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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

17 years of democracy: Which way Yoruba nation?

~The Nigerian Tribune. Tuesday, June 28, 2016

THERE was a time the issue of employment was taken for granted in Yoruba Land. Virtually all children that had formal education, which was free, had one form of collar job waiting for him without compromising standard. Then, blue-chip companies besieged university campuses and scrambled to offer employment to graduating students, dangling brand new cars and other alluring offers before the leaders of tomorrow of the Yoruba nation

Then, traders could display an article of trade in conspicuous places, indicate the unit cost of each item and step out for another means to complement their gains without the fear of theft or being shortchanged by prospective customers. Then, the political leadership in Yoruba land valued the veritable template of honesty, transparency and piety encapsulated in the word omoluabi inherited from the progenitors of the Yoruba nation. Then, the political leadership in Yoruba land was what a highly cerebral constitution lawyer. Dr Olatuji Abayomi, described as "a bright colour hung on a pole in a public place."

Then, it was a stigma for any family who a policeman came to arrest for any offence against regardless of the gravity of the offence. Then, the sight of a soldier in a community evoked a mixed feeling of pride and fear, pride out of respect and honour for the military uniform, as it was considered a privilege for anyone to don the military uniform. Ditto the clerics of the dominant religions in the South-West.

First Republic

All these virtues exalted the Yoruba nation, as Nigeria prepared for self-governance on October 1, 1960. The political leadership concentrated on building institutions, empowering the vast majority of the population and creating a conducive environment for industrial takeoff. In his account of the synergy among the conscientious political leaders in Yoruba land, a top military then, Major General Olufemi Olutoye, said the leadership "chose a well-knit, highly disciplined and fanatically loyal team," drive its vision of a prosperous Yoruba race. He said team proved the confidence reposed in them, when given the opportunity to serve as they acquitted themselves creditably. Huge network of infrastructure, establishment of manufacturing industries relying on local contents, massive cash crop cultivation and harvest, free quality education, rural development and provision of potable became a common denominator among the Yoruba.

These feats were achieved only from February 6, 1952 and 1959, when the Action Group formed by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the premier of the defunct Western Region. Thus, challenges of unemployment, unskilled manpower, heinous crimes and other major societal vices were minimal and controllable.

Second Republic

The period of military interregnum inflicted a degree of blow to the heroic strides of the modern architect of the Yoruba nation. Those institutions that were products of the political will, visionary leadership and sagacity began to show symptoms of ineptitude, impropriety and neglect until the advent of the Second Republic. The institutions were given fillip by the then Unity of Party of Nigeria (UPN), a scion of the AG. Its five cardinal programmes, which centered on the welfare of the majority in the South-West, rekindled the hope of better days now and tomorrow. The policy of free and qualitative education all levels afforded all school-age children to enroll in schools with the states in the south-West establishing their own universities and other tertiary institution to absorb the products of those schools in the nearest future. The gains of the foresight of the political leadership of that time are manifest in the vast opportunities those higher students provide for the increasing number of Yoruba sons and daughters with rapacious appetite for university education, coupled with the abundance of skilled manpower that span across many professional disciplines.

Fourth Republic

The abracadabra of the military oligarchy caused the premature death (collapse) of the Third Republic. But suffice to say events that characterized the militocracy (diarchy) of the third Republic marked a watershed in the annals of the country. It is controvertible that the Yoruba nation made enormous sacrifices in the struggle that led to the restoration of civil in Nigeria on May 29, 1999. Eminent sons and daughters from the South-West laid down their lives in the cause of championing the demand for the de-annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, won by late Chief Moshood Abiola. At the time Yoruba land was turned into a theatre of war by the military establishment behind the annulment and in power, assassinating, maiming, incarcerating and forcing many Yoruba leaders into exile the United States and Europe, just as another set became victims of a phantom coup plot. Most industrial concerns owned by Yoruba became objects of violent armed attack and liquidation by the establishment. All these instances, the Yoruba were left alone to sulk over their predicament.

The drafting of Olusegun Obasanjo, who had been sentenced to death over the phantom coup, to assume office as an elected president after the 1999 general election, was seen as a ploy by the Establishment to atone for the political sins committed against the South-West. Through an aggressive propaganda campaign, the Yoruba wanly bought into the project, though with the majority detaching their political loyalty to the popular Alliance for Democracy (AD), which comprised essentially leaders, allies and associates of leaders of the NADECO, the coalition that sustained the June 12 struggle. The relative vote of confidence by the Yoruba for the Obasanjo as president was premised that he could use the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past administrations against the South-west. This included marginalisation in the scheme of things, abysmal neglect of infrastructure in the South-West, lopsided distribution of local governments, unfair sharing formula for Value Added Tax (VAT) and revenue sharing formula. There was also the expectation that his presidency would assist Yoruba land in regaining its past glory as the leading producer of cash crops like cocoa, as well was complement the quest by the South-West to tap into the benefit of rail system towards easing the current hardship in the transport sector in the South-West. With the vagaries inherent in the oil industry and threatening the revenue of the country from oil export, it was believed that Obasanjo would facilitate the process that would enable states in the South-West to explore the huge mineral resources and maritime sector in the zone.

