Your joy knew no bounds when the All Progressives Congress (APC) was registered as a political party. You interpreted it to be a landmark event, the most wonderful thing that happened to the Yoruba. In your euphoria, you would have made the event, if you had the power – The Eighth Wonder Of The World, or, better still, made it to displace either The Leaning Tower Of Pisa or The Hanging Gardens Of Babylon to become one of the Seven Wonders Of The World! Ahmed Bola Tinubu turned into a deity before you overnight for that ‘miracle’. You recalled that S.L. Akintola had much earlier shared that ‘glorious’ vision with your father, Remi Fani Kayode, who was once known as Fani Power, when he was in the Nigerian patriotic team, but ended his political journey as Fani Powder,as confirmed by Major Adewale Ademoyega in his historic work – WHY WE STRUCK in which he said:
“On January 3, 1966, I went to work with Ifeajuna …, we discovered that the Balewa Government had a terrible plan to bring the army fully to operate in the West for the purpose of eliminating the elites of that region, especially the intellectuals who were believed to be behind the intransigence of the people against the Akintola Government .… In preparation of this horrible move by the Federal Government, the high echelons of the Army and the Police were being reshuffled. Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi was ordered to proceed on leave from mid-January. He was to be relieved by Brigadier Maimalari, over the head of Brigadier Ademulegun .… In the Police, Inspector General Edet was sent on leave from December 20, 1965. The officer closest to him was retired and the third officer, Alhaji Kam Salem, was brought in as the new Inspector-General. The stage was thus set for the proper walloping of the West.”
The fruit of that misadventure was the formation of The Nigerian National Alliance (NNA), whose revisionist history is public knowledge. Without examining the issues involved critically, you roundly condemned Awolowo for favouring a handshake across the Niger, which you considered to be against the interests of the Yoruba. On the other hand, some Igbo men with a correct appreciation of the affairs, who you call Awolowo haters, praised Awolowo for his gallant efforts for the Yoruba nation. Emeritus Professor Chinua Achebe said of him in his booklet – THE TROUBLE WITH NIGERIA:
“The task before the up-and-coming Yoruba politicians was by far easier than what their Igbo counterparts had to accomplish. Awolowo had been a steadfast Yoruba nationalist from the 1940s to date. He had no record of betrayal, doubletalk or even indecision in the pursuit of his goals. But above all he had in recent years as the leading civilian member in Gowon’s administration presided over a monumental transfer and consolidation of economic, bureaucratic and professional power to his home base. This singular achievement secured for Awolowo for the first time in his political career something approaching 100 percent support among the Yoruba….”
Of Zik, Achebe said, “The NPP politicians had a different kind of problem because of Azikiwe’s consistent ambivalence to his ethnic homeland.”
Ojukwu, the Ikemba Nnewi, paid Awolowo the most glowing tribute at his burial when he said,”Awolowo was the best leader Nigeria never had.”
Most unexpectedly, you reversed yourself very abruptly when you said as follows in the Sunday Vanguard of May 25, 2014:
“Our Honeymoon Is Over: I loved Nigeria but now I have stopped believing in her. She is saddled with many different sub-nations that were simply incompatible right from the start. She is plagued and cursed by one particular sub-nation whose ruling elite are dangerous and unyielding, whose guile and deceit are second to none, who treat their own people with contempt and derision, who believe that they were born to rule, who think that power belongs to them, who suppresses the religious and ethnic minorities within their ranks and who were taught from an early age that there is none besides them.
“Those people have killed Nigeria. Our nation has become a cruel joke – she is a maliciously contrived contraption that has shattered many dreams and frustrated many ambitions and aspirations. This was a country that was created for the benefit of just a few at the cost of the misery and pain of so many. I will never accept the idea of living in a nation with religious extremists…..It is time for us to stop pretending: let the terrorists and their friends in high places break away and establish their own country…”
“Let those of us from the West establish Oduduwa and let us celebrate and enjoy our freedom from the bondage and ineptitude of a cruel failed state…. Let us be liberated from the deceit that is known as Nigeria: Let us be rid of Nigeria; a country where those of us that had the misfortune of being born on the “wrong “ side of the regional and religious divide are butchered for our heritage and can never be treated as equals. Give us Oduduwa or let us die….”
