"It's never too late to be what you might have been." - George Elliot.
"From today onward, Kosovo is proud, independent and free. We never lost faith in the dream that one day we would start among the free nations of the world, and today we do. Our hopes have never been higher. Dreams are infinite, our challenges loom large, but nothing can deter us from moving forward to the greatness that history has reserved for us. Kosovo will never be ruled by Belgrade again..." - Hashim Thaci - Prime Minister of Kosovo. Formerly leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Excerpt of declaration of Kosovo's independence from Serbia in the Parliament on February 17, 2008 in Pristina, capital of Kosovo.
"... Originally, I must admit that I was skeptical about the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference but the farther we go, the more I am convinced that those who are calling for a Sovereign National Conference are right. We have to go back to the drawing board and start right from the scratch. There is something wrong with them and there is also something wrong with the system which allows them to perpetuate those hideous and heinous rascality. So, the individuals running the government have failed, the system too has failed us. Both have failed and both have to go.What killed the First Republic was that Nigeria was a country and not a nation. Don't forget that Nigeria was created by the British.
In fact, I would say that three entities created Nigeria: Royal Niger Company, the Colonial Secretary at the time, Lord Harcourt and also Lord Lugard.Those were the three people who created Nigeria, but the people who got independence for us were Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo, Osadebe, Akintola and others. The founding fathers were the Royal Niger Company, which was really commercialised colonialism, Lugard and Lord Harcourt because there was nothing like Nigeria at that time; the whole of Africa was just blank. It was after the Berlin Conference of 1884 that they drew the various lines which became the nation states. Britain created a country, they didn't create a nation. That is very important because Britain, in 1914 when we had that amalgamation, said she created a country, not a nation.
In other words, amalgamate a country, don't amalgamate a nation. The north should be different from the south, the reason why Britain did that was because it was in the commercial interest of Britain. Before the amalgamation, the north was paying custom dues to the south, which means in effect the Royal Niger Company was paying custom duties to the south.With the amalgamation, there was no question of custom duties again.The mistake we made was that we thought the structure created by the colonial power was in our interest. Yes, our interest were involved, but they were subsidiary, but the primary cause was for the commercial interest and financial interest of the colonial power. The army given to us was a colonial army, which was structured in a way that, in case of emergency, the north, which belonged originally to the Royal Niger Company, will prevail.You can't create an army in the way it was created and structured at that time and not have the kind of problem you had and if you had the problem, the north will prevail and that is exactly what happened. That is the second reason.
Many people probably knew and maybe they just didn't know that the structure were created immediately by the British because of the lesson they learnt in India. Britain believed they mishandled the Indian situation and, therefore, enabled Ghandi to emerge as the leader for the whole of India.Lugard's first job was in India, he was then a captain and was employed by the Royal Niger Company, what I call privatised colonialism, and he saw what happened in India. So he took that lesson to East Africa and it was from there that he came to Nigeria in 1888 as a captain also employed by the Royal Niger Company to implement the treaty of Berlin. What Luggard did was to form the Royal West African Frontier Force of only two thousand soldiers including black and white. Paradoxically, one of the members of that force was the father of Alhaji Babatunde Jose; that is another story, I don't want to go into that now. When they were structuring Nigeria, Britain knew what she wanted and went for it and what she wanted was that the mistake of India would not be repeated.
The military struck because they did not want power to come to the south. They struck because an agreement had been reached in the NPN at that time that the next president must come from the south. But some people were determined that power should not come to the south, that is the reality of the situation. Shagari was in his second term and, after a second term, the power should come to the south but some powerful elements in the army and even out of the army didn't want power to come to the south at all. They thought if they postponed the coup till near the election, it would be obvious that they didn't want power to come to the south; so, the earlier they did it, the better. When they removed Shagari, one could say, well, they removed their own man, so, it could not have been tribal for the north or the south. That was a lie, it was only a cover. If it came near the election when the southerner was to take over, the country would break up. Once they struck, I just went back to my law practice.
Nigeria is like a marriage which nobody wants but the marriage nobody dares dissolves..."
Richard Akinjide. Former Attorney-general of the Federation under Shagari.
Excerpt of interview given in December, 2007.
"...How can you thank a man for giving you what's already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what's already yours? You haven't even made progress, if what's being given to you, you should have had already. That's not progress. We are fed up wiyh the dillydallying, pussyfooting, compromising approach that we have been using toward getting our freedom. We want freedom now, but we are not going to get it by saying 'We Shall Overcome.' We have got to fight until we overcome. Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research. And when you see that you've got problems, all you have to do is examine the historic method used all over the world by others who have problems similar to yours. Once you see how they got theirs straight, then you know how to get yours straight..."
