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Sunday Igboho And The Spirit of Ogbori Elemoso | By Festus Adedayo

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Two of Yorubaland’s most prized states’ helmsmen – Governors Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and Seyi Makinde – have made very strong but seemingly diametrically opposed positions on the security of their people, making it the most talked about issue in the nation today.

In recent time, their Ondo and Oyo states have become hotbeds of the scalding hot security crises in Northeastern and Northwestern Nigeria. Flakes of the unending years of savage Boko Haram war in the Northeast are whooshing gently but destructively and settling on Western Nigeria.

Fleeing displaced Northerners who escape to the bosom of Oduduwa are stretching South-West space beyond tolerable level. Infrastructure is becoming unbearably elasticized.

Firepower of artilleries is stampeding insurgents from the theater of war and with mounting fire of Northwest banditry, forests of Yorubaland are now comparatively safe havens for fleeing warlords.

At the same time, proceeds of kidnapping in Yorubaland are said to be surviving funds renegades of Northeast insurgents and ragtag armies of the bandits of Northwest remit home for the sustenance of their evil war.

Unable to withstand the economic weather at home, their neglect by government and the Islamic tzedakah system that constituted their survival for centuries, northern beggars and vagrants are also migrating westwards in thousands.

The above alien challenges have successfully defaced the aesthetics and perforated the peace of Yorubaland.

The army of beggars in Southwest today will sober even Senegalese-born author and first published Black African Francophone novelist, Aminata Sow Fall of the Beggars’ Strike fame.

In Ibadan, for instance, beggars paste themselves like foamy lather round the Mokola overhead bridge, in almost a hundred, while their kindred are scattered round the city in embarrassing proportions.

They even have the temerity to sun-dry their tattered clothes on the Ibadan bridge’s metal railings which they have converted into their balustrade.

The second evil is the small weevils in the form of ubiquitous young northern bicycle riders, known as Okada, which infest the land like irritant locusts. They are deadly riders who have no respect for traffic rules or law and order. They are responsible for a horde of fatalities on the highway.

One man who should know, Chairman of the Oyo State Security Network Agency, codenamed Amotekun, Col Kunle Togun, (rtd) last week introduced a new dimension to the infestation. Many of the Okada riders, he said, are foreigners and spies for kidnappers and bandits who enter Yorubaland through Nigeria’s porous borders.

According to him, ferried into Oyo and other Yoruba States during the COVID-19 lockdown via articulated lorries, most of these Okada riders cannot speak any of the Nigerian languages or English but French and have no known residency permit.

Coming on the heels of this invasion is another internal invasion, said Togun. It comes in the form of Yoruba traditional rulers allocating lands to Fulani herdsmen and who, “take money, cows and cars from these people and allow them to settle and wreak havoc in their domains.

In January, 2018, I had written about the deadliness of Fulani herders. Fulani herdsmen have been declared one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI).

In a survey, GTI said the herdsmen, mainly of the Fula ethnic group, killed 80 people in total in 2013 but by 2014, had murdered at least 1,229 people.

The group, according to the report, operates between Nigeria and parts of the Central African Republic (CAR) and had killed 847 people in 2015 across five states in Nigeria through several coordinated attacks during which they inflict varying degrees of attacks on local civilian populations.

According to GTI, the attacks were unleashed on private citizens and the Fulani terrorists’ primary and audacious contest is for the farmlands of their victims. These are the people the Nigerian government covers in baby shawl.

President Muhammadu Buhari and a few of his uncritical minded aides have annoyingly sought to legitimise Fulani invasion of Yorubaland and their audacious evils. In September 2018, on the sidelines of the China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Beijing, while addressing Nigerians, Buhari personally lapsed into a variant of his usual incoherent epistle, this time adumbrating why herdsmen terrorism persists in Nigeria.

“To my disappointment…the press in Nigeria do not make enough efforts to study the historical antecedents of issues that are creating national problems for us,” the president had waffled, citing what he called “cultural and historical implications” as responsible for the mindless murders and impunity of his brother-Fulani herdsmen.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the president’s deployment of callous euphemisms in the service of his waffle.

He labeled the Fulani carnage “misunderstanding, especially between herders and farmers” finally heaping the blame of the persistent murders on climate change and the drying up of Lake Chad.

This, he claimed, necessitated the frenetic search for pastures by displaced cattle nomads. About the same time, his Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, another Fulani descent, toed same vacuous route of the drying-up of Lake Chad, as well as scarcity of pasture as cause of the Fulani mayhem.

At another forum, we were told that renegades of Muammar Gaddafi’s armed men found their ways out of Tripoli to Nigeria with weapons and mutated into the killer herdsmen.