While all these issues still begged for attention at the time he left office in 2007, his loyalists said Obasanjo and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) succeeded in taking the Yoruba to the next level. One of those leaders that belong to that school of thought is Senator Olayink Omilani, a former PDP national vice chairman for South-West. He had declared: "We are proud to say that our governments in the PDP south-west zone have been leading lights in the larger PDP family and have been national examples on how best to serve the citizens...Our governors have been very creative and innovative in implementing our party manifesto and programmes. They have made the difference to be crystal clear to our people and never again will our people allow name-droppers to deceive them."

"Under the PDP government in the South-West, some of the legacies for which the Yoruba were known were not only sustained but were superbly surpassed by our governors. Programmes on education and health that endeared our people to the late sage, Pa Obafemi Awolowo have been better implemented under the PDP governments in our zone, than their predecessors. Those who thought they had the sole copyright to those programmes now know that the people know the game is up. Never again would they use such political gimmicks and name-dropping to win cheap votes."

In the past 17 years or so, one issue that has dominated the political space is about constituency projects. Of recent, stomach infrastructure has found its way into the lexicon of the Nigerian political class. But none enjoys much controversy than the constituency projects, which come in several weird ways and manner. Commercial motorcycles and grounding machines, distribution of grains in very small quantities top the items that are offered to constituents as democratic gains from politicians after securing the mandate of the people to serve for four years with sacrilegious pecks of office and salaries.

In most cases, the events where those items are distributed are not just celebrated but orchestrated as the greatest thing that has ever happened to the beneficiaries. But there are a few exception, as highlighted by a former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin in his record of stewardship while in the Senate, He said: "I thank God for the opportunity to serve and for the little additions to my constituency and as a welfarist politician which I have continued to do where the opportunity present itself....It is not also in my nature to celebrate what should be my duty to my constituent as some do by rolling out drums even to dedicate a borehole."

In the opinion of an observer, most elected public officials from the zone since 1999 have not done appreciably in consolidating the foundation laid by the past leaders of the South-West in terms of physical structures that have continued to generate much internal revenues and constitute a source of pride to the Yoruba nation. Critical sectors like education, civil service and local government administration are riddled with challenges, including unpaid workers' salaries and pensions. Rather than enriching the commonwealth inherited from the past, most of the leaders have been preoccupied with establishing personal business empires and living a life of profligacy almost in disdain the counsel of a former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande, who once said: "The glory of a politician is not in the offices or positions he held but always in history's recognition of the path he strode." The import of his message was not too long ago, accentuated by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who once stated that the legacies of the past heroes and heroines of the race should be the guiding principle for the political leadership in the South-West. Coupled with this what she said was the fact that "The fate of coming generations of Nigerians depends upon how firmly we stand today." noteing that, " Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a foremost federalist, united the Western Region and was responsible for many of the progressive social legislations that made Nigeria a modern nation."

Lethargy of the citizens

Election is just one stage of a democratic process. Monitoring by way of trying to bring elected public officers to give account of their stewardship is another stage of the process. While the constitution provides for recall of erring lawmaker, or removal of governor or local government chairman, the lethargy on the part of the citizens fosters impunity among those in power, and ultimately bad governance. All these have called to question the cost and benefits of the South-West becoming a major player in mainstream politics in Nigeria. From 1999 to date, AD, AC, ACN, APC, Labour Party and PDP have had a stint in power in different states in the region, with the gladiators changing platforms sometimes to remain politically relevant.

Way forward

There was once the Oodua development Council that was inaugurated in 2002 by the late leader of Afenifere, Chief Abrahm Adesanya, as well as the Yoruba Assembly under the leadership of Lt. General Alani Akinrinade, which was launched in Ibadan a couple of years ago for the purpose of making sure that the South-West get its due as a vital integral part of the Nigerian federation under democracy. Other groups like the South West Professionals Forum (SOWPROF) was established in 1999 and which comprises Yoruba professionals in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, propagating the need to initiate a social security system for the millions of people in the South West to take care of the needs of the aged, children and the unemployed. The president of the body, Mr Segun Akinjubulu said: "We need a system that will take care of those without the economic means to survive. .No state can do it alone. All the willing South-West states need to work together. This is the best way to minimise violence and tame the tide of instability in the South West region for the overall peace and well-being of Nigerians."

The founder of a pan-Yoruba organisation, Atayese, Chief Tokunboh Ajasin, also believes there is the need for the political will among the leaders in the South-West to engender integration, given the not too impressive gains of the zone since 1999. "That (integration) has always been what we wanted. We have set up the dawn, but governors are slow about it; we want a more active system. It is obvious that we are still sitting on the goldmine. We must deploy our comparative advantage to reposition the South-West. We should maximise the vast opportunity that exist on the coastal areas of Yoruba land," he said.

With a population of more than 60 million, the Yoruba land is believed to surpass the combined human population of seven major countries in ECOWAS countries. Such countries include Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Gabon, Gambia, Liberia and Togo. Coupled with the huge human endowment are natural resources spread across the six-Yoruba-speaking states, with each immensely endowed in agriculture and solid minerals.

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I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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