Love in the time of recession by Louis Odion, FNGE

Can you share a love with a smiling face like this lady in a time of recession?

With the stocks looking stuck on the economy
front, with figures simply no longer adding up, it seems inevitable that more
and more Nigerians would instinctively seek solace in the elementary,
yet most transcendental, vocation ever known to man – the pursuit of
love.

Even at that, there is no guaranty of easy
win. For rarely is the amatory arrow fired from the bow of love ever so dead on
target. Driven more by passion than reason, more of emotion than the material,
love does not lend itself readily to scientific outcome. The ones we love don’t
care for us; those dying for us we can’t stand.


The result is what would then seem the
growing infiltration of the Nigerian narrative, this usurpation of the national
space, by Gabriel Marquez’s quirky characters. From the dramatic tale of
unrequited love in Lagos to the farce
of an aborted wedding in Delta, the
comedy of lesbian sex video in Anambra,
to the tragedy of a lady suddenly giving up the ghost in the heat of passion in
Oyo – all within a week, the nation is now evidently plagued by a contagion of
heartbreaks.


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In his epic “Love in the Time of Cholera”, Marquez unveils Florentino
Ariza
, the tireless soldier of romance, who will endure a more than
fifty-one-year wait, compose uncountable stirring love letters, survive 622 forbidden affairs, before landing
the chance to finally consummate a love nursed from teenage for Fermina
Daza.

Fermina,
the object of this infatuation, becomes available only after the passing of her
legitimate spouse, Juvenal Urbino, urbane physician of the high society. But,
alas, that is when biological toll had already sapped Florentino of strength to
intensely savour the fruit of what had been a life-long obsession. 

From the outset, Florentino’s quest will
seem a tall order indeed. Scion of a pauper, who begins life as an apprentice
telegrapher, longs after the haughty daughter of a wealthy tycoon.
Before being beaten to the game by Urbino, Florentino had tried all
tactics imaginable. Like taking a telescopic view of Fermina from under a tree
at night through opened shutters of the window and feverishly blowing through a
pipe assorted love melodies whose tunes will, in turn, be mercifully
transported by the winds in her direction. 

PDP Gubernatorial Candidate, Jimi Agbaje counts time for his cousin, Tunde who trekked from Ketu to Zaria for a Lover…

Now, let us take look closer home. Doesn’t Florentino’s
well documented extra-ordinary exploits remind of Tunde Agbaje, the young
man who grabbed national fame early in the week following reports of the
successful completion of a tortuous 19-day trek from Ketu, Lagos to Zaria, Kaduna, just to demonstrate nothing more than a love he had nursed
for one Miss Sharon Donald since 2010.

26-year-old Tunde, obviously
unemployed, is said to be a cousin of politician Jimi Agbaje, the flagbearer of
Peoples
Democratic Party
in the 2015 Lagos governorship poll. Equally
26-year-old Sharon, daughter of a former South-South governor, is
presumably well off. (At this writing, one was still unable to confirm if her
dad is the same like-able Donald Duke, the similarities being
too striking.)

According to Tunde, the decision was
borne out of a desire to do for Sharon what no man, certainly no
reasonable man, will even contemplate. And the symbolism of the choice of Zaria
as destination was intended to be the icing atop the extra-ordinary cake.
Through discreet research, he had learnt that Sharon’s own parents dated for
six explosive years at the university located in that ancient city before
deciding to sign the dotted lines. 

She Could be your own Sharon or Fermina

When he first broached the idea of a
cross-country trek with his own Fermina, Tunde stoically recalled
she, as usual, mocked him it was akin to a suicide mission. But he was far too
smitten by Sharon, far too inebriated by the liquor of love, to care or be
scared of, say, kidnappers or ritualist or wild beast on the way.

In case Sharon may be doubting, he arranged
for his photograph to be taken in transit and circulated online, decked in a
red (the colour of love!) sleeveless vest and shorts, red socks pulled near the
knees and black sneakers. And for the records, on arrival on October 21, he was
reportedly received by the Chief Security Officer of the Ahmadu Bello
University, Colonel J. K. Turkur (rtd), and the protocol office of the Emir
of Zaria.

To ward off any obstacle from the home
front, Tunde had devised the most unassailable stratagem. His words: “I didn’t let my parents know and to
ensure I was not disturbed, I changed my SIM card. I took a tracker along with
me to monitor my movements… It was a tough task and I even collapsed some of
the times… I have proved my love for her, even though she didn’t reciprocate
my feeling”.

Contacted by The Punch, Sharon perfectly acted up Fermina.
Not only did she dismiss Tunde as a stalker, she hinted his
obsessive pestering drove her from Nigerian shores to faraway United
States
in the first place: “(T)his
is just a new escapade in a series of his harassment…My mum warned him to
leave me alone, but he refused. I changed my phone number and moved to the US,
but I don’t know how he got my contact. I’ve stopped picking calls from Nigeria
because of him…This guy is mentally unstable, because how can you still be
stalking a woman who has turned you down for six years”.

