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Friday, December 9, 2022

2023 Presidency, Yoruba nation as major stakeholder

By Ayodele Fagbohun


I won’t dignify the ruptured and splintered Afenifere, a pan Yoruba socio-cultural and political group by christening this humble write-up with the caption “Afenifere and 2023 polls” to score undeserved political mileage for the embattled, parochial ethnic group.

However, the endorsement of All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by the legendary ageless  Yoruba patriarch and foremost leader of men, Papa Reuben Famuyide Fasoranti (OFR) in a well organized and best attended function of prominent and eminent stakeholders across Yoruba speaking states of SouthWest, Kwara, Edo and Kogi States.

The creme de la crème and who is who in Yoruba contemporary  politics who forgathered recently at the Omolere Akure residence of Chief Fasoranti had laid to rest the longstanding inveterate political acrimony and avuncular animosity which belie the hypocrisy of Afenifere as true vanguard of Yoruba solidarity, unity and progress.

No wonder, Chief Fasoranti as leader of Afenifere had long ago served note of serious warning and signified intentions to quit the leadership of the group for betrayal; and not living to the mandate of the forefathers of Afenifere.

Every spirited effort to re-unite the warring house of Oduduwa as one big and formidable front remain an uphill and insuperable task to accomplish.

However, despite the reservoir of enlightened and sophisticated political elite scattered across the country, it is a source of great concern for a particular dominant and less informed minority ethnic group to hold the country hostage and lord its heinous rule upon the rest of us. This is without corresponding increase in the living standard of the people and security of lives and property.

The spurious claim of oligarchy and ruthless cabal to have stranglehold on the highest political office of the land is to say the least very outrageous and paranoid, which will not augur for peace, stability and unity of the country.

How dare this rodomontade insignificant cabal greedily and avariciously savior the milk of the cow while wantonly denying the rest of country men and women in the spirit of equity, justice and fair play.

Against this background since colonial administration, Yoruba nation has naturally and consistently been a critical and major player in the political development and evolution of the country.

It was the natural destiny of Lagos, a Yoruba town, to be strategically placed as leading port, administrative capital and commercial nerve centre of Nigeria.

Lagos is a cradle and cauldron of party system. European civilization had an earlier impact of magnitude on this Yoruba town of high prominence to the future development of the country.

Missionary education flourished in Lagos African who read and write were employed by government agencies merchantile houses and firms.

The most outspoken critic of the British Administration otherwise known as colonial rule was Yoruba, Herbert Samuel Heeles Macaulay, a civil engineer by training, journalist and politician rolled into one. He was a maternal grandson of Right Revd. Samuel Ajayi crowther, First African Anglican Bishop of Niger/Delta.

Herbert Macaulay a.k.a. “Wizard of Kirsten Hall” was an astute politician and thorn in the flesh of British colonial master.

To blaze the trail of nationalism, Macaulay and his associates inaugurated Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP). He was founding president of National council of Nigeria and Cameroons (NCNC) while Nnamdi Azikiwe was secretary.

In a funeral oration rendered at the grave side of Herbert Macaulay in Lagos, as a token of respect, Nnamdi Azikiwe (Igbo), a political son of the fallen hero said: “Macaulay served the cause of Nigerian nationalism with unsurpassed zeal.”

Azikiwe said Great Macaulay worked in nearly perfect harmony with his political son from June 1944 until 1946 when he died at the ripe age of 82.

After the World War II the right of self determination as proclaimed in the Atlantic Charter was interpreted by the nationalists of British West African as a promise of self government.

Here again, Yoruba ethnic group or stock blazed the trail and took the headstart. In 1945, Obafemi Awolowo and several others inaugurated a pan Yoruba cultural society in London, Egbe Omo Oduduwa, Sir Adeyemo Alakija, a distinguished barrister at-law, former president Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), was elected president and Mr. Awolowo was chosen as secretary.

