckily for me, Alice was not in my group. On the day of the presentation, under the auspices of Lecturer-in-charge,my mentor, Dr. Remi Aiyede, something happened!

I was selected as a co-presenter for my group. After several brilliant presentations by others, an erudite scholar, Martin took his turn and gave an intimidating presentation on the works of Thomas Paine. With the famous line: “if not for the pains of Paine”. By this energetic delivering, for me, he raised the roof. “Where do I start from?” That was my thought. Then came the turn of my group; after my co-presenter gave the introduction, I was called to the podium to do the clinical finishing. While trying to drive home my points on political thought of David Hume on passion and moral where our actions are prompted by passion not motivated by reason.I buttressed: “moral approval is emotional response, not a rational one…just like the love I had for Alice…” The cat was let out of the bag; the whole class went into frenzy with the shout of Alice and huge noise from banging on the desks. He took the intervention of our Lecturer for calm to restore. Alice was seated at the right row, third column, in the midst of hailers, feeling like the fly girl. Yimu! Despite those powerful presentations that came before mine, I took the shine on that day with my penchant for humor and spontaneity.

We resumed second semester, a period of activities, including politics. Our department election time-table was drawn. After several alignments and horse-trading, three candidates emerged with two camps. It was a contest between the leftists in collaboration with the feminists versus the rightists – where I belonged. Alice happened to be the candidate of the other divide while I served as the campaign manager for my bloc. At this state, my loyalty was tested; where does my allegiance lie? My friend or ‘my lover’ – a conundrum! There is no small politics. As micro as it was, I saw savagery in its real form.Before and after election, I was able to manage the situation letting ‘my lover’ know the choice of my friend, Akinwale Afolabi and my unflinching pertinacity for her and her personality. At the end,wisdom prevailed! And the legend has it that they both (The lover and the lovee) lived happily thereafter. lol.

If you think this article is premised on Alice, and the love for her, you are most welcome. But I have another story to tell. It is 2019 – general elections period: brothers will turn against brothers. Longtime friendships and harmonious relationships will be broken on mere spectative politics. Some,no doubt will foolishly pay the supreme price while their sponsors live there after to tell the stories and take the glories.

At this level of enlightenment, we should know, to vote is not to fight. Election is not war; it is not tribal warfare: It is a game of number. It may be dirty: as all is fair in politics. Do not be used as instrument of destruction. Engage your conscience. Pay attention to your safety – physically, spiritually and emotionally. Continue to keep in touch with relatives, neighbors and close friends, irrespective of their political views and beliefs. It is regrettable, four years after, Atiku has returned to seek Jonathan’s support while two learned fellows, my friends, Martin and Beyioku are still at loggerheads over 2015 general elections. Do you see where I am going? If you fight your neighbors and disagree with your business partners on the altar of politics, you will be on your own after the elections. Everyman man needs a company; we all need help –It is not good for man to be alone.

What do I even know? I will stop here before Olowo Eko declare me a persona non grata and, as a candidate of the lagoon.

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