Celebrated Pilot, Chris Najomo still holding tight to his own Fermina (Martha) even in a recession time like this

With that, it is obvious Sharon is oblivious that
the mythical Florentino waited for a total of 51years, nine months and four
days, in a roll. So, at six years today, the tenacious Tunde
could be said to still be within the take-off perimeter. 

But, all told, we miss the bigger picture if
our aperture focuses on Marquez’s Florentino only as the
hero of unrequited love. Through his odyssey in the land of the forbidden
apple after Urbino took Fermina away, his taxing marathon in
the race of romance, Florentino ultimately takes us to
the brightest height and darkest depth of the human emotion.

Conversely, by his stamina so far, Tunde
will certainly elicit today sharply disparate emotions across the nation’s vast
spectrum, whichever the lens he is viewed: moral, social or economic.
While that may potentially be distractive, one point is beyond contestation. Tunde
is a strong metaphor for growing youth disengagement, the productive population
at the nadir today. What else would make a sane young man embarked on this sort
of perilous adventure if not unemployment. Were he gainfully employed, Tunde
would certainly need more than a casual leave to afford this venture. 

The Columnist, LOUIS ODION with Brand Ambassador, Dominic Mudabai….Not a laughing matter

Last weekend, elsewhere in a sleepy community
in Udu
Local Government
, Delta State, Florentino’s ghost
reappeared. It came by the story of one 41-year-old Julius whose bride
suddenly sprang to her feet and bolted from the wedding shindig onto the
adjourning street, her immaculate white gown fluttering in the autumnal wind,
hotly pursued by the bewildered groom.

As reported by Vanguard on Wednesday, the new wife identified as 32-year-old Rose simply shouted “I’m no longer interested!”, to annul the entire
event. 
That precipitate action was said to have been
prompted by her suddenly sighting her former suitor, indeed her true love, in
the crowd of guests. (This time, a determined Florentino chose to
disrupt Urbino’s victory dance.)
Overall, whereas unrequited love is depicted in Florentino’s longing for Fermina,
we see the dangerous variant in his assignation with the mental patient. We see
adulterous love in Urbino’s own affair.

In Anambra these past few days, we see the
dangerous love in the lesbian sex video involving Miss Chidimma Okeke, the
beauty queen, leaked allegedly by a now estranged business partner and has been
titillating online oglers salaciously. The defence quickly marshaled by her
publicists is that the act preceded her winning the pageant. But that hardly
absolves the stupidity. Only a lunatic daring would make a young lady agree to
be recorded in such condition in the first place. The National Coordinator of
the Association for Universal Moral
Education
, Rev. Sister Theresa Nwodo, blamed it on
poor parental care. One cannot agree more.

Senate President Bukola Saraki…..His Chamber legislated against Sexual Harassment at tertiary institutions

Come to think of it, in hard times such as
these, those pressed for cash will likely resort to seeking to make up in kind.
Anticipating possible backlash on an epidemic scale in restricted quarters,
especially the ivory towers where many a lecherous male tutor has over the
years built a dark reputation of taking advantage of vulnerable female
students, the Nigeria senate last week did the needful. Without a single
dissent, it passed a bill (Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution)
criminalizing the act and prescribing a punishment as stringent as five-year
jail term for anyone found guilty. (Well, after the successful execution of
“sting” operation against corrupt judges, speculations are mounting
that the academic citadel is next on DSS’ gun-sight.)

Again, Florentino’s adulterous love played
out recently in Ibadan where
48-year-old Sadiat Adejuwon reportedly died during a romp with her
50-year-old lover, Fatai Busari. In his bid to impress her, the lothario allegedly
ingested an overdose of stimulant. However, no one could say with certainty yet
if that triggered the deceased’s premature death. After hearing the case, an Ibadan magistrate ordered the suspect be
remanded in prison. 

President Muhammad Buhari….Denied his son-in-law from enjoying his daughter in the other room as EFCC arrest him after wedding

Elsewhere in Katsina, just when the
high society was still battling with the hang-over from the colourful nuptials
last weekend of President Buhari’s second daughter, came this rather
 apocryphal report that his new son-in-law, a former bank chief, has come
under EFFC radar over an alleged past sleazy deal involving a staggering sum.
Well-wishers can only pray and wish that this turns out another hoax. 

Regrettably, this dramatic turn of event
seems to have robbed many of the grace to ask the other question: did it ever
cross PMB’s mind during the nikai ceremony to sample his new son-in-law’s
opinion whether the “amaria” (Hausa for new bride) should be limited
to “the kitchen, living room and the other room?”

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo praying for a woman inside the other room

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