Sunday, February 15, 2009


Our insistence on playing tribal politics is outrageously baffling to me! No matter how hard we try to camouflage our tribal political maneuvers under whatever umbrella we may chose, it will continue to undermine the future of Nigeria as one indivisible Country. I will advise us to start seeing ourselves as Nigerians first and anything else second. I know this is going to be difficult for those of us who are older but I think we should at least try to plant this seed for those coming behind us to harvest. I am certain that Chief Awolowo would have taken this approach, especially in today’s world of globalization and quest for United States of Africa, if he was alive with us today. Less we forgot, the East under Ojukwu attempted this and failed while Chief Awo was on the side of GOWON (Go On With One Nigeria).
I understand that some people might ask what is wrong in Yorubas coming together under the umbrellas of Afenifere or Oodua (Oduduwa) to DISCUSS. The topic of the discussion is exactly what is wrong with such gathering. Is the topic political, economic, social or what? And whose concerns are they going to address in such gathering. Are we concern about the well being of Nigerians as a whole or the selfish interest of a tribal section of the Nation? And what about the consequence of intra-tribal conflict that such gathering will generate? Will the interests of the Egbas take priority over those of the Ondos, Oyos, Ijebus and etc? Imagine if the North and the East start having their own gatherings (If they are not already doing so); wouldn’t that be a kind of recipe for a disunited Nigeria?
Listen, don’t misunderstand me; I am proud to be a Yoruba and I would have probably loved it better to have had a Yoruba country if the British had not amalgamated all unrelated tribes to form what we call Nigeria today. And I am sure that any honest Northerner, Easterner and others will feel exactly the same way because it is natural for the birds of the same feathers to fly together! But what we have today is one indivisible Nigeria and that makes me a Nigerian first and a Yoruba second. When and if we have a United States of Africa, I will be a United States of Africa citizen first, a Nigerian second and a Yoruba third!

By Shina


  1. The coming together of the Afenifere could be a positive omen for Nigeria if honestly harnested.
    Today there is confusion about what Afenifere is. For those who do not know , Afenifere origin was not based on tribal concept. It is ideological.
    When the Action Group was formed with its welfarist and progesive pedigree in the early 50s ,there was a need to sell the concept to the generality of the people and to translate the concept of the Action Group in Yoruba , so Afenifere , that is a group that wants progress for everybody was adopted
    So when the name was reinvented later after Awolowo's transition, the concept was to get together those who believe in the political philosophy of Obafemi
    Awolowo before the crisis that brewed in the organisation on the mishandling of the June 12 election Crisis. Afenifere has never been an organization for all the Yoruba people like the Egbe Omo Oduduwa earlier founded by Awolowo to protect Yoraba interest. By the time Awolowo formed the Action Action ( Afenifere ), he made it clear that the Action Group was of Nigeria , a political organization for all Nigerians and he was carefull to take it out of the sphere of Egbe Omo Oduduwa a dilemma for the present Afenifere which does not seem to have a political direction and therefore in confusion as to whether it is a tribal or political organization or both .
    The gathering in Ikenne could be a good sign for comming together of progressives throughout Nigeria. There is no whole without parts . In Ameriaca, there are different ethnicities and diferrent nations and tendencies and that is why America adopted federalism and not unitary system to give these differences the opportunity to intercourse without each one distroying the other .There is the majority and there is the minority. If not, why is so much sensation about Obama being President after all he is an American like the Bushes,the Clinton and earlier Presidents but he is the first African American President and this fact is sung all the time in our God's own America.
    The truth is that tribes and tribilism are facts of our life and nationality . As much as it is desirable to promote what binds us together , it will be unrealistic and not in our interest to ingnore our tribal differences.
    Charity begins at home but Awolowo taught us it should not end there , it should be extended to the nation .
    Since the break in Afenifere ,the progressive forces have suffered a setback that is crippling Nigerian polity today.
    Any attempt to fix it can be beneficial to all. If a part of the body is sick ,the whole body aches and if that part is healed the whole body may get well. That is the relevance of the Ikenne meeting hosted by Awolowo's jewel's of inestimable value,Yeyeoba HID Awolowo and it deserves our prayer and support.
    Such a gathering of eminent men and women of integrity who have contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria can not and should be dismmissed as a tribal gathering.
    Bari Adedeji Salau

