Why O’odua Nation is desirable
By Remi Oyeyemi
A treatise to Prince Adewale Longe’s self-serving revision of history
It is my pleasure to write you this letter in response to your view on the coming of Oòduà Nation. Your view that we should remain in slavery because of a temporary safety that is not even guaranteed when the chips are down, needs to be addressed. This is because any man that professes self dignity who not buy such idea that is an edification of opprobrium.
It is always intellectually stimulating to have to discuss matters of man’s freedom, the breaking away from subjugation and slavery, in lieu of what the cost could be or what the cost is. As a student of History, I am satiated with its guidance, for in it, one finds abundance of lessons that most of the times, are beyond the comprehension of the untutored mind.
In engaging you in all this important issue, dear Prince Longe, I want to appeal to you to be brutally honest and not engage in Intellectual mischief in order to be seen as making “reasonable points” that one could tear apart with ease and thereby exposing a soft underbelly that would make you or me look bad. It is important to respect facts. We are not prevented from having opinions, but we must respect facts.
For example, you wrote in your second paragraph as follows:
“The only request those of us on the other side and who have well founded concerns about the law of unintended consequence, is that those who are proposing the Oodua Republic agenda is that they do not repeat the same crime we all accused the colonialists of committing. That is carving out a dysfunctional Nigeria by amalgamating the different ethnicities without their consent nor consulting with them.”
With due respects, you made this up. Here, you are desperately calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it. If falsehood like this is introduced to this debate, we won’t be able to focus on real issues and might be forced to call it the way it is. Doing that might force the usage of strong words that could allow things to degenerate. We need to be honest. Brutally so. We need to respect facts. And brutally so too.
Except that you are suggesting that the Ìbàdàn are not the same Yorùbá as the Òwò, or the Ìjèsà are not the same Yorùbá as Àwórì, you need to explain what you mean by “amalgamating the different ethnicities without their consent nor consulting them.” That allegation is baseless as it is unfounded, and frankly speaking, very mischievous. It is not helpful in illuminating the serious issue on the table.
You also wrote that “no one has been given the mandate to commit the Yorùbá to a secessionist project.” If I may ask you, who has received the mandate that he or they have the right to force us to remain in Nigeria? Who has met with us to obtain our consent that we like to be in slavery in Nigeria? When you are able to provide me that answer, I might be guided by that to answer your question, which in the first place, I consider very preposterous. No pun intended, please.
We have been asking for plebiscite. Let the people decide. But you elites, who are benefiting from the rot would not allow it. You live in mortal fear of the people. You are scared stiff. I would really appreciate you joining the crusade to have REFERENDUM so that we could put this matter to rest. Give all shades of opinions, at least to openly canvass for their position, talk to the market women, students, taxi drivers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, bricklayers, mechanics, welders, electricians and mad many more. Who knows? Our people might decide to stay in Nigeria as is or decide to opt out. But until then, every group, every shade of opinion, have the right thrive and make its case.
Your view that “there appears to be a lot more opposition and ambivalence toward the Oòduà project than support for it,” is at best fallacious and delusional. The fact that you claimed this was “non-scientific analysis” does not excuse that dastardly claim. When you make such a huge claim, it better be on solid basis and not on the basis of a wish produced from an analytically cinctured mind. You have to remember, that those who are reading us are not idiots. Please, respect their Intelligence.
You seem, with all due respect, to be an exponent of subtle blackmail. If Aare Gani Adams have reasons to question the loyalty of Bola Tinubu to the Yorùbá cause, may be he has reasons to do so. If you claim to be “Asíwájú” of any sort and you are not living to the billing, you have to be challenged. How is that a “smackdown”? Or “browbeating”? Tinubu’s leadership is under klieg light. It is a subject on its own. But any Yorùbá man or woman has the right to complain about him.
