The speculation that the Yoruba World Congress (YWC) headed by Prof. BanjiAkintoye is heading for the rocks is truly right and on course it seems. The development is following a plethora of issues bedevilling the Pan-Yoruba movement. The recent resignation of the Organising Secretary of YWC, DejiOsibogun, a renowned media mogul and the convener of a pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Yoruba Ko’yaMovement for Development, Leadership, Training and Peace Foundation as well as fractionalisation within the group is now coming to the fore as it attempts to deal with varying factions therein.
The insinuation that the YWCwhich is an umbrella body of about 100 Yoruba Socio-cultural groups within and beyond Nigeriais believed to be working for a Yoruba Global Alliance towards peace and prosperity of the Yoruba people, however, whether that is the true aim of the progenitors of the alliance is yet to be seen.
Vigil360 can report that there is an ongoing rift in the group even as there are insinuations that the YWC has derailed from its original objectives and is pursuing a different agenda, perhaps more like the ones calling for the breaking up of the country. Others are of the view that therank and file of the group has been infiltrated by politicians from the southwest ahead of the 2023 elections.
The development in YWC is further exacerbated by a recent article credited to one Moses OludeleIdowu, titledAGAINST SECESSION: A TESTAMENT TO YORUBA LEADERS AND THE PROMOTERS OF ODUDUWA REPUBLIC, the contents of which are reproduced inter alia. Sources within YWC has had that this development underscores the frustration faced by those who are strong believers in the Nigerian project and vehemently oppose the secessionist promoters of the Oduduwa republic the sources said. There are those who have called for the restructuring of the country but they have been overwhelmed by those calling on the Yorubas to secede.
AGAINST SECESSION: A TESTAMENT TO YORUBA LEADERS AND THE PROMOTERS OF ODUDUWA REPUBLIC by Moses OludeleIdowu
I saw a video footage yesterday of a group of young Yoruba elites canvassing the creation of Oduduwa Republic. The spokesman claimed that they are not even interested in Restructuring, that it is late in the day, but the creation of Oduduwa Republic. Carrying placards they insist they are fed up with Nigeria and that Nigeria has been a setback for the Yoruba's because in 1949 when Yoruba's had the television even France did not have it. That Yoruba's were ahead of Korea in the 1950s but today we have been derailed by Nigeria.
These were their arguments, which as I will soon show are no arguments at all.
I write to you leaders of Yoruba's to warn you to be careful, extremely careful so that you don't make some fatal error that will set Yoruba's further back. The times have changed and we must address issues within the context of time or we shall fail in our endeavour. Some days ago I had an epiphany of secession of Yoruba's and I am not surprised that some are making underground moves to actualise this end.
However, permit me to say some words for our consideration. I think it will be a serious mistake at this time for Yoruba's to contemplate secession from Nigeria and the repercussions will be grave if not incalculable. It was Albert Einstein who once said, "Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance." I believe we have done due diligence and proper investigation before this course of action? I hope the youths promoting this venture know the implications and consequences of what their actions would bring and spring in their time?
It is the Yorubas who say that when a child stumbles he looks forward but when an elder stumbles he looks backwards to see the cause. Let us look backwards and also forward to see why Yorubas have been stumbling in Nigeria and see the cause; we will be surprised who we would see. The enemy is ourselves. The enemy of the Yoruba is the Yoruba and secession will not stop the stumbling because it would only take the theatre to a different space.
I must tell you that I am opposed to any form of secession, unilateral secession of the Yoruba from Nigeria at this point in time. Soon you will know why.
However if other stakeholders agree at a Conference Table that the Nigerian project is no longer workable and there should be a mutual separation then that becomes a different thing.
Here are my reasons why I oppose any Oduduwa Republic at this time or any secession from Nigeria. I shall take this under three specific headings:
1. GENERAL ISSUES
A secession of the Yoruba from Nigeria or the creation of an OduduwaRepublic at this time would be wrong for the following reasons:
i. Yorubas made the required investment that made Nigeria possible. If you have read the history of nationalism and of nationalist struggles and agitations against colonial rule you will know that Yoruba's made more contributions than any other tribe or group to make Nigeria possible. Although Achebe claimed that Ibos alone fought for Nigeria independence in his badly- received, badly- edited divisive and tendentious book THERE WAS A COUNTRY, this claim cannot stand under scrutiny or faced with authentic history. The Macaulays, Paynes, Majas, Pearces etc and most of the names known to give trouble to the Europeans to force them to leave were Yorubas. Thus it would be wrong to agitate for Nigeria Independence and then turn away from Nigeria.