At yet another forum, Buhari laid the blame squarely on the doorsteps of ISIS and later, on spiritic opposition members who, in the quest to tar-brush his government, have been funding the mayhem. Buhari’s incoherence has ceased to baffle intelligent listeners.

When it was reported that this self-same Fulani herdsmen had killed Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, along the Ondo-Ore road bordered by thick forests, Buhari again deployed his legendary incoherence. Fulani herdsmen were not responsible for her murder. Armed robbers, he said, killed her.

Unarguably, no one in the Buhari government has been as recklessly audacious in hurting victims of herdsmen’s terrorism as Garba Shehu, the president’s media aide. Shehu has constituted himself into the most notorious presidential megaphone renowned for his divisive comments on Nigeria’s interminable insecurity issue.

A few hours after Governor Akeredolu articulated the views of the people he governs, announcing that the Ondo forest, which Fulani herders use as umbrella to commit heinous acts of murder and mindless terrorism, would no longer be accessible for their impunity, Garba shot a verbal poisonous arrow at the people of Ondo State, nay Yorubaland.

Clothing his garrulousness in the cloak of law, his statement also rankled with an argumentative pitfall called appeal to the person.

Shehu began his fallacy with Akeredolu being “a seasoned lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and indeed, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)” and that he had “fought crime in his state with passion and commitment,” but, “in our view,” he said, “would be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.”

Garba’s doggerel also appealed to “rights groups” and “makers of our constitution” who he said would be worried by Akeredolu’s action which he claimed “could set off a chain of events which he foresaw and tried to guard against.” He was apparently borrowing a leaf from his master’s incoherence.

To begin with, that statement was one of the swiftest to come from a presidency that seems in perpetual somnolence. It underscores Fulani issue being at the core of Buhari’s emotions. It came less than 24 hours after Akeredolu’s. As usual, it was a bid to again beatify Fulani herders who are known to be responsible for the spate of kidnappings and murders in the Southwest.

But Akeredolu would not allow such hogwash dressed in a presidential bandana. “Shehu’s statement is a brazen display of emotional attachments and it’s very inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria. We need clearly defined actions on the part of the federal government to decimate the erroneous impression that the inspiration of these criminal elements masquerading as herdsmen is that of power,” he said.

He successfully echoed bothers on the streets that the Buhari government provides a nestling comfort and hibernation for Fulani killers and values the lives of his fellow Fulani cows more than Nigerians’.

Compared to the unusual valour, courage and strength demonstrated by Akeredolu, on the superficial, Makinde sounded like one kowtowing before the Fulani vermin sucking the blood of Yorubaland.

However, if you were abreast of some of the issues oscillating in Oyo State, you cannot but act with Makinde’s kind of caution.

One is that, but for his latter-day claim to fighting for the people, the name Sunday Igboho was associated with violence, land-grabbing, tyranny and political gangsterism. Hundreds of families who have, over the years, fallen victim of Igboho’s land-related violence would be very circumspect on the real motive of his new-found activism.

I suspect that this de-javu undergirded the governor’s fear on Igboho. Should government accommodate the Igboho irritancy and promote outlaws in urgent thirst of rebranding into undeserved heroism?

Which is more desirable in the bid to rout the Fulani criminal elements: embrace the crudity of rogue elements and their lawlessness, resort to their outlandish interventions and by that, justifying the pains and despair they inflicted on the people?

In theory, any government which openly goes into an unholy dalliance with the lord of thugs cannot earn the respect of the people of Oyo State.

However, the above operates in the realm of theory. No governor is Chief Security Officer of his state, except in nomenclature.

Seizing on the vacuum in security over the years and the known powerlessness of governors to rescue them from their tormentors, Igboho has become a hero among the traumatized people of Oyo State and as such, response to his call to arms is awesome. His heroism seems to have obliterated the long years of his infamy from the minds of the people.

Today, Igboho is the David to the rescue of the people from the Fulani Goliath, their own Ogbomoso’s Ogbori Elemoso of the 15th century, and Makinde seems inconsequential in the equation.

So, is Sunday Igboho a reincarnation of Ogunlola? The story of Elemoso cannot be divorced from the Ogbomosho history, its civilization and conquest.

It is the story of Olabanjo Ogunlola Ogundiran, an Ibariba. In 1650, history reported that Ogunlola and his wife named Esuu migrated to current site of Ogbomoso in continuation of his hunting expeditions.

They settled beside the Ajagbon tree. With other hunters, Aale, a Nupe descendant; Onisile and Orisatola, they formed the Alongo, a system of administration aimed at securing their settlement against wild animals and enemy invasion.

Imprisoned in Oyo-Ile for his oft delve into criminal activities, Ogunlola heard of the notoriety of a wicked and deadly character called Elemoso who was terrorizing Oyo-Ile people. He was believed to be a spirit.

