The Power Cloak

Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

When Mr. L moved from his former secondary school to GSL, he didn’t anticipate the warm welcome he would get from the students of this new school. What was not to like about him? His smooth skin was so enchanting like rich dark chocolate, his teeth were like little crystals set in his mouth and they almost reflected the lights when he flashed his killer smile. His white uniform was almost angelic white and he was a sucker for neatness. Maybe he had OCD at that point. He was also a natural leader with a great sense of humour.

He joined the church choir and teamed up with senior Bibi to run the choir like an army. You could almost call him a pastor. He was friendly and articulate. Everyone loved him. Time passed and it was the period to choose prefects. What do you know? He was one of the chosen ones. The whole school cheered when he was announced and he ran up to shake the hands of the teachers. There was a new angle to the story as he was a senior prefect and he had an assistant as the school gave time for everyone to act in their capacity before giving them badges.

Mr. L quickly stepped up to the plate. He took his role so seriously that the once gentle fellow began to wield the belt like a samurai. If anyone refused to abide by the rules, he whipped common sense into them and added punishments where necessary to drive home the point. After two weeks, the chosen ones were once again presented to the whole school but this time with a new narrative. Mr. L would no longer be the Senior Prefect, he would now be the assistant Senior Prefect. If he was disappointed, he didn’t show it. Instead, he looked relieved like the Principal had just saved him from himself; maybe he had. He slowly became his normal self and people warmed up to him again.

On the flip side of this coin was the one called Senior No Prefect. He was a young man who wasn’t really liked by anyone. The fact that he made the prefectship role his life goal further deepened that hate many had for him. As the season of choosing new prefects drew nigh, he went on a frolic of his own, trying to beat students and display mediocre leadership skill built on force and noise. Of course, the students refused to be intimidated by his prowess with the belt. When the list came out, his name didn’t find a space there. Many laughed at him, others ridiculed him and his strong back failed him as he quickly became a docile lamb who disappeared into the crowd every chance he got.

What is the difference between these two? One allowed his passion for good leadership to strip him of his patience which had endeared people to him in the first place and the other acted from a place of desperation and got resistance from those who saw through his smokescreen. Fortunately, the first was able to retrace his steps while the second quickly disappeared when his game plan went up in flames.

Let’s bring this home, people. This thing called power is like sweet wine; it intoxicates. It is not only about having good people in positions of power, ensuring that they are accountable will go a long way to keep them on the right path. Now you see why absolute power is not given to one man. Many who massaged the brains of their followers by making promises they have not been able to keep, prove this statement as true or maybe the followers misunderstood what they were told. Sadly, the so-called checks and balances aka the judiciary & the house of reps have not fared well considering that they are also men who are eager to fill their pockets with money from the highest bidders/country’s coffers.

To this end, we must not only vote in accountable people. We must also ensure that the checks and balances -the house of reps is made up of people who have the nation’s best interest at heart. This is not the time to say “he is my brother or my sister”. The collective good must be placed above personal desires. And for the “senior no prefects” among them, if we as the electorates put on our thinking cap and face them; they won’t even be able to get close to the seat of power.

Think about it.

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Folakemi Philips

#Brand Builder #Pen Pro #Marketing Strategist #Creative Coach. Crafts #Content+Copy+Strategy+Film. She teaches #storytelling as a tool for changing narratives.