ByJustice Faloye & Segun Ayo-Adebanjo
When you put your children’s education in the hands of a stranger, how do they learn about their lineage and heritage?
Generations down the line, your descendants would go to war among themselves while adopting the stranger as family.
This is the sad state of original indigenous Africans whose forefathers allowed colonists to miseducate them. Instead of education, the colonists committed epistemicide, the killing of the traditional knowledge of our origins, linkages, and philosophies. The white man turned the world upside down for the Africans.
We are no tribes but a continuum of dialects that spread from Ife to South Africa.
The word Yoruba doesn’t exist in Ifa, instead, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, and Igala are all children of Ifa, and woe be unto an Ifa-Afa-Iha-Fa-Efa descendant that attacks or deprives any other child of Ifa.
Every single Yoruba, Igbo, Igala, and other original African town was established based on Ifa.
No one can point to exactly where the border is where Yoruba land or Igboland starts or stops.
It was the European colonists that balkanized the original African civilization into competing divisive tribes by derailing the 16-sector knowledge bank that we all had accumulated from observation of natural and social phenomena over 89,000 years.
We were one people that evolved from Ife and spread across Africa.
There is now genetic and cultural anthropological evidence to back surviving oral histories initially ridiculed by Western academia that Igbo migrated out of Ife.
Not only the Igbo, but Ijaw claim that their progenitor named, Ojo, later corrupted into Ijo and Ijaw, was the firstborn of Oduduwa who migrated with Ogun out of Ife Ooyelagbo, to investigate, navigate and habitat the swamps and delta.
The Igala are the genetically closest to Yoruba followed by Igbo.
The Jukun of Kwararafa, the Middlebelt Confederacy of Middlebelt groups have historical accounts of splitting with Yorubas. None of us Waka alone into South and Middlebelt.
Ooni of Ife is recognized by the Nigerian nation-state as the head of the Original African civilization of South and Middlebelt, while the Sultan of Sokoto is the recognized head of the Northern Afroasiatic civilization, which is why Ooni of Ife and Sultan of Sokoto are the co-chairman of Nigerian Traditional Council.
Unfortunately, while the Sultan of Sokoto can unite the Northwest Sokoto Caliphate with the Northeast
Bornu Empire to establish a successful Afroasiatic powerbase, the miseducated academic and political rascals continue to sabotage our paramount cultural leader, Ooni of Ife, Oonrisa Adeyeye Ogunwusi that has stated clearly, backed with Odu Ifas, cultural and genetic anthropological evidence, that the South and Middlebelt peoples share the same origins. Unlike the Afroasiatic civilizations that came in different waves just a little over a thousand years but have attacked and conquered our lands from South Kaduna to Oyo Ile, there is no record of war between Yoruba and Igbos in tens of thousands years of coexistence.
The Oba of Benin respects Arole Oduduwa of Ife. Obi of Onitsha respects the Oba of Benin because they know we are one family, but the elite push the divisive tribal rhetoric and bickering.
Southern and Middlebelt pseudo elites whose education and relevance are tied to our colonists resorted to disrespecting our cultural leadership.
They are quick to bask in the pride of calling Ile Ife the origin of humanity, but can’t accept that Igbo, Ijaw and other indigenous Africans also came from there.
It is unfortunate that while the Northern Afroasiatic civilization is united despite being made up of unrelated groups that were Arabized in different waves of Asiatic imperialism, the original African civilization is made up of groups that share the same genetic and cultural origins, essentially a continuum of dialects, couldn’t unite themselves.
It was only after long suffering under the North hegemony, which had produced a flawed constitution and political economy, that our true leaders in the South and Middlebelt forum united the South and Middlebelt with our common aspirations of Justice, Equity, and Freedom, knowing that we shared the same aspirations because we shared the same civilizational origins and attributes.
However, to breakup the recent crystallization of an Original African powerbase, the Afroasiatic North played an unfair game of divide and rule by backing Tinubu against Peter Obi, who was backed by the South and
Middlebelt sociopolitical leadership alliance based on merit, equity and justice through rotational presidency.