Ogunlola then went to the Alaafin to ask for his permission to confront this terror. At the palace, as Ogunlola told the king of his quest, palace courtiers shouted, “Elemoso, eni t’a o ri! Iwo ke! – Elemoso, an invincible man! You?”

Grudgingly, Alaafin gave him the go-ahead and Ogunlola stormed Elemoso’s camp and shot him with an arrow, beheaded him and proceeded to the palace with the decapitated Elemoso.

On the surface and judging by his actions since he became governor, Makinde doesn’t seem to harbor any motive to be a Fulani fawner. More than many of his ilk in the PDP, he has fought the Buhari government’s policies most vigorously and has made the federal government look very stupid thereby, subtly underscoring the tissues of issues in true practice of federalism. His stubborn defiance of federal government’s herd mentality of COVID-19 lockdown and school resumption dates are core examples.

That notwithstanding, Makinde and the rest governors of the Southwest would need to flirt after what I call the Akeredolu spirit if they are to be respected by their people. Not doing this will make them to be worthless in the people’s estimation like Muhammadu Buhari and his government.

This must however be executed with strict adherence to law and superior logic that the Yoruba are known by, the type that Akeredolu is deploying on Fulanis in Ondo State.

For some weeks now, that irrepressible Ibadan-based broadcaster, Edmund Obilo, has been bringing out the lamentable plights of the people of Igangan in the hands of Fulani herders and drawing out Makinde to confront them headlong.

We all know that this won’t happen. With Buhari lionizing the herders in their infamy, no policeman will follow any governor on this suicidal mission.

Yes, I believe that Igboho is very central to this war now. However, he must go through some purgatory, be cleansed of the land-grabbing blood in his hands and return to the fold as leader of the traditional military response to the Fulani menace.

There must be genuine repentance and forgiveness for his horde of infractions from thousands of people he inflicted pains upon.

The next step would be for Makinde to collaborate with him after his penance to jointly rout the foreign invaders. None of the duo can do it alone.

The two, with the support of Amotekun and the science of African metaphysics, should militantly move into the troubled areas of the state where Fulani herdsmen’s vitriol is most burningly dominant and, like Babagana Zulum, working with natives, smoke the blood-sucking deviants back to their land of infamy.

They should both forget their individual political leanings for now, for the sake of the people. This is because, as Bob Marley sang, all the Fulani criminals and their patrons in government desire at this moment for their evil to thrive is for the governor and Igboho “to keep fussing and fighting.”

If government militarily descends on Igboho now, he may sprout uncontrollably and become another Muhammed Yusuff, progenitor of Boko Haram insurgency, whose rout by ex-Gov Ali Modu Sheriff and federal government precipitated the colossal havoc today on Nigeria. Igboho will even have the sympathy of the people. I will support him.

Again and very urgently too, Makinde should stampede out those foreigners and their local Fulani accomplices on Okada terrorizing the people. He should also rid Mokola Bridge, as well as the streets of Oyo State, of the eyesore of Northern Nigerian beggars who are defacing its environmental aesthetics and highly burnished peace.

If Kaduna’s Nasir el-Rufai and Kano’s Ganduje could deport the eyesore of Almajiri from their states, South West has no business cuddling the menace that the North brought upon itself.

Being firm against the impunity and terrorism of Fulani herders is where the Southwest must begin to externalize what it means by restructuring, a la security. It should then proceed to escalate it further.

The ultimate should be a campaign across the region, which must begin now, that only a bastard child of Yorubaland will vote in an unrestructured Nigeria in 2023.

By then, Buhari, his Fulani stock and the bastards among Yoruba children who have already begun to campaign for positions in an unrestructured 2023 Nigeria, will begin to take Yorubaland seriously. We must stop them in this act of grabbing spoons to swallow their electoral vomit.

As I was putting my submissions to bed, I learnt that the federal government had ordered Igboho’s arrest. Great. It seems thesis and antithesis are about to clash so that we can see a synthesis.

Perhaps this will speed up the denouement of this Fulani grisly drama. If a Buhari who has never put any Fulani murderer on trial in his over five years reign suddenly recognizes the colour of law and order, then let’s see whether Yoruba will allow this presidential tribal impunity to stand.

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Dr. Festus Adedayo, journalist, author, lawyer and political communication Scholar,  writes from Ibadan

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Opinion

Trouble Fighting Corruption In Nigeria | By Abba Dukawa

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The corrupt man is everywhere, the man on the street, the man next door, the man in the church or mosque, the man in the market or the departmental store, the policeman on beat patrol and the soldier at the check point (Okadigbo, 1987)

The present administration came to power through the change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari with his top three cardinal promises of “economic development, fighting insecurity and corruption”. But the country is still languishing in extreme poverty as result of corruption and the fight against corruption has become a mere political statement.

