By Duro Onabule
Continued from LAST WEEK
We all know this and nothing is done about it, yet we are complaining about Nigeria being a failed state. How are you sure Oduduwa Republic will not be a greater failure? In which other part of Nigeria does this happen? How many states in the southwest pay the minimum wage, even whilst most states in the North does? Who is the exploiter of the people, their own people, now? How many states in the North pay scandalous pensions to their former governors like is done in the southwest? Which state started this racket? These are the same people and their children and cronies that will rule the proposed Oduduwa Republic.
Sadly it will not be the leading minds and top brains in Yorubaland but the dregs and the gang of usurpers that 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 and conglomerates in the LagosIbadan-Abeokuta axis today are owned by other tribes in Nigeria, certainly not by the Yorubas. Have they thought of this? Rome did not collapse in one day, it was gradual. Yorubas are yet to see that they are in big mess, far bigger than they inherited or envisaged, 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 disputes continue?
6. Ethnicity and Hegemony among the Yorubas is another serious issue. In the Republic how do we handle the ethnicity and hegemony of the Yorubas. Perhaps you may not know, I tell you today that there is deep, serious ethnicism amongst Yorubas. We all speak so loudly about Hausa-Fulani domination and oligarchy that we have forgotten that there is the Egba- Ijebu hegemony over Yoruba affairs. We used to hammer the Kaduna Mafia, but we forget the Ikenne Mafia. Consider this – during the 2014 National Conference, 6 slots were allocated to the Yoruba group, Afenifere. They promptly shared the slots among themselves. Not a single slot was given to anyone to represent the Yorubas in Kogi and Kwara.
But when they want to negotiate for power, they remember they have their brethren in Kogi and in Kwara and that Yoruba land extends to Jebba and Lokoja. But when it comes to representation they forget them. As the Americans say, “taxation without representation is tyranny “. These are the same men, the same schemes, who are now 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 ethnicism among Yorubas? It exists. Ijebu ethnicism, that sees everyone as strangers except themselves, even in the church! Some Yorubas have told me, “Can we also call you Yoruba, those of you from Kwara?” Not once or twice. As a lecturer from Yoruba, I know the frustrations and struggles given to me by fellow Yorubas. I have never heard of a Fulani man doubting the legitimacy of another Fulani because he’s from a different place. Neither does the Igbos or Hausa 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 even while these contradictions amongst the Yorubas remain as they are. I wait. The reality of war I now come to my last issue and conclusion. Here I am talking of reality. What does this agitation sum to in real life? Getting an Oduduwa Republic means war. If you don’t know, know it now. There cannot be the Oduduwa Republic unless there is secession of the Yoruba from Nigeria; and secession essentially means war, unless two conditions subsist, namely:
• Where the other stakeholders in a nation state agree to go their way, as happened in defunct USSR, or
• Where the secessionist group (in this case, the Yorubas) is the largest and the strongest within the existing union and can therefore bully the others. The two scenarios above is not likely to happen,so the implications is war. I hope the promoters know this? So I ask – are the Yorubas of today prepared for a second civil war with Nigeria? Mind you, Yorubas will be fighting not just the Fulanis or Hausas, but the whole of Nigeria. Why? Because Lagos is too strategic to Nigeria, too important to it’s economy and its prosperity. Whoever controls Lagos will not be allowed to leave Nigeria except at the cost of war .
2. Are Yorubas prepared, at this time, to face all the regions at the same time? Do we have the wherewithal to prosecute a war? The Hausas 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 old poison sown into them (over the civil war) that the Yorubas betrayed them, which, although not true, but is nevertheless widely believed as true by most Igbo youths to this day – and this is what matters. Many Igbos will fight you because you foisted Buhari, whom they rejected and who has been, to be honest to the fact, an unmitigated disaster, upon them. The Ijaws will not support you for removing Jonathan from power… The Fulanis will fight you for opposing their Fulani Republic on the back of Nigerian wealth.
The Middle belt may not fight, but they won’t support you for creating misery for them 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 just a realist. 4. Division among the Yorubas. Even when there is unity, success in battle is not assured, how much less when there is division? Are Yorubas united at this time? I doubt it. There are Yourba- Islamists who are even opposed to the Amotekun initiative and don’t see anything wrong with Buhari, a fellow Muslim. To them, everything Buhari does is okay, like our rubber-stamp Senate. Islamists among Yorubas 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 ambitions realised. And they have their cronies, tools, aides, who control the press, the traditional power of the southwest. These people will not be keen on any Oduduwa Republic. They can subvert it. So with all these how can 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 costs. Unless it becomes inevitable. As a Christian, I am not a pacifist, I am a just-war theorist, in the mold 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 the Yoruba’s from Nigeria, so why leave? All the evils that’s been enumerated above, the Yorubas too, have a hand in them and if Oduduwa Republic is created today they will still manifest those problems. So why the hassle? You only know when a war begins, no one knows when it would end. Think of the Sudan Civil War. I warn the youths and elites promoting this venture to tread softly. It is better not to fight than to fight and win. War is evil. Only in cases when it is just- war as conceptualized by Cicero, Augustine etc. A just war is any war that’s 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 another special sovereign national conference where we can have a return to regionalism or even a confederate arrangement that’s mutually agreed. 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 the 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 mis-leadership. But hatred should not be the reason to exit 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, on visions, on values, on ethos, on truths; not on hate, or mutual antagonism or misgivings. That is what caused APC’s problem. They came together to float a party, not on any ideology but on their hatred of PDP and Jonathan. And now that Jonathan and PDP are no more in sight, they have nothing else to strive for but to deploy the same hatred to one other. They are totally bereft of what to do with Nigeria. Look at Ogun State, Edo State, Ondo etc., they are fighting each other. Those who so the wind must, of a necessity, reap the whirlwind. • Chief Duro Onabule is a Lagos based veteran journalist.