Opinion

Obafemi Oke: The Political Dilemma, Neither APC Nor PDP Will Serve The Yoruba’s

Although I have promised myself not to ever labour again to explain the dilemma situation we are in Yorubaland but I think I have to rescind that decision because each day I read some Yoruba so-called knowledgeable fellows, I noticed that their views are being entrenched rather than being evaluated deeply and reflectively.

Let me try to talk to their brain again. The North-West, at least, has their preference – votes are for a northern candidate. Ditto for North-East. The region that has the most settled candidate is the South-East, let heaven falls, the Igbos will 98% go for Jonathan. Next is the South-South, they too are not in dilemma at all. Safe the Rivers and Edo states alone, which may not give more than 45% to APC anyway, the whole South-South are for Jonathan. The North-Central are in a little dilemma but never as tough or complex as that of the South-West. The Nassarawa and Kwara are almost certain for APC, yet, the large numbers of Fulani and Hausa in the North-central put them in nearly 50-50 chance – too close to call.
It is the Yoruba alone that is in dire need of solution to their great dilemma. A dilemma that only fate and God will save the huminiation of Yorubas after the February 2015 presidential election.

Before that, let me first ask all genuine Yoruba if they believe we are currently in a great dilemma. And, coincidentally, that dilemma is not significantly different from what the Yorubas/Obafemi Awolowo were in 1967. The single difference I can phantom and decipher is that our tools, factors or resources to resolving this dilemma is far more than that of 1967.

I mean, while in 1967, Yoruba had only two main classes of people(the Awolowos and the Akintolas) plus a half, Wole Soyinka Ibadan axis group, addressing and attacking each other’s, today, we are polarised into nothing less than five – Tinubu/APC’s, Adebanjo/Afenifere’s, Buruji/renewed PDP’s, Obasanjo and his remnants of real PDP members as well as the fringes; such as Pastor Tunde Bakare and other FB gurus who believe in neither PDP or APC. Men, the Yorubas had never been so disorganized and disoriented. This, apart from the various proffered solutions that liter every Yorubaland, is a strong factors that may internally(“bi iku ile o pa ‘ni, tode o le pa ni” and ‘bi ogiri o ba lanu, alangba ko le wo ibe”) negate our aspiration and demand for self-government.

Presently, we have about four strong opinions as to what Yoruba should do to solving the present dilemma on or before April 2015. GROUP ONE holds the view that ” Neither APC Nor PDP will serve any Yoruba cause.”

GROUP TWO says only Jonathan can solve Yoruba problem. Majority of this group 2 are selfish and know very well that solution does not lie in Jonathan.
GROUP THREE, slightly different from group 2, says, yes it is only Jonathan but their hope in Jonathan is the belief that Jonathan actually wishes, wants, desires and plans/strategises for full or partial division of this nation, with or without(National Conference option) war.
Then, next comes the GROUP FOUR, practically, the Tinubu/Yoruba APC group, they hold the view that separating from this nation is not a 2+2=4. They believe aligning with the Gambari will quickly and best be used to achieve our goal of emancipation.
Those are the four available opinions and routes that the Yoruba agitators, including yours truly, are currently debating and offering for us to go. This is the dilemma we are inevitably in. I will address the four views.

GROUP ONE – NEITHER PDP NOR APC CAN DELIVER THE YORUBAS
This group, especially because of the content(leaders) of the newly formed APC, says nothing good can come from Nazareth. It is widely known and acceptable that, PDP, having ruled for close to 16 years, without anything to show for it, can never deliver us. This bring me to the issue of maybe this group One had hope in APC prior to the five PDP governors joining the APC or their lack of hopelessness emanate straight from the advent of the party, I do not know. What I know for certainty is that they honestly and sincerely do not believe in whatever any of the two major parties would bring forth. It is this group that is advocating war and/or approaching United Nations for Yoruba freedom. I do not buy into this. Why?

There is no way the Yoruba will succeed without going through a party or two parties. Those stakeholders in the two strong parties are damn too serious to let go freely the string that loosely holds this country together. It is from this anomaly their pots of soup reside. Again, it is within that one can reform a society and not outside it. I would also like to refer the readers to the system that Awolowo and his followers had been practicing ever since 1957 – being alone – AG, UPN, AD/AC, ACN.

It has worked well only when we were practicing True Federalism. Rather than helping us or enhancing our development, it has destroyed all what we have or are proud of since 1966. Ordinarily, with the way Nigeria is, that strategy would have best suited us.

