*By Ishowo Oluwatosin
In a faraway land, at the backyard of Mr. Toyin Ishola, there exists a small community of cats, pet cats and stray cats all meet to hold important meetings and share their respective experience in the hands of their masters. Among these cats, there exist two top cats namely Fred and Spiff who rose to the admiration of many other innocent and ordinary cats, whose sole dream was to put food on their table and live a happy life.
The dreams of these cats were clear and simple. Fred is the first to lead these cats, but his decisions meet unfair criticisms from Spiff and his sympathizers, who feel because Fred is a stray cat, he doesn’t have the right and legitimacy to rule over other cats who have masters. Yet, all Fred ever wants is a peaceful and prosperous relationship amidst creatures of his kind. All he wants, so desperately, is to lead them to the kind of life they want to live. He knows and understands that liberty is not given but gained; he is desperately searching for a new land where his kinds will be safe and free. He believes his job is to take them where they ought to be, not where they want to be.
However, those dreams are not collectively shared among his people, they are the tool to usurp him and assassinate those passionate and genuine dreams. His power is similar to that of a consul in the old Roman republic, in fact, very close to that of Julius Caesar, he is all in all except a King because he has a way of inspiring passion and commitment, and some people genuinely love and adore him, but that is not enough, the people are recruited against him.
Here is Fred, a cat whom revolutionary thoughts and ideas on what liberty should be, and there is Spiff who promised to create a better world where everyone will be equal, where the one man doesn’t have to make all decisions on behalf of many, larger parts of the cat’s population key into this dream, how wonderful would a world where their voice determines the action of their leader? Such thought is provoking and inspiring.
On a sunny afternoon, Spiff leads a group of rebels who fell out of favour with Fred and passionate citizens who are conned to believe in the kind of world Spiff intends to create. The community is seized, Fred is successfully overthrown and ran deep into the forest with his family for safety and the humiliation of a leader, nearly a King living among the commoners. He is not to be seen except for a few who knew where he lives deep in the forest, he can no longer trust anybody. He is dispirited and lacked motivation.
The world has changed, Spiff is now in power. Yet, everything has changed except the people, who still reminisce about the era of Fred, the kind of liberty they enjoyed, the type of dream Fred had, his burning passion for prosperity. They soon realized that Spiff isn’t truly about the people, it is all about using the situation to justify his ambition to be King, even Spiff himself doesn’t know or understand how a better world is built. Unfortunately, he was equally long prepared for the disgrace of being labelled a tyrant by his people.
The problem isn’t Fred or Spiff, it is the other cats that don’t know what they truly want and now that there are cat hunters in town, here is Spiff, a leader whose only wits is how to stay in power and even if other cats are dying, food must get to the leader’s table, no matter what happens, the business of government must continue. Fred is deep in the forest, blaming himself for believing that people are to be followed and not led, and here is Spiff whose belief is premiered on people are to be led not followed. The followed and the led are the other cats, which one do they truly want? No one knows.
However, Fred is consoled while reading “Allegory of the Cave” written by Plato, it was gifted to him by his father, it was there he discovers that when a particular person finds a greater knowledge outside the cave of human understanding and seeks to share it as his duty, the foolishness of those who would ignore him is championed by the belief that they – themselves are educated enough.
*ISHOWO Isiaq Oluwatosin