If you are a Nigerian youth and you don’t know Tolu Ogunlesi, well, as a good friend, I’ll sincerely suggest you go to a mountaintop to fast and pray for 7 days and 7 nights. Seriously, you need it. That you do not know him is a big sin. People don’t commit up to that kind of sin before they condemn themselves to a 21-day fasting and prayer. But that’s not even the essence of this post.
The essence of this post is to reveal something sad yet exciting. Tolu Ogunlesi, since early 2013, has been writing a weekly column for Punch newspaper. His column is something I always look forward to every Monday. He writes articles that are hilarious, enlightening, insightful and pungent, addressing hot national issues with a staggering intelligence. Only few columnists match up to this. Of course, I’ve read his column for today. Titled ‘HAPPY NEW YEAR, AND SO LONG!’ and being his first for 2016, Tolu Ogunlesi does two intriguing things with today’s post.
One, he discloses — with a hint of fulfillment, having admittedly written about 200,000 words for the column so far — that today’s post is his last for the Monday column. While his fans — of which I am one — receive this announcement with a mixed feeling, we take consolation in the fact that he has something grand in the offing.
Two, Tolu Ogunlesi, in an ingenious tongue-in-cheek style, reminds Nigerians of the customary ‘calculated prophecies’ that fly about in this season of resolutions and high expectations for the New Year. And as I read the post, something thrilling came to my mind.
I had read Reuben Abati’s endearingly mischievous article last week. Yet again, I should be sorrowful, on your behalf, if you have not read this post of Abati’s. Perhaps this is one more reason why I would insist you visit that mountaintop still. Haba, you need it!
In the article titled ‘What the Witches Said’, Dr. Abati’s thoughts resonate with Ogunlesi’s on these ‘calculated prophecies’. In my recent tweets, I referred to both articles as ‘a poignant parody of pastors, prophets and prophecies’. (Okay, I enjoyed forming the alliteration. Clap if you want. That one is not a sin.)
Both articles share a common attribute: a subtle pointer to the fact that pastors and prophets might be looking beyond the Bible and depending on other things — prominent of which are a substantial exertion of their mental faculties and an informed understanding of prevalent matters in the nation — to dish out their ‘calculated prophecies’. One can only hope their followers would take a leaf from their leaders’ book, taking cognisance of the surprising fact that even their religious leaders THINK while they persuade the followers to ONLY BELIEVE.