Blaming Yoruba for SW woes is Naive, a Whiff of Revisionism
—–A rejoinder to Labo Popoola
By Remi Oyeyemi
One Labo Popoola, reportedly a big gun in one of Osun State owned Universities, had bloviated a bunch of uninformed thoughts about the Yoruba people, their History and travails in the contraption called Nigeria. He had described the Yorùbá as “not smart”. He insisted that the Yoruba “lack tact” and they were the enemies that Obafemi Awolowo had.
It is one’s analysis that Mr. Popoola was untutored and miseducated about the Yorùbá Nation and people. He was not properly guided in the facts of History and that his efforts in the piece in question is tantamount to revisionism. It was also evident that he is oblivious of the nuances of cosmological make up of the Yorùbá, hence his pointing to them with his left hand.
He claimed that the Yorùbá were against Awolowo. I challenge him to tell the world any politician in history that had 100% support from his people. If he is not able to do that, to me, that is evidence that he has no basic knowledge about the subject he was trying to discuss. Aminu Kano believed that the opposition of Ahmadu Bello prevented from liberating talakawas in the North. Ahmadu Bello meanwhile also believed Aminu Kano was a clog in the wheel of his own progress.
It was not only Aminu Kano and Ahmadu Bello who opposed each other. Joseph Tarka had his own opponents in Tiv land while also opposing Ahmadu Bello. Nnamdi Azikwe had his own opposition in Igbo land. Those who are conversant with the Nigerian contemporary history are aware of the piles apart views and positions of Nnamdi Azikwe and Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu on the Civil War. I have not seen the Igbo blaming Zik for the failure of the war efforts? Awolowo had his own opposition too in Yoruba land. How does that make Yoruba people “lack tact” and “not smart” as he wrongly surmised? Even, before the advent of white man’s democracy and kind of politics, our political culture celebrated different views and their free expression. Popoola has not the slightest idea what he was talking about!
The kangaroo judge who sentenced Obafemi Awolowo to jail was a Yoruba man, George Sodeinde Sowemimo. He made the notorious statement that his “hands were tied.” Everyone one knew what that means and those who tied his hands were not Yoruba. it was Ahadu Bello and Nnamdi Azikwe that conspired to send Awolowo to the prisons. Nnamdi Azikwe never ceased believing his lies that Awolowo prevented him from being the Premier of Western Region despite the fact that he never won the majority of seats. Sam Mbakwe told me in the presence of Chief Adisa Akinloye and Chief Richard Akinjide that this was a “lie” that they (Ibo) made up to oust Eyo Ita from the government house in Enugu to pave way for Zik. They needed Awolowo to be the bogeyman.
It was this lie Zik carried into 1960 to form an alliance with Ahmadu Bello who was also upset that Awolowo made him beg for votes in the North through campaign. Popoola should please, read up on Ahmadu Bello’s biography to educate himself on this subject.
In the Daily Times of May 3,1961, Ahmadu Bello had said the following:
*”I’m set and fully armed, to conquer the Action Group, AG, in the same ruthless manner as my grandfather conquered Alkalawa, a town in Sokoto province, during the last century”*
Please, pay attention to the words used, “fully armed”, “conquer” and “ruthless”. It was about two months after this public statement that Awolowo and his leading supporters were arrested for treasonable felony. Mr. Popoola and Ahmadu Bello must have come from the same village for his theory of “Yorùbá were the enemies of Obafemi Awolowo” to have a leg.
On that of M.K.O Abiola, I never knew that Ibrahim Babangida was an Ìjèbú man. Neither has it come to my attention that Sultan Dasuki was from Ìjerò Ekiti. It was Dasuki who called the annulment an “Act of God.” He had told a group of distinguished Nigerians led by a Professor of Political Science Emeritus from University of Ibadan, in Sokoto to tell IBB that Abiola could not be President. That if they could not tell him, he would tell IBB himself. It was after all this and many more that Olusegun Obasanjo was able to come out against Abiola.
Mr. Popoola and his fellow travelers wallow in self hate largely influenced by ignorance and fueled by low self esteem and possibly by enticement of crumbs. For his ilk, low-balling their own people is now the vogue to get recognition from those who are threatening the existential survival of their own race. Half education is as dangerous as no education at all. Having a chain of degrees has proven not to be any evidence of good and meaningful education.
Dissing the Yoruba and their History, denigrating their efforts and ridiculing them by engaging in obnoxious historical revisionism for whatever reasons, would not be ornamented. It is destructive to allow this kind of falsehood being hawked by Mr. Popoola to subsist without challenging them.
No matter what, regardless of the banal rendition the likes of Popoolas of this world, the beneficiaries of an unjust system, we shall have our Oòduà Nation. No amount of historical revisionism and falsehood hawking would stop this train. Our people are ready. They are tired of backward thinking. They are tired of beastly governance. They are tired of “national character” that is neither reflective of “character” or “national” in nature. They are tired of fraudulent leadership.
Mr. Popoola wrote inter alia:
“I have observed the hatred of Buhari among some Yoruba elites, yet for all we may say, no President in the democratic history of Nigeria has favoured the Yoruba more than this President. The facts are there, even if we choose to ignore them. All these point to lack of tact on the part of the Yoruba race.”
What is there not to “hate” about Mohammadu Buhari? Is it the ethnic cleansing? The murder of women and children? The arson by Fulani herdsmen? The kidnapping? The destruction of our farms? The nepotism? The incompetence? The deluge of corruption that makes Goodluck Jonathan look like Jesus Christ? The RUGA tactics designed to take our land? What are we to love in all these?
Then, the howling hollowness of thought, bereft of depth and clear horizon that political sharing of office is equivalent of favour to a people. Wooow! What a shallow thinking process! Anyone who thinks like this is an enemy of the people. Not only is Popoola untutored about the essence of politics, he failed to understand the end to which it should serve – the people. What has the sharing of political position to Bola Tinubu loyalists in Buhari Government done to the Yorùbá people? What has my people in Sepeteri, Fiditi, Ilowa, Ilishan, Ago-Iwoye, Itire, Oke-Ona, Egbeda, Ilé – Oluji, Ìgèdè – Èkìtì and all the crannies and corners of Yorùbá land benefitted? Popoola obviously, is an apostle of mercantilist politics that povertizes and squalorizes the people.
To Mr. Popoola and his fellow travelers, rejecting a government that has exacerbated hunger, poverty, penury, want, squalor is tantamount to a “lack of tact” on the part of Yoruba. What a balderdash! If some people are used to poverty, must the Yorùbá follow suit? Must Yorùbá keep quiet in the face of Tinubu’s povertisation of their land and not resist him? If the North chose to follow that kind of leadership, must the Yorùbá do the same?
Mr. Popoola obviously lacks a proper understanding of the role of cosmological view in a people’s political, social and cultural existentialism. If he is true Yorùbá son, who understands the nuances of his own people, their culture, their history, he would understand while kleptomaniacs like Bola Tinubu is having challenges to lead Yorùbá people and why we must break from Nigeria. If he doesn’t have that understanding, he would walk around with calcified thoughts about Yorùbá people and why they are special, and insistent on rejecting retrogressive thoughts, the kind he has hawked with gusto.
Hopefully, Mr. Popoola would be saved from his self hate. He would acquaint himself with History properly and seek a better understanding of his people. That is the only way, he would desist from pointing to his Yorùbá people with his left hand.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.
-John F. Kennedy
*© Rèmí Oyèyemi*