Excerpt of speech.
KOSOVO: SERBIA'S LAST FORTRESS FALLS AT LAST
With the joint signing of Independence declaration document scripted on parchment on Feruary 17, 2008 in the Parliament, the Speaker, Prime Minister and President of the Balkan province, Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi, Hashim Thaci and Fatmir Sejdiu respectively, Kosovo was formerly unilaterally declared a sovereign country,which will never again be under the jurisdiction of Serbia. Kosovo's parliament had bearly risen from this historical session when 17 European countries headed by Europe's power house, Germany, France and Britain, and the United States announced their unanimous support and recognition of Pristina. This swift reaction or support from these countries was not a surprise. Afterall, the event was far from being spontaneous. The place, date, time, contents, wordings had been determined before hand. The whole world awaited it. The whole event was orchestrated right from the onset by the United States aand his major European NATO partners. Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia was the culmination of/in its decades-long and often bloody-drive to gain independence from Serbia which dated back to 11968 when most of the first pro-independence demonstrations by ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, when it was part of Yugoslavia; were arrested.
By sidestepping the UN and appealing directly to the United States and other nations for recognition, Kosovo's independence set up a showdown with Serbia - outraged at the imminent loss of its territory. Kosovo cited injustice, discrimination, oppression, ethnic cleansing for declaring independence. All efforts by Serbia to keep Kosovo have yielded no result. .
The United States has not only thrown its full weight behind Kosovo but quickly called the unilateral declaration of independence "an exception" that should be backed by the United Nations. The United States together with its major European allies, Britain, France and Germany are already lobbying other European countries, who are yet to make up their mind, to recognize Kosovo.
The unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo has divided the 27-member European Union into 2 opposition groups. Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the biggest country in Europe and the world respectively by territory; and the largest population in Europe is leading the opposition group, which includes Spain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and others against Kosovo. The strongest opposition from western Europe are from Spain, Cyprus and Greece. Moscow is claiming that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence represented "multiple violations" of international law, including breaches of Serbia's sovereignty and the UN charter , especially resolution 44. Russia has vowed to veto Pristina's unilateral independence declaration whenever it comes up for hearing at the United Nation's Security Council. Canada is among the few western countries that are still sitting on the fence.
On the same day, Serbia President Boris Tadic, voiced his anger at Kosovo's declaration by saying that "Serbia will never accept Kosovo's unilateral independence declaration." In response, Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, who was formerly the leader of Kosovo Liberation Army, which battled Serbian troops in a 1998-1999 seperation war that claimed 10,000 lives, fired back immediately and said "Kosovo will never be ruled by Belgrade again.
If Pristina eventually succeeds in its unilateral independence declaration, it will be the culmination in the complete, final and irreversible division of Joseph Tito's former Yugoslavia. It will be joining Croatia, Slovenia, Monte-Negro, Macedonia and Bosnia, all former republics in the former Yugoslavia, which are now fully fledged sovereign nations with diplomatic status. Undoubtedly, Joseph Tito must be rolling in his grave now.
Though it legally remains a province of Serbia, Kosovo has been run by the UN and NATO since 1999, when Slobodan Milosovic's (the late Serbia President)forces were outsted after a NATO air war launched to end his crackdown on ethnic Albanian seperatists. Kosovo covers about 10,900 square kilometers, roughly the size of Belgium, and borders Albania and Macedonia - also a breakaway republic from the former Yugoslavia. The population of Kosovo is about 2 million. Ninety percent are ethnic Albanian; most are Muslims - unlike Serbians who are Orthodox Christians, like the Russians; and the rest are Catholics.
DRAWING A PARALLEL BETWEEN KOSOVO AND THE YORUBAS.
A lot of paralells could be drawn between Kosovo and the Yorubas. Without any exaggeration, the Yorubas, like the Kosovorians have had their own share of political and economic oppression, suppression, injustice, e.t.c. from the north. 100 or 50 years, depending on where you start the counting, is more than enough to take stock of our welfare within Nigeria. A lot of water has passed under the bridge within this period
Nigeria was the creation of the British. Even the name, Nigeria was coined by the British. A name that is associated with river Niger, which was also given to the river by the British; and the mouth, as we were told, and still being taught in our geography and history classes and text-books respectively, was discovered by Mungo Park.
