By Prince Justice Jadesola Faloye
There is no Yoruba state except Lagos where a single political party or godfather has ruled continuously for 16yrs. None, except Lagos. Yorubas are naturally politically assertive that even before the advent of Europeans, Yorubas had unwritten constitutional, not absolute, monarchs. It is therefore an insult to claim that it was Igbos that voted Labour Party to poll over 900,000 votes in contrast to APC less than 200,000 votes, before rigged to cut the margin to a mere 20,000. It is not that Yorubas in Lagos have a slave mentality but are a victim of their huge population electoral value that makes them traded for federal benefits.
It was a common Yoruba saying in this democratic dispensation that Ibadans don’t serve a person (governor) twice, neither do Yorubas of other states, so why Lagos? It is doubtful Tinubus party has won in Lagos after his second term. What has been happening is horse trading. In the 2011 election, with Goodluck Jonathan contesting, Tinubu knowingly fielded a weak presidential candidate for his party, Nuhu Ribadu to enable Goodluck Jonathan to win, in exchange for rigging to stay in power in Lagos. In 2015, Lagosians burning desire to free Lagos was quenched for Buhari presidency. And in 2019, the rigging was outright. Therefore claiming it’s only Igbos in Lagos that know about trying different political choices is an insult to Yorubas in Lagos.
No matter how good, knowing politicians are only marginally different, no party lasts in power for 24 years, unless it’s the apartheid South African National Party that ruled for 50yrs. So it’s disingenuous to claim Igbos are the democratic ones while Yorubas love a feudalistic lord named Tinubu. Out of the over 900,000 votes for Labour Party presidential candidate at least 500,000 were Yoruba votes. This was so alarming that APC sent out thugs to cause voter suppression of not only Igbos but any potential Labour Party voter. They were lucky that Labour Party didn’t deploy OPC to safeguard all voters irrespective of tribe or party, which has emboldened them to continue poisoning Yorubaland with xenophobic sentiments. What is alarming is that even after hijacking the 2023 election, anti-Igbo rhetoric and lies of Igbo imperialism has increased exponentially.
First and foremost, Yorubaland is a land of the free, even before USA since we Yorubas are naturally welcoming and receptive people, according to the tenets of our Original Indigenous African Ifa civilization. Ancient historians professed that We never segregated nor ill treated our immigrants. History says even when a visitor dies in our land, we keep their belongings safe until someone of his tribe comes around. During the Civil War, when Igbos fled back home from all parts of the country, Yorubaland was the notable place where they returned after the war to find their properties intact. So where is this ugly head of xenophobia coming from? Who are the Babas that didn’t teach them tenets of Yoruba culture?
Unlike other parts of Nigeria where the youth disrespect their elders, to push hateful violent rhetoric that destabilized their regions with minority groups like Boko Haram, Niger Delta militants, IPOB, Yorubaland where respect to elders is paramount, such practices will be frowned upon and stamped out. Yoruba elders know that when you teach the youths hate, they will have nowhere to burn down but their region. If the anti-Igbo rhetoric is not stopped, Yorubaland will be the greatest loser. It is Lagos economic prosperity that is at stake if tribal clashes explode, since not only Igbo workers and investors will flee, but all other immigrants.
It is unfortunate that Tinubus 24 year agberocracy policy of promoting touts like MC Oluomo, while progressive Youth are starved of skills acquisition and investment has reduced our competivitness and created the feeling of inferiority complex that births xenophobic sentiments. While Igbos multiply in business due to their apprenticeship program that sets their Youth up with capital, our own Youth can’t get help unless they become oraisa to our political class. Moreover, first generation economic migrants everywhere in the world take to retailing, mainly of what their hosts produce in their factories. Unfortunately, instead of industrializing Lagos, APC has not only arrested our political but also economic development. So, instead of selling Yoruba industrial output, our economic migrants trade in imported goods with not much income or employment multiplier effects to benefit both the host and visitor. However, even though Tinubus cabal hasn’t evolved Yoruba industrialization from the colonial level of foods, brevages and tobacco, we Yoruba won’t standby to watch destruction of the little we have had since independence.
In 2019, Yorubas paramount leader, Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwus categorically stated with Ifa Odus as well as with modern genetic and cultural anthropological evidence that Igbo and Igalas are our closest genetic and cultural relatives that migrated out of Ife like other Yorubas, but many of the colonially cultural derailed Yorubas disagreed. It has become clear that the past century of colonial indoctrination that weaned people off our traditional knowledge bank Ifa, prevents our people from recognizing that all other Southern and Middlebelt groups shared the same 16 sector knowledge bank Ifa-Afa-Iha-Fa-Efa that gave us all our cultural foundations. People are not aware that it was the European colonists that balkanized our Ifa-Afa-Iha-Fa-Efa civilization headed by Ooni of Ife into tribes across South and Middlebelt.
The Nigerian State recognizes that Nigeria is made up of just two civilizations – Original African civilization headed by Ooni and the Northern Afroasiatic civilization headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, which is why both were made co-chairmen of the Nigerian Traditional Council. It is unfortunate that while the Northern Afroasiatic civilization is united despite being made up of unrelated groups that were Arabized in different waves of Asiatic imperialism, the Original African civilization made up of groups that share the same genetic and cultural origins, essentially a continuum of dialects, can’t unite themselves.
Therefore it is an embarrassment not only to Ooni’s civilizational leadership, but also Yoruba progressives, that the second largest and prosperous Ifa/Afa group are being discriminated by Yorubas supposed to unite the civilization. Yoruba leadership rightly placed Yoruba on a high moral ground of equity and justice of rotational presidency, and Afenifere united the South and Middlebelt civilizational meritocratic support of Peter Obis candidacy. The current fuelling of xenophobia is believed to be a strategy to isolate Yorubas by breaking up the South and Middlebelt unity Leadership Forum, as well as the unity of the more successful Odua and Biafra self determination groups that have united across the River Niger to demand for separate nations if restructuring fails.
The ignorant propaganda is so vile yet laughable that some Yorubas claim that Igbos with the same Ifa/Afa cultural origins wants to imperialize them. Some of our Youths fell for the divisive propaganda because they have been culturally and philosophically derailed by Abrahamic dogma based on Binary Opposition that replaced our own African Binary Complimentarity philosophy. Apart from the obvious difference of no Indigenous African group traditionally believes in the existence of a Satan figure invented by Abrahamists, knowing that everything including God is good and evil, Original Africans see diversity, hybridity and compromise as strengths while Binary oppositionists see them as negative threats that must be destroyed and therefore resort to extremism and xenophobia.
These xenophobic tendencies promoted by Tinubu, the Jabagan of Afroasiatic Borgu, is an aberration and derailment of Original African Yoruba culture, so true Omoluabi Yoruba must step up to fight for the consciousness and conscience of Yorubaland. Afenifere, the OPC, our cultural leadership must stand up to retain Yoruba cultural traits. Yorubaland must remain the land of the free where every law abiding productive immigrant is welcome to invest, work, pay tax and vote for the economic and political development of Yorubaland. Moreover, the anti-Igbo rhetoric that paints Lagos Yorubas as docile and subservient to Tinubu Afro-Arabic feudalism is an insult. Eko o gbagba kugba, Lagosian are not mumus. A wise man who died in the backyard of a foolish man, o ni bo se je, e get as e be!