Nigerians are alienated, angry and fed up with the way the fighting corruption is being handled  with the slow pace of the fight against corruption since the administration came to power.

Regrettably, it is under the watch of this present administration that Nigeria’s corruption perception index published by Transparency International has nosedived. With the current ranking, Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa with Guinea-Bissau being the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the sub-region. The country scored 26 out of 100 points, a drop from the 27 points that it has maintained since 2017. In the 2018 index, Nigeria rose by four places on the index from 148 to 144 and also dropped two places in 2019, ranking 146 out of the 180 countries.

Since 2015, Transparency International reports indicated that the administration’s war against corruption could not be said to be effective in the light of the poor performance of the EFCC in several high-profile corruption cases like defencegate,PDP  Campagn funds and the most publicised case of a former petroleum minister.

But the trouble with the anti-corruption agency in Nigeria is clearly lack of political will from leaders of the agencies assigned with the  responsibility of fighting corruption in the country as corruption cases have been on the increase. The anti-corruption agencies have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they are not able to translate their anti–corruption “crusade” into action.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act (2004) empowered the commission to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes and it is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes.

But 17 years after the establishment of the agency, strangely, all former chairmen of the commission were allegedly removed for undisclosed abuse of office.

There is no doubt that the new chairman of the EFCC will be facing an herculean task and may not like to go the way of his predecessors. He has the urgent challenge of regaining the confidence of Nigerians by turning around the commission to achieve its objectives.

Many Nigerians are expecting much from the new chairman as he takes over the mantle of leadership because corruption cases have been on the increase despite the anti–corruption campaigns. The new chairman is expected to be an agent of change in fighting the common enemy that has frustrated the realization of country’s economic development despite the enormous natural and Human Resources.

Perhaps, the new chairman should strengthen the collective effort in citizens’ participation in the fight against corruption as this will increase the chances of engaging non-state actors, especially the media and civil society organizations, in providing information to the public in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

Some other expectations of Nigerians include reform of the commission and ensuring a fair and balanced fight against corruption in the country as an officer who passed through the ranks of the commission. He should ensure that there is synergy between the EFCC and other sister anti-graft agencies like the ICPC and other law enforcement agencies in order to produce the needed results in the fight against corruption.

It will be recalled that the slow pace of court cases and financial settlements made by wealthy individuals and entities outside of the courtroom have impeded successful prosecution of cases.  The convictions of two former governors, Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye, have failed to convince the public of the sincerity and effectiveness of the war against corruption.

Need for the establishment of a special anti-corruption tribunal by the National Assembly to facilitate speedy determination of hundreds of corruption cases before the nation’s courts will aid the war against corruption.

 

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DUKAWA, writes from Kano state

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Arogidigba as the trouble with Southern Nigeria | By Festus Adedayo 

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An old photograph currently sits regally in the living room of a top Nigerian politician. Shot sometime in 1954, some 67 years ago, ostensibly in the old Osun Division of the Western Region, it was taken after a meeting of monarchs of the Division with Premier of the region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The meeting had in attendance almost all first class Obas of Yorubaland. They wore their beaded crowns of Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colours hue. After the meeting, the photo session took place.

In the photograph, on the front row was the Premier, sitting in the middle. He wore a resplendent white agbada. Of particular significance was that, Awolowo had his cap removed and held in his hands, apparently in reverence to the Obas. To the left of Awo was Oba Samuel Adenle, the Ataoja of Osogbo. On same front row was Oba Adetoye Laoye, Timi of Ede, donning his animal skin crown. On same row were: Oba Lawani Adeyemi, Akirun of Ikirun; Oba Mosees Oyinlola, Olokuku of Okuku and four other natural rulers. Standing behind Awolowo, without his cap on too, was Chief S. L. Akintola, who by then was the Deputy Leader of the Action Group party. SLA was flanked by other apparently lesser Obas and other people who, from their dressing, must have been chiefs and aides of the Obas of the Osun Division.

Last week, some 67 years after, in the same Yorubaland, a similar meeting held and consequently, another photograph emerged. That photograph spoke eloquently and unambiguously about the tidal wave that has swept off importance, dignity of Yoruba traditional rulers and replaced them with arrogance of the governmental elite.  The venue was a security meeting held in the Oyo State governor’s office in Ibadan. Present there were governors, security chiefs and Obas of the Southwest geopolitical zone.

They included Governors Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) and host governor, Seyi Makinde. Like the earlier one held 67 years ago, after the meeting, it was time for a photo session and this was the sitting arrangement: The governors, like some matadors, sat on the front row and behind them, standing like cowed captives, were first class natural rulers in Yorubaland, ranging from the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, to the Ooni of Ife and others.

