I have just finished reading the article by one of the most brilliant minds in Journalism, Festus Adedayo entitled “Tinubu, run! Please, run!” It is an article that another seminally brilliant mind, Dr. Akin Fapohunda, has characterised as being of “Epic” genre. I feel compelled to react to this legendary piece for a plethora of reasons, the most important of which is the welfare and the future of our Yorùbá Nation and by far lesser significance, Nigeria.
For about two decades now, the Yorùbá Nation, unbeknown to it, has been plagued by a destructive, powerful, rapacious internal enemy. An internal enemy, more dangerous than a perfidious one, in its political firmament that has had impactful consequences on its contemporary social, moral and economic climate. Through this internal enemy, the Yorùbá Nation had been brought to its knees and its people, sold cheaply, into a macabre slavery with attendant woes and miseries.
There are some things that I believe one should not involve himself in. Things from which one should maintain a dignified distance. Mr. Adebayo Clement Adeyeye’s present dilacerating dalliance as the anchor of Southwest Agenda (SWAG ’23) has come across as a desecration of public faith and disrespect for facts. Unless, he is a disciple of Aunt Adelina’s postulations as quoted from “The Feast of the Goat” that “Well, that’s what politics is, you make your way over corpses…” by Prince Adedayo in the very first paragraph of his fantastic article, then this intervention would be mute.
I was stricken by the premise of Prof. Adeyeye’s SWAG ’23 agenda, which according to him is to “champion a common front for the Yoruba race” by helping to install Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President of Nigeria. Respectfully, I believe this is hollow and situational premise that has nothing to do with the “common front for the Yorùbá race.” The trajectory of Tinubu does not support this claim. Available evidences do not bear this out. His public actions and records are antagonistic to this claim of “common front for the Yorùbá race.”
As articulated by Prince Adedayo in his epic piece, how is the perfidious and traitorous action of Tinubu and his cohorts against Mrs. Mulikat Akande – Adeola in sync with the hollow preachment of “common front for the Yorùbá race”? The Speakership of the National Assembly is a powerful position. Mrs. Akande-Adeola was set to be elected into that position until Bola Ahmed Tinubu betrayed her and the Yorùbá Nation, if we go by a selling point of Tinubuists. He betrayed the Yorùbá race and flipped that to and for a Fulani man from Sókótó State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
For the congenital Tinubuists, one of their selling points is that Tinubu has helped many Yorùbá gain positions in the Federal Government. To me, that is a very naive way of assessing a political leader. Putting your lackeys in positions within a political arrangement is of no consequence if it did not impact the welfare of the people and by extension, the polity. If a political leader or leadership is unable to positively affect the lives of ordinary people on the streets, he is a failure and should be junked.
But if we choose to buy into the naivety of Tinubuists in this regard and one juxtaposes his betrayal of Mrs. Akande-Adeola with their claim of helping Yorùbá into Federal positions, does this jell? How is this a validation of Adeyeye’s SWAG ’23 Agenda to “championing a common front for the Yorùbá race”? Or this “championing” is a new discovery? Or is the Yorùbá of Ogbomosho different from the Yorùbá of Mushin? Or is Oyo State no longer part of Yorùbá Nation?
There was burning, maiming and murdering of Yorùbá people at Ketu, Lagos, by the Hausa- Fulani people. These Yorùbá victims were the people who voted Tinubu as Governor of Lagos for two-terms. They lost lives. They lost property. Those who survived were bereaved. They lost relaves. Up till today, Tinubu pretended as if it never happened. He had no intervention, no matter how tenuous, to give. He said nothing. He did nothing. How is this in sync with “common front for the Yorùbá race”?
There was the Ile-Ife massacre of the Yorùbá people. People were literally beheaded and dismembered. I still have the gory pictures. Properties were burnt and those not burnt, destroyed. This is Ilé-Ifè. The Cradle of Yorùbá Civilization. The pride and the physical expression of Yorùbá essence. The symbol of Yorùbá uniqueness. The evidence of Yorùbá exceptionality. The primo of Yorùbá race.
To add insult to injury, those valiant Ifè indigenes who had the temerity to resist the massacre, who fought back to stay alive, who gave their all to protect their land, were arrested and ferried to Abuja for prosecution. Bola Ahmed Tinubu was nowhere to be found on this. To him, this never happened. And if it did, it was not important enough to warrant his attention or concern. How is this action in sync with Adeyeye’s SWAG ’23 premise of “championing a common front for the Yorùbá race”? Are the Ifè people not Yorùbá also? Are they different from the Yorùbá beknown to Bola Tinubu and his lackeys?
There is the special case of Òkè-Ògùn in Oyó State, one of the major food baskets in Yorùbá land. The Fulani and their cows have visited unmitigated destruction on the farms and the people. They have even killed many Yorùbá, without any consequences. They have been unchecked. Emboldened, this has spread to other part of Yorùbá land. People have lost billions of investment. As someone who claims to lead the Yorùbá, where is Tinubu to provide shoulders to lean on for his people? Or is this a different way “to champion the common front for the Yorùbá race”? There was Chief Olu Falae’s repeated experiences with the Fulani marauders. There was the murder of Pa Reuben Fasoranti’s daughter and the egregious “Where are the cows?” statement. Where lies the compassion to form “a common front for the Yorùbá race”?