ARGUMENTS IN DEFENSE OF AN OODUA REPUBLIC
Nigeria, as a country emerged in 1914 after the forceful amalgamation of the Yorubas, and the south in general with the north, without the consent of the former, by Luggard, the representative of the Queen of England. Nigeria was a marriage that the Yorubas, and the south in general were forced into by the British solely in order to serve their (i.e. the British's) selfish economic and political interests at the detriment of the Yorubas. Nigeria was a "loopsided marriage" in all sense of the word. It was a forced marriage of two economically unequal partners. It was a marriage between two partners who have "absolutely" nothing in common in terms of culture, tradition, language, values, e.t.c.
Yorubas make up about 22% of Nigeria's estimated 140 million population. The population of the Yorubas should be at least 40 million, if the population of Yorubas that reside outside Nigeria are taken into consideration.
Before the raid of Yoruba territory by the British, the Yorubas operated a very sophisticated and efficient administration system. The defunct Oyo empire had a complex power hierachy with the Obas at the top, and their chiefs, who could be comparted to today's ministers, who assisted them in running their respective jurisdictions. There was a well developed taxation system called "Isakole" which was an integral part of trade and commerce. In general, agriculture, trade and commerce flourished throughout the Yoruba empire. The Yorubas had their own indigenous religions, which were in no way inferior to Asia's religions like Buddhizm, Chintoizm, Confucionizm, Zorastianizm, Islam and Christianity. IFA is not just a religion, but "a complete way of life." Infact, the Japanese are so much fascinated with Ifa that they are presently studying it in Nigeria. In terms of arts and culture, the Yorubas could boast of one of the richest culture and some of the best arts works in the world. Uncountable number of Yoruba arts works that were stolen by the British during the invasion of its territory still decorate British, European and American museums up till today. These marvellous arts works draw millions of visitors to these museums who still find it difficult to believe that blacks are capable of producing such great arts works.
The Yorubas, despite all the odds, have made not only Nigeria but Africa and the black race in general proud in many fields and aspects. Yorubas gave Nigeria and Africa the first Nobel Laureatte in literature in 1986. In general, without any exaggeration, Yorubas could boast of some of the best writers, medical doctors, engineers, academicians, lawyers, sportsmen, musicians, artists, e.t.c. in the world. Many sons and daughters of Yoruba descendants have recorded uncountable numbers of firsts both in Africa and in the world in different fields of human endeavour. In general, Yorubas have been pioneers and pacesetters in human development. The first stadium, radio and TV stations in subsaharan Africa were constructed in Ibadan by the defunct western region headed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Pa Awo, as he was fondly called, was the first to introduce free education at the tertiary level. Yorubas have always regarded education or acquisition of knowledge in general, a high priority. Suffice to say that Awolowo was able to achieve these great feats or landmarks from the revenues generated primaryly from cocoa.
Despite all the above mentioned achievements by the Yorubas, nevertheless, without any exaggeration, the 'forceful' merging of the Yorubas together with the Hausa/Fulani, is more of a disaster than a blessing, as one may wrongly think. Since their forceful amalgamation with the descendants of Othman Don Fodio, the Yorubas have lost control over their own destiny. Through different 'hook and crook' methods, master-minded by the British, the North has not only monopolised political and military power, but has a firm grip on key political events, right from independence. A fraudulent Constitution that robs Peter to pay Paul was put in place by the Northern led federal government. A 419 Constitution that denies bonafide owners the right to the use of their human and mineral resources first and foremost for their own development all in the name of building a FAKE AND NON-EXISTING ONE NIGERIA was enacted. Consequently, the Yorubas have been denied the opportunity to have a 'complete' control and say over vital economic, political and social issues that affect their lives directly.
The corrupt, visionless, incompetent and morally bankrupt leadership provided mainly by the North and military for the past 50 years have turned Nigeria into one of the poorest countries in the world, that live on less than $1 a day, despite its enourmous mineral and human resources, which very few countries are endowed with. The government is unable to provide pipe borne water for its citizens for almost 50 years despite the fact that the country has one of the largest number of rivers in the world!
Nigeria generates one of the lowest electricity per person in the world despite the fact that the country is located right at the equator. A substantial part of its territory and citizens are always in darkness most of the time. Nigeria, feeds its citizens mainly with imported foods, despite the fact the country is blessed with some of the most fertile soils in the world. According to UNDP, the state of public health care is one of the worst in the world, despite the fact that Nigerian medical practitioners are rank among the best in leading western countries and oil rich Arab countries. No wonder that the average life expectancy is a shocking 42.5 years!
Today, almost 100 years after amalgamation, and 50 years of self-rule, the country is even more divided. One fact that is undisputable, even among the most adamant optimists and advocates of "One Nigeria" is the bitter truth that, today, almost 100 years after amalgamation, and 50 years of self-rule, the country is not only even more divided but is just a 'mere geographical expression.' The One Nigeria project has failed!