In no time, the complexion of the membership of Egbe Omo Oduduwa was too conservative to serve as a relevant platform for military action.

In April 1951, Obafemi Awolowo, Barrister-at-law, publisher of Nigerian Tribune and General Secretary of Egbe Omo Oduduwa launched “an offensive” Action Group (AG) at Owo. The primary motive was to win electoral control of Western Regional Government preparatory to self government.

When the House of Representatives met for the annual budget session in March 1953, Anthony Enahoro, Action Group (AG) member for Ishan (Benin Province of Western Region, listed a motion for the Honourable House to endorse as a primary political objective the attainment of self government for Nigeria in 1956.

However, the motion suffered defeat due to the unpreparedness of our “brethren” in the North to key into early termination of obnoxious alien rule. Suffice it to say that Western Region led by Awo was granted self government in 1957 closely followed by Eastern Region under the auspices of Zik in the same year.

The Northern Region led by Sir Ahmadu Bello did not attain self government until 1959.

Gradually and steadily, Nigeria attained only flag independence on October 1, 1960 with pomp and pageantry not entrenched in serious and earnest ideological leadership to tackle headlong the critical challenges of modern democracy.

So, our democracy at independence was built on quicksand of compromise, perfidy and betrayal. The  resultant effect is catastrophe. To worsen the already bad situation, the protracted military incursion into politics had rather done more harm than good and purposeful government in all its ramifications.

In the interim, let us put aside the present political partyism for lacking the sinews to mobilize the citizenry for good governance. The relationship of the so called two major political parties, the ruling APC and the rival main opposition, the PDP is between the devil and the deep blue sea.

By all means, power must shift to the South West geo political zone come 2023. Yoruba political elite generally have paid their dues in their respective milieu right from Herbert Macaulay to the indomitable Awo. The epic and stellar contributions of the core-Awoists notably Ajasin (old Ondo state), LK Jakande (Lagos State), Olabisi Onabanjo (Ogun state), Ambrosse Alli (Bendel State), Bola Ige (old Oyo state) and Cornelius Adebayo (Kwara State). This can be replicated in the centre given the political mandate under a free fair and credible election.

Awo fought diplomatic battle to keep Nigeria from being dismembered into various compounds during the unfortunate, senseless and genocidal war dubbed Biafra/Nigerian infanticide civil war.

By all means, let us stop playing upon trivial issues of tribe and religion to avert the impending cataclysm of immense proportions the end no one may predict based on our frivolities to tackle national question faire-and-square.

On this connection, after his release from prison on August 1966 on the phantom charges of treasonable felony and conspiracy to overthrow Abubakar Balewa led Federal Government, Chief Obafemi Awolowo warned his political associates and teeming followers to renounce all ethnic groupings and no men nomenclatures Awo urged them to embrace political parties with national spread to promote and foster national cohesion, unity, peace and progress.

It stands to reason therefore that those who cannot reasonably manage their home front will surely find it difficult to handle the affairs of a larger society.

On the same token, the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju bola Ahmed Tinubu is a versatile political acrobat of no mean order. As a distinguished politician, and former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Bola Tinubu has excelled as a prime founding partner of All Progressives Congress (APC), the first ever political outfit that electorally uprooted the entrenched status quo ante of political conservation after a long fruitless efforts for an elected progressive government since independence.

To his advantage, Bola Tinubu is a shrewd accountant and financial expert with a distinguished and accomplished career in Mobil, a blue-chip multinational corporation.

Nigeria is in dire need  of national leadership versed in reliable up to date statistics to marshal every ingredient of good governance to the benefit of the citizenry and in the uplift of the country in the world map as a truly enlightened, progressive and prosperous economy one again.

We’ve come to the crucial juncture and auspicious time for Nigerian electorate to give a comprehensive and resounding verdict for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, standard bearer of APC to prove his mettle to diligently  serve the country come February 2023 presidential elections.


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