Seduction – which is the ability to attract or win somebody over is as old as humanity. In the Christian holy writ, we are told of the story of how the serpent who represents the devil went into the garden of Eden and indulged Eve in seductive communication that eat the “forbidden fruit” that God instructed should not be eaten.
With the spirit of seduction entering Eve through the serpent, she was able to convince her husband Adam to taste the forbidden fruit with her. Enraged at the disobedience of Adam and Eve, God directed the Angels to chase them away from the beautiful garden, that was supposed to be their everlasting abode.
There was also the story of how Julius Caesar was having meeting with his generals in the Egyptian palace deliberating on military strategies when a guard barged in to inform the gathering of a Greek merchant who was at the door to present a big gift to the powerful leader. The great Caesar craving for fun granted the Greek merchant request to see him.
The Greek merchant entry was dramatic, as he came carrying on his shoulder a large rolled-up carpet, which when he undid the rope around the bundle with a snap of his wrist appeared Cleopatra who was hidden inside and who rose up half clothed before the gathering.
Cleopatra appearing like a venus emerging from the wave got the gathering tongue-tied and sent Caesars emotion on fire as the great Roman leader instantly fell flat for the Cleopatra enchantress. Caesar who before this time had a good number of mistresses that warmed his bed had to settle only for Cleopatra who had captured his heart.
A particular story comes to mind in discussing about seduction and that is how Josephine de Beauharnais had a firm grip on Emperor Napoleon Bonapate heart that the strong general almost became a pawn in her chessboard. In view of the seductive power of this widow, emperor Bonarparte had to tie the nuptial knot with her.
While in northern Italy, fighting the Austrians, Napoleon created out time to write the woman who had subdued his emotion, penning down such poetic lines as “you are the constant object of my thought” and my “imagination exhausts itself in guessing what you are doing”. Napoleon’s generals at the warfront were disturbed as they often saw the great soldier spending hours writing letters, or admiring the portrait of Josephine which he wore around his neck.
Seducers are also found in large numbers among the male folks as history has revealed in the early 1880s in Rome there was the story of Gabriele D Anunzio, a newspaper reporter, who inspite of being short and ugly had the opposite sex falling for him like pack of cards. His magic wand was his voice which had alliterative phrases, charming locution, poetic images and a way of offering praises that could melt a woman’s heart.
In her testimonial to D Annuzio power of seduction the great dancer Isadora Duncan had this to say: “perhaps the most remarkable lover of our time is Gabriele D Annuzio.
And this notwithstanding that he is small, bald, and except when his face lights up with enthusiasm, ugly.
But when he speaks to a woman he likes, his face is transfigured, so that he suddenly becomes Apollo. His effect on women is remarkable. The lady he is talking to suddenly feels that her very soul and being are lifted”.
In the city of st. peterburg in 1905, a super seducer in the person of Grigori Efimovich Rasputin became the toast of many ladies, even when he had an ugly face when women visited his apartment he would talk to them of spiritual issues, and the next moment turn sexual, by whispering the crassest come-ons. Validating his moral behaviour with spiritual dogma: how can you repent if you have not sinned? Salvation only comes to those who go astray.
One of the women who jettisoned his advances was quizzed by a fellow woman, “how can one refuse anything to a saint?” does a saint need sinful love”? she replied . Then retorted the woman, ‘He makes everything that comes near him holy. I have already belonged to him, and I am proud and happy to have done so”. “But you are married! What does your husband say?” “he consider it a very great honour”.
If Rasputin desires a woman we all think a blessing and distinction, our husbands as well as ourselves” the writer is sure of God forbid” running in the mind of the reader, but that is the effect of super seduction.
The historical excavation as to the power of seduction is not limited to relationship of the sexes as it extends to politics – where politicians are in the business of winning over supporters to their side, and for them to ride on to power or remain in power as they case may be.
In Russia, for example, the man who led the October revolution of 1917 that brought the Bolshevick communist party into power was in a class of his own when it came to political seduction. He was a powerful orator who laced his speeches with ideological phases, peasant aphorism and revolutionary slogans that had hypnotic effect on the crowd. America also have given the world political figures who have entered into the pantheon of immotality with their power of seduction that leaves the crowd spell bound each time they delivered a speech.
Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, John f. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all had a gift of the garb that gave them an edge over others.
For Barack Obama, it was his intimidating oratory and his campaign slogan “change” has to come to America that resonated with the American electorate.
Coming home, Nigeria is equally blessed with political figures who understands the language of political seduction and deploys it to their political advantage. The late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe for example was so blessed with the power of words that each time he addressed a crowd the response of “zik” rented the air.
Chief Awolowo with his message of “free education” which saw many westerners having basic education was able to endear himself to the Yorubas that he enjoyed cult followership while alive and memory being respected, several years after his demise.
The late Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe, popularly known as K. O. was so good with manipulation of words that he was the darling of the electorate during his lifetime. Even when Dr. Mbadiwe lost in the contest to become former President Shehu Shagari’s running mate to Dr. Alex Ekwueme, he was made an ambassador plenipotenary in recognition of his political stature.
Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, of the blessed memory equally was a great student of political seduction. The former political adviser to President Shehu Shagari and former Senate President could grab any crowd attention as what usually follows it’s the rent of oyi! oyi!! oyi!!! each time he addressed a crowd.
Beyond oratory, Nigerian politicians have taken more to trafficking in promises that could best be described as make-belief and also looking for a way of getting the voters through their stomach with distribution of money and all kinds of items. In Ekiti and Osun we have seen Nigerian politicians demonstrating their political seductive skills.
After 2015 harvest of promises, the political seducers are it gain as 2019 general election draws near with sweet messages and stomach infrastructure agenda aimed at making the electorate grant them access to power. While the political seducers open their bag of tricks to capture power, the electorate should up their game by separating the wheat from the chaff.
–Akunebu is a media consultant and author based in Abuja