  2. The civil rights movement in the American history started with a central issue – the constitution of America as it was debated and agreed upon by American forefathers that all humans are born equal and the constitution should stand for the rights of everyone in the Union.
    Thus, if the Yorubas’ issue often looks like a central ethnic issue we might as well say the free education made possible by the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the old west was for the Yorubas only; it turns out however, that what is good for the Yorubas might as well be good for the whole Nation.
    In effect, what we are saying is, when a group of people come together to debate what is good for a part component of all regions it will ultimately be good for all components. It has often been said that had the whole components embraced the single issue of education proposed earlier by Awolowo, Nigeria would have been turned into the likes of European nations, India, China or Canada of today.
    When one supports an umbrella of all Yorubas, one does not necessarily support a mono-cultural philosophy of a political agenda; rather, one supports totally a non-central and non political ethnic organization.
    In borrowing from 1909 W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells-Barnett N.A.A.C.P creation to fight the central issue of Black Lynching in America, the National Association of Colored People became the most recognized organization in the civil rights establishment with 1,200 active branches all over America. This obviously started with just an ethnic movement that withstood the test of all criticism for more than 100 years of American history.
    Papa Awolowo and others started the Pan Yoruba organization in good faith; one can even say that they were 100years ahead of their compatriots in Nigeria organizational movement.
    While we, the wasted generations, are today celebrating Papa Awolowo’s legacy, it is pertinent to note that Mama ‘Yeye Oba’ Awolowo has always been in the forefront to lend supporting role for the continuation of Yoruba dynasty. In Education, in Economics, in Science, and in Politics, the Yorubas have always shown leadership for all Ethnic Group in Nigeria.
    As a progressive think-thank organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in America becomes the most influential in every major civil rights issue of the last century – the land mark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case, the Montgomery bus boycotts of the mid-1950s and the passage of the 1964 civil rights Act were centrally issues concerning the Blacks in America but in a larger context becomes the rights of all other ethnic groups in America Society.
    The fact that a black family occupies the most powerful house in the world today – the white house- will obviously be credited to yesterday’s civil rights movement and a thoughtful organization that was first created to focus on an ethnic central issue.
    As much as we believe in the greater good of common Nigeria where all Ethnic group contribute to its success, we applaud the motives of bringing the splinter Afenifere group, the Awoist and all Yorubas under one progressive and useable umbrella. Awoist movement was long crafted and suggested as the way forward among Awo followers when the man died.
    It is a befitting stroke of thought to gather under one roof at Ikenne and to see the combination of the old horses and hawks with Mama ‘Yeye Oba’ Awolowo in attendance. We say hurrah!! Seeing Baba Kekere, Pa Jakande, Papa Fasoranti, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Bush Alebiosu, Tony Adefuye and the new progressive faces like Governor Daniel of Ogun State and others gracing the peace seeking gathering gave joy to our heart.
    When the former Yoruba Governors pre-empted the Thursday’s meeting by showing up on Wednesday at Ikenne, we were a little bit concerned of the antecedent of the old order of the same politics that shred good intention into pieces and sounds like personal greed of thought.
    The lesson should be learned from that Shomolu Politician Chief Tony Adefuye’s utterance that things started falling apart, apology to professor Chinua Achebe, when the Yorubas failed to heed the advise of late Papa Awolowo on the need to meet periodically at Ikenne.
    The Genesis of split started with the formation of Awoist movement crafted at Ikenne. The old hawks, fearing their back seat allocation in the face of new think-tank group, split and headed to Owo. This writer once attended such gathering at Papa Ajasin’s home in Owo. Later, the Imeri group which morphed from Abacha ‘Kata Kata’ met in Imeri while Afenifere met in Ijebu Igbo; all ignoring Ikenne.
    When Papa Fasoranti was approached at Akure to host another component of the same, he made a thoughtful move; he must have thought that over the years, the disciples of Papa Awolowo had failed to follow proper protocol heeding the Sage’s honesty of purpose over issues concerning Nigeria in which Yorubas have always been in the forefront, hence Papa Fasoranti, in our opinion, seized the mantle of leadership and headed to Ikenne wherefore the Spirit of the Sage welcomed everyone to his abode.
    It is the State of Nigeria nation that remains potently daisy. We need new thinkers, aggressive programs and policies that will mimic the old-west days of glorious made possible by the late Sage.
    Like IBB once said: Papa Awolowo traversed the political realms of Nigeria Nation for forty years, fought and canversed for total transformations of Nigeria into a modern Nation. Peoples within and outside the shores of Nigeria who were not comfortable seeing an emerging powerful Black African Nation, frustrated his efforts and all of us are still paying for this.
    A brilliant philosopher, a writer, an economist, a political giant of his time, Papa would have been a catalyst to a true modern, most populous African Nation.

    Long Live the Republic of Nigeria

    By Dr. Olatunji Almaroof