By Bolaji O. Akinyemi
In ancient literature, it is quite often natural to see the eagle mistaken for the vulture. The similarity in their physical appearance not withstanding, the Creator marked them out distinctly.
The eagle is a flier like no other. High trees are too low a place for its dwelling and the branches too weak to bear its nest. This far sighted bird dwell in the munitions of mountains and the pinnacle of high hills. With its fovea at 45 degrees, it can see ahead and view its sides simultaneously to spot preys the size of a rabbit about 5 kilometres away.
Graced with skills to hunt, swift and agile, hardly can any prey escape the eagle at a horizontal speed of 130 kilometres per hour, and the ability to soar at between 240-320 kilometres. In fact, the eagle can fly as high as 10,000 feet just to avoid rainfall. Strong sighted, the eagle can look at the sun and fly directly towards it without losing balance, carriage or posture.
Not limited to hunting preys on the ground, the eagle with strength so massively deployed through incredible grip of its talons, can swoop on life fishes 10 times its size and carry them to safety for dinner. The eagle is a bird so graced!
The vulture takes the nature of the eagle, but only in appearance. Like the eagle, nature grants the vulture the Creator’s ability to eat flesh. But unlike the eagle without any skill or ability whatsoever to hunt. It is thus deprived of all the graces that make the eagle exceptional.
Vultures are therefore subjected to a lifetime of dependency as they have to trail other predators to feed on their leftovers. The putrefying places of fallen humans and animals are therefore the natural gatherings for vultures.
Human life is sometimes juxtaposed between the nature of the eagle and the vulture. Some are so graced to have things within their reach with little effort while others are deprived and so confined to a life of dependency.
By all standards, the Late Abba Kyari was an eagle. He dwelt at the munitions of the Presidency higher than other privileged “birds” on the Aso Rocks. He was intelligent and swift. Graced with sight, at one gaze he could explore the Sahel and the Lagoon and decide their fate with the tap of a finger.
200 million human “vultures” were at his mercy. From the South East, the South West, and the South South, the “vultures” in need of daily meal came crying to him. The North East, the North West and the North Central can only feed on the crumbs that is left by the eagle at the Villa and so daily have to make the distance.
But the eagle at the Villa is selective and so had to pick the “vultures” that will feed on the leftovers. Preferred are vultures of the Sahel! And like vultures on the carcasses, they flocked after him for leftovers. Others not so privileged are driven back to their regions to repeat same process in the hope of survival.
But how fixated nature can be! Having had its course on the eagle, it fell to nature. Fallen and unburied bodies are the meal for the vultures. The eagle fell with no leftovers and the vultures descended upon its carrion. For where the carcasses are there the vultures will gather!
I read with pain and amusement the struggle of Aisha the daughter of Abba Kyari to dignify the memories of her father before us and drive away the vultures feeding on his carcass. Much as she tried, with graceful prose and literary lines to make eagles out of our vultures, it was too late.
Aisha wanted us to have her feel of a father who provided fatherhood so glowingly painted: a lover of education, well read and who bequeathed same ivory legacy of learning to his children; but not the “vultures” of out of school children that swam the North East.
Unlike Gambari, Abba Kyari came clean to the saddle at a beautiful 62 years of his life and all were wiped out in the last five years. The vultures that gathered around his carcass ate up the beautiful records and left his ugly skeleton for time and eternity to behold. From this must Gambari take his lesson!
Unlike Abba, he is coming to duty with an inglorious past, but the end of a matter is better than its beginning. We can only hope that this eagle will use the next 3 years to wipe out his past 75 years.
By all standards, Professor Ibrahim Gambari is an eagle of a high flying altitude than his predecessor. His academic qualifications speak volume. His exposure on the global stage is second to none; a player of repute in the diplomatic game at the highest level.
All of these achievements cannot erase the frailties of the human nature. Gambari must be reminded he is an old eagle. He cannot navigate storms with strength like he once did. Wisdom are the take of eagles at old age. Then it is time to break off old beaks and feathers, grow new talons and choose preys carefully. Preys once wrestled with ease may now wrestle them down.
Prof. must never forget that if the young eagle dropped and the vulture gathered, this older eagle will also one day drop and the vultures will eat up its carrion.
He must therefore tread carefully for that day will surely come. May it not be in the course of this duty and may he find grace to finish the race of life well.