Of pseudo intellectuals and political jobbers

It is the season of elections. Pseudo intellectuals seeking national attention have intensified their game of misinformation to mislead the youths and the uninformed. One such crooked thesis that gained currency in recent times is equating the alliance between the South-west dominant ACN and Buhari’s northern dominant CPC which produced APC with Akintola’s appeal to Ahmadu Bello and by extension NPC to avoid sanctions by the Western Region ruling AG after the party’s 1962 Jos convention. Of course the other fraudulent claim by political jobbers is demonizing APC, the product of the alliance, as an Islamic party with a mission to islamise the South-west.

If Akintola had committed any crime at all, it was probably his rigging of the 1965 regional election which ran counter to the age-long culture of the Yoruba people to freely elect their leaders long before Britain introduced liberal democracy to Nigeria. His appeal to external forces to escape justice and hold on to power was not in itself a crime. He was like many other Yoruba leaders a victim of a common Yoruba affliction captured in one of their idioms as “Kaka ki eku ma je sese, a fi se awa danu” (which can mean if your value is not recognized, you can make yourself relevant by becoming a threat to the system). Professor Adebayo Williams, an eminent Yoruba scholar has found an elegant way to capture this unhealthy syndrome ‘the feeling of self-worth’.

It can therefore be said in their defence that  the fault was not in their stars but in the Yoruba cosmology which justifies every misadventure of leaders as arising from their destiny (ayanmo) every individual brought from Olodumare  This destiny, according to Yoruba philosophy, is guided during trajectory  through life by regular sumptuous sacrifices to Esu ’the enforcer who controls both the benevolent and the malevolent”.  Remi Oyeyemi The revenge of Ajayi Crowther}  In other words ‘those  the gods want to destroy’, they first made mad’. When Yoruba leaders become too powerful and like the falcon refused to listen to the falconer, all that is done by the people is to keep on beating the talking drum lazed with praise lyrics until such leaders discovered they are dancing alone and naked to wit. At this point they are often left with only one choice-commit suicide just as Sango, the tyrannical ruler, deified as god of thunder did in fulfilment of his ‘ayanmo’.

Between 1962 and 1966 when the end finally came for Akintola, neither his followers nor the Yoruba leaders had the courage to remind him he was wrong to have imposed himself in defiance of the peoples wishes and culture. He was hailed by sycophants who bellowed in unison ‘Owo ti wo eku ida, o ku babanla eniti o yo” literarily meaning Akintola having acquired power irrespective of the mode of its acquisition cannot be challenged.). The leaders, with straight face went around selling Akintola’s dubious terms of settlement. He insisted on the dissolution of AG, a national party along his newly formed NNDP to give way to a new party that would then endorse him as premier. Awo had quipped, AG is a national party, if it were his name, he wouldn’t mind changing it to Obafemi Balewa to be released from unjust incarceration.

The federal government’s terms for Awo’s release were no less dubious. Awo’s wife would visit the Prime Minister privately in an unmarked car and camouflaged in an unusual dress to beg Balewa. (Awo wondered whether his wife was to kneel down or prostrate while begging the Prime Minister privately when Yoruba peacemakers took the proposal to him in his Calabar prison). Then the federal government sent a sponsored delegation of Yoruba elders committee made up of Rev S. O. Odutola, Rev Cannon R A Falode, Alhaji A. W. Elias, Chief A. E. Adeyemo and Dr Abiola Akerele. They went in a federal chartered air craft. Their mission: to stop arson, maiming and general insecurity, Awo should temporarily step out of the prison to publicly embrace Akintola to be followed with a joint statement appealing to the people to embrace peace. (Awo asked whether he was to appear in his prison attire for the photo show and also return to the prison while Akintola continued his illegal occupation of government house (Awo: My March Through Prison). Akintola was in good company. In the contemporary times, powerful Bola Ige took the Yoruba from PDP to APP and then AD. And when he also unilaterally decided to take them back to PDP, no one protested. Powerful newspaper columnists with large following refused to criticize Ige because “he was uncle Bola Ige”. By the time Ige discovered the Yoruba had left him, it was too late.

To reduce the above Yoruba unhealthy syndrome to conflicts over ideological orientation amount to a fraudulent intellectual enterprise. In any case, a critical analysis of the Yoruba outlook to life clearly shows there is a consensus among them as to how development and progress are measured in their communities. They dream the same dreams and perceive identical apparitions. Akintola like Afonja was driven by a sense of self-worth not by conflict over ideological orientation. .So was Fani-Kayode an equivalent of modern day ‘Serubawon’ of Osun, Isiaka Adeleke. He had set up a militant youth wing of AG to intimidate Yoruba detractors but to prove his relevance after two successive electoral misfortunes in Ife and his party’s decision to take sides with the Ooni of Ife he had tried to upstage, he joined NCNC and later NNDP where he became a deputy premier. Osuntokun’s action as we have seen, was dictated by a sense of self-worth following the failure of his party to address his protest. Even Obasanjo the self-styled godfather of PDP suffered from this Yoruba syndrome. It was for this reason he would boast of having achieved on a platter of gold, the prize Awo had unsuccessfully fought for while he Obasanjo was a mere barefooted secondary school pupil, berated Abiola who had secured a pan Nigeria mandate, saying he, Abiola was not the messiah Nigeria was waiting for, and after endless taunting by Fela who regarded soldiers as unthinking ‘zombies’, sent unknown soldiers to sack his ‘Kalakuta Republic’.

It is therefore sheer mischief for politicians to draw a parallel between current developments and the events of 1962 -1965. It is also obvious the alignment of ACN and CPC to form APC was not borne out of the usual desperation of leaders trying to establish their relevance. Whereas Akintola, Fani-Kayode or even Ige appealed to external forces in order to cut their noses to spite their faces, the ACN joined the alliance as equal partner. Our youths must also be told that Awo, the unrepentant federalist had nothing against the Hausa-Fulani other than his insistence the Yoruba would not play the second fiddle in the affairs of the nation. If Ahmadu Bello and the northern feudal lords hated him with a passion, it was because they abhorred his attempt to export democracy to the north while encouraging in the process the uprising of the minorities.

AS 2015 approaches, it is important to remind ourselves that political jobbers who have nothing to offer the Yoruba people would intensify fraudulent intellectual analysis about our ethnic relations while Christian crusaders without the spirit of Christ will continue to create fears among a people acclaimed for their religious tolerance and accommodation of strangers as Akintola unsuccessful did in 1964 and 1965. In this regards, two recent historical facts are lost in those spreading message of hate. MKO Abiola, a Yoruba Muslim with a Kanuri Muslim running mate, won a landslide victory in all the Hausa-Fulani states of the north including Kano, the home of Tofa, his NRC opponent in 1993. And as we have been recently reminded by General Alabi Isama, (rtd), the Igbo and the Hausa-Fulani, publicly sworn enemies that once plunged the nation into civil war, have jointly ruled the country since independence.

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