Uncountable number of Yorubas and Southerners have fallen victims of pogroms, unprovoked religious and political riots in the North. Sometime last year, the country was shocked to hear about the death of a Yoruba invigilator, who was hacked to death by her northern students. She, unknowingly, committed a crime, punishable by death, for seizing and throwing away lecture notes purposely hidden inside the Quran, in order to evade detection, by some northern students.
She had committed capital crime for carrying out her responsibility as an invigilator, which included preventing students from cheating in examinations. Unknowingly to the Yoruba invigilator, these aggrieved northern students had already made up their mind to teach her a 'lesson' for depriving them the opportunity to pass their papers in 'flying colours.' They way laid her after leaving the examination hall. After the examination, these aggrieved northern students rallied other northern muslim students and inhabitants together and told them that the Yoruba invigilator had thrown away the Holy Quran. She was sentenced to death in absentia in a kangaroo sharia court that they presided over!
On her way home, the invigilator was confronted and accused of throwing away the Quran. Before this poor Yoruba lady could even fathom what she was being accussed of, talkless of defending herself, the mob took the law into their hands and sentenced her to death right on the spot. THE MOB LYNCHED HER WITH PLEASURE, WITHOUT ANY HIDDERANCE. After carrying out the execution, they hug themselves and congratulated one another not only for a job well done, but for also sending another Keferi, or unbeliever, into her early grave.
Neither the colleauges of the Yoruba invigilator, other students nor the Police intervened to prevent the cold murder of this innocent lady. It is difficult to imagine, even in one's wildest dreams, that in the beginning of the 21st century, and in a country that has existed for almost 100 years that a teacher could be murdered in cold blood in her own country by her own students while carrying out her professional duties, without anybody coming to her aid simply because she was unlucky to be from another tribe! The worst part of this tragic incident was al the culprits that took part in this murder went scott free, without being made to account for their crime. What a country! One Nation, one country indeed!
Suffice to say that uncountable number of Yorubas have been sentenced to their untimely deaths, either directly or indirectly - through curable diseases, poverty, stress, e.t.c. Millions of well educated and able bodied sons and daughters of Yoruba have been forced to migrate abroad in search of the green pastures due to bad leadership from the north, which has consequently impoverished the country. This mass migration has led to brain drain and weakened the intellectual capability and economy of the Yorubas as a nation. Instead of developing the economy of the Yorubas, they were compelled to develop the economies of other nations.
In addition to the above, a number of political events that have unfolded within the past 50 years, most especially, in the past 15 years, including the emergence of MASSOB, MEND, OPC and other militant groups agitating for independence are more than enough evidence that Nigeria is a 'failed marriage!' The injustice and abuse of power by the North is so apparent that the idea of breaking up Nigeria is no more being treated as cynical. The desire of the North to continue hanging on to power at any cost, and to the detriment of other tribes that make up Nigeria, has created an invidious feeling among many Yorubas.
It is difficult to believe that for almost 50 years of Nigeria's existence as a sovereign country, it has never been ruled by anybody of Yoruba extraction despite the fact they make up about a quarter of the total population and are bestowed with numerous sons and daughters, who are more than capable.
Asserting that Yorubas have never ruled Nigeria before is in no way an over statement or exaggeration. Although, Obasanjo, de jure, might be a Yoruba man; although, there are some rumours that in actual fact, he is not a Yoruba man, but de-facto, he never represented the Yoruba. It's a known fact that the Yorubas did not only just not support Obasanjo, they were 'categorically' against his candidacy! Falae was the preferred Yoruba presidential candidate. Obasanjo was so unpopular among the Yorubas to the extent that he lost to Falae in his (Obasanjo's) own local government! It is an open secret that Obasanjo was imposed on the Yorubas and Nigerians at large by the northern cabal led by Danjuma and Babangida, the evil genius. The north bankrolled the Presidential campaign of Obasanjo, from the money they have stolen from the Niger Delta oil revenues, and made him the President against the will of the Yorubas. This fact was publicly admitted by Danjuma in a recent interview. He even went as far as tendering his apology to Nigerians for the role he played in imposing Obasanjo on Nigerians.
The Yorubaness of Obasanjo; if at all he is indeed a Yoruba man, reflects only in the name. The manner in which Obasanjo ruled Nigeria; his brutality, massacering of innocent Nigerians, total disregard for the rule of law; which is supposed to be one of the main attributes of a democratic government, and his failed attempt to hang on to power for life are more than enough evidence to prove beyond any reasonable doubts that his rule was not only an extension of the military regime, but Obasanjo is indeed a northerner, like babangida, abacha, e.t.c. who just happens to bear a Yoruba name. As a former soldier, he had spent practically all his adult life with his military colleagues, who are predominantly from the north. No wonder that he speaks Hausa fluently. Two Yoruba proverbs: "Ti omi ba pe lara ose, a di ose"; and "Ti aguntan ba baja rin, s je gbe" go a long way to describe Obasanjo and his attitudes.
