Oduduwa Republic Wont Be An Eldorado, Economically Non Viable
Part 13 Of Why I Am Against Oduduwa Republic As A Yoruba Man – Dr Sunday Adelaja
With Oduduwa Republic, some folks are claiming that we will have a new currency, a new flag and a new anthem. I do not dispute that, but do you think the new currency (which some suppose would be called ‘fadaka’) would make for a better economy? If that is your dream, you need to wake up from it. The strength of the ‘fadaka’ will be based on the production power of the population, it’s consumption and exportation. Do you think that just by creating a new currency, a new flag and a new anthem, everything suddenly becomes Eldorado? No, things would only become worse, not better.
Like I have mentioned above building a new country goes beyond creating a new geography, new currencies, new flags and new anthem. A new anthem will not make Oduduwa Republic great. The Oduduwa anthem and flag have been around since the days of our fathers. They sang the anthem every morning in their schools. Did that stop many of them from growing up to become political opportunists and thieves? In what ways have they exemplified the ideals of the song?
Creating a new currency, a new flag, a new geography or a new anthem will not build our roads. Those things will not build our industries or bridges. They will not create for us a prosperous nation. They will not create us revenues or allocations. Instead, we are going to become a poorer nation for the following reasons.
When we become Oduduwa Republic, the Federal allocation which comes from Abuja to the States every month will stop. Without that allocation coming in each month, we are doomed. Even with the Federal allocation coming in regularly many of our states cannot afford to pay workers’ salaries or pay contractors for works done. The little things that most of our states are able to achieve are mostly dependent on the monthly Federal allocation. It is this money that has been the life line of many states, including the Southwest states. There are no other revenue sources to compare to Abuja allocations. The internally generated revenues in western states are too insignificant to sustain the region. Only Lagos state is doing a good job in that regard, even there whatever they generate is a far cry from what the state needs, talk less of using their revenue to take care of the whole Western region, which will never happen. What other revenues do states like Osun or Ekiti generate? What resources do they contribute to the national budget? Much of the companies from which Lagos and Ogun states generate their revenue from are not owned by Yorubas, this is asides Globacom and other companies owned by Mike Adenuga, and the few Yoruba industrialists in the west.
As I write this article, I am thinking and researching and I find it hard to remember any notable world class company owned by any Yoruba person in any of the Southwest states. The major companies in Ogun State are owned by either the Chinese, Lebanese or Indians. The notable companies in Oyo State are owned by Lebanese. The ones in Lagos are either owned by Aliko Dangote, the Igbos or other foreigners all together. It is alleged though unverified that if the Igbos and others non indigenes were to stop paying taxes to the Lagos state government today, up to 60% of the Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos would be lost. These are the companies that have been generating major revenues for the Southwest. The rest of the population seem to depend on the trickles from Abuja in civil service, or engaged in small scale buy and sell businesses.
In 2019, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, only Lagos and Ogun States generated more revenue than what they get in Federal allocations among the Southwest states. The remaining states wait on Abuja as a lifeline. This has been the situation for a long time now. Still, with the Federal allocations coming in to the states steadily, most Southwest states are struggling to keep their heads above water. What will happen without the Federal allocations? What will happen if what you are generating as income is far less than what you are spending.
Those clamoring for Oduduwa nation have shown that they either have not given much thoughts to what they are clamoring for, or they are ignorant of the situation the Southwest states are in. The Southwest states cannot even sustain themselves at the moment and talk less of starting a country from scratch. Even restructuring is not sustainable in the Southwest because there is no revenues to go around to maintain the economy of the region.
I apologize for those who may get angry at my illustration, but what this situation reminds me of is that of a spoilt teenager who wants to walk away from his parent’s house with no means of livelihood over a slight disagreement. How does he expect to survive in the Wild West of the world.
Yorubas like to brag that if we could have Oduduwa Republic, we would be able to build a great country. The question is with what resources? Yorubas argue that with Oduduwa Republic, we would become one of the fastest growing economies in the world. They think that we would become one of the greatest countries overnight if we could only break out of Nigeria. What an illusion! Ask those who were adults or teenagers at the time Nigeria secured her independence, it’s exactly the same rhetorics that were in the air. I have taken my time to study what was the mood and expectations of Nigerians at independence, it’s very similar to what we are witnessing today. It is the disillusionment after this hope that led our Nobel laureate to exclaim that “his is a lost generation”. If you listen to his explanations and interviews he said at independence they would outgrow England in no time and become a first world country like America as soon as possible. But instead of that what they got is the Nigerian reality as it is today. They never knew that one day they’ll be lining up to get a British visa and that their children will be going to night vigils to beg to go to England as cheap labourers to the former colonial masters. Remember that at independence Nigeria rejected the passport of Britain, every Nigerian could carry a British passport then, naturally they visited England without any visa whatsoever. Today the story has changed. I pray this won’t be our fate if we succeed in destroying the country God gave us now, so we don’t begin to line up to get to the North or Eastern part of the country, just as Nigerians are struggling to get to Ghana today.
