By Yinka Odumakin
THIS must be a distressful season for Professor Wole Soyinka as Nigeria journeys through its peculiar season of Kongi and the madmen. The Prof has spent almost a lifetime teaching in the classroom as well as national and international fora to know well enough that some people are uneducable.
I am still deciphering the “leap of faith” that came upon him last week that he granted an interview to the BBC where he talked about the herdsmen war at our doorstep and dictating to President Muhammadu Buhari the words that should be flowing from his presidency at a moment like this.
Three days after he spoke, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a direct response to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State who said Buhari should stop portraying himself as a Fulani President, jabbed that the President would become a talkative if he had to be speaking on herdsmen, who remain unrelenting in their nefarious activities, every now and then.
The herdsmen are back as they launched an attack on Soyinka’s Abeokuta residence to practically demonstrate the war is at his doorstep.
But in a very bizarre twist of fate, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina descended on Prof. and started making excuses for the madmen we call herdsmen, who were not invading the home of our celebrated icon for the first time. Of all the reports that I read, there was none that said the Prof. was physically attacked but to throw cows into his compound is the ultimate attack on our Nobel laureate. The backhand service for cow imperialism, which Prof. has been our leading General, is not lost on us. They gave the impression that there was no attack since Prof. was not hacked like Olufon or any of the other celebrated victims of Fulani warfare around us.
I even read a portion of a statement saying the house is unfenced and that was when I had to reach out to ask the author if that makes the private residence of WS a grazing field for the Fulani.
Justice Adewale Thompson in a landmark judgement as far back as 1969 already settled the matter that there is no law that compels a farmer to fence his farm against herdsmen not to talk of a private individual fencing his home. Justice Thompson emphatically declared: “I do not accept the contention of Defendants that a custom exists which imposes an obligation on the owner of a farm to fence his farm whilst the owner of cattle allows his cattle to wander like pests and cause damage.
“Such a custom, if it exists, is unreasonable and I hold that it is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience and, therefore, unenforceable…in that it is highly unreasonable to impose the burden of fencing a farm on the farmer without the corresponding obligation on the cattle owner to fence in his cattle.
“Sequence to that I banned open grazing for it is inimical to peace and tranquility and the cattle owners must fence or ranch their animals for peace to reign in these communities.”
Prof. Soyinka has cleared the air in his speech in the order of the man of truth that he is and he remains a constant star for that matter. The statement reads: “The most distressful aspect of my recent interaction with cows and herders is that it has created a most unwanted distraction from the ongoing life and death Nigerian narrative.
“One has to take time off to deal with distortions and fake versions, while students are being reportedly waylaid and killed and/or kidnapped in Ondo and farmers are being slaughtered in my own state.
“In short, the killings continue even as panels are being launched to enquire into immediate past human violations. For those who truly seek details of the Ijegba incident, I hereby affirm that I was never physically attacked, neither did I attack any cows. The cows and herders did, however, attack my property – and not for the first time.”
The motive of the attack on Prof’s house is not hidden to the wise: to cow the uncowable.
I have had a belly-laugh at the almost silly way the police have been celebrating the fact that the cows the Fulani used to invade Prof’s house belong to a Yoruba man.
It takes mad herders to take cows to that place. Only a mad Yoruba can drive cows to invade our Kongi’s house – or be doing open grazing in modern world. We have never said there are no Yoruba who raise cows.
Good night, Baba Jakande
WE are in deep mourning as death took one of the most dependable Awoists, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande on Thursday at the ripe age of 91.
Papa LKJ was the last of the UPN governors Awolowo sent out in the Second Republic to convince this impossible country that progressive governance was a possibility.
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I was at his 90th birthday in company of Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Oba Oladipo Olaitan who served faithfully as Adviser to Jakande in his memorable years as Lagos State governor. We shared the company of his colleague in Borno, Mohammed Goni, whose government benefited from the generosity of Lagos under Jakande.
Apart from being a star performer in implementing the five cardinal programmes of the UPN, Chief Jakande was faithful to Lagos and Lagosians. He reclaimed the whole of Lekki scheme without allocating a plot for himself.
He constructed a dual carriage way from Lekki to Epe without the burden of a toll gate on the people. Those who came to profiteer after him added a lane after 40 years to the solid ones LKJ built and toll gates sprang up everywhere.
Awo must be in an exceptional mood that a worthy disciple has come home to join him.The impact of Baba Jakande is everlasting and I’m pained that COVID-19 prevented me from seeing him in his last days on earth as he was such a great inspiration.
We can never forget him.
Re: Yoruba nation
I READ your piece of February 9 with rapt attention and emotion.
The truth is that a lot of the the so-called Yoruba leaders are sell-outs who are jostling for their own pockets and selfish interests alone using the Yoruba nation as bargaining power.
I will be very frank with you my dear brother Odumakin. The only solution to the messy contraption called Nigeria created by the British for their exploitative interest is restructuring or outright breakage as spoken by the revered man of God, Pastor E. O. Adeboye.
Failure to heed calls from various quarters for restructuring of the country is a tacit invitation for civil unrest in the country because the ominous signs are visible to all except those who deliberately turn a blind eye for their selfish interest.
I support the assertion by the erudite scholar and Nobel laureate that it is up to the leadership to allow the ship of state to continue on this course of self-destruction or steer it away from the imminent doom that awaits it.
Thank you very much.
Dr Anthony Ajibade, Sociology Dept, University of Abuja