After the Ibadan meeting, I asked a foremost traditional ruler in Oyo State what the place of the Yoruba was in the current precarious equation. He sent me this text: “Take a look at the picture (taken) at the governor’s office yesterday. The Obas stood behind the governors. It cannot happen in the North. We are just being treated like table water on the table during official functions.” It is the same trouble with virtually all parts of Southern Nigeria. After quaffing champagne and whiskey of immense proportion, governors piss on the faces of their monarchs. The other day, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State tongue-lashed the traditional ruler of Omuma, King Onyekachi Amaonwu, whom he accused of shaking his head while he, the Emperor with gruffy voice, spoke.

“Stop shaking your head! You!You! You are one of those who are causing problem. They gave you chieftaincy, you’re a young boy, you don’t know what to do with it and then when I am speaking, you’re shaking your head like this… He will just go and wear something bigger than him. You will think he is an elderly man. I remember when I was in school, he was running around.” Wike lampooned the monarch.

Pens are reputed to be mightier than swords. So are photographs. They are mightier than a thousand words. Photographs evoke metaphors, imageries and diverse interpretations. Krista Neher, an influencer, was quoted to have said that the human brain has a cheetah-speed power to process images 60,000 times faster than words. In a November 15, 2020 piece I wrote entitled The Starved Lion of Kaduna, I cited the award-winning photograph of Kevin Carter, which appeared in The New York Times of March 26, 1993.

It was the picture of Kong Nyong, a famine-struck Sudanese boy, initially thought to be a girl. Nyong had collapsed of intense hunger and lay on his face in the hot dessert sun of Sudan, with an empty food bowl hidden beside his face. In the photograph, Nyong also had a beaded necklace of his Sudanese nationality jutting out of his feeble neck. He was said to be on his way to Ayod, the United Nations ration centre in Sudan, a journey of about a half kilometer. All of a sudden, his strength failed him and he collapsed. That picture, which went mega viral, led to Kevin Carter winning the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1994. It also provoked events leading to him committing suicide.

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Two issues, one interfacing the other, engaged my thoughts as the week that just ended rolled to a close. The first was the photographs above which spoke harmlessly but evocatively about the power of pictures and their constructive and destructive ability. Like Carter’s, it spoke so glibly about the current situation of the Yoruba people of Southwestern Nigeria. This provoked my delving into the second issue personified in a character called Arogidigba in the book Ireke Onibudo, one of the works of D. O. Fagunwa, Yoruba’s pre-colonial master of fantasy literature. Fagunwa deployed phantasm as a tool of literary imagination. Piecing the two issues together and placing them side by side the two photographs above, you can get an explanation into why Yoruba are easy preys in the hands of their present-day Arogidigba.

Aside the photographs, let me delve into the second issue. In pursuit of his phantasm as a literary tool, Fagunwa created queer characters to reinforce his obsession with the fantabulous. In all of his creative and imaginative endeavours, he forged a retinue of unforgettable gothic characters whose names made hairs on the skin stand up. One of such is the ebullient, mythic character he labeled Arogidigba. Sounding almost like some kind of onomatopoeia, Fagunwa’s characters were all carved to create evergreen effects in the mind. The characters were ebullient in their roles and names, garnished in descriptive imageries that drop the jaws in wonder of his literary prowess. The Fagunwa descriptive power was so high that his mastery of labels of animals earned him the sobriquet of a writer-taxonomist.

In Aditu Olodumare, for instance, there was an illustration of Baba Onirugbon Yeuke, the man with a weirdly bushy beard, who cradled his tobacco pipe mysteriously and sat on a hilltop, beside the cusp of a rock. Appended to his illustration in the book was the description: Baba onirugbon yeuke eni ti  n gbe ’bi gegele okuta. The characters are also Ajantala, Ogongo Baba Eye (Ostrich, the King of Birds), Ibembe Olokunrun, Aramanda Okunrin, Anjonnu Iberu, Esu Kekereode, Olohun Iyo, Ojola Ibinu and ad infinitum. Each spoke to the character of the characters, thus making this mysterious writer to enrich the mind with fables. Oh, Fagunwa was in a class of his own!

Sorry, I digressed. Another Yoruba great master of cinematography, Tunde Kelani, refreshed our memory of Fagunwa during the week. (By the way, TK clocked 73 last week; Happy birthday, sir). In one of his cinematographic works codifying for posterity imperishable Yoruba literary works, Kelani got Fagunwa’s Ireke Onibudo, written in 1949 read, from Pages 63 to 76. It was the story of the protagonist, Ireke Onibudo, whose boat capsized while on a voyage on the sea. He then found himself right inside the bottom of the sea, arrested by mythic fish world police and taken to the court of the King of the Sea called Arogidigba. Arogidigba was a gothic character who bore an admixture of features of a human being and the physiology of an aquatic being. She also had a long tail affixed to her voluptuous body.

