The implications of losing Yoruba Ancestral homeland
By Adejube Taye Sylvester
Being the text of an address delivered by Ogbeni Adejube Taye Sylvester at the 57th Town Hall Meeting of the Yoruba Nation Global Directorate held on 2nd April 2022.
I feel honoured to be amongst you today and I indeed considered it a great privilege to be able to address my elders in this honourable gathering about issues of great importance for us to ponder and immediately act upon. The theme of my address to this house this afternoon is titled, “the implications of losing our ancestral home to foreigners”. My fathers, mothers and illustrious sons and daughters of Yoruba land. Considering the unfolding and very shocking events of the past few months which have been destabilising, scary, and confounding, is it not appropriate to say that we are all victims. And are we not guilty for watching without acting?
2. IMOLE GBOGBO ADULAWO!
Iwo ni imole gbogbo adulawo. This is what we sing many times a day throughout the world wherever we find Yoruba Nation agitators. There are however questions we must ask ourselves.
A. Is there harmony between what we profess to be and what we sing about?
B. Why is it difficult for us as a people to do the following?
C. Organize ourselves in readiness for emergence of a Yoruba sovereign Nation?
D. Why is it those who claimed to be championing the emergence of a sovereign Nation are the ones plotting to pull down those seeking the same objective they claim to be working to achieve.?
E. Why is it after months of agitations we still cannot point to our men and women in Uniforms who we can call Yoruba Defence Apparatus?
F. Do we ever think what is already happening on our ancestral homeland doesn’t call for us to heed similar call General Theophilus Danjuma gave to his people?
G. Must we continue to sleep and face the same direction?
H. Shouldn’t we have a multi-facetted approach to our liberation?
I. Why has some amongst us suddenly decided our pluralistic society must become a monolithic society?
J. Have we totally forgotten our history of how slaves were taken from our land?
With due consideration Agba kii wa l’oja, ki ori omo tuntun ko wo. I speak not of natural age but agba as leadership.
3. The loss of Yoruba ancestral homeland to foreigners.
These probing questions led me to inescapable answers. However, I am going to leave them to you to provide your own answers. Suffices to state that some of us who are closer to our homeland in Yoruba nation are scared. It is no longer news that the shutting down of our borders by the Fulani government of Nigeria was done to achieve one purpose. It was for massive movement of foreigners not just to the East and the south-south but also to the southwest of Nigeria. These Fulani foreigners are presently in our forests. They are there to attack our villages and this has been happening. The Yoruba Obas, politicians, crop of elites and leaders are busy being in denial of this fact. The attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train and the airport in Kaduna recently are used to test grounds. Yet the Federal government being a possible sponsor of the terrorists have said nothing and did nothing. Where does this take us?
4. Absolute subjugation of Yoruba citizens on their ancestral homeland.
Some people have said it is not possible for any foreigner to take over our lands. I have often reminded them that when Uthman Dan Fodio, a waka-about teacher came to Hausa land, he raped their women and killed their husbands and local chiefs. That his children are doing so today is not by accident. You can compare this to our ancestral urbaneness and civility. Today, the Hausa are regretting ever accommodating them. They killed all the local Hausa chiefs and kings to install emirs their own way. They didn’t do this because they wanted to Islamize, but because they felt they should own the land. Take over all the resources and plunder them. Awon omo akotileta as we used to say. The same style is employed everywhere they go. The killings in Maiduguri, Plateau state, middle belt, and kidnappings, raping and killings of our farmers are all indications that we have been surrounded by these agents of anguish and death.
5. Yoruba in Diaspora.
From the above, we would see that the implications of our tardiness, docility, denial, and overt courting of enemies in the name of politics will pay no one at the end. The Yoruba in diaspora have invested millions not just in this struggle, but also personally building state of the art houses. Establishing businesses, farms, and other net worth businesses. The case of Dr. Aborode who came from Germany to invest in agriculture should still be fresh in our memories. The hundreds he employed in his farm may now be jobless. What did Oyo State or the Federal government of Nigeria do about it? Rather your politicians are busy donating millions to appease those who killed our son and brother all because they want to move up the political ladder.
7. Kindly imagine waking up one day, and you get a call saying your community has been attacked and your people have been killed. Just imagine a scenario where your beautiful homes and businesses have been occupied by aliens that are presently stalking our forests. These are people our politicians and leaders are abetting. They are abetting them because they refused to comment on their murderous activities because of personal political ambitions.