If it is not working, then make it work. This is the first argument against the secession of the Yoruba from Nigeria.
ii. The evils we complain about in Nigeria also exist in Yoruba land and among Yorubas. The young elites who want to take Yoruba's out of Nigeria complain of many evils in the nation. True. But these evils to exist among us and Yorubas are not exempted from them. Remember the Soka Hill discovered in Ibadan where human parts were being sold to rich clients for years - in Yoruba's land. Same also have been found n several other places in Southwest. An Islamic slave labour camp was discovered recently in Ibadan almost as bad as the ones in the North. Human "poultry" have been found in Akute, Ogun State, Abeokuta etc where teenage girls are kept by their super madam to be sired by young men to breed like rabbits to be sold to rich clients with much money and little sense. How about cultism and cultic warfare in Ikorodu, Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta which are regular features of the news item?
In Yoruba land. So every evil in Nigeria exists also among us. Thus leaving Nigeria solves nothing, it only compounds the problems because it now spread the same evils on a small area.
iii. The question should be asked: Why should we leave Nigeria at this time? If we are leaving, why are we leaving?Because of the bad leadership of MuhammaduBuhari and the APC. The major reason today causing this agitation was the misrule of the last five years under this government and the promotion of Fulani hegemony over the whole nation. So I asked should Yoruba's leave because of Buhari? Really? Okay. Questions:
Who made Buhari presidency possible? Who elected Buhari as president of Nigeria? Not the Ibos. Not the South-south people. It was Yoruba votes that brought this disaster of a government upon us, this "one chance" of a government upon this nation. In 2015 it was so and this error of a government was reinforced again by the Yoruba in 2019 in Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and Lagos where Buhari won. The Ibos rejected him both in 2015 and 2019.
So if Nigeria is becoming a failed state because of BuhariYorubas have a hand in it. You cannot cause a problem and then run away from the consequences. Asking for the Oduduwa Republic now is like that. You cannot leave while the house is on fire: your founding fathers asked for Nigeria from the British and you voted Buhari and financed him into the office for which you now regret. Be brave, you cannot leave without first solving the problem you helped birthed into Nigeria.
iii. Most of the problems that plagued Nigeria today are also caused by all of us including Yoruba's. Yoruba elites describe Nigeria as a failed state, a rogue state. In fact, it is worse. It is a bandit state, a gargantuan occult republic run by syndicates and gangster collectives. Read Claude Ake, it is worse.
Yes, that is true but that is not the whole truth. Yoruba's too contributed to making Nigeria into the failed state that it is today. It is time Yorubas, we tell ourselves the truth. We love to tell others the truth but we should once in a while tell each other.
Sometimes we talk as if Yoruba is perfect as if there are no evils on our hands. We accuse Balewa of declaring a state of emergency in the West. True. But would he have done that if we have not given him the occasions to do so? If they had not found a mole within us?
* Who betrayed Awo at the Treasonable trial in 1963? Who were the Prosecution witnesses, the judge that sentenced him "whose hands were tied "?
* Who betrayed Abiola to Abacha telling him all the movements of the man?
* Who traded June 12, to form political parties which they called Alliance for Destruction ( apologies to GaniFawehinmi)?
* Who betrayed Diya to Abacha telling him what he did not say?
* Who defended the mathematical fraud of 122/3 = 13 in 1979 to foist that NPN gang, a consortium of robbers on Nigeria?
* Which chief Justice gave the judgment and said that judgment must never be referred to?
* Which military head of state ensured by all means that NPN won and told Nigerians before the elections that the " best candidate need not win the election "?
* Who imposed Yar'Adua on the PDP as a candidate in 2007 and rigged him into office as President?
* Who drafted Jonathan, our Dr. "Clueless" from Otuoke whose mindless looting regime occasioned this "one chance" of a government under which we are now trapped?
Let every Yoruba son and daughter sincerely ask himself those questions above and ask who those people are whether they are Yorubas or not. If they are Yoruba's then Yoruba too contributed heavily to Nigeria's problems.