The imposition of Obasanjo on Yorubas and Nigerians at large, was a well planned act by the north to prevent a real, respected and capable Yoruba leader from getting to the helms of affairs in Nigeria, and to strategically position themselves to take over power whenever the seat is vacated by Obasanjo - their protege. It was also a puported act to slight and dumiliate the Yorubas. The north, despite the fact that its total contribution to Nigeria's economy, according to different national and international sources, is less than 10%, nevertheless, has defacto been ruling the country, either through the bullet or fraudulent elections and manipulations, since independence.
Before the 1999 presidential election, all previous efforts by the Yorubas to give the country a national leader that all Nigerians could be proud of, who will work for the glory and prosperity of the country were jeopardised by the north. A case in point was the 1979 presidential election. Despite the fact that it was obvious that Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a much capable candidate than Alhaji Shehu Shagari, a former school teacher, nevertheless, the north rallied around their kinsman and voted for him overwhemingly. Since Shagari lacked the necessary background and experience in order to be a good president, it was no surprise that he was a very weak president, who had no control or say in what was going on around him. He was more of a puppet president who had no clues about how to run a country effectively.
Thus, by denying Pa Awo the presidency, the Yorubas and Nigerians as a whole were denied a very good opportunity of having a real leader with vision, who had all it takes to make Nigeria a prosperous and democratic country. The message from the 1979 election was more than clear: The North would rather have an incompetent and weak northern president than a competent and strong Yoruba president.
Abiola's horrible experience with the National Party of Nigeria in 1983 is another very good example of the political oppression, suppression and humiliation of the Yorubas by the north. Abiola, despite his relatively young age in 1983 was already a veteran in Nigerian politics. He spent enourmous amount of his wealth not only in building and strenghtening the defunct National Party of Nigeria (N.P.N.), but was also among the major financiers of Shagari and campaigned for him vigorously in Yoruba land and Nigeria in general.
To the biggest surprise of Abiola, when he expressed his intention in running for the presidency after the end of Shagari's first term, he was told by Umaru Dikko and other key party members from the north that 'the presidency is not for sale!'Abiola was stunned. He could not believe that the party and people that he had done so much for could tell him to his face that 'they would rather have another incompetent northerner as president than a Yoruba affluent president.
The north reneged on the promise it gave to Abiola. He was left in the cold to leak his wounds! After the humiliating verdict, Abiola decided to call it quits with partisan politics.
Taking into consideration the fact that Abiola and other prominent Yorubas not only invested their personal money into NPN, but as well campaigned for Shagari, a Fulani man, on Yoruba's territory, which subsequently led to some Yorubas casting their votes for him, what we need to understand here is the fact that by denying Abiola the opportunity to contest for the president under the flag of NPN, it was not only Abiola that was humiliated or aggrieved, but the 'WHOLE OF YORUBA NATION.'
Perhaps, the worst humiliation, oppression and injustice that Yorubas were ever subjected to by the northern ruling cabal was the unceremonious denial of Chief Moshood Kasimawo Abiola the presidency in an election that was nationally and internationally acclaimed to be the fairest and freest in the history of the country, even up till today. Babangida, the evil genius, stopped further announcement of the result of the June 12, 1994, presidential election, regarded as the freest and fairest election in Nigerian history, when it became clear that Abiola was heading for a landslide victory against his opponent Tofa, from the north.
For the first time ever in Nigeria's history, the popularity of a presidential candidate cut across different ethnic groups and political stripes; including the north. But, since the nationally accepted presidential candidate was a Yoruba man, and not a descendant of Othman Dan Fodio, the northern ruling cabal, which consisted of both civilians and military officers, were not ready for such a 'transformation.' Even, the 'assumed bossom friendship' between Abiola and Ibb was not enough for Babangida to relinquish power to his Yoruba friend!
All the efforts of Abiola and his staunch supporters to claim his rightful mandate were to no avail. Eventually, he was arrested, charged with treason and thrown in jail like a dog without any trial. He was subsequently murdered in prison when it became obvious that Abiola was not only not ready to trade or negotiate his mandate, but was ready to go to any length to defend it.
