Talk about gifts that keep on giving...
As we continue to get amusement from the sight of adult babies sucking away lustily at the pacifier/dummy that Babatunde Fashola has gently placed in their previously gaping maws, we should not lose sight of how Fashola, with this strategic error, has presented a very useful tool to those who will reduce his standing amongst the Yoruba.
Even though he had previously been able to hide his true colours as he eagerly constructed (physical and conceptual) bases for the would-be foreign overlords of Eko, with the singular act of standing in front of Igbo and providing them with ammunition to justify preposterous claims that they had been making against Yoruba, he finally (and prominently) confirmed the truth of his description as one who is not capable of acting positively and resolutely as an instrument for the advancement of Yoruba.
Meaning that should he ever seek another leadership position among Yoruba, incidents like this will be rolled out to show that he cannot be trusted as he is one who will betray those who fight for him.
As Femi Fani-Kayode already pointed out, there are people that you not give an inch to because they will then claim that they have been given a mile. In other words, the wailers that Fashola is trying to soothe are not actually the types of babies that you give dummies to. This is because, in the real sense, they are not babies, merely retarded (yet still quite dangerous) adults. In which case, when they wail too loud, you find a forceful way to shut them up. You do not give them a pacifier/dummy because they will eat it and then demand more food.
Which is what we are seeing here and, what we will continue to see...
While we watch, let us also fruitfully engage our imaginations. Let us imagine that each of Nigeria's several indigenous nations were just one person. Meaning that instead of so many millions of Yoruba, you have just one person...instead of so many millions of Igbo, you have just one person...and so on. This would mean that the whole of Nigeria will be a number that could be fit into a regular-sized events hall. Let us now imagine that we have indeed sat Nigeria down in this events hall. We have invited it to a seminar and it has honoured the invitation. Refreshments will be served at noon...
At the beginning of the seminar, we ask each delegate to pick up the writing pad and pen beside his/her seat and we ask that each write, as succinctly as possible, what s/he thinks s/he has gained or lost from 100 years of Nigeria's existence as a corporate body.
We also ask that each elaborate (if possible) on how these gains or losses have been enhanced or attenuated by 53 years of Nigerian 'independence'.
While the above scenario is hypothetical, an aspect of the result that is so predictable that it might as well be taken as fact is that no two delegates will write down the same thing.
Let us exercise our imagination some more :
Let us picture a predator in the jungle coming upon a herd of its food animals. It chases them down, catches one, and rests with this captive under its paws.
It may then do one of two things:
(1) It may feed
Or, not being hungry
(2) It may decide to let the captive go.
If it does (2), it does it out of the knowledge that when hunger strikes again, it will be able to easily bring down prey.
This second option - where prey is captured and then allowed to live - very rarely happens. But, it does happen.
What does not happen are situations where prey volunteer to be fed upon: What does not happen are situations where food animals seek out their predators and ask to
be fed upon. Because, on catching sight or scent of a predator, prey remove themselves from its vicinity with alacrity. But when unable to do this, the ones capable of
aggression will fight until they are no longer able to do so.
Only the sick (in mind or/and body) will observe the approach of a predator and take no evasive action.
The example above is given to illustrate some of nature's immutable laws. Laws that can also be stated thus :
(1) Only when satiated do the mighty consider the option of magnanimity.
(2) Only the sick (in mind or/and body) put up no struggle when certain death approaches.
I am a Yoruba human, this is my fundamental natural identity and I have no wish to be anything else. That being so, I would be foolish to subordinate my duty to care for the well-being of my Yoruba world to concerns that I may have for any other world.
For Yoruba, the exigent fact that will determine the shape of our future is how we deal with far-removed neighbors who nevertheless insist that they share ownership of our lands with us. All sorts of meaningless euphemisms are used to transmit the existence of this state of co-ownership. We are told that we are 'fellow nigerians' or, at a pinch, that some of us are 'southern nigerians'. Yet, in truth, the concept of 'Southern Nigeria' is as much a mirage as Nigeria itself since the various nationalities currently skulking under the label 'Nigerian' exist in a state of mutual dislike, disdain, contempt and/or outright hatred.
Which is why I laugh to myself when I hear people talk about their 'Nigerian nation'. And it is even funnier when 'southern Nigerians' talk up prospects of 'southern' unity.
With regards to what some like to refer to as 'settler/indigene dichotomy', what we know (from templates created by previous occurrences) is that when ones decides to permanently emigrate from their nation into another, they either go with the quantity of overwhelming force that will allow them to impose themselves on the people they meet in these places or, they strive to assimilate (as comprehensively as possible) into the host community's culture.
A process, which in its most marked sense, could mean becoming a phenomenon whose existence is clearly seen by all as something that is/was beneficial to the host community. Which was how in the old days, hard-working farmers (and skilled hunters or artisans) who, for example, emigrated from Nation A into the lands of Nation B became ancestral heroes of Nation B.
However, because for some, an unreasoned assumption of an eternal cultural superiority that is therefore unbounded by environment has become the norm, the stranger in a land, even though he has has no intention of ever returning to the territory of his indigenous nation, refuses to assimilate into his host community. Instead, he holds himself apart and demands that a separate space (in the conception of what it means to be an owner of the communities collective resources) be created for himself and for his descendants - all of whom he is determined will never lose sight of their immutable difference to other inhabitants of the land.
Is this not a recipe for perpetual conflict?
Two different bodies cannot occupy the same space. Therefore they either blend - peaceably or by compulsion - or, one of them is ejected from the space. Peaceably or, by compulsion.
So, returning to and, elaborating on one of the questions asked in the beginning, we Yoruba have to ask ourselves if being a part of Nigeria for the last 100 years has benefited us. Has it made us a more moral people? Are we more industrious and inventive than we ever were? Has our culture been enriched? And, most importantly of all, keeping in mind the fact that non-Africans are now ramping up the process of colonial exploitation, has our 100 years of being Nigerians prepared us to deal in a more effective manner with this oncoming threat than our ancestors did when they faced something similar?
In other words, are Yoruba better prepared to assert their political sovereignty and, protect the integrity of their territory than they were 100 years ago?
If the answer is any form of "No", then we must be prepared to admit that the last 100 years has been wasted. After that, we decide if we should carry on wasting time doing the same things that we have been doing ever since we were 'colonised'. If we should continue, like Fashola and his predecessors seeking after the establishment of a chimerical 'nigerian' nation or, if it is finally time that we actively realise the fact that our destinies do actually lie solely in our hands.
A realisation whose consequence will be the putting aside of all thoughts about catering to the interests or sentiments of foreigners whose primary intent is the establishment of a hegemonic entity in our territory.