This was exactly what the Easterners did when we were subjected to a repeat of the holocaust and your types gave us all sorts of atrocious names. You need to know that FREEDOM is such a precious commodity that is never given freely to any people. You must fight for it and even pay with your blood. Nigeria is in such irretrievable mess because she received her independence on a PLATTER OF GOLD without paying the full price. The majority of the leadership class in Nigeria is neither patriotic nor revolutionary. On this subject, below is the authoritative opinion of Dr. Ernesto Che Guevara, the greatest guerrilla ever on this matter, Fidel Castro’s second in command during the Cuban Revolutionary War: “Wherever death may surprise us, it will be welcome, provided that this, our battle cry, reach some receptive ear, that another hand stretch out to take up weapons and that other men come forward to intone our funeral dirge with the staccato of machine guns and new cries of battle and victory.”
Worth of freedom
Apart from the former Biafran Freedom Fighters, who fought for their survival and drank the bitter pill, most Nigerians do not know the value or worth of freedom. This is why they continue shouting ONE INDIVISIBLE Nigeria, always engaging in one patch work after the other, instead of dealing with the foundation of the political problems to correct the structural imbalance. The present state of affairs in Nigeria is unsatisfactory to the majority of the nation states.
There should be a re-arrangement to accommodate the legitimate interests of everybody. The National Conference that should have dealt with the issue was impaired by its Chairman. He continued injecting members into the Committee on Devolution of Powers until the core North had a majority and defeated every effort at restructuring. I am shocked that other members of the leadership of that conference, particularly the Vice Chairman, allowed the Chairman to get away with the northern agenda without check. Said Chief Asara Asara of Bayelsa, “They (the Northern delegates) even brought a motion to cancel the 13% derivation formula which is contained in the present constitution. They also came with another motion to introduce the onshore/offshore dichotomy for the sharing of revenue derived from oil. When we eventually discovered that we had been outnumbered, we decided to exercise patience until we get to the plenary.”
This is not surprising because some mouthpiece of the North said: “Our carefully selected candidates at the National Conference have made this clear, the so-called 13% derivation should in fact be reduced to 5% for only on-shore oil…” It does not require courage. It only requires good sense and love of all the Nigerian peoples to pose this necessary question – IS NIGERIA WORTH SAVING? Femi Fani Kayode has answered for the South-west. Other zones should publish their answer. I agree with him when he said:”Let us stop pretending”, and I add, Nigeria is not worth saving. It cannot be saved. Mark my words.
Flogging the matter further amounts to preaching to the converted. Since you have returned to the South after you received a baptism of fire, you are welcome as the modern day prodigal son. At least you are better than Azikiwe who refused to accept the handshake across the Niger because of the carpet crossing of 1951 in the Western House of Assembly at Ibadan. Zik persisted unrepentantly in this wrong and conservative posture right to his death. He conveniently overlooked the political truism that – there is no permanent enemy in politics, only permanent interests. The Igbo have nothing to show for being led by the nose by Zik to ally with Ahmadu Bello, except being the horse that is ridden at will by the North of the Hausa/Fulanis, that is the jihadic caliphate, because in any alliance with the core North, the other party must be the horse while the core North remains the rider. Had Zik listened to advice and allowed Adegoke Adelabu to be the leader of NCNC IN THE West, Awolowo’s carpet crossing tactics would have failed. Zik you know, would never play the second fiddle no matter the demands of the circumstance! The carpet crossing in question was lawful and constitutional as was and still is the practice in every parliamentary democracy.
To save Nigeria from the precipice of disintegration or obliteration which it deserves, and which has never bothered or which the national leadership since independence has been incapable of tackling, a SOUTHERN SOLIDARITY FRONT that will include parts of the Middle Belt with the Igbo and Yoruba at the vanguard must be forged NOW. It is not new to our polity as we have the Arewa and others. Some elites of the Middle Belt, who are undoubtedly unpatriotic to their ethnic group, who have chosen to ignore the twelve labours of Joseph Tarka, the inhuman ordeal he suffered under Ahmadu Bello, are currently the most vociferous flag bearers of the NORTH MUST RULE FOR EVER slogan, even though the North has never been a monolith.