The arrest of Abiola, and his eventual cold blooded murder in the prison proves beyond any reasonable doubts the hypocrisy of the north as regards to its SINCERITY and COMMITTMENT to the so called ONE NIGERIA PROJECT. To them, One Nigeria is only when only a northerner, irrespective of whether he came through the bullet or rigged ballot boxes, continues ruling the country. The north's understanding of democracy is limited to a northern president or power remaining in the power forever; either in the custody of a military dictator or an incompetent and visionless civilian president.
To Babangida and the ruling northern cabal, Abiola dfeclaring himself the president of Nigeria after winning an election considered to be the freest and fairest conducted so far in Nigeria, was treason, however, to the same people, coup plotting or overthrowing of elected president, as was the case in 1979, was not treason. What a 'double standard!' The one billion question we need to ask ourselves is this: "If Tofa, and not Abiola had won the election, what is the probability that Babangida would refuse to hand over power to him?" I guess the answer is obvious. Your guess is as good as mine.
The denial of Abiola the presidency and his eventual callous murder in detention by the north, under mysterous circumstances was more than enough reason for the Yorubas to pull out of Nigeria immediately. Without any exaggeration and emotion, suffice to say that Abiola's murder was not just a 'big and dirty' slap on the face of the Yorubas, it was a public humiliation. Calling it something else will tantamount to shying away from calling a spade a spade.
I am sorry and ashamed to say this as a Yoruba man; If we indeed had the guts, we should had taken some very drastic measures when the death of Abiola was announced, and declare Oodua republic with immediate effect in order to register our discontent and anger. Unfortunately, we did not only swallow the insult and humiliation, but allowed ourselves to be taken for a further ride by the north. What we Yorubas must understand is the fact that no matter the short-comings of Abiola, he was first and foremost our son, moreover, he fought for, and represenred a democratic symbol.
In order to understand the gravity and get a complete picture of the events that led to the arrest and eventual murder of Abiola, it's of utmost importance for us to analyse Abiola's predicaments from another angle. Supposing Ibb was not a northerner, but a Southerner or Yoruba, to be precise, and Abiola was not a Yoruba man, but a Fulani or Hausa. Supposing a Yoruba president abruptly ordered that further announcement of the results of an election that was purpotedly won by a northerner be haulted. How would the north had reacted?
Let us take our analysis a step further. Supposing the Yoruba president arrested and threw into jail the assumed winner of the election. How would the north had reacted? Would they had sitten down with folded hands and watched idly how events unfolded? To complete our analysis, let us now assume that the arrested winner of the election, who was a northerner, died in prison, under mysterious circumstances? Imagine if it was Obasanjo that did what Babangida did to Abiola and the Yorubas as an ethnic group. Imagine if Yaradua, thrown into prison by Obasanjo, had died in prison. How would the north had reacted? Your guess is as good as mine. Undoubtedly, the north would had set the whole south, especially Yoruba territory on fire. A second civil war and massacre of Yorubas would had been unavoidable.
As has earlier been mentioned, the public humiliation and political oppression of the Yorubas was completed with the imposition of Obasanjo, the most hated and unpopular individual by the Yorubas, to rule over them and the whole country. Today, the country is yet to complete compiling the list of uncountable atrocities committed by Obasanjo, talkless of recovering from them!
Today, after doing a lot of analyses of political events in Nigeriam most especially in the last 15 years, many prominent Yoruba sons and daughters have come to the conclusion that the emergence of Oodua republic is ineluctable. Some, due to their status in the society and the sensitivity of the issue, have stopped short of calling for an outright break up. They have instead opted for a compromise and settled for a National Sovereign Conference. However, in the absence of the camera or microphone, they discuss the need for the Yorubas to take a full control of their destinies and not leave them to the north to toy with anymore.
Richard Osuolale Akinjide, SAN, former Attorney-General of the Federation under Shagari, is the latest among illustrious Yoruba sons and daughters to join the Oodua bandwagon by not only admitting the serious shortcomings in the present political and economic system, but has gone much further by 'boldly' calling openly for the break up of Nigeria. Akinjide needs no introduction when it comes Nigeria's politics and legal knowledge. He is a Super heavyweight of Nigeria's politics, history and Constitution. As could be recalled, thanks to Akinjide'd legal prowess, Shagari, a mediocre, who under normal circumstances, even in his wildest dreams, should not had even dreamt of becoming a permanent secretary , eventually became Nigeria's president.
Akinjide, prior to his appointment as the Attorney-General of the federation, was the legal representative of NPN and Shagari. He used his legal expertise to argue in court that Shagari indeed met the 12 2/3 condition or won 12 2/3 states out of 19 states, stipulated by the Constitution in order to become the president.