It worked fairly well between 1951/52 to early 1960s. Then, we were really practicing True Federalism. Virually all our gigantic industrial layouts and estates were built then. Then, no Shagari or Buhari could have stopped our Lagos Metroline since we would not have needed them anyway. In fact, I learnt that then, we even loaned some money to the Central Government. We would not have had Babangida, who selfishly, for the Orkar coup of 1990, hurriedly built Abuja/Aso Rock within few years, what he supposed to have done gradually. Also, will he have stolen our wealth so much so, had we being ruled under a Western Region? And Abacha, who stole us blue blind. Then Abdusalami’s wealth and Obasanjo and Danjuma and other military and civilian leaders. They stole us deep down and so all our Dunlop, our Specomill, our NTM, etc, could not survive SAP/IMF or Abacha economics of thieves. All these let-downs were through the centre and hardly were any through the state or region.
It means the core power to build(or rebuild) and to destroy this nation resides in the center. Therefore, any Yoruba still advocating neutrality in what goes on in the centre as in AG of 1950s, UPN of 1978/79 to 1983 and AD of 1999 seems to be below the solution for we were on this for nothing less than 50 years with no gain but all losses. It has not helped us. It has not enhanced our development as a region since 1966 when Aguiyi Ironsi promulgated Decree 34 and it will never be the solution now.
Sorry, I nearly forgot. This group mostly are behind the advocacy for petition to the United Nations and if that fails then they want war-war. I agree with them intoto that we should petition and I really love the way they are going about it through visiting Alaafin and Ooni of Ife. This is what I wholly support.
I wish and pray they succeed through that effort. And what is more, I sincerely believe it could work. However, this approach needs one vital ingredient which I fail to see in them – patience. Despite the lofty idea of this approach, it has one constraint or limitation and that is it certainly takes longer period to achieve.
If this group could put on the garment of longsuffering and patience, they will surely win. But, war, count me out. Apart from the fact that war can never solve this dilemma, since the Igbos would humiliate us through tactical revenge, it is also believed that Yoruba abhors blood shedding. This shows in how Awolowo eventually resolved his dilemma then. Again, I published yesterday, on my FB Wall, the Declaration of peace by all Yorubas after the Kiriji War. It seems this article of peace is mainly why Yoruba presently always like to solve virtually all strife and conflicts through jaw-jaw rather than war-war. Perhaps it builds up our elder’s saying that “agba kii wa loja, ki ori omo tuntun wo” and “ibere ogun laari, enikan kii ri opin e” as well as ‘jogun o mi’.

GROUP TWO – ONLY JONATHAN CAN SOLVE YORUBA PREDICAMENT

I will not write so much about this group because one, they are not large as group two, I think even a toddler needs not a great cerebral ability to discern the cluelessness of this president. Unless we are not being sincere to ourselves, can anyone, a sane and truthful person though, tell me in what area has Jonathan benefited this country, let alone the Yorubas, who according to him, have rascal leaders. So, how on earth will a normal person who needs no ARO solution advocate ‘BringBackGoodluck’. Unless honesty is defined in the reverse, what single development has Jonathan done for the Yorubas.

Mimiko is his friend, can anyone name a significant Federal project in the Ondo State? Apart from the fact that I am not leaving in abroad where anybody can tell me a lie about Jonathan Transformation, I am also not static in Lagos – I commute every week between Lagos and Osun States. I monitor the Lagos-Ibadan Express Way Rehabilitation. The RCC has since stopped work while the Berger end would soon stop. I believe Berger is still capitalising on their granite and stone- base deposit close to Redeemed Camp, otherwise, they are gone. And worse, none of them has done up to 10% of the road.

So, for Jonathan’s substantive five years on the throne, let a reasonable Yoruba man or woman kindly offer to tell me genuinely what this man has done for us. Or is it also because of Mulikatu Akande? Therefore, I see no road here at all.

GROUP THREE – ONLY JONATHAN CAN DO IT BECAUSE HE WANTS THE DIVISION OF THIS NATION

About a year or so ago, I asked fellow FB advocators, especially those who believe all Jonathan was and is planning is to divide the country, whether they have ever seen a state, I mean country here please, where the head of the state knowingly and successfully separate the country he rules over? Only one person did answer me. I think it was Olawale Igi(now Irin)-Iwe. Since his examples didn’t fully address my poser, I ignored him. Today, I still repeat that my question.

