Part 9 Of Why I Am Against Oduduwa Republic As A Yoruba Man – Dr Sunday Adelaja
Oduduwa Republic Is Dead On Arrival. Yoruba Is Better Off In Nigeria
Again I will like to start today’s article with the words of our dear and respected sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo; “It is incontestable that the British not only made Nigeria, but also hand it to us whole on their surrender of power. But the Nigeria, which they handed over to us, had in it the forces of its own disintegration. It is up to contemporary Nigerian leaders to neutralize these forces, preserve the Nigerian inheritance, and make all our people free, forward-looking and prosperous. ”
Chief Obafemi Awolowo been a visionary he was saw all the problems and dangers with the Nigerian project as was handed over to us by the British. However, Awolowo didn’t call for a breakaway from Nigeria, he rather called on our leaders to neutralise those forces of division. That’s exactly what I’m doing, I am obeying the words of the greatest Yoruba man who ever lived, I’m fighting against what he called forces of destruction, I’ll encourage every well meaning Nigerian and Yoruba man to obey his call. Awolowo didn’t stop there he went further to say “It is up to contemporary Nigerian leaders to neutralize these forces, preserve the Nigerian inheritance, and make all our people free, forward-looking and prosperous. ” He told us to preserve the Nigerian inheritance, to this I am committed. I don’t think those who now want to pull down the works of Awolowo for a United Nigeria are wiser than him or see further than him, I believe they don’t hence I’ll rather follow the path that Awolowo chose. Finally Awolowo told us to make our people in Nigeria free, all the people in this country, be it Hausa, Igbo, or Fulani. According to Awolowo we should create a progressive, free, and prosperous future fir all the ethnic groups and nationalities in Nigeria. I personally intend to follow his wisdom, I’ll rather believe and follow Awolowo’s advice than some self acclaimed Yoruba leaders who don’t know their right hand from their left.
You can quote me on this; the so-called Oduduwa Republic is a country that has already collapsed even before its inception. It is a country that is dead on arrival. Just the same way that South Sudan was already broken before it even broke away from Sudan.
The idea of Oduduwa Republic is one of the most exciting topics right now in Nigeria among the Yoruba people and Igbo people, some of whom are clamouring for their own independent state. It is so funny that Yorubas and Igbos are both clamoring for separation from one another, does it mean that both are equally suspicious of one another, if not what stops them from living together in peace even now?
When you bring the Oduduwa Republic topic home to the Yorubas themselves, then you will see full blown division again. The division you will see among the Yoruba people clamoring for Oduduwa Republic is worse than what you currently see between Yoruba people and Hausa people. I am left wondering if the agitators for Oduduwa Republic are on a joke mission.
We must shun division and quickly find a way to make things work amongst ourselves, either as Igbos, Hausas, or Yorubas. I agree that tribalism has become a major clog in the wheels of progress in Nigeria. But this is only true because we made it so. We chose to amplify our differences. We chose to embrace the seeds of discord. We chose to be bitter towards one another. We chose to accept the grievances passed down by our parents. This is the country that we chose, it is a country we created with our hands. The geographical composition is not what made Nigeria a bad country, it is the people that live in it that made Nigeria become what it is now. It cannot just be the Fulanis or the Igbos who made Nigeria unbearable, it’s all of us who live here. We are all to blame for the state of Nigeria now, not the name of Nigeria or its territory we the citizens are responsible. The very same citizens who now want to go build a new country, they’ll only bring there what they brought to Nigeria, anger, suspicion, intolerance, division etc.
If Nigeria breaks up today, same traits will follow us individually to our new independent states. Oduduwa Republic will not be spared. Biafra will be affected. Arewa Republic will know no better. Unless we develop ourselves to be better citizens, Nigerians with this same mindset will destroy any country they find themselves in. This is the truth.
If your own state separates to become an independent country today, do not be surprised that the next day, you will begin to see that your town is different from other people’s towns. You will begin to see the difference between your family and other people’s families. You will suddenly realize that your household is different from the next household. You will amplify the dissimilarities that exist between your street and the street downtown. Have you not seen situations when two streets in a community go into fierce war against one another, killing each other and wasting lives? They live in same town, they have similar family names, they are brothers, yet they spill each other’s blood. The reason is because they have decided to emphasize their differences.
When you place such mindsets in the larger context of Nigeria, they will see people of other tribes as their problem. When you move them into their own town, they begin to see problems with the next street. When you still draw them back into their own family circle, they won’t see eye to eye with their own blood brothers. The problem is with the mind, you either see division or beauty in diversity.
If you have such a mind that only sees differences, you will even have problems with other children of your own mother. It will be a problem to you that your mother cares better for other children than for you. You will make a big deal out of this and create a war. There is no end to a small mind. The mind can keep getting smaller and smaller if you allow it.
Every human being is wired like that. If you are not careful, your mind naturally wants to be small and accept people only on prejudice and bias. You have to consciously create a mind that will not be biased. You have to consciously tell yourself that you will embrace people of all colours, tribes and religion. You have to be determined to have a large heart. You have to consciously decide to shun nepotism, tribalism, ethnic zealousness, and sometimes nationalism.