With due respect to Governor Gbóyèga Oyetola, the rigging of the last governorship election in Osun State, in the glare of the world, anchored by his uncle, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu was at variance with someone on whose behalf they are preaching a “common front for the Yorùbá race.” The true test of the acceptance of a leadership is to not discountenance the intervention of the people, especially at critical times. The previous eight years were used to do the bidding of Bola Ahmed Tinubu by Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola to the detriment of the people of Osun State. Thank God, Gov. Oyetola is not like his uncle, Oyetola knew that people were aggrieved. He knew why they were aggrieved. He heard their complaints. He felt their pangs. He took deliberate steps to address issues of concern. It is the only explanation for the kind of steps he had taken since he was sworn-in as the Governor of Osun State.
When Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu was busy, wrecking and ruining the Afenifere Group, where was the concept of championing a “common front for the Yorùbá race”? He divided them and demonized them individually and collectively. With intellectually and morally malleable Sam Omatseye saddled with the anchorage of the odious and opprobrious task, Tinubu encouraged attacks on the family and associates of the greatest Yorùbá son, since Odùduwà, Obafemi Oyeniyi Awolowo, with no justifiable reason.
The intention was to dull the star of Obafemi Awolowo from the firmament of Yorùbá politics and replace it with Tinubu’s vacuous, ideologically challenged, economically rapacious mercantilist politics. In the naivety of Tinubu and his followers, they fail to realize that Awolowo’s records stand him in good stead. They speak for him. And moreso, what is wrong if Bola Tinubu is also a hero of the Yorùbá Nation, if he deserves it? Couldn’t a Nation do with more than one hero? But when a group is bereft of vision, and arid of purpose, other than self-aggrandizement and enrichment, it is given to chasing shadows and hollowness that underscores its vacuity.
My own Albert Einstein, the exceptionally brilliant Prof. Adewale Adebanwi of Oxford University, as quoted by Prince Adedayo made reference to what drives Tinubu on whose behalf Adeyeye’s SWAG ’23 has been preaching a “common front for the Yorùbá race” for the Presidency of Nigeria. Illustrating the Tinubu’s concept of politics, the details of what Tinubu believes was put on the table via the events of January 27, 1999 at the D’Rovans Hotel. But I disagree with Prof. Adebanwi that Tinubu “has a prudent fancy for ideology but a fierce commitment to power.” I would concede to this statement only if the word “prudent” is extricated.
There is nothing amiss if someone is “fiercely” committed to “power.” But what would give cause for concern is when the question, “To what end, and for what purpose?” arises. There is no sweeping that question under the carpet because it concerns the welfare of millions of people and the future of the next generation. As a matter of course, those whose lives are endangered by such empty political posturing would be forced to react. That is why Adeyeye’s SWAG ’23 has to further extrapolate on its preachment of “common front for the Yorùbá race.”
Since Tinubu has taken the mantle of political leadership of the Yorùbá States with his Ajélès as governors, hunger, poverty and untold deprivation has been the lot of the Yorùbá people. Their educational quality nosedived into the abyss. Even, as Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University, he was totally unconcerned for the long periods that the school was closed. He made no single effort to salvage the future of those children despite the fact that his men (Abiola Ajimobi and Rauf Aregbesola) governed the two states that owned the University. He did not care a hoot. He was not bothered, as those kids became frustrated and restive.
His political leadership of the majority of the Yorùbá States witnessed the death of industries and dearth of industrialization. Many industries closed down and workers thrown on the streets to wander around for survival. The health services became non-existent. Hospitals became slaughter slabs. His Ajélè Governors constructed roads at more than double the value and emptied our treasuries. For the emptiness of our treasuries, our roads became death traps. They planted flowers that did not grow and charge our commonwealths exhobitant prices. They characterise their efforts as “beautification” but our cities and towns became uglier. They borrowed money unrestrainedly and turn Yorùbá States to heavy debtor states. And Adeyeye’s SWAG ’23 is talking about creating a “common front for the Yorùbá race” that would foster a presidential run for Bola Ahmed Tinubu?
When the Àmòtékùn controversy was raging and the Yorùbá were angling to use its creation as a response to the Fulani banditry in Yorùbá Nation, Tinubu was dead quiet. He was nowhere to be found. We have it on authority that he was against it. Yorùbá lives and properties were on the line here. The sanctity of Yorùbá heritage was at stake here. Obviously they did not mean anything to Bola Tinubu. He did not care. He did not give a damn if all Yorùbá were killed. As long as his presidential ambition was on track, good luck to any Yorùbá that becomes a victim of the Fulani marauders. Yet, Adeyeye’s SWAG ’23 is talking about the “common front for the Yorùbá race” that would help install Tinubu as the President of Nigeria in 2023?
Let us forgive Tinubu for inflicting the pandemic called Mohammadu Buhari on Nigeria. Let us overlook that for what it is worth, despite the fact that he was sincerely warned. Let us gloss over it and pretend that it does not matter. But what is troubling is to claim you lead a people, and watch them heinously victimised, murdered and maimed without showing any concern. It is unfortunate that anyone could dance around the palaces of Yorùbá Obas that Tinubu characterised as “useless” without batting an eye lid and preach the gospel of “common front for the Yorùbá race” in order to install the same Tinubu as President of Nigeria!
This is a free country. Any person or group of persons has the right to propagate any narrative to advance its political interests. It is an inalienable right. But the rest of us also have the inalienable right to factually challenge such narratives and alert the public as to the realities of what is extant. Actions of today, would become part of recorded History, when tommorow comes.
©️ Rèmí Oyèyemi