It is pretty difficult and complex for a sitting head of a nation to advocate separation of a nation he rules over while still there. The Goberchev case was quite different. He knew next to nothing about it. Yetsin planned it with few others and Goberchev, being very naïve, just thought he would still somehow lead the sixteen sub-nations somehow and perhaps he thought Yetsin and co would not finally succeed. What he eventually witnessed was the chair he sat yesterday dictating to the whole world as Secretary-General of USSR was the same chair he sat the next day and he governed nowhere or nobody.

This is different from Jonathan’s case. If that happens, the biggest entity Jonathan would preside over is Balyesa, a less than 5% of the whole which he now rules. I have not read or received any training in the whole wide wide world to see who will gladly accept that. A story below will open our eyes, and may be our minds more.

Prior to Chief Bola Ige being appointment as Minister for Power, he wrote, in his Nigerian Tribune Sunday column, State of the Nation, which, hitherto, he inherited from late Tai Solarin, that, President Olusegun Obasanjo took him round the Aso Rock on his(OBJ) invitation. He, Uncle Bola Ige, could not believe what he saw. Two things here should be noted: one, that both the invitee and the ‘invitor’, the host, Chief Obasanjo, were marveled for the beauty of that esthetic edifice. Two, that, this was what Abacha entered and refused to leave. And I add, may be this was what the builder, IBB, were intoxicated with that few months or years of Transitional experience turned to everlasting one like Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Now, that is only the physical attraction. Do we talk or explain the invisible, the emotional and psychological ‘esthetics’ that makes one to dream of being there till death do us apart? This invisible glamour, more less, entices the occupant of Aso Rock to feel invincible of a kind.
As to the emotional beauty, let express it further. In early 1990s, our church, a CAC church, was elected by CAN to host the Christian service by Lagos State Government for that year’s Annual Armed Forces Remembrance Day. I was the Organist and the Assistant choirmaster then. My role entailed following events that led to the service proper. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, then a Colonel, was the Lagos State Governor. Till today, one thing surprises me, and that is the fact that for a whole solid two weeks, the SSS and the police had been coming to our church environ to survey the place for security for a single soul – Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Again, I witnessed something closed to that recently at the one year remembrance of the DANA Airline victims at Iju, Lagos. I was there because it is very close to where I live. I saw korokoro how the security was guiding and protecting Governor Fasola. I don’t know if angels do that for us, the lesser beings, but my friend, ko si eni ti iyen o ni wu o. Now, if mere governor is like that, what then would the president be? I was told, true or false, that sometimes, these presidents/Heads of State, most times, would still be in their bathrooms while the road is already blocked/closed. Then, what of the aircrafts? Currently, I think Nigeria is having between 8 and 11 presidential jets. One for the wive, the cumcubine, the children and so. Even, in “Living History”, an autobiography of Hillary Clinton, the exceptional First Lady, could not hold it when she confessed what she would miss most- the Airforce One, the United States’ Presidential plane. Then, the authority, oh, the raw power. Some intellectuals affirmed that the most absolute powerful president in the whole world is that of Nigeria.

So, my brother and sister, why are some people so naived that such a person holding that position would like to go down to lead, that’s even if allowed, and if his case won’t be like that of Goberchev, a small state of Bayelsa? E wi mi, tani a maa fi oyin si lenu ti yoo tu danu? Another angle to this foolish thought is the fact that virtually all Presidents, Prime Ministers and Heads of State, the world over, always pretend, at least, to be patriotic, to be true leader who desires the unity of the nation he rules and they also pretend to be statesmen who wish to be counted for the rare unity of different ethnics and tribes and races that abound in all nations. So, why would a sitting president of Jonathan status do that – divide ? Even, if the world will witness one, it will never be the over-ambitious Jonathan. Never!

GROUP FOUR

The main person in this group is Asiwaju Tinubu. We can simply see and mention people like Chief Bisi Akande and the Pius Akinyelure’s, yet, the main focus here is nobody but Tinubu. The Fasholas, Aregbesola’s, Fayemis and lately, Amosun and Ajimobi, despite being excellent and fervently supporting Tinubu are somehow newer to the struggle than Tinubu. So, for simplicity of simplification, how I wish the readers permit me to limit my writing on this group to Tinubu, the symbol of APC.

I know very little about Asiwaju prior to 1990. I heard of his tough early background and how he travelled at young age to the United States of America. He became an auditor/accountant and got his certification. I will jump the university aspect. One thing I am certain is that if this man is not certificated, the whole Mobil Oil will not employ and promote him to a top level of Treasurer of the reputable organization. Good enough, his immediate boss then, the Finance Director, Chief Pius Akinyelure, the current Vice-Chairman, South-West, of APC, and the Chairman, jointly with Remi Tinubu, Tinubu’s wife, of Tinubu’s 60th Birthday, is still validly with him till date.

