opinion

We Can All Learn Tolerance From Globacom and The Yoruba

By Reno Omokri

When the Central Bank of Nigeria relocated some departments to Lagos, there was an uproar on social media. Tinubu wants to move everything to Yorubaland.

But now that the Nigerian Navy is moving its training base headquarters from Lagos to Eleme, in Rivers State, there is silence online. Nobody is saying that the Chief of Naval Staff, who is from Enugu, is moving that critical infrastructure closer to his region. And that is the right thing to do. Onne is a better location for the navy.

Please note that the Naval Training Command headquarters is a more significant infrastructure, and has more human resources than the departments of the CBN that moved to Lagos.

Recall that some individuals tried to pull off a Yoruba nation agitation in Ibadan a few weeks ago, look at how their own Yoruba kith and kin clinically dealt with them. And not even by the Federal Government, but by the Oyo State Government, which is in opposition to the Federal Government. Elsewhere, secessionists are protected, and even celebrated by the local population, and the State Governments look the other way.

One man even boasted that, “They are not terrorists. I meet them and live with them.” Please note that this is a direct quote.

Let us learn to imbibe the tolerance of the Yoruba, and Nigeria will go well.

The Omoluabi culture of tolerance stems from their culture, not from their DNA, so it is something all of us can also learn. It a not a racial trait, like their ability to have more twin births than any group on Earth.

It is built on two platforms. Iwa, which means moral character (Omoluabi actually is short for Omo-ti-Olu Iwa-bi, meaning children that the Lord of moral character gave birth to).

The second platform is Ebi, meaning family. Omoluabi Yoruba are taught to uphold fraternal relations above money and power. And not just among Omoluabi, but with all peoples.

That is why, for example, Colonel Fajuyi rejected the offer to surrender Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi to rebellious Northern officers, and replace him as Military Head of State. He voluntarily chose to follow Ironsi to his death. That is a combination of the Iwa and Ebi ethos.

And it continued even after Fajuyi’s death. How?

After Ironsi and Fajuyi’s death, Fajuyi’s successor as Military Governor of the Western Region, Adeyinka Adebayo, looked after Ironsi‚Äôs children, who lived with him in his house. I bet you never knew that. Please, fact-check me.

Do you know the most Islamic state in Southern Nigeria? It is not Lagos. Please research it. The state with the highest percentage of Muslims in Southern Nigeria is Osun State.

Yet, the indigenes of that state voted for a man who is both officially a Christian and a Muslim as their Governor. Yes. Please fact-check me. Senator Ademola Adeleke regularly attends church and not so regularly attends mosques. At best, he is a Chrislamist. But officially, he has been tagged as a Christian in certain publications.

So, Osun has a Chrislam Governor, who just happens to be half-Igbo (Senator Adeleke’s mother was Igbo and he was born in Enugu), a Christian Deputy Governor, and a Christian Speaker. Please note that Osun recently changed Speakers, and I do not know the religion of the new Speaker, Prince Adewale Egbedun. But his predecessor, Timothy Owoeye, is a Christian. However, I am told by those who know Egbedun that he is a Christian.

Recently, I had cause to defend Chief Eric Umeofia over the attempts by some people to destroy his business, and I cautioned them to understand that he had 4,000 employees. Though this fellow is not from the Southwest, those who led the effort to save his reputation and business are from the Southwest.

This is the type of pan-Nigerian spirit that we can learn from the Yorubas as we all imbibe their Iwa and Ebi ethos.

And nowhere do we see that culture on display better than at Globacom. This is a company wholly owned by an Ijebu man, Dr. Mike Adenuga. Yet, even when there were prominent Ijebu and Yoruba artists who were the biggest singers in Nigeria at that time, Globacom deliberately chose to promote the principle of One Nigeria.

Sunny Ade was there. D-Banj was then the hottest artiste in Nigeria. Paul Play Dairo was at that time ruling the airwaves with Mo Sori Ire.

But Globacom ignored them. The company took a relatively unknown as at then group. They took P-Square, and made them the face of their brand. And they sent them to etiquette school. Glo had P-Square on billboards all over Lagos and Nigeria. You could not go from Ikoyi to Victoria Island without seeing a giant Goo billboard with Nigerian music stars.

Dr. Adenuga bought P-Square their first brand-new Mercedes G-Wagon. Then he bought them brand new Range Rovers.

As Glo ambassadors, P-Square were featured on CNN for the Glo with Pride campaign, which blew them up worldwide. They thereafter bought houses in America, and would have become even more prominent globally, until quarrels over business made the twins separate for almost five years, which affected their fame.

But then there happened to be a quarrel between one of them and Seun Kuti, and in the heat of the moment, Peter Okoya called his own father “a nobody”. Not Seun’s father. Fela was never a nobody. No. Peter Okoye referred to his own father as a nobody.

Such a thing can NEVER happen in Yoruba land. Never a thousand times. And if by mistake a Yoruba man dares do that, the community will beat him to a pulp the way Ibadan people beat the Yoruba nation agitators three weeks ago.

I do not know if Globacom got vote for the money they spent on etiquette school.

There is nothing wrong with Air Peace using an Isi-Agu costume as the uniform for their flight attendants. I defended them publicly. Please research it. My defence of Air Peace went viral.

But let me say here that if Air Peace had been owned by Dr. Adenuga, they would have taken a different approach.

Happy 71st birthday to one of Nigeria’s most outstanding entrepreneurs ever, bar none. Dr. Mike Adenuga Junior.

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