Blessed be the name of the most high God, the God whose I am and the God whom I serve, blessed be His holy name forever.
Mr. Chairman, permit me to declare all protocols observed. I thank the leaders and elders of the Kurunmi Front, which is fast becoming one of the leading Yoruba nationalist groups in our country, for the honour and privilege of inviting me to share a few words with them today. I am simply overwhelmed by the number of people here from all walks of life. What has made me worthy of this great privilege I do not know but I pray that I do not disappoint you or let you down by what I shall say here tonight.
Permit me to get to the point.
Once upon a time there was an obscure little man who wrote a book that inspired the German people and lifted them up from the shame and degradation of their defeat after the First World War. That book and the philosophy that it enunciated gave them hope and delivered them from the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Vesailles in 1919 which effectively turned Germany into a weak, crippled and beggardly vassal state.
That man’s name was Adolf Hitler and in 1934 he was elected in a free and fair election to lead the German people. In 1923 whilst he was in prison and long before that election ever took place Hitler had stirred up the passions of the German people and replaced their despair with hope by writing his famous book which was titled ”Mein Kampf” which, translated into english, means ”My Struggle”. Hitler’s ”struggle” and ”dream” moved Germany from the shame of defeat after the First World War and transformed her into the greatest political, economic, industrial and military power on the planet in his day in just a matter of ten years.
His views about German nationalism and the rightful place of the German people in the scheme of things fuelled the pride and inspired the vision of every single German of his day. Consequently they sought to transform the world and establish a new world order which would have placed them, as members of the supposedly superior Aryan race, above all others.
Thankfully they failed, though it took a Second World War, violent resistance from the whole civilised world (less Japan and Italy) and a casualty list of 50million dead (20 million of whom were Russians) to stop them.
The Aryan race was eventually subdued, peace was returned to the world, history was written by those that won the war and the horrors of the nazi’s were exposed whilst the atrocities that were committed by the Allies themselves were covered up. For example we know about what the Germans did to the jews, the slavs, the homosexuals and the gypsies at Aushwitz and the other concentration camps. Yet how many of us are aware of the atrocities committed by the Allied Forces during the bombing of Dresden where, according to some estimates, close to half a million German civilians were killed and a whole city levelled to rubble in just a few nights. Again how many of us know about the bombing of the Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Americans with nuclear weapons which resulted in the greatest and most devastating single massacre in human history.
You may well ask what is my point here and what is the relevance of all this to our collective struggle? Permit me to answer that. The first point is that history is always written by the side that is victorious after any struggle or any war and the loser always becomes the demon. Very few people get to hear the loser’s story and all trace of anything that is good or wholesome about him or his cause is wiped out and buried in the rubble of history. The morale of the tale is simple and clear- never lose a war and never fight a war that you are not sure of winning.
The second point is that German nationalism, as enunciated by Hitler’s vision in ‘Mein Kampf’, was a very powerful tool which had it’s finer points and which served the interests of the German people by waking them up and causing them to rediscover their own sense of pride, dignity, self-respect and indeed greatness. I am not a supporter of Adolf Hitler and neither am I a racist or a nazi. I do not believe that one race is necessarily superior to another but I do believe that we are all very different and that some races have greater strengths in some areas than others. I also take great pride in the fact that I am a yoruba man and that my race are second to none and have proved that over and over again during the course of world history.
The contributions of the Yoruba to a greater and better Nigeria cannot be disputed and our ability to tolerate the views and excesses of others, even where those views and excesses are detrimental to our own collective interest, are well known. Yet, like the Germans after World War 1, we are beginning to forget who and what we are, where we are coming from and what we are meant to be. That is what the centralised, unitary and hybrid state of Nigeria, which was essentially conceived and established by the post civil-war military powers that were, has done to us. To get us out of that terrible mindset and psychological retrogression is my objective and my own ”struggle”. It is my own ‘Mein Kampf’ and my own dream and I urge the Kurunmi Front and indeed all yoruba nationalist groups including the Odua Peoples Congress, the Odua Liberation Movement, the Odua Descendants Union, the Egbe Omo Yoruba, the Odua Solidarity Forum and others to help me to berth it by spreading the word.
The Yoruba have always thrived on a plurality of opinion. That is our way. We debate and discuss all things and we hardly ever agree on anything. There is nothing wrong with that provided we do not lose sight of the fact that we have a common cause and purpose- and that cause and purpose is to protect and preserve the rights, dignity and integrity of our people in a wider Nigeria and to ensure that our values and divinely ordained destiny to be the first in all things in our nation is not thwarted.
Nigeria is NOT and was never designed to be a hybrid state where we were meant to forgo our primary identity, forsake the vision of our forefathers and forget our fundamental differences with other nationalities. Nigeria was meant to be a federation in which there was unity in diversity and in which each of the various nationalities and tribes was guaranteed, by law and the constitution, the right to develop at their own pace, the right to preserve and nurture their own cultural heritage and the right to a certain degree of autonomy and separate development. That was the ethos and understanding upon which our nation was founded and it is my view that that ethos and understanding must be nurtured, preserved and handed down to the younger generation of the Yoruba if we are to survive into the distant future as a people and as a race.
We must not give an inch and we must not allow our benevolent disposition to others to become our albatross or the vessel of our own undoing. Be good and be kind to those from other climes and nationalities and be gentle and generous to those who derive from a deficient culture and that have no history. Showing kindness to such people in the name of God, of fraternity, of national cohesion and of nation-building is indeed a virtue and we must continue to do that.