Do the promoters of Oduduwa Republic know this? Are they aware that their own parents and kinsmen are part of those who compounded the problems of Nigeria and made it, in the words of one British racist, "a nation where the worst never happens but the best is impossible." Oh, Britain, treacherous Britain, the blood of Nigeria be upon thee!
All the problems we complain about in Nigeria Yoruba have their own share of them and even more than their own share in their formation, fruition, nurturing and development.
Take cultism that has now become the one single monster tearing Nigeria before the advent of kidnapping and ransom taking.
A Yoruba man brought cultism to the Nigerian Church. Yorubasbrought cultism to the judiciary and the legal profession. And need I tell you that 7 young scholars started Fraternity in our universities, most of whom are of Yoruba extraction and parentage? That seed has now bludgeoned to cultism that has infested every campus, both teachers and students and our youths today.
Let me stop here.
My point is Yoruba's too have a hand in Nigeria's problems. If Nigeria is today a rogue state, a bandit state, we too helped in making it so just like the Ibos, Hausa-Fulanis etc. I refuse to blame any tribe for what has happened to Nigeria. We are all involved and we must all solve this together. Leaving the Union is defeatism and a nation is not built on defeatism or on frustration.
I now address specific issues about the proposed Oduduwa Republic for your consideration.
There is a lot of fantasy, incoherent inconsistencies, phantasmagoria about the Yoruba nation.
Some people have a hidden agenda but they don't want to tell us. All they do is to couch their demand under the dubious revival of a glorious past in a supposed Yoruba republic. We should be careful.
We talk of the past as if the past is Eldorado's. It is not. We talk of Awoas if he was perfect and a saint. He was not. He was a great man, perhaps one of the greatest from this land but he is not god. He never saw himself as such. I am old enough to know him and to read his campaign speeches.
The man who was promoting the Oduduwa Republic from the video footage made some interesting statements. Funny and amusing.
He said Yoruba land had television before France. This is not a good argument, even if it were true.
I ask you, is television an achievement? Was television invented by a Yoruba man or woman? How much of the history of television do we know?
John Baird who invented it cried when he saw the havoc and the perversion of purpose that his invention was been used for as against the intended purpose. That is why it is amusing that in 2020 someone is crediting television as an achievement. So I do not see how having a television in 1949 ahead of France gives us any cause for laughter.
Congo has printed as far back as the 18th century before many European nations due largely to Catholic efforts who needed it. Of what use is a technology without the know-how to operate it? Is the PDP a success because the GSM telephony occurs under their watch or because MTN came under their rule?
I am also surprised that someone is celebrating 50- storey in Dugbe, Ibadan as achievement. It is not, it is a bad investment, a developmental mistake. High rise structures are built where there is a constraint of land space. I should know. Ibadan or Southwest did not have that problem in the 1950s or even now.
These are the list of firsts Yoruba's are touting that they want to recreate the Awo miracle. This would be a fatal mistake because none of their proposed leaders is an Awo or in the mode of an Awo or an Aluko for that matter.
And times have changed.
Again I present the following for our consideration.
1. I ask a very pointed question: Would Yorubas live together? A foolish question, you would say. But not so foolish or insolent. The differences are there and the cleavages are there. Because we are in Nigeria often time we don't see them but they are there. In the Oduduwa Republic those differences will now come to the open and magnified. How then do we address them?
The Aladura scholar, Professor J.D.Y Peel noted during his research in Yoruba land in the 1960's that the differences between Yoruba sub-tribe, the Ekiti, Ijebus, Egbas, Oyo's etc are as wide as those between the tribes of Nigeria. In other words, the Ekitis are as different from the Ijebus as the Hausa's are to the Ibos. If you have not observed this, you are not very observant. The white man was right.
Because we are together in Nigeria we don't see this but now in the Oduduwa Republic they will cone magnified. How will the Yoruba Republic handle them, because they will not go away?
Will Ijebus accept the rulership of the Egbas? Will Oyo's allow the Ijebus to lord it over them and continue with their exploitation from their bitter history? Will Ijeshas forget their ancient animosity to the Oyo's and what they suffered in their hands or revive them?