Fagunwa’s descriptive power is awesomely and powerfully deployed here as he brings his characters to you in scarily unambiguous manner. Soon, Ireke Onibudo was shepherded to the front of Arogidigba, whose imperial and beautiful palace, festooned with ornaments, had the inscription, Palace of Arogidigba, King of Fishes. It was there Ireke Onibudo realized that, to celebrate her anniversary on the stool, Arogidigba specifically asked for fleshes of human beings as propitiation to her marine deities. This was reason for the deliberate capsize of Ireke Onibudo’s boat.

As fish palace guards moved to drag their captive to the presence of Arogidigba, the regal fish god shouted an epigrammatic description of humanity which you cannot but find apposite: “Hold it! Human beings must never get close to me! Who is a human being? He is a scorpion that inflicts immense pain on his fellow being, a rattlesnake under the grass; an object poised on a destruction of humanity. Human being possesses a blunt sword and walks aimlessly on the surface of the earth. Who has your God-given majesty, man? Human beings couch daily devious plans against fishes! Small and big fishes are preys in your hands. You kill them aimlessly….” She promised to make Ireke Onibudo’s entrails fill her pot of soup that night.

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Now, I return to the two photographs earlier described. Separated in time by 67 years, at a structural level, they speak eloquently and unambiguously about the regression in estimation and importance of the relationship between Yoruba political and natural leaders. 1950s and 1960s Nigeria was when natural rulers and traditional title holders played significant roles in the leadership and governance of their people. All those monumental achievements in Awo’s name could never have been achieved if the traditional institution was playing the united but separated seeds-of-a-walnut role to government. While Sir Adesoji Aderemi was Governor of the Western Region, Odemo of Isara, Samuel Akinsanya, was Minister without Portfolio, between 1952 and 1955. So also was the Aholu Jiwa II of Jegba, Oba Claudius Dosa Akran, who intermixed politics with traditional rulership. He had earlier been nominated as head of Jegba, Badagry quarters in 1948 and appointed traditional leader in 1950. He represented Badagry in the 1951 parliament and was a major member of the Action Group of the Akintola rump who later became regional Minister of Finance between 1962 and 1966.

At the superficial level, the photo issue may sound very inconsequential on the list of the problems that assail Yorubaland. It is however symbolic of the total malaise; of William Butler Yeats’ things that have fallen apart and the falcon that cannot hear the falconer. There is a master/servant relationship today between Southern governmental leaders and their natural rulers. Castrated by the constitution and relegated to playing second fiddle in their jurisdictional enclaves, security-wise, Nigerian governors are powerless. On the insecurity that currently afflicts the south, these governors cannot be said to be strategizing enough, in concert with their natural rulers. These rulers have the ears of their domains. The synergy needed to smoke out blood-sucking Fulani herdsmen who kill and maim their people is absent within them, whereas together, they and the traditional rulers can eliminate the Fulani menace without firing a single shot.

I must however add that the quality of natural rulers has dwindled shamefully. This is the Satanic outcome of appointments of less-than stellar persons into traditional stools. On revered stools today are acknowledged fraudsters, drug addicts and vacant-minded ones. Many of them mount the stool so as to be able to superintend over sales of wide expanse of lands. No one in their right senses can take such characters seriously. One of them recently said, like one under the influence of cannabis, that he would take in smoked out murderous Fulani herdsmen into his domain. Can you blame the governor of his state if he does not strategize with such a fellow?

Right now, Nigeria is literally quaking and gasping for breath. Untrained Almajiri children, the born-trowey – apologies to Patience Jonathan – who, Awolowo warned decades ago, would be our national albatross, have now grown full throttle. They periodically reify their angers against the iniquitous Hausa/Fulani feudal system which literally threw them away, shortly after their births and almost the moment they were weaned. This is manifest in their abduction of schoolchildren, and how they seek ransom from offspring of their leaders who made their lives miserable from infancy. They unleash bloody recompense against the Hausa-Fulani elites and by consequence, the rest of Nigeria.

While growing up as almajiri, they were at the mercy of the northern elite who heap left-over foods at them to eat. Today however, the table has turned. Having now grown into adulthood, that selfsame elite is at their mercy as they kidnap their children and make life unlivable for them. They are the willing recruits of Boko Haram in the Northeast and are the notorious bandits of the Northwest. As at last week, security tracker said that 222 people were killed, 103 kidnapped in seven days in Nigeria and a preponderance of this figure came from the North. The previous week, one of the fat maggots of that feudal system, who today cannot go to his homestead because Boko Haram insurgents have made his ancestral abode inaccessible, blamed southwest leaders for not providing leadership. You would think he was writing a script of dramatic irony.