If the southwest will become great, it is more realistic while a part of Nigeria than standing alone. It is more realistic to make our region the most advanced region whilst still being a part of Nigeria instead of breaking away.
We must exploit the means to among the Southwest states develop the region right now. Most of the Yoruba states are currently united and there is even a forum of Southwest states. Why can’t this forum become an arrow head for the development of the region? What is stopping us from becoming all that we project that we will be with Oduduwa Republic?
If we are really great as Yorubas, we must demonstrate that greatness and power by showcasing right now what our true potential is. I have severally said to those claiming to be strong enough to break away from Nigeria let them show us how strong they are by first of all getting back the Yoruba speaking parts of Kwara and Kogi states. At least, the Yoruba sections of Kwara and Kogi states have been waiting to ‘come back home’ for almost two centuries. If these secessionists have not even helped the Yorubas in Kwara and Kogi to regain their relevance and reunite them with the Yoruba states, how then will they claim they are powerful enough to break the entire Yoruba states away from Nigeria. Recently the governor of Ondo state declared that Ondo is not going to be a part of Oduduwa Republic, same was declared by Osun State and Ogun State. Don’t even mention Lagos State where Tinubu is in control, they are more committed to a United Nigeria than any state in the south right now. In my opinion, these Oduduwa agitators are just a bunch of comedians.
Let me say it as it is to my fellow Yoruba people; what is pushing us for secession is our self inflated ego, pride and outright arrogance. We are just full of ourselves. We are living in a cocoon of self adulation. We have not taken stock of our strengths and weaknesses before making the bogus claim for secession. If any part of Nigeria wishes to declare Independence from Nigeria, then know that there is a lot of ignorance involved.
On what other basis are we going to form Oduduwa Republic? How strong and viable are the current agitators that will form Oduduwa Republic? What resources do they have? What will be the foundation of the economy? What goods will they export?
The western region of Awolowo had Cocoa and did pretty well with it because Cocoa was quite a commodity in those days. Where are the cocoa industries today? Where is the palm oil industry? The Southwest is practically bare naked now. We have no world class industries, our agriculture is nothing to write home about, we have no manufacturing industries, our airports and seaports lie in beggarly states. Is this the foundation we want to build a new country on?
What we have at the moment is a broken down values, people and a broken down region. As bad as our economy and infrastructure is, the only other thing in a more deplorable state is our people. Our people are not prepared mentally, intellectually enough to build a competitive nation on the world stage. We need to pay more attention now on building a strong enough people who in turn will be capable to build a vibrant nation whatever the name is. As if now what can we achieve with what is on ground, only failure, shame and disgrace. We will end up repeating the words of Soyinka that we too are a lost generation in the next 50 years. If we head out as things are in the Southwest, we are only heading into poverty. What currently forms the pillar of the Southwest states at the moment is the combined resources of all the nationalities in Nigeria. Without this pillar, I can affirm that no region of Nigeria can stand on its own. Every region of Nigeria is profiting from the unity of Nigeria. Without this, the chaos on ground will be nothing compared to the wanton destruction, lack and scarcity that will result.
Our fathers could even afford to sponsor a civil war with the resources they had. Today, there is no region of Nigeria that is rich enough to sponsor a civil war. We cannot afford a civil war, else we all die of hunger and penury.
We cannot afford to allow a few disgruntled people amongst us lead us into the wilderness again. Calling for secession at the moment is akin to heading into the wilderness without a map, food or water. Yet these secessionists keep telling us that we should not worry about those things as they will plant for us what to eat once we reach the wilderness. Things will take care of themselves once we depart from Nigeria, what a fallacy, Is there wisdom in heeding such a call? Do they want us to die of lack and poverty in the wilderness of their own creation? No not in this generation, thank God we can think. They are on their own!!
Yoruba is better together with all nationalities within Nigeria. This is the position and belief of our leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo, this ought to be the position of all well meaning Nigerians especially Yorubas. “In the presence of light, darkness cannot exist; nor can the night of misery and suffering… The compelling urge to be a harbinger of light over Nigeria has been my one consuming passion for more than four decades now … My yearnings for the descent of light upon Nigeria became so deep that they were soon transformed into an irrepressible call to duty.” By Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Just like Awolowo I’m convinced Yorubas are to likewise be the harbinger of light over Nigeria, we should make it our duty to bring the values of Omoluabi to all other parts of this great nation, then we all together can build a greater Nigeria as dreamed by our fathers.