However, I will tell a whole lie if I refuse to confess that I have been following this man ever since he became a Federal Senator in early 1990s. He got the highest votes, something around 394,000+, among all the senators. He became the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee of that Senator Ayu led Senate. I want someone to tell me that Yoruba who fought for true federalism and Regional freedom than Tinubu then. The next about him was NADECO. He practically single-handedly footed the NADECO bills. What Tinubu spent bothers me less but his deep spirit that Yoruba must be free indeed. If he were of hopeless believe in Yoruba being free, or that, he care less like today’s Jonathan Yoruba PDP men, Tinubu would not have committed so much to that struggle.

Professor Wole Soyinka did confirm what efforts they(NADECO and NALICON) got from both Tinubu and his dutiful wife who always cooked for them at all the several meetings they had. Now, those efforts by Tinubu both at senatorial and NADECO struggle levels count little compared with what risk and burden(all for true Federalism) he bore during his eight years governorship. I just wonder why people are shying away from what he did. On some occasions, he took the Federal Government to court, alone, and other occasions, he did it through the partnership with his fellow governors to go along with him. It should be noted that Tinubu won majority of these cases and they, today, serve as precedents to what forms the federal government policies. I can authoritatively confirm that there is no single fellow, apart from may be Awolowo or Bola Ige, loathed by the Gambaris as Tinubu then; all at the risk of his life and for the Yoruba emancipation. Why do some Yorubas just hold the view that such person would just within days changed to embrace opposite of what he had fought for throughout his life?

Why do I write so much about Tinubu on this Group 4? It is because he is the mind and soul if not the whole life of the group four – APC Yorubas. So, the very first thing the whole Yorubas, if they are genuine anyway, should discard from doing is to believe Tinubu aspires to sell us to the Gambari and make us slave unto them(Hausa/Fulani). Till the world will end, count Tinubu out of that. Yet, Tinubu, a pure mortal being, isn’t without fault. And, worse, this his strategy may backfire, and truly, may not work afterall. Moreso, the Hausa/Fulani’s desire for total grab of the presidency and federal power is but legendary. This is why all the options put us the Yorubas in great dilemma. But like Jonathan, the son of King Saul in the Bible, Tinubu, as a leader, must act and take a step – a better strategical and actionable step for that matter.

Unless people tell me other solution outside these four, I would wonder the one any sane person would want Tinubu to follow. In 2011, either truly with bribe or not, he has denied it though, with or without his consent, the Yorubas, except Osun State, voted for Jonathan. They practically believed in this PhD man. They also sentimentally believed he would find a way out to deliver the country or at worse, free the South from the North entanglement. No sooner had he been crowned, the first assignment was to jail Tinubu. Next was Ayo Salami. So, for a good leader, the next Tinubu should do is to still follow this man? I am asking the Group 2 and 3. We could even manage Jonathan but what of his love and pride if not arrogance and pomposity to freely associate with the Yoruba renegades? Again, he could even still be forgiven, do we then take the Igbos’ desire for 1967-1970’s revenge? These are Jonathan first hand and first class advisers. What a better trap to ensnare us the whole Yorubas!

MY ADVICE
I am, by half anyway, with the Group one, most especially toeing the line of petitioning the United Nations but not an option for war. I am wholly with the alignment with Gambari. I believe the Gamabri would never forgive us if we fail them. Despite the fact that the Fulanis have never done us any significant favour, yet, they never so disrespect us as Jonathan and Igbo do. This Tinubu/APC option is fated to end somewhere but God, who sees and knows that Yorubas are the most accommodating and genuinely we never hated the Igbos or meant to kill them as such in the 1967/70 civil war, will see us through. I believe the only thing we would lose if we align with the Gambari and lose is lack of patronage from Jonathan end. However, when we voted him and, through Save Nigeria and the Doctine of Necessity, we put him in, did he reward Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ondo or Ekiti with any goodies? NAY!
Meanwhile, did he even reward the country with any democracy dividend at all despite the country citizens raising him from shoeless to thousand shoe level? I think, for the wise, “Eni ti yoo da aso ro ‘ni, ti orun e ni aa ko wo.” Thank you for reading and God bless.

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Opinion written by Obafemi Oke

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