That a wound is covered does not mean it has been healed. If the Oduduwa republic becomes a reality you will all see the truth of what I am saying. All the major wars that have been fought in Yoruba land have been fought among Yoruba's themselves. Not outsiders. The Yoruba gods or demons do not destroy strangers, they destroy their own children. Soon you will see what I am saying.
2. We often speak of the Old Western Region as if it was perfect. There were injustices and racism but which we should not reopen for peace sake.
All the projects done by the Action Group government how many of them were sited in Ondo- Ekiti- Ijesha axis? Yet the cocoa plantation and money that made the West came substantially from there. How many cocoa plantations exist in Ijebu- Egbas axis, yet the projects were concentrated here. How just is that? Read Professor Ayandele'sbreakdown and judge for yourselves. So if there were imbalance even in those days of yore how are we so sure that the Oduduwa Republic will not be a miniature Nigeria, with more problems but with less resilience to handle them?
The Itshekiri and Delta regions of Warri actually voted to leave the West and have their own region. If they were fairly treated why did they leave?
The old Ondo and Ekiti are equally agitated to have their own state from the West because they saw that they were being exploited by the Ijebusand the Egbas in the West. Will all these now go away when we have Oduduwa republic?
3. We have also forgotten that exploitation is in the nature of man, whether white or black. There is exploitation among Yoruba's too.
Someone is collecting 15% of the entire revenue of a state in the Southwest now. And we all know about this and nothing is done about it, yet you are complaining about Nigeria being a failed state. How are you sure Oduduwa republic will not be a greater failure? Which other parts of Nigeria does this happen?
How many states in southwest pay minimum wage? But the North is paying?
So who is the exploiter of the people, their own people?
How many states in the North pay obnoxious pensions to former governors, but southwest do. Which state started this racket?
These are the people and their cronies that will rule the proposed Oduduwa republic. Not the brains but the dregs and the race of usurpers who have profited from years of unrestrained looting of the public till.
4. Have you asked yourself, where is the industrial base that we will use for take-off. Virtually all the viable banks, industries etc in Lagos- Ibadan axis today are owned by strangers, not Yoruba's. Have you thought of this?
Rome did not collapse in one day, it was gradual. Yoruba's are yet to see that they are in a big mess, far bigger than they envisage, not because of Nigeria but because of themselves.
5. In the Oduduwa republic which traditional ruler will be supreme? Will Alaafin accept the supremacy of Ooni or vice-versa? Or will the dispute continue?
6. Racism and Hegemony among the Yoruba's. There is another serious issue. In the Republic how do we handle the racism and hegemony of the Yoruba's? Perhaps you may not know, I tell you today that there is also racism among the Yoruba.
We have spoken so loud about Hausa- Fulani oligarchy that we have forgotten that there is also Egba- Ijebu hegemony over Yoruba affairs. We used to hammer Kaduna Mafia, but we also forget Ikenne Mafia.
Look at this. During the 2014 Conference, 6 slots were allocated to the Yoruba group, Afenifere and they shared the slits among themselves. Not a single slot was given to anyone to represent Yoruba's in Kogi and Kwara. But when they want to negotiate for the power they remember they have their brethren in Kogi and Kwara and that Yoruba land extended to Jebba and Lokoja, but when it comes to the representation they forget them. As the Americans say, "Taxation without representation is tyranny "- these are the men, schemers, promoting Oduduwa republic. Please think very well, my people in Kogi and Kwara states, so that you don't change one slave master for another.
What about racism among Yoruba's? It exists. Ijebu racism that sees everyone as strangers except only they, even in the Church too.
Yorubas have told me, "Can we also call you Yoruba's, those of you from Kwara?" Not once or twice. As a lecturer I knew the trouble fellow Yorubas gave me. I have never heard of a Fulani man doubting the legitimacy of another Fulani because he came from a different place. Neither the Ibos or Hausa's or Ijaws. Only among the ones who call themselves the children of Oduduwa. That is why I wait to see how that republic will work as long as Yoruba's remain who they are. I wait.
THE REALITY OF WAR
I now come to my last issue and conclusion. Here I am talking about reality. What does this sum to in real life?
