The Embedded Lessons in Chief Daddy
There is a way in which one can see a parody of Nigeria in the movie, ‘Chief Daddy’: the chaos caused by having numerous children from different women who were not aware of the existence of one another, the dysfunctionality in the family that bred corruption and the mutual suspicions and recriminations that rendered difficult the unity of purpose without which there could neither be peace nor prosperity. Even with the prospect of enormous wealth to be shared through collaborative efforts, each of the characters would rather cut a deal with their individual greed trumping the collective need.
But perhaps the bigger lesson in the movie is that enduring wealth is one worked for; not one based on the expectations of some inheritance which is why any nation that builds its annual budget on “oil benchmark” rather than the productive capacity of its citizens is imperilled. Besides, when the defining ethos of a society makes it easier for the individual to compromise to get by, than enthrone a system that protects all, building a functioning society would most likely be a mirage. That, I guess, is the story of our country today.
Before I get ahead of myself, let me say very quickly that the foregoing interpretation of the latest movie from Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Films is simply a product of my own imagination. I therefore plead the forgiveness of readers. That is what too much pounded yam and ‘Ikonko’ delicacy (close your eyes, egbon Mouftah Baba-Ahmed) in my beloved Kwara State can do to you. ‘Chief Daddy’ is not a political movie nor is the storyline about corruption in Nigeria, it is an interesting comedy movie made for the holiday season that we are in.
The story is woven around a wealthy businessman by name Chief Beecroft but better known as Chief Daddy who did not deny himself any of the pleasures that money could buy. Upon his death, the disparate members of the family he left behind were now confronted with the reality of his multiple lives. I am sure many of us have heard or read stories of some men who supposedly had one wife and about four or five children until they die after which some wives begin to surface while the number of children suddenly multiply into dozens.
What I like about the ‘Chief Daddy’ is that unlike some otherwise good Nollywood movies of recent times, the scenes are not only believable, they reflect the everyday Nigerian reality. In ‘Chief Daddy’, which has an A-list cast, Folarin Falana aka Falz was marvellous in his role and so were Ini Edo, Patience Ozokwor, Funke Akindele, Joke Kate Henshaw, Rachel Oniga, Joke Silva and others. And when you have the inimitable Nkem Owoh in the house, you know you must laugh. The ingenuity of the writer is also brought to bear in how a bank was advertised in the movie in such an inoffensive manner that even enhances the plot.
At the end, the take-away from the movie is that those who built their entire existence waiting for the day they would inherit stupendous wealth from ‘Chief Daddy’ were eventually confronted with the reality that there was no cash to share. But the deceased also left them with enormous potentials that could ultimately guarantee stupendous wealth, provided they all bury their individual egos and work for the prosperity that was possible. Discharging such a huge burden, as I stated earlier, parodies the story of Nigeria; after all, “individual commitment to a group effort”, according to Vince Lombardi, “is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
Meanwhile, since I know my very readers very well, I am almost certain many of them will consider this piece as nothing but self-indulgence, especially at a period the banditry in Zamfara State is getting out of hand with dozens of innocent villagers now being killed almost on a daily basis. Besides, from reports coming in recent days, it would seem that the Boko Haram insurgents have also perfected the art of laying ambush for our soldiers. In her piece, ‘Zamfara, Our Conscience’ published in Daily Trust yesterday, Jamila Abubakar wrote on how both the Nigerian authorities and the political elite have failed the people.
Zamfara, according to Abubakar, “is our damaged conscience as a nation. It is the flag of failure to honour the promise by our leaders to provide us security. Zamfara is not a northern problem. It is a national warning against a pattern that narrows the influence of the Nigerian state, and widens the specter of living under the order of organized, criminal violence.”
While the widening ungoverned spaces in the country should be of concern to all critical stakeholders, they should not rob us of hope, especially in a season such as this. In her Christmas message on Tuesday, the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, spoke to how the wisdom that comes with longevity compels a recognition of “some of life’s baffling paradoxes, such as the way human beings have a huge propensity for good, and yet a capacity for evil.” But she also added: “Even the power of faith which frequently inspires great generosity and self-sacrifice can fall victim to tribalism. But through the many changes I have seen over the years: faith, family, and friendship have been not only a constant for me, but a source of personal comfort and reassurance.”
