Feature: Pharaohs outdo their predecessors, would Tinubu outdo his predecessor?


By Ayo Akinfe


Once upon a time African politics evolved around every pharaoh seeking to be better than his predecessor. Let us see if Tinubu is aware of this

[1] Egypt’s Giza Pyramid contains a bust of Pharaoh Khufu, the second monarch of the Fourth Dynasty. He built the most lasting legacy in Ancient Egypt. In Nigeria, monuments built by Tafawa Balewa have collapsed but Pharaoh Khufu’s legacy has lasted nearly 50,000 years

[2] Pharaoh Khufu succeeded his father Sneferu as king and sought to achieve more than him. Back then, the tradition was that every pharaoh wanted to build bigger and more prestigious pyramids than his predecessor

[3] Because the pharaoh was buried in the pyramid he built, it became a tradition to want to have the best tomb and resting place. This is how we ended up with the Valley of Kings, full of massive monuments and legacies that last until this day

[4] The Giza Pyramid is the oldest of the seven wonders of the Ancient World and the only one to remain largely intact. Unlike the other wonders like the Statue of Rhodes, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Tomb of Mausolus, the Giza Pyramid was built of stone, so lasted

[5] One thing that has always fascinated me about Ancient Egypt was that the pharaohs never accepted failure as an option. Some pharaohs ended up building three pyramids until they got a befitting tomb

[6] Things came to a head with Pharaoh Ramsses the Great. He covered the land from the Delta to Nubia with buildings in a way no monarch before him had and also founded a new capital city in the Nile Delta. Monument construction has never been the same since. He taught the world how to do great things with stone

[7] Ramsses’ memorial temple, known today as the Ramesseum, was just the beginning of Pharaoh Ramsses obsession with building. When he built, he did so on a scale unlike almost anything before

[8] Lamurudu, Oduduwa’s father is believed to have led a band of priests from Ancient Egypt. It is believed that he brought with him an obelisk, which he erected at Ile-Ife. However, it appears he was just a cleric and not as mason, as Lamurudu did not build any monuments, buildings, temples or statues in Ile-Ife. I suspect there were no masons in his entourage

[9] However what happened to the principle of one monarch wanting to outdo the other? Oranmiyan expanded his grandfather’s empire, moving the capital to Oyo from Ile Ife and his son Shango, expanded the empire further. After that, this practise of wanting to better your predecessor just ended mysteriously

[10] Why is each Nigerian governor not trying to attract more foreign investment than the other and why is each president not trying build bigger monuments than his predecessor? Were I in Bola Tinubu’s shoes, I would try to outdo all past Nigerian presidents put together


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