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But in all these, what is the response of southern Nigeria to the impending doom being ferried down South from the North? Reports had it that, towards the tail end of last week, foodstuffs from the North were being stopped in Jebba and diverted to neighbouring African countries. To me, this is great news. It looks like this is the point where the true federalism we canvass and howl about would come into practical manifestation. This should be a wakeup call on the south. Let the South double down on food production.

Do southern Nigerian governors know that they should have a strategic response to the ruinous violence from the northern flank? Because these governors are castrated by the constitution, their traditional rulers are the most appropriate organ that can activate the Southern agenda under the backcloth. Today, Sheikh Gumi, a visceral hater of anyone whose descent isn’t from Fouta Djallon, is traversing northern forests and is not arrested for being an accessory after the fact of the spate of killings in the north.

That same system that chose to be blind to Gumi as accessory after the fact of kidnapping and killing, is alive to its responsibility and attempting to arrest Sunday Igboho. Igboho is merely seeking to rescue his people from the hands of people who, in the name of Fulnai nationality, want to wipe them off inside their own domain. Gumi is spewing out very foul outbursts against offspring of those who cultured, from birth, their own children away from a life sans education. In demanding a nebulous amnesty for gun-wielding forest-dwelling bloodhounds, Gumi wants the north to eat its cake and have it. His method is to get the Nigerian state to dedicate chunks of its national proceeds from the oil dredged in the Niger Delta to placate bandits. These are the same people who the Northern feudal system born trowey and have become its open sore. What nonsense!

Neither Muhammadu Buhari, who is the Arogidigba of this destructive system and under whom the Nigerian state has become finally castrated and comatose, nor Yemi Osinbajo, who can conveniently be said to have been captured by Arogidigba and her comity of flesh-eating beings within, can help southern Nigeria formulate the answer needed to the current nuisance of the Nigerian state. You heard the chronology of thoughts of northern governors, senators and top office holders in the last couple of weeks, in defence of killers of their people. Their voices are in support of the same bandits whose lives they fractured right from birth. You think it was a happenstance? No! It is a strategy.

The North, like the Arogidigba, seems to have arrested the South and deactivated its reasoning process. After holding the South captive, it began to spew century-old phlegm on its face like that mythic fish god did on Ireke Onibudo. Similar to what Chinua Achebe said in his The Trouble with Nigeria, the problem of strategic thinking is the trouble with southern Nigeria. The earlier a forward-looking strategy is developed, the better for that region. Not doing this will make Arogidigba harvest Southern Nigerian entrails inside its bloodthirsty pot of soup.

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S/West PDP Zonal Congress: Makinde unveils Ex- Oyo deputy gov, Arapaja, as state’s nominee for chairmanship  

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Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West Zone held a zonal caucus meeting in Ibadan on Tuesday, where they stressed the need for a united front ahead of the zonal congress of the party slated for March 6.

The leaders, who spoke severally, including Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State, Senator Olu Alabi, Senator Abiodun Olujinmi, Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin, and former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, harped on the need for conciliation and unity of purpose ahead of the party’s zonal congress.

At the meeting, which had in attendance serving and former governors, serving and former members of the National and State Assemblies, members of the Board of Trustees and National Executive Committee, members of the national and state working committees of the PDP in the zone, as well as former appointees to the president from the zone, some modalities for the March 6 congress were also discussed.

In his speech, Governor Makinde stressed that the party must be united and reconciled and that the Prince Oyinlola reconciliation committee had been going about its responsibilities though overtures from it were being rebuffed by some individuals.

He stated that the zonal caucus meeting, which was held at the premises of the Presidential Lodge of the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, was history in the making, saying that the redemption of the country politically could not take place without the contributions of the South-West zone.

He stated that the meeting heralded a zonal congress that would help put in place a new PDP zonal executive in the South-West region, which, according to him, will help to install a new government at the federal, National Assembly and state levels in 2023.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the reconciliation committee we set up, ably led by former Governor Oyinlola. He made sure that the necessary things were done to bring everyone together. At the end of the day, I believe we will have a reconciled and united party in Southwest PDP.

“We are on the verge of history. A lot of people may not know but I can give you the assurance that our coming together to put in our executives that will lead our party in the South-West zone is history in the making. This is because there cannot be redemption for our country without the participation of the South-West. And our party will provide right leadership for the country in 2023.