Akinjide, in a lengthy interview, given in December 2008, revealed that the main reason why Shehu Shagari was toppled was to prevent a southerner from taking over power after the end of his term. The timing of the coup was perfectly chosen in order to avoid any suspiction as regars to the real intentuion of the north. Since it was a northerner overthrowing a fellow northerner, millions of Nigerians, even up till today, are under the illusion that the coup was strictly a military affairs, and never saw anything suspicious about it. In actual fact, according to Akinjide, the coup was a 'conspiracy' and a well planned treachery among northern civilian politicians in power and their northern military officers to keep power in the north for good!
For the sake of objectivity and our analysis, it is important to admit that the north used Akinjide and other learned Yorubas not only to achieve their selfish political and economic interests, but defend them as well - at the expense of the Yorubas and the south in general.
When legal luminaries like Akinjide and other learned Yoruba sons and daughters were serving northern military Head of States and quota system mediocre Presidents, perhaps, they 'naively' believed in One Nigeria then. However, many 'unpleasant' political events that took place within the past 15 years have opened their eyes and compelled them to rethink their respective positions about the so called One Nigeria Project. They mistakenly thought that they were serving Nigeria, without knowing that in actual fact, they were serving the north, and being used to carry out its 'hidden agenda' which entails exploiting the human and mineral resources of the Yorubas and the south as a whole to the maximum to develop the north, and abandon the latter to leak its wounds when there is nothing more left to exploit.
BENEFITS OF THE EMERGENCE OF OODUA REPUBLIC
The benefits of an Oodua Republic - free at last from the political, economic, military and cultural bondage of the north abounds.
In anycase, what is undisputable is the fact that the present political and economic systems put in place by the north, with the help of the British, have not only done a great damage to us, but as well fallen far short of ensuring 'accelerated' economic, political and cultural development of the Yorubas as a nation and ethnic group respectively. "Oju mewa ko jo oju eni," says a popular Yoruba proverb. Translated literary, it means "Ten eyes belonging to other people or strangers are not equal, or can not be as good as one's own eyes." This proverb, in essence, means that nobody, no matter their number, can protect one's personal interests like you yourself would have wanted or done. In otherwords, if we are to avoid past political humiliations, oppressions, suppressions and economic deprivation; and intend to bring our standard of living at par with the developed nations, there is the need for us to take a 'full' control of our political, economic, cultural and military affairs, without any compromise, is urgent and of strategic importance. A nation that aspires to be relevant and great can not afford to leave its economic, political, military and cultural interests in the hands of strangers to determine or toy with! We must not even leave 10% of our interests in the hands of others! Based on my analysis, the only feasible way to achieve this is through the emergence of Oodua republic!
With the emergence of Oodua republic, like other great nations, we can enact and implement, without any prejudice or favouratism, a NEW Constitution that completely meets our political, economic, military and cultural interests, without any compromise. We don't need to go to Abuja and negotiate with strangers, who have nothing in common with us. It's high time we understood that the present political and economic systems that operate in Nigeria are only not in our favour, but are equally to the detriment of our ethnic group. Therefore, neither a Constitutional Amendment nor even a Sovereign National Conference will suffice.
Whenever we travel down to Abuja, a place that has no historical connection with our people, culture and history, to negotiate with others, especially with the north, we are bound to compromise and jeopardise our interests in order to reach an agreement. We don't have the majority needed to influence decisions that completely meet our interests. On the contrary, the north has both the power, political and military, and population not only to achieve its interests but defend them as well. This is a 'strategic advantage' which, unfortunately, we don't posses.
Most importantly, we will have to dash out our resources to the north, without getting anything in return, all in the name of keeping Nigeria one. Subsequently, as I have already pointed out, neither a Constitutional amendment nor a Sovereign National Conference is far from being the 'optimal' option for an ethnic group that not only wants to remain relevant in the 21st century and beyond, but is equally serious about accelerated development, protecting its culture and heritage, and leaving a legacy that generations after generations will be proud of. Fellow brothers and sisters, it's high time we understood that remaining part of Nigeria will make these goals and aspirations unattainable, and remain just a dream.
If we have our own republic, we can elect highly competent, honest and hardworking leaders that will provide quality leadership, which will inevitably lead to a strong and prosperous Yoruba nation. We will never have to choose again among mediocre northern presidential candidates like Yaradua, Atiku and Buhari, e.t.c., as we just did in the last presidential election. We will choose our leaders from the best of the best among illustrious Yoruba sons and daughters to represent us at all levels. We will be able to form a strong cabinet of ministers based solely on merits, and not quota system - as is the case presently in Nigeria.
