When The Yorubas Trade Their Honour By Chief Deji Fasuan
Recent developments in the political space are contradicting some presumed norms among the Yoruba. This human specie though rooted in diplomatic garb has always refused to play the underlings. Proud of its historical and cultural background, the Yoruba though suffered many reverses during the internecine wars of pre-colonial era never abandoned their traditional dignity and self assurances.
The current foray of some self appointed Yoruba leaders especially from parts of Ogun and Ondo States would have been laughable were it not because of the seriousness of their adventure. Most of the actors, like this writer are octogenarians and therefore should know that in the twilight of our lives we should be remembered for what we do to enhance our race and our nationality. To me and to many in the South / West, it is unacceptable for a few aging people, many of who are seeking to take their pound of flesh from perceived enemies within the Yoruba nation to want to pull all our people in a political compartment. Refusing to accept the plurality of positions even within the Yoruba nation,, this body of otherwise respectable and revered leaders is dragging the Yoruba people into the mud. Originally, they were “pure” Awoists, undisputed advocates of the welfarist state and of course the heirs-apparent of the old sage. Even Awolowo’s worst enemies during and after his lifetime never attached the tag of opportunism to the philosopher-politician.
The above explanatory notes are necessary to debunk the present move by some Yoruba of Ondo and Ogun extraction who want us to believe that “restructuring” of the Nigerian nation state is possible under the present dispensation or can be achieved through the implementation of the Confab resolutions. If they don’t know, these revisionists should realize that no resolution of previous Confab – 1988/89 and 1994/95 have ever been implemented to the benefit of the reformists. We are not under any illusion that smart politicians and political activists are driving the current move to equate restructuring as the real change necessary to achieve a just an equitable society. The Ondo State Governor, indeed a smart alec, has his own agenda. Being the chief operative of the present order in South/West Nigeria, he can profitably employ any subterfuge to sell his political wares. But even then this crusading should carry a minimum requirement of openness and decency. For now, nobody can deny the effectiveness and sagacity of Governor Mimiko who has been described as the PENKELEMES i.e Adegoke Adelabu, of our time. Smart, suave, persuasive, if cynical, he is always on the stumps.
The last Confab was a great revelation of the disconnect within the Yoruba sub-ethnic groups. While for example, Ekiti had six members in the Confab, Ondo had nine while Ogun had nineteen, in some cases attendants included both husband and wife. This distortion reminds one of our bitter experience in the old Western Region where some public servants were more equal than others depending on whether you came from Ijebu Province, Egba/ Egbado Province, Oyo Province or Ondo Province. The upper echelons of the public service were reserved for the Adebanjos, Onabanjos and Lanihun Ajayis of this world. This kind of situation should first of all be addressed rather than seeking an ephemeral restructuring of Nigeria. For history has consistently shown that the Yoruba, back at home, are not equal. To us the implementation of the Confab resolutions as cover for herding the Yoruba into a political camp is unreasonable, unacceptable, stupid and naïve. Today, the Yoruba hold less than 5% of all sensitive political and management positions in the Federal set-up.
Sure, politicians and their privies have their right to propagate and market their masters and collaborators but to pretend they are acting on behalf of the Yoruba nation is totally unacceptable, for we have passed this way before.
Chief Deji Fasuan MON, JP