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“The journey to install PDP in 2023 is starting now with this zonal congress. So, I can only pity those who are staying outside and throwing stones inside. I want to also state that history will record their position accurately. I will encourage us to urge them to come in. We have the reconciliation committee already. This committee has been trying to reach out to them and they have said they are not ready to participate.

“We will continue to reach out to them because if we are all united, we have the chance to redeem Nigeria,” the governor said.
He added the zone had during the last meeting, zoned out executive positions to the six states.

The governor equally used the occasion of the meeting to unveil a former Deputy Governor of Oyo State and Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Lebanon, Chief Arapaja, as Oyo State’s sole nominee for the chairmanship post in the zone, which he said had earlier been zoned to the state.

He noted that the name of Arapaja was arrived at after thorough consultations across the state, adding that he was also chosen as the state’s nominee because whoever would be zonal chairman should have depth and experience.

Makinde also called for inclusiveness in all the six states of the zone, urging leaders to go back home and arrive at amicable arrangement to fill posts zoned to their respective states. He said that his expectation and message to all leaders were that they should peacefully select the candidates for posts zoned to each state as well as the ex-officio members, as, according to him, the election of ex-officios would also take place during the congress.

The governor also urged leaders to pay attention to the party’s directive that 30 per cent of all posts should be conceded to women.

He said: “I want to also urge that, for each of our state, let us ensure there is inclusiveness. All the tendencies in our different states, let us all come together and agree on whoever we want to put in each of those positions so that by the time we get here by March 6th, the exercise will be funfair. That will be my expectation and message to everybody.

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“I asked some of our members to go around to consult our leaders and they came back with a feedback message. They said in South-West, we need depth; we need experienced and honest person and the name they gave me was Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja to lead the charge. And I told them we will unveil him at this meeting.

“I also said he will go to all the states to meet with you and tell you his vision and some of the things he wants to do to ensure that South West plays a major and critical role in redeeming this country. I believe the way we have done in Oyo State is what we want replicated in other states of the zone.”

Speaking earlier, the caretaker zonal chairman, Hon. Dayo Ogungbenro, stressed that the zonal caucus was taking place in line with the stipulation of the party’s constitution, adding that the zone had earlier on November 12, 2020, zoned posts to each of the six states.

While also speaking on behalf of the PDP BOT members in the zone, Senator Olu Alabi stressed that the PDP is governed by a constitution and a tradition, stating that one of the traditions is that governors in the zone are the leaders of the party and that since Governor Makinde is the only PDP governor in the zone, he is the leader of the party.

Alabi, however, urged the governor and other leaders to stomach insults and reach out to all sides in order to forge a formidable and united PDP, adding that the governor should institute and strengthen the Elders’ Committee in each state.

Similarly, Senator Olujinmi, who spoke for National Assembly members, said the NASS members recognised that the PDP is one under the leadership of Governor Makinde, urging the reconciliation committee to continue its works.

In his speech, Oyinlola, the former Osun State governor, who spoke on behalf of former Governors, said only a united front could bring positive results to the party, stating that there would always be disagreements but that all sides must bury the hatchet and move forward in the interest of the party.

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Other speakers, including the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ogundoyin; Hon. Dayo Ogunniyi from Ondo and Col. Roland Omowa (rtd), stressed the need for the South-West PDP to reconcile and speak with one voice.

In his submission, Ogundoyin equally urged that the party must bring more youths on board so that they could be trained and prepared for the future.

The meeting later went into a closed session.

While speaking shortly after the closed session, the caretaker zonal chairman, Ogungbenro, maintained that the meeting discussed modalities for the coming congress.

He added that each state was asked to discuss its challenges on the posts earlier zoned to it and that all states agreed to submit the names of their nominees for onward transmission to the party.

The meeting had in attendance Governor Makinde, former Governors and Deputy Governors, Board of Trustees members, National Executive Committee members, serving and former National Assembly members, former appointees in the Presidency and party chairmen from the zone.

Some of those in attendance were: former Governors Oyinlola and Segun Oni; former Deputy Governors of Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor Akerele, Erelu Olusola Obada, Amb. Arapaja, Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal, Prof. Olusola Eleka and Ambassador Omolade Oluwateru; BOT members, including Senator Alabi, Dr. Saka Balogun, Chief Segun Adegoke, were present.

Others are serving and former National Assembly members including Senators Olujinmi, Kola Balogun, Duro Faseyi, Kamorudeen Adedibu, Hosea Agboola, Hon. Stanley Olajide, Hon. Tajudeen Obasa, Hon. Yemi Taiwo, Hon. Abass Adigun, Hon. Tunji Shoyinka, Hon. Rita Orji.

Also in attendance were three physically challenged persons in line with the stipulation of the PDP Constitution, 2017 as amended.

 

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