Most importantly, we will be able establish strong democratic institutions which are prerequisites to having a just, egalitarian, peaceful, democratic, strong and prosperous Yoruba nation - all of which have so far eluded Nigeria as a country. Building a democratic and egalitarian Yoruba nation will not be a difficult task for the Yorubas simply because we have always stood for justice, and led fierce battles against military dictatorship in Nigeria.
Yorubas have always been pioneers in human rights movements and played leading roles in the democratization processes in Nigeria. The Yorubas have always stood against tyranny irrespective of the origin or tribe of the perpetuator. It's worth mentioning that a number of prominent Yorubas have always voiced out their critizm of Obasanjo's political, economic, military and social policies despite the fact that he is Yoruba. In addition, without any exaggeration, the Yorubas played a significant role in nipping to the bud Obasanjo's Third Term Agenda and hidden desire to hang on to power for life.
We have a very rich democratic history and values, which we can easyly tap from when Oodua republic eventually emerges. With the emergence of Oodua republic, we will NEVER have to worry about the Babangidas, the Danjumas, the Buharis, the Atikus, the Kingibes, the David Marks, e.t.c who have become clogs in the wheels of progress and constitute serious threats to our development as an ethnic group. Imagine an Oodua republic without the above mentioned people. That alone is worth living and dying for!
With the emergence of Yoruba nation, our language, culture, tradition and values, which have suffered a tremendous set back, will flourish without bounds. we will have the opportunity to rediscover again our identity, and be proud of our extremely rich language, culture, tradition, religion and values. Most importantly, as has already been mentioned, with the emergence of Oodua republic, we can concentrate our rich human and mineral resources 'exclusively' on our own development; and not squander them on the north as we have been doing since 1914, when the south was forcefully amalgamated with the north by the British.
Talking about human and mineral resources, suffice to say, without any exaggeration and apology, that we have them in abundance. The oil in Ondo is more than enough to power our economy and for local consumption. In addition, we have the largest, or second largest reserve of bitumen in the world! We are blessed with some of the most fertile soils in the world. Before the discovery of oil, our economy was built solely on agriculture. The defunct western region, under the administration of Pa Obafemi Awolowo, was able to finance many capital intensive projects from the revenues generated from cocoa.
Undoubtedly, our most invaluable assets are our human resources. With an estimated population of 40 million, only few African countries like South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Zaire and 2 more countries could boast of a larger population. Infact, not even a lot of European countries could boast of this number. We are endowed with not just some of the best brains in the world, but as well have the most educated population in Africa. We have more than enough land to farm and build houses for our citizens. We could not have asked God for more.
My advocating for the emergence of an Oodua republic should not in any way be regarded as tribalism or hatred of the north. My position is solely based on self interests of the Yorubas as a nation and ethnic group respectively. What I am advocating for is that we, Yorubas, should use our 'own' resources to defend our own political, economic, military and cultural interests.In my view, this is a honest and sincere position. I am not calling on Yorubas to exploit other people or their resources to defend their interests, as is presently the case in Nigeria, where the north exploits the resources of others to defend its interest.
Fellow brothers and sisters, it's very important for us to understand that Nigeria is a 'trap' that was set up by the British in order to make us independent and hold back our economic and cultural development. Nigeria is a brain child of the British meant to serve its own selfish economic and political interests. My dear brothers and sisters, it's high time we freed ourselves of these shackles called 'Nigeria.' We are not bound by any law to live under an arrangement that we never gave our consent to, moreover, an arrangement that is detriment to our development and threatens our economic, political and cultural survival as a nation and ethnic group. Nigeria is nothing but a political, economic, military and cultural bondage, which the Yorubas must get rid of as quickly as possible. We are bound to do it that for the sake of coming generations, so that they can be born into freedom. We must never hesitate, postpone or procastinate. If we fail to do it now and leave this problem for future generations to solve, they will never forgive us. We hold them a duty and responsibility. As a matter of fact, we should have solved this problem yesterday. It is already getting late today. Tomorrow, definitely will be too late. Better late than never!
TO BE CONTINUED ...
This article is dedicated to my fellow brothers and sisters, who fallen victims of the oppressive, suppressive and murderous Nigerian government that has been led right from independence by the military and/or north. A rennaissance awaits us. THE PROMISED LAND IS AT HAND. We all need to come on board in order to achieve our goal. The first step in this process is having an objective and detailed information about our predicaments.
I also want to use this opportunity to thank Mr. Remi Oyeyemi, whose article on this issue prompted me to write this article that I had wanted to write long time ago, but for one reason or the other kept postponing. After the publication of your article, I told myself "Bode, it's either you write this article now or NEVER." You rekindled that passion in me. You made me fulfill an obligation. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!