In Ogun state, some villages are now permanently occupied by the Fulani. The Ogun State government has taken no action. Majority if not all the villagers are now refugees in Benin Republic. Similarly in Oyo State, some villages are permanently occupied by the Fulani. What has Governors Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and Seyi Makinde of Oyo state done about it? Nothing. And all because of politics. These villagers displaced from their ancestral homes knew the government and their leaders have sold them without conscience for political gains.
Permit me to say this, those who ride at the back of a Tiger will end up inside the Tiger. We are now at a critical stage where legality and diplomacy are not working in our favour. What options do we have left? War! And that is not because we are calling for it, but because we may soon find ourselves in a situation where we must defend ourselves. Yet, the only alternative left for us is perpetual slavery once we have been subjugated by the Fulani. Ilorin is a living testimony to the fact that regaining a lost land may be herculean without outright war. Even at that, there is no guarantee that we may retrieve our land from them.
8. The complicity of the security agencies
In all these, can we not smell the complicity of the police and other security agencies of the State in the invasions and attempt to subjugate our people on Yorubaland. How many cases have been prosecuted so far that is known to us? Wakilu and his gang of killers and kidnappers were forcefully taken away from the correctional center in Ibadan. Has anyone heard anything about it since then? Ladies and gentlemen, we have so much to be considered but time will not allow us.
9. The stage is now set for total take over.
The undiscerning Yoruba compatriots may not understand that it appears a stage for total takeover of Yoruba ancestral homeland is now set. The ongoing proposal to amend the constitution includes the items to be amended that will give opportunity for foreigner’s registration as indigenes in Yorubaland. The Yoruba representatives in the National Assembly and Senate have become spineless and paper Tigers who could not even propose that a Referendum provision should be included in the proposed constitution amendments. The proposed amendment if it becomes law will enable the local government and the state to register anyone including foreigners living in an area within 5 years. It will be prudent to ask why 5 years?
A logical answer is that when the next northern president is sworn in in 2023, before he completes his 8th years in office, those in the forest would have qualified to become citizens of Nigeria. And by next election in 2030, the Seriki and other Fulani politicians that would have relocated to your communities would become your kings and leaders. The Yoruba Obas would have been killed and subjugated. The sing-song tale as epitomized by the enfante terrible of Iwo Kingdom is there for us all to see. Then the Yoruba can sing Nunc Dimittis to their land.
10. Finally, we must not forget that efforts being made to amend the 1999 constitution is to gain total control of what belongs to others. They are in control of the finances and security apparatus of the contraption called Nigeria. The Fulani federal government does not care about federal character and quota system anymore. The indigenous peoples are being left with nothing.
11. I respectfully appeal to the Yoruba elders, leaders, youths, and the politicians. I plead with them to consider the fact that there is no better time than now in Yoruba history for us to defend ourselves and our ancestral homeland. It is now or never. Why now? Majority of Yoruba youths hardly understand what it is to be Yoruba. Many of the Yoruba youths today see themselves as Nigerians and many of them care little about keeping their ancestral homeland. It is the suffering of the future that we have been handling with kid’s glove.
12. Ladies and gentlemen, I started my speech with some questions. I asked if we are all guilty. I do not know for you. As for me, I am not guilty, because I am doing my beat. Let me give you a take home from the above.
• Don’t rely on promises that has not been supported with actions from any Yoruba self-determination leaders.
• We have more politicians in the struggle who believe more in eyije, towun o je attitude and they are living on that by collecting money from politicians to destroy this struggle.
• If anyone tells you this is what he has done or being done, ask for evidence.
• If allegation is raised against anyone, please let the accused person tell the Yoruba that he is clean. Let us not defend the transactions we knew nothing about.
• To my fellow youths, always think deep, investigate, and ask questions before you dabble into affairs you knew nothing about.
To encapsulate, the implication of losing our Yoruba ancestral homeland are as follows.
1. The loss of Yoruba ancestral homeland.
2. The possibility of Yoruba citizens becoming a virtual nation.
3. Diasporan Yoruba waving goodbye to their businesses and beautiful edifices in Yorubaland.
4. Loss of treasures Eledumare gave us on our land.
5. Remote possibility of regaining our ancestral land, we must learn from the Hausa and Ghana.
6. The negative impact on our rich culture and traditions.
7. These and many more suggest that we must brace ourselves to defend our ancestral homeland whatever it takes. Oodua a gbe wa o.
Pelu ase Edumare ko ni gbe gbogbo Odale ti won wa larin wa, tabi ti won nda ile Yoruba ru. Ase.