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I Had A Father (Series) By:- Jude Idada

I Had A Father (Series) By:- Jude Idada

…in the last year of my father’s life, he became a philosopher.

He would sit on his favourite chair in one of the living rooms with his favourite newspaper – The Guardian – reading one of his favourite columnists – Reuben Abati – Then he would look up and stare vacantly for a while, before he will call me to share in his new elucidation.

One day as I sat adjacent him, his eyes bright with a new philosophical awakening, he asked me…

“Jude, in the wild, which one of these is greatest, the lion, the antelope or the grass?”

I stared back at him squinting as though by some stroke of genius I would be able to read the right response from his bright smiling eyes.

He waited silently.

I thought deeply.

Finally I sighed before I spoke with hesitation.

“I will say… erhm…the… Lion.”


“He is the king of the jungle. He eats the antelope at will and tramples, pees and defecates on the grass and it can’t complain.”

He smiled.

“What is the one thing the lion and the antelope needs to stay alive?”


“What inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen?”

“The grass.”

“Which one is the greatest?”

I allowed his reasoning run amok in my head. I couldn’t deny the truth.

“The grass.”

“But the grass also needs the carbon dioxide the lion and the antelope exhales for it to survive.”

I frowned.

“Who is the greatest?”

I looked at his smiling face and saw the fingers on his right hand drumming out a beat on the armrest of his chair.

“None of them is greater than the other.”


He had awakened my curiosity and jumpstarted my thinking. He saw my eyes come alive and he smiled even broader.

“Speak Jude. Share your thoughts.”

I learned forward and spoke confidently.

“They all need each other. The grass feeds the antelope so that the antelope can excrete manure to nourish the soil and exhale carbon dioxide to nourish the air, a nourished air and soil ensures that the grass survives.”

“And the lion?”

“The lion not only exhales carbon dioxide and excretes to nourish the air and soil for the grass but it eats enough of the antelopes to ensure that there are not too many antelopes in existence at the same time.”


“Too many antelopes grazing at the same time will eat up all the grass and the leaves and barks of the trees, so much so that sooner or later there will be nothing left.”

“And if there is nothing left?”

I went silent as I thought on. Light bulbs came on.

“The soil will be loose because the roots of the grass and the trees will no longer be there to hold the soil together. When the wind blows it will carry the sand up in the air and cause sandstorms which will carry for miles and even destroy cities and villages. And when rains fall, the water will cause massive mudslides and erosion and those can also reach human settlements and kill people.”

“What if there are more lions than antelopes?”

“There would be disaster. It will be the beginning of the end.”

“So what has the lion learnt to do?”

“To eat only when he is hungry and ration his kill.”

“Do you see why there are fewer lions than there are antelopes and fewer antelopes than there is grass?”

I nodded.

“Like a pyramid?”

I nodded again.

“So between the lion, the antelope and the grass who is most responsible for the efficient functioning of the pyramid?”

“The lion.”


“Because it knows that if it fails in its task and eats too many or too few antelopes then it will bring about its very own destruction.”

“The lion leads, Jude. It is the King of the jungle not because it is the strongest but because it has the good sense to know that the balance has to be maintained, the interconnectedness protected so that the entire pyramid survives. Am I right?”

“Yes you are.”

“Just like the lions are few, so is it that the leaders are always few but followers many. A lion never aspires to be an antelope neither an antelope the grass. Each one knows their purpose. If there are any aspirations it is the other way around. Grass envious of the antelope and the antelope envious of the lion.”

He went quiet and stared at me for a moment.

Both of us silent.

“Are you a lion, Jude?”

I sat there gazing at him, communicating without words, understanding the angles, assimilating the lessons.

Then I responded.

“I am.”

He smiled and said in a cheerful whisper.

“Nature is counting on you to protect the pyramid of life, make her proud”

It has taken me years to understand what it means to truly be a lion.

And now that I know, i work hard every single day at being better at it.

Seeing when others are blind. Hearing when they are deaf. Speaking when they are dumb. Seeing the interconnectedness of actions and reactions Standing up to be counted when other sit. Understanding that sometimes the solution lies at the end of the inconvenient and not the convenient and that true love is sacrifice and full acceptance of what is different from you and total respect of everyone no matter their station in life because their existence somewhat affects yours.

The greatest lesson I have learnt since that day in the living room is that…

A lion doesn’t follow the mob or make excuses, a lion charts his own course through foresight, verifiable information and sound reasoning, he does even more than he talks, he adopts nature and all that exists naturally in it. He nurtures it to preserve the good, salvage the fallen and redeem the bad. And when all is said and done, a lion takes responsibility.


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Posted by:- on October 12, 2018.

Categories: Literature

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