The formation of this Southern Front has become all the more pressing in the light of the utterances of some agents of the core North as published in the Sunday Vanguard of June 1, 2014, which said in part:
“However, we have in recent times been witnessing a dangerous trend, a divide and rule tactics by the current government aimed at weakening the determination of the North to reclaim its traditional position of providing leadership for Nigerian polity … The North is only asking for what it does best in Nigeria: leadership … The North has since Independence by divine blessing provided leadership and administration which has kept the country stable and secure (stable and secure in deed; with the Middle Belt massacres and Western Region crisis) and would continue to work for a peaceful country. This is no accident; it is the almighty Allah that has destined it so
… No matter the arrogance of those in power now, the likes of Obasanjo know that without the North he could not have stepped into the office of the president where Chief Obafemi Awolowo who thought he could rule Nigeria failed woefully. Another Yoruba leader who has shown wisdom and knowledge of history to achieve greater benefits for his people unlike Awolowo who was not flexible is Bola Ahmed Tinubu who, after initial reluctance in 2011, has since seen the light and realized the strategic wisdom in working with the North … Our carefully selected delegates at the National Conference have made this clear, the so called 13% derivation should in fact be reduced to 5% for only on-shore oil, because all mineral resources belong to the Federal Government….
If the North stands together with its allies in the South-west we can ensure that local government get 35% of federal allocations, while states get 39%. Teaming up with General Muhammadu Buhari, who whatever any one might say is currently the undisputed leader of the North….whom the masses in the North are willing to vote or even die for … Moreover he has over several years been working hard to unite the entire Fulani people all over the world….
The Jonathan people in the south believe they can win in 2015 because they can get the support of Middle Belt Christians. Trying to use religion will not work and in any case how many Christians are they even in the whole Nigeria compared to Muslims?….(It was to keep the actual figures in the dark that the North prevailed on its beneficiary, Obasanjo, to remove such relevant specifics from the census taken by his government.) We are confident that this plan to use our people will fail. The Middle Belt has always been full of treachery right from the days of Joseph Tarka and his likes… The political naivety and narrow mindedness of some Middle Belt people as always cannot stop the North from clinching the presidency if only the APC selects a Northern presidential candidate.”
Space to govern Nigeria
The disposition of the core northerners is very evident, thanks to the brutish frankness with which they state their riotous, inordinate, inconsiderate and clearly undeserved ambitions. Their claim that they were ordained to rule always is probably due to their belief that the colonial masters arrangement will work for ever. Besides the brief rule of General Murtala Muhammed with the blood of the Mid-West Igbo he massacred during the civil war still dripping from his hands, and that of General Buhari, in spite of its draconian nature, which other northern leader provided a leadership that is worthy of note? In the words of Dr. M.I. Okpara (M.I. Power), these other northern rulers presided over what he called DO NOTHING GOVERNMENTS. The core North produces only backward, stone age, and conservative leaders steeped in Moslem fundamentalism, unlike their fellow Moslems in North Africa who produced revolutionaries like Ben Bella, Nasser, Habib Bourgiba, in West Africa, Sekou Toure and Achmed Sukarno in Indonesia.
Awolowo had only been asking for a space to govern Nigeria aright just as Archimedes once said, Da mihi locum stare et terram movabo – give me a place to stand and I will move the world. That he was never given the space, remains a colossal loss to thinking Nigerians, not to him or to the intellectual vegetables that have sequestered the Nigerian political space. To protect her colonial and neocolonial interests, the British colonial master erected a cast iron political and geographical sub-super and supra-structure that they hoped would ensure for all time, that a southern revolutionary must never rule Nigeria, not even a northern revolutionary of the like of Mallam Aminu Kano is excepted.
The immortal observation of Karl Max that religion is the opium of the people will remain forever valid. The University of Timbuktu is the first university in the world. When the rabid Moslems took over power temporarily in Mali, their stone age fundamentalism led them to destroy the monumental archives in that university, the like of which cannot be found anywhere. Here in Nigeria, the Moslem foot soldiers, Boko Haram, under the undisguised guidance of the jihadic Islamic priesthood, has sworn to Islamise Nigeria at any cost.
Southern progressives who have teamed up with Moslem fundamentalists to form the APC and conceded the leadership/presidential position to them, should learn from the harsh experience of Femi Fani-Kayode, the horrible agenda of Boko Haram, and retrace their steps. But for the Afonja crisis, there probably would have been no Moslem in Yoruba land.
The cost of sustaining Nigeria in material and human terms is excessive and prohibitive as Femi Fani-Kayode has confirmed. Let us learn from the wisdom of former Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Sudan and others, and stop kissing ourselves to death in this tight embrace!
Sooner than later, southerners, if not all Nigerians will come to accept that Biafra was right no matter how long Gowon and his ‘Nigeria Prays’ pray, if we recall the epic works of Major Adewale Ademoyega – WHY WE STRUCK – and Emma Okocha – BLOOD ON THE NIGER.