In this holiday season, while we are not in denial of the enormous challenges confronting us a nation, a little fun is also not a bad idea and that is why ‘Chief Daddy’ comes highly recommended. There are some powerful lines in the movie, perhaps none more so than the one delivered by the wife (and professional partner) of the lawyer to the late Chief Beecroft (played by Dakore Egbuson-Akande) to her husband (played by Richard Mofe-Damijo) in the car when going to the residence of Chief Daddy to read the Will. “When the time comes”, she said with so much cynicism, “I wonder who is going to be making this kind of calls for you.”
I wish all my readers a prosperous year 2019!
Wedding Without the Bride: The Missing Details
By Segun Babatope
My dear Segun,
l read your piece, https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2018/12/19/wedding-without-the-bride-20-years-later/, with nostalgic interest. Your power of recall and nose for details after two decades is unassailable. Congrats for the journey thus far, with added felicitations for the glorious future ahead of you and Tosin. I am assured that you will continue to steer the path of the Lord so that He might fulfil His Superior and elevated desires for the two of you.
However, much as you tried to wholesomely recall the build-up to your conjugal union with Tosin, there yet remains a missing gap which must not be glossed over. And I am not talking about the caterer that came late at the reception (after many guests had left without being served any food) or the fact that, following the apprehension by Tosin about missing the church marriage proper, I performed my pastoral duty by joining the two of you shortly before the reception ceremony which I also chaired. I can understand your leaving out those details.
I am all the more persuaded and emboldened to contribute to this discourse because you brought it to the public domain and because, as you pointed out, l played more than a peripheral role in your unfolding journey through life. You surely couldn’t have sent me to Tosin’s dad as that would have amounted to an affront on your part and a blissful demonstration of self-management which clearly flies-in-the-face of our cherished Christian convictions.
Unknown to you, and as l also discovered after the visitation, l was simply under divine compulsion to so do. Mr Oladepo Salami (Tosin’s dad) who later became my friend by proxy, was simply austere in receiving me. He didn’t offer me a seat throughout my stay and took his time before responding to my somewhat “egregious” request. He was not hostile though. I got away with the impression of a family head whose word was law. I graciously challenged that and got away with it.
Segun, you forgot the fact that it took several months before Tosin’s dad opened up a discussion with you two. What happened thereafter, culminating in your marriage only a few months later was simply a dramatization of a script written from above. I vividly remember that around June that year, l had met Tosin and l asked if her dad had responded to the request l made to him. To my utter surprise, she said no. I then told her that l would repeat the visit to drive home my point. Tosin stoutly advised against it for a salutary consideration that has remained permanently etched in my memory ever since.
According to her, the waiting period had proven a learning curve in her understanding of the sacred tenets of the holy estate of matrimony as detailed by God. Until that period, she had held a rather secular and perfunctory notion of a marital union like most of our women hold, in which both husband and wife are no more than play mates in a relationship that is conveniently misinterpreted as social and cultural, than the sacred and mystic union that the Almighty designed it to be. To her, it had taken the preceding months for God to steer her away from such pernicious notion.
Hearing such uncommon words from the peculiar lips of a young lady who was barely 24 years old at that time, was rather stunning and a massive surprise. Her unusual comments quite naturally elicited an emotional reaction from me. Mercifully, she did not notice.
The summary of my addendum is simply this: Your path with Tosin, and all that you recalled in your piece last week, is a deft orchestration of God to accomplish an eminent divine purpose in your life. Yours is neither an accident of history nor a random error as most mortals presume. It is a gradual build-up towards a defined objective by God. I do hope and pray that you will humbly allow Him. Thank God that He has blessed you immensely. Yet, God’s sacred marital union is by far greater than the appurtenances of marriages as we mortal men understand.
You must therefore allow the hallowed spiritual resources that God is gradually and massively building up in you for the pursuit of His greater glory and the benefit of mankind. Please learn from Zechariah and Elizabeth. Take a lesson or two from Acquilla and Priscilla. You will be wiser for it. Every blessing, my son, with fond regards to Tosin and the children.
• Babatope, former chairman of the editorial board of Concord Press, is a Pastor at the Deeper Life Bible Church
• You can follow me on my Twitter handle, @Olusegunverdict and on www.olusegunadeniyi.com