Benjamin Burombo once said “Each time I want to fight for African rights, I use only one hand because the other hand is busy trying to stave off Africans, who are fighting me”. It is so amazing why many of the oppressed would fight those trying to free them from the oppressors. Maybe this is limited to Africa, no one can tell.
Jagun Jagun is a 2023 movie written and produced by Nigerian Nollywood actor Femi Adebayo. The reigning Yoruba epic movie was directed by Adebayo Tijani and Tope Adebayo.
Jagun Jagun is a movie that not only lived up to the hype, but surpassed it in every aspect. From its captivating storyline to its educative performances of each cast, this cinematic masterpiece offers viewers an incredible experience that is worth every minute, and a value for money.
One of the standout aspects of the movie is the important lesson it teaches through the art of war. The movie comprises epic battles, thrilling action sequences and deep rooted cultural references to convey crucial insightful messages of history, love, leadership, heritage, and betrayal.
It tells us the importance of good leadership, and the end result of bad leadership, a replica of ”if the righteous rules, the people rejoice”.
Hence, the story is about a warlord called Ogundiji, who is so powerful and clever in war strategies that young people from the neighbourhood villages come to learn war from him with expectations of going back and building a formidable force in their various villages against external Invaders.
Among these young people is Gbotija, the son of Lagbayi who has powers to talk to the trees of the forest. Gbotija after losing his parents to war, exhibited the bravery to learn the art of war from war veterans like Gbogunmi at Ogundiji war school.
Unfortunately, he got tangled with Ogundiji’s adopted daughter who admired him for his bravery and hatred for injustice. His ability to perform extra-ordinarily in every task given to him endeared him to many, but brought about envy and jealousy from Ogundiji, who felt threatened by the young warrior’s meteoric rise to stardom.
Ogundiji decided to tame the fly before it grows wings by imposing on Gbotija, three seemingly hardest tasks which includes killing his god-father, Gbogunmi.
Gbogunmi is one of Ogundiji foot soldiers, who is born to fight; he is a very good user of sword, and possesses a lot of charms. His offence was the failure to invade his in-laws’ town as commanded by Ogundiji, and the punishment for disobeying his master was to fight his adopted child Gbotija, who has found solace and affection in his sight.
At the end of the test, Gbotija triumphed, but he sadly lost the two persons who are dear to him, his god-father, and his lover Ogundiji’s adopted daughter, Iroyinogunkiitan who has been an agent of assassination for Ogundiji in the name of Agemo.
Agemo! When the finest students of the warlord fail in battle, when the war become unconquerable, Ogundiji calls on the masked- demon assassin called Agemo. Gbotija came back strong after he invaded and killed the people of Alaje while they were celebrating their Odun Aje and the death of his lover Iroyinogunkiitan, he came back to confront Ogundiji and killed him at the end.
The above is a replica of what is happening in our society, especially between Nigerian masses and the elites. Ogundiji here stands for Nigerian elites and politicians, while the young warriors are the willing tools they are using for their selfish interests.
The young warriors all left their various villages to learn war strategies, but after their efforts and strife there is no aroma of freedom, the only option they have is to keep fighting for Ogundiji or they face death.
Along the way, some of them will still be sent to invade the land they wanted to protect, and whenever the warlord feels threatened he kills his victim. It is a glaring fact that it is the masses the elites are using against the masses. It is not easy for one person to enslave thousands of people without the support of hundreds among those people.
Now, the important question that requires an answer is, who are those political thugs if not masses? Who is the ballot-box snatcher? It is the masses that kill masses for the elites.
Meanwhile, like Ogundiji’s the children of elites are safe in the couch of Adele (a woman king).
Gani Fawehinmi, Fela Kuti, Beeko Kuti, Wole Soyinka and lately Omoyele Sowore had been the vocal voices against the oppressors, but the same oppressed still called for their arrests.
Politicians like Ogundiji are brutal in their dealing, they locked us into their dungeon for refusing to invade their own Modede, and people like Wehinwo, who strived for our survival were still crucified by us.
Gbotija, while addressing the warriors about the cruelty of Ogundiji, said, “He gathered us all here and turn us into slaves. He manipulates young people, and uses them as he wishes. If any of us dare to be wise, you find a way to turn us against one another. What was his gain when he killed Gbogunmi? And all for what? We pay attention to the beginning of the events, but it’s harder to see where it will all end. Listen to me everyone. We all came here to learn how to fight, so that we can defend all our villages. But after we were done learning, we started fighting each other. Isn’t that so? Let me ask you, what did Alaje kingdom do to us to deserve such massacre? What did Wehinwo do, to deserve such death? Youths wake up! Kids, wake from your slumbers. Don’t let them keep using us as tools for the rich. And this bastards? They are like dogs who protect their puppies, but devour the offspring of grass cutters. Ask them all, where are your children? Where did you hide your children? While you turn us against ourselves.
It saddens the heart that after the clarity and evidence given by Gbotija, numbers of warriors still decided to fight for their oppressor, hence fighting against their freedom.
Religions, tribes, parties are the instruments of discord among the oppressed. We have seen a protest calling for good governance in Nigeria and a counter protest in support of the government, who are the counter protesters? The oppressed masses.
Until the masses stand up against their oppressors to fight for their own freedom, then the fight will move from being between the masses and the masses to between the elites and the masses.
Ojelabi writes from Ogbomoso. [email protected]