By Morak Babajide Alabi
He is the Giant. And not called a giant for fun sake. The potentials of his big frame were discovered early in his life. He walked heads and shoulders far above others born around the same time as he was.
He appeared brave everywhere he showed up and in a short while, became the protector of mates, young and old, defending them from abusers and oppressors.
His frame was of a good advantage to which he made use of. He was a good farmer of yams, cocoa, groundnuts, cassava, oranges, beans etc. As a giant, he was also endowed with supernatural powers which enabled him to sense where he could explore for resources. Day and night, he was probing into the dry places, seeking new opportunities. Not too long, he struck a pot of gold that was hidden somewhere deep down in the ground.
He soon discovered there was more than one pot of gold. He worked, digging and exploring and in the process uncovering many more pots. He could not believe his luck, as it seemed every step took him farther into wealth. The world was now at his feet and he could do anything he wanted.
Sooner his fame became known far and wide for he was a generous man who liked looking after others. He would travel south, east, west and north of his base, dishing out cash and aids. He became the benefactor of many brothers and sisters who could not stand for themselves. They looked unto him in their struggles to free themselves from the shackles of their masters who had held them captive and vowed not to let them go.
Everywhere the ‘Giant’ went, he was hailed. He wined and dined with princes and princesses all over the world. Some of them, after hearing about his riches decided to come visiting to see themselves. From the Americas, Europe, Asia they came to see the new wonder kid. The ‘Giant’ was on the same wavelength as the powerful kids of the world.
Not too long the ‘Giant’ became cocky. He started bragging about his connections, his wealth and how he has more money than sense. Systematically, he replaced his trusted aides with not so smart friends, wives, small-time thieves, swindlers, prostitutes, touts, school drop outs etc. He enlarged his retinue of hangers-on, freebooters and freeloaders. They were clapping and hailing every step of his.
He would not listen to advice to invest so he could have a secured future. He was more of a man of the moment who cared less about the future. Then the word went out that the ‘Giant’ had gone crazy as some bolts had gone loose in his head. The world watched in total amazement how the ‘Giant’s cronies who should be advising him were stealing him blind.
The barns were burgled, while the pots of gold started disappearing. The cronies took the cows homes so they could milk them in their bedrooms. It saved time. They, rather than bank the proceeds in the commonwealth, were sending them abroad for personal investments.
The economic allies of the ‘Giant’ could not believe their eyes and ears. They took drastic measures to curb these excesses, but he still refused to listen. As a result of the dexterity in stealing, the ‘Giant’s economy started to crumble. He began to fail in his responsibilities and had to run to agencies for loans, overdrafts, and support. The conditions were stringent, but the ‘Giant’ had little or no choice. He had to devalue his worth, and adjust many things structurally.
Despite all these measures, his cronies continued stealing from the commonwealth. They cared less where the money had come from. They had to build mansions and estates and buy modern SUVs and private jets. The relations of the ‘Giant’ were feeling the pain, as poverty became their second nature. The ones who could flee the ‘Giant’s territory moved on. They had to make ends meet and where else to look unto than far away, where they could do all sorts of jobs without anyone complaining about how menial they are.
The ‘Giant’ had fallen. It was a massive fall. In the process, he had broken one or two bones. He looked around suggestively for a helping hand to get up, but there was none. His little crowd of cronies gathered around him, but as usual, they were more interested in what they could pick from his pockets than helping him up.
The crowd far off jeered and booed, in clear signal that he was on his own. They conversed among themselves that they saw this coming and had warned him way back that his strength was fading. This ‘Giant’ no longer has any self-awareness and lacking in pride, as he laid on the floor next to a muddy puddle. You could see the cry for help in his eyes, but none was coming at this time. Who will rouse the ‘Giant’ from this coma? One by one the individuals standing by closed in on him.
They crowded around him in a circle. But instead of helping him up, they started “the process” of “dismembering” – picking his pockets. One by one, they dispossessed him of his wallet, shirt, hat, socks, shoes, trousers, shorts and singlet.
He was powerless. He was naked. He was in shame. The cronies turned and dispersed into the night. The ‘Giant’ was left at the mercy of natural elements. From a distance, an old man stepped forward, in a white flowing garb holding a broom in his right hand. He definitely had been hiding, watching the ‘Giant’ got “raped” and violated.
He moved deftly forward, looked left and right to be sure no one was watching him. What would he do with the broom? Maybe there was a magical power in the broom, which would raise the ‘Giant’ from the slumber. Will he save him? Will he pull him up, clothe him and rehabilitate him? There was a flicker of light in the Giant’s eyes, thinking finally a saviour has come for him.
Hope! He opened his mouth but no words came out. He needed not say a word. There seemed to be a connection between the old man and the Giant. He walked around him gingerly. Knelt down beside him and gently rolled him sideways. He lifted the ‘Giant’s left hand and slowly but assuredly removed the big gold ring in his middle finger. The only thing of value left on this waste of a Giant.
The old man got up, sobbing uncontrollably; and slowly put the ring in his pocket as he walked off from the scene, without a single glance back. He could not have done much for the ‘Giant’, as he himself looked feeble and not in a good place to help him to his feet.
In his misery, the ‘Giant’ was left wondering what had happened. His hope of ever getting off his backside was gone. The man he thought was going to rescue him had abandoned him and left him to his fate. Baffled by the sobs of the old man, he wondered if they were of guilt. Guilty sobs that he could not save the ‘Giant’, and of disappointment in himself?
Who will save this Giant?
This article was first published in this column on October 29, 2017.