Passion kills, passion saves, by Clement oluwole

To be passionate about something is to have a very strong interest in it and like it very much.
That is the general definition of the word ‘passion’.
As humans, we all have passion for one thing or another.
Some have passion for work, sports, adventure, service to humanity, studies and discovery.
Yet, others have passion for movies, travelling, singing, dancing and partying a la ‘owambe’… must I go on? Then, there are those that have passion for all manner of vices such as theft, rape, dishonesty, kidnapping, lying, disloyalty, judasism (betrayal). I don’t know what you are passionate about. While some passions can save, others can kill. Take the unfortunate tragedy that befell the nine National Youth Corps members that got drowned…… picnicking along River…..
last Saturday for instance. Their passion for adventure cost them their lives. It is a painful loss to their families and the nation they served.
I can see you are beginning to wonder what I have passion for. Some passions are inborn, while some are acquired through the company you keep or the environment you are exposed to.
I grew to discover I had passion for three things, namely football, movies and hunting.
So passionate was I in hunting that I nearly chopped off my left leg! Regular followers of this column will recall an account I have rendered about the near tragedy.
As the head hunter, I had manned the emergency exit of a bush rat which the Yoruba call ‘okete’. This was done after all the other entrances into the rat’s abode had been blocked, leaving another route to drive in the smoke.
I had in my hunting gang four other kids.
As the smoking was going on, I positioned myself to strike with a glittering machete raised above my head.
A fat bush rat soon coughed its way into the open. I swiftly brought the machete down as the escapee ran between my legs. I missed the animal but got my leg.
Not minding the pain, we all fanned out after the rat and eventually hunted it down.
The thought that I would have become what the Hausa call ‘gurgu’ (one-legged man) still haunts me till date.
Also in my childhood, my passion for movies nearly cost me my life but the passion for football came to my rescue.
I could well be described as a movie slave. In my days, the only outlets to watch films were cinema houses.
It is unlike today that you can watch movies from the comfort of your homes, all day long and all night long.
Odion Cinema was the nearest movie house to my school in Kumasi, Ghana, where I was born.
There were usually afternoon movies shown between 12 noon and 1.30 pm. And I was a regular goer because the break time fell within that period.
There was this movie of the exploits of Robin Hood.
The clips of the movie or coming attraction as they called it in those days ran for days. Robin Hood was such an epic movie that I swore to myself that any day it would be shown, no Jupiter would stop me… even if it meant missing classes.
So, on the day marked for the movie, I took off from the school and raced to the Odion Cinema.
On getting to a familiar neighbourhood which was my normal route, l heard some folks announcing the presence of a thief in another location nearby.
As I continued with my sprinting, a group of people emerged from nowhere, mistook me for the fleeing felon and massed after me.
At first, I wanted to stop running since I was not a thief but when I saw the cutlasses, shovels, sticks they were wielding and shouting ‘ewi, ewi, ewi’, (meaning ‘thief, thief, thief’ in Twi language), I decided against the idea for fear that I might become a victim of Jedwood justice which prescribes killing the suspect first and trying him afterwards.
Soon, the Yoruba joined screaming ‘ole, ole, ole’.
The Hausa completed the chase, shouting ‘barawo, barawo, barawo’ and the atmosphere was fully charged.
I gathered more speed, running so fast you would think my tiny legs were not touching the ground. Then, a Godzilla of a man suddenly manifested ahead of me.
He stood on my path, lowered his height and spread out his enormous arms as though he wanted to catch a fowl. At first, I panicked, thinking my end had come. But my football sense came alive.
I ran towards the man quite alright.
In doing so, I gave him the impression that there was no escape for me. He relaxed. And just as I was within his grip, I feinted to his left (like Pele would do) and swept past him to the right like Usain Bolt.
He folded his empty arms around his chest, lost his balance and hit the ground with a loud thud. I did not bother to look back. My pursuers must have marveled at my sense of deception.
As I thinned out of their sight, I heard them shouting desperately: ‘ema nu nko o’, meaning ‘don’t let him escape o’. Fortunately for me, the neighbourhood was quiet because most of the residents had gone out in search of their daily bread.
The good thing was that I knew the environment like the back of my hand. So, I took my pursuers to a moat along the route.
As soon as I crossed the moat to the other side, I yanked off the plank and escaped to safety. I watched them from afar as they were stranded.
All they could do was to swear at me in sheer frustration. I swore back at them too as I backpedalled.
I arrived at the Odion Cinema right on time to watch the movie. If my pursuers were the Jupiter that plotted to stop me from savouring Robin Hood and his men in action, they failed! After the show, I embarked on what could be described as an Israelite journey back home that lasted more than an hour and a half instead of 15 minutes of walk in a bid to avoid being spotted by my pursuers.
I could not make it back to school that day because it was late.
When I got back home, I asked some of my friends if any report was lodged at the school that one of the ‘thieving’ pupils escaped lynching.
My tell-tale uniform must have given me away.
They said no such report came.
It could be that the real thief was eventually caught.
All told, in pursuing our passion, we should factor in safety.
Some passions could turn out to be apple of Sodom… nice to behold but goes up in smoke when bitten.

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