Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ayo Sogunro ― On Murdered Bishops, Oba Akiolu of Lagos, etc, etc


In the year 1170, the king of England, Henry II, was getting some flak from one Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop had been very upset that the king had blindsided him at a political event and, in retaliation, the bishop set out to diligently excommunicate political associates of the king. In those days, excommunication was a fate worse than jail, and so you can understand that the king was pretty miffed about all this. Miffed enough, in fact, to blurt out to his court: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” or words to that effect.

Four of the king’s knights decided to treat this rant as some sort of royal decree and, without much ado, quickly despatched the Archbishop (thereby unintentionally generating inspiration for plenty of English literature to come). However, a number of important folks were upset by this bloody business and the king himself became rather sorry about the mess he caused. He had not intended to have the priest killed; it was just a rant on a hot day. And so, the meddlesome knights were sent to do penance and the king came to understand the finer aspects of the law of unintended consequences.

Now, in the year 2015, another king, less influential but equally careless, made a similarly controversial statement: in this case, the king—Oba of the Lagos islands and the neighbouring lagoon—threatened a watery death to opponents of his political favourite. Now, if the English history lesson painstakingly summarised in the paragraphs above teaches us anything, it is that kings should learn to STFU a whole lot of the time.

And so, without much ado, the Oba of Lagos was dreadfully wrong.