Oduduwa Republic means war. If you don't know, know it now. There cannot be the Oduduwa Republic unless there is a secession of the Yoruba from Nigeria and secession means war unless two conditions subsist namely:
* If all the stakeholders to agree to go as in defunct USSR or
* If the secessionist group is the largest and the strongest and can bully the others.
The two cases above are not likely to happen, so the implications are war. I hope the promoters know this?
So I ask is Yoruba land today prepared for war with Nigeria?
Mind you, you will not be fighting not just the Fulani's or Hausas but the whole of Nigeria.
Because Lagos is strategic to Nigeria, to its economy, prosperity etc thus whoever controls Lagos will not be allowed to leave Nigeria except at the cost of war.
2. Are Yoruba's prepared at this time to face all the regions at the same time? Do we have the wherewithal to prosecute the war?
Hausa's will fight you because they have said and boasted long ago that Yorubas are the next tribe they want to deal with. I heard this in 2010 in Zaria during my research. You will now play into their hands.
The Ibos will fight you because of the poison sown into them over the Civil War that Yorubas betrayed them, which is not true. But most Ibo youths believed this and that is what matters. Some will fight you desperately because you brought Buhari over them whom they have rejected and who has been, to be honest to the fact, an unmitigated disaster.
The Ijaws will fight you for removing Jonathan from power...
The Fulani will fight you for opposing their Fulani Republic on the back of Nigerian wealth.
The Middle belt may fight you for creating their misery through Buhari.
And so on.
I don't know how you will win this battle. I don't see how you can win all these with things as they are.
No, I am not a defeatist, I am a realist.
4. Division among the Yoruba's. Even when there is unity success in battle is not assured, how much when there is division?
Are Yoruba united at this time? I doubt it. There are Islamists who are even opposed to Amotekun and don't see anything wrong with Buhari, a fellow Muslim. Everything Buhari does is okay like our rubber-stamp Senate. Islamists, there are Islamists among Yoruba's. They will oppose and can even be the fifth columns in a war.
There are still politicians who are benefiting from Nigeria who have made investment towards 2023 and want to see their ambition realised. And they have their cronies, tools, aides, who control the press, the traditional power of the southwest. This will not be keen on any Oduduwa Republic. They can subvert it.
So with all these how do you win a war with Nigeria?
5. People who have never seen a war are usually happy and excited about war but war must be avoided at all cost. Unless it becomes inevitable.
As a Christian I am not a pacifist, I am a Just War theorist in the mould of Augustine and Martin Luther. I will fight if it comes to that, but not for an Oduduwa Republic that is now being promoted in view of all I have raised here.
No one is driving Yoruba's from Nigeria, so why leave? All the evils been enumerated Yoruba's too have a hand in them and if OduduwaRepublic is created today they will still manifest those problems. So what is the hazzle?
You only know when a war begins no one knows when it would end. Think of the Sudanian Civil War.
I warn these youths and elites promoting this venture to tread softly. It is better not to fight than to fight and win. War is evil. Only when it is Just War as conceptualized by Cicero, Augustine etc. A just war is any war fought to stop aggression or remove the cause of evil. My next article will be on this.
In view of all I have said here I think the time is not right for a secession. We should promote and canvass Sovereign National Conference where we can have a return to regionalism or even a confederal arrangement mutually agreed upon.
We did not have a civil war in 1993 yet we brought down the military without firing a shot. That is power.
We don't need a revolution of fighting that is what brought us here. What we need is a revolution of perception, to quote David Icke.
Fighting changes nothing. You become what you fight.
Gandhi brought down a British empire in India without firing a shot. That is what we need.
The problem of Nigeria is that we have never really had a government worth its name. We have no leaders but mascaras, jesters and clowns. Most of what we blame on Nigeria are actually troubles caused by misleadership.
But hatred should not be reason to leave a nation. You cannot found a nation on hatred, frustration, mutual antagonism. That is why the Oduduwa republic promoters should watch it. Nations are built on ideals, values, ethos, truths, vision not hate, mutual antagonism, misgivings etc. That is what caused the APC problem. They came together to float a party not on any ideology but on hatred of PDP and Jonathan. And now that Jonathan and PDP are no more insight they deploy the same hate to each other and know not what to do with Nigeria. Look at Ogun State, Edo State, Ondo, state etc., they are fighting each other. Those who sow the wind reap the whirlwind.
Thanks for your patience, dear reader.