Yorubas had already earned their turn through Obasanjo, and the Afroasiatic North knew backing Tinubu would drive a wedge among the two oldest, most populous and prosperous Original African groups whose unity was pivotal to the uplifting of the Black Race. To drive the division, even after the flawed election they increased anti-Igbo rhetoric which won’t only drive away Igbos but all other Southern groups from Yorubaland.
The painful part is that ignorant Yorubas pushing this xenophobic rhetoric can’t think deep enough to know they are endangering Lagos prosperity by driving away investors, employers and workers. They can’t see that if any tribal war starts, it would only occur in Yorubaland and give Yorubas the tag of being inhospitable wicked people.
This is how bad our miseducation is and it is not only limited to Yorubas. If Lagos was in Igboland, the Igbos would do the same thing because that is how colonial mentality makes you hate your reflections. Yorubas versus Igbo, Jukun versus Tiv and all across Africa. But the most disheartening is the miseducation between Yoruba and Igbo they being the largest and oldest that should unite their civilization.
Why is all this important? It is because the key to the development and advancement of Nigeria and with it Africa and the black race begins with Yoruba and Igbo unity.
There are two main scientifically established basis for human progress and development: Unity and checks and balances.
A. Unity to permit cooperation (the key to human progress) (See: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari).
B. Checks and Balances to prevent the abuse of power (with the premise established that power
corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely) (The principle of checks and balances has been practised by Africans historically and articulated academically by the French Philosopher
Montesquieu and adopted by the American constitution and democracies worldwide, including Nigeria (at least in theory).
For unity human beings and societies need to share common myths/beliefs/affinity which is typically based on bloodline relationships, language and culture (including religion) among others.
For checks and balances what is required is a balance of power whether natural or constructed.
In Nigeria, we fail on these two fundamental requirements. We lack unity and we lack a balance of power for effective checks and balances. There are two civilizational spheres of influence in Nigeria: (I) The Afro-Asiatic comprised principally of the
Hausas, Fulanis and Kanuri and led politically by the Fulani and (2) the Original Africans sphere of influence comprised the South and Middlebelt ethnic groups of Yoruba, Igbos, Igala, Ijaw, Tiv, Borom etc.
The problem with Nigeria is that while the Afro-Asiatic sphere of influence has been largely united (through Islam and historical Fulani domination), the Original Africans sphere of influence has not, and so has not been able to serve as an effective counterweight and check to the Afroasiatic sphere of influence to provide Nigeria with the balance of power and checks and balance required for sustainable progress and development of all groups and Nigeria as a whole.
So if one considers the issue rationally (based on what is required for our common good such as in the mind of an outside management consultant brought in to help solve a problem/inefficiencies in a company ) and not emotionally such as us against them mentality, then all of us whether Yoruba, Fulani, Igbo, Hausa etc would recognise that what we need and should all work towards is for the two largest original African groups the Igbo and yoruba to better unite and form the foundation for the unity of all Original African groups based on their established affinity in blood, culture, and language.
Thereafter unity across the two civilizations for purposes of the Nigeria project can then be better negotiated, established, and sustained for the betterment of all and future generations with each civilization serving as a check and counterweight to the other.
We would then have a political posture similar and analogous to the United States with a core of RED states leaning more conservatively comprised of a core of Afroasiatic states and their “conservative” allies (business and/or religious) in the south and middle belt and a core of BLUE states leaning more liberal comprised of a core of Original African states and their liberal (‘progressive”) allies in the core North.
With the Obedient movement uniting the south and middle belt and progressives in the core North, and the APC and PDP tickets reflecting iterations of the Afroasiatic North uniting with allies in the South, the recent elections effectively reflected such posturing, bodes well and needs to be further consolidated and not permitted to fragment.
The clearest threat to this benign development of finally the budding unity among and between the Original African groups is the current phantom contention over Lagos being stoked and used mischievously and wickedly to fan divide between the Igbo and Yoruba.
*Faloye and Adebanjo live in Lagos.