Separation on ethnic ground rarely brings anything good. That is the nature of separation, it doesn’t bring anything constructive. The ancient truth remains true, “United we stand, divided we fall.” This will always be the case. Falling apart is not what we need right now. The whole world is uniting and coming together, we cannot afford to fall into pieces and become a dinner meal for the rest of the world. There is strength in our unity, numbers and diversity matter. Great countries are trying to find newer territories to buy and occupy. Countries in Europe who used to be separated have come to get her to form European Union, the Asians have done the same thing, Latin American countries are finalizing their Union, even Africa is working on bringing all African countries under one umbrella. Here we are trying to break down a hundred years unity into smaller units that will easily be consumed and taken advantage of by bigger nations. How wise is that?
As a young boy growing up in the village, our elders were in the tradition of story telling. One of such stories tells of how a man who had many sons had no peace in his home. The man was old and knew that he would soon be dead. He realized that if he left his affairs in that disjointed state, it would spell ruin for his sons. He thus decided to teach his sons a valuable lesson. He gave a son a bunch of broom each and told them to break it, none of them could. Then he separated the brooms in the bunch and gave each son a broomstick each, the boys broke the sticks without breaking a sweat. He spent the day explaining to them that the enemies will easily break them when they are separated, if they continued to fight one another, but together they’ll be undefeated.
This same lesson and principles can be brought into nation building. Great nations understand the importance of unity, standing together is strength, standing together is power. They learnt this lesson through their long experiences of wars, and conquests. They have learnt the need to build together, stand together and become stronger together.
For example, at independence, the United states only had thirteen states. But they understood that they were too small to pose any significant threat to nations surrounding them. They realized they could be easily conquered. There was a limit to their economic and military might. They also understood that there was a limit to the financial prosperity and advancement those thirteen states could achieve. Hence they went in search of more territories. They started buying lands and colonies. They began to welcome people and bring in more refugees from all over the world. They wanted more land and population. This is how America became the United States as we have it.
Land, territory and Population is what has been gifted to us by God in Nigeria without asking for it. With the wealth of our people and the wealth of our land, there is nothing hindering us from becoming a first world country and a world super power. Oh, there is one thing stopping us-tribalism. We are so tribalistic that we easily want to throw away what God has given to us to build a great country, and rather be comforted in our own little shell.
Nigeria is still respected to some extent today in the world mainly because of our space, our resources and our population. The moment we break up, all that is gone and thrown to the winds. Oduduwa Republic will be so insignificant on the world map no one will notice it. Biafra Republic will be less significant than Cameroon. Arewa Republic will just be another Niger. Why should we do this type of injustice to ourselves, let’s have a rethink, let’s rather build together a greater country where everyone can call home.
Standing together for a great country
What is my point? To be a great country, we need to stand together. We need to build together. We need to be United. We do not just need the land space, we also need a big population which we already have. Not only must we stand together as one country, all of Africa needs to be United and accept their common identity and destiny. Until Africa is united, trading together, accepting one another, there will be no real respect for Africa and Africans. Some of the founding fathers in Africa understood this and called it Pan-Africanism.
The African Union must not just be another organization, it must evolve and become a government. We must create a United Nations of Africa. If we want developed and advanced countries in Africa, individual countries cannot do it alone. The bigger the better. There is a limit to the advancement that Togo can achieve by itself. There is a limit to what Rwanda can do. There is only so much Namibia or Zimbabwe can achieve alone. On their own, each of these countries are limited, but together, there is no limit.
European countries understand this, hence created the European Union. They understood the common destiny they shared. They knew that God did not make a mistake by putting them together within same region, sharing same weather, territories, history, limitations and possibilities. They decided to work together and build their Union together, despite all their differences. Previously these countries in European Union had nothing to do with each other. Some waged wars against one another. Some even broke up into fractions and secessions. Eventually, they learnt their lessons. They came into the conclusion that it is not wise for them to be competing with one another in the modern world, when they can as well build together and achieve a higher purpose. They knew that to be relevant in the modern world, they had to come together. The countries had to forfeit some of their independent rights and unite to belong to the European Union. They surrendered a significant part of their individual rights to the European Union for the sake of their common good. They shelved personal interests and ambitions because they knew personal ambition will always be inferior to the collective good. Today, an average country in Europe is a big force to reckon with in the world. There is a minimum standard of living by a citizen of Europe, which is an envy to the rest of the world.
Why can’t we learn from others, why should we repeat the journey of a thousand years of separation only to come back together after much precious time has been wasted. Where has our individual rights and selfish ambitions taken us? What have we achieved being strong headed and tribalistic? Why can’t all these African nations also come together to ensure that Africa becomes a force to reckon with, unfortunately we would rather war and kill each other. We would rather hold on tenaciously to our myopic mindset and opinions. We would rather focus on our own little interest now than strive to leave a better place for our children. We would rather be defined by our tribal identities, holding on foolishly to ancient traditions than relinquish them for modern, advanced and progressive ideas. We would rather lay claim to land and city identities, rather than realize we are human first and a global citizen second.
Where we are today in Africa was where Europe used to be centuries ago, yet we are not learning anything from their history. In order to have an advanced, civilized Africa, we must ditch retrogressive tendencies and accept what is a better good for all. Those retrogressive tendencies, though suits our ego, but only makes slaves of our children and children unborn. The progressive tendencies may greatly damage our ego, damage our individual rights but it will do good to our children, grandchildren and the coming generations of Africans.
If you understand the points I’ve been trying to make above, then you will understand why we must not only ditch the idea of Oduduwa Republic, but we must also urgently find a way for Nigeria to fulfill her destiny within the bigger continent of Africa. We must accept our common destiny as the black race, we must work together and we must build together.