Then, you rhapsodised and babbled that you could not “name any major Yoruba political or opinion leader or a paramount king who has come out publicly in support of the project.” You then proceeded to bloviate that neither Gani Adams or Sunday Igboho have won any election. I marvel at your complicated credulity and numbing naivety. The sentences in this paragraph almost made me ignore you. They constitute an edification of superficiality in serious discourse, an extreme simplism that challenges our rudimentary knowledge of History and Sociology of Struggles, be it political, religious, social and economic. The fact that many of our traditional rulers are not talking or heavyweights are not saying would mislead only the greens. It means you don’t understand your people. I would leave it that.
For your information, this Project of Oòduà Nation would follow the Historical cause that other great Movements have followed. Most ideas start from a person or group of persons before it becomes national, international or if you like, global. We are on course. Some would fight from within to liberate our people. Some would fight from Diaspora for the emergence of Oòduà Nation. Few days ago, people in the streets of some of our cities were receiving leaflets on the need for Oòduà Nation. No need to talk about the feedback now, because the struggle has just started. It is going to be all prongs. No amount of sneering would make us change our strategy for momentary satisfaction of some doubting Thomases.
Speaking of the contributions of Diaspora, only the untutored would belittle that. What our people are planning to do would serve as lessons for enslavers and their collaborators. But it is suffice to learn some basics from History. When this concept of Oòduà Nation was planted, only few were present. From that tiny seed has grown several global Movements for the liberation of Yorùbá people and creation of Oòduà Nation. Several great ideas started like that. Are we going to talk about Jesus Christ and the Church at Antioch? Do we need to talk about Anabi Mohammed in Mecca? Do we have to talk about the dreams of young Napoleon Bonaparte who made greatest impact on French Civil Service?
Do we need to speak of Vladimir Lenin and his thirteen colleagues as they change the World History beyond overthrowing the Czarist Russia, while they were hiding in Switzerland? Do we need to speak of Khomeini hibernating in France while he plotted the downfall of Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran? Do we need to talk of Benigno Simeon Aquino sojourn in the United States ashe fought to a stand still Ferdinand Marcos of Phillipines? Do we need to speak of Thomas Paine the author of “Common Sense” as he wrote from abroad to fuel the American Revolution? Are we to speak of General Charles De Gaulle as he hibernated in North Africa to dislodge Marshall Phillippe Petain and Adolf Hitler from France? I could go on and on.
But I must talk of Theodore Herzel, an Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer who was the father of modern political Zionism. He was few months to 36 years old when he wrote Der Judenstaat which he published February 14, 1896. He was talking about the need for a Jewish State. When in 1898 he predicted that in fifty years, the World would see the emergence of Israeli State, nobody believed him. He was ridiculed. He was called names. The Jewish establishment in Europe and elsewhere engaged in a campaign of calumny against his person. He was demonized.
The Jewish establishment accused him of trying to destroy their businesses. That he was trying to turn their hosts against them. That he did not represent them. They labelled him a rabble rouser. They pleaded that he be ignored and not taken seriously. But in 1948, the Israeli State became a reality. When a group of people are determined to be free, nothing could encumbered them. No obstacle is known to History that could impede the WILL of a people to be free. Man and his spirit abhor servitude, no matter how glamorous.
While economics is part of the reason people want to be free from subjugation, it pales into considerable insignificance when it encounters the elation of being in control of your own destiny. The freedom to build it or destroy it if you want. The right to self determine and being in control of your own DESTINY is invaluable. If economics or prosperity is just enough for the people, what we witnessed in Europe between 1990 and now, would not have happened. In 1990, there were only 25 Countries in Europe. By the end of 2015, the number has increased by almos 100% to 49 countries. So, what are we talking about?
The roads of Nigeria could be paved with gold, we no longer want part of it. We want our own country and we are going to have it. We have to be in control of our DESTINY. Our children could attend the University they want on merit. They would learn that cheating in education always bring down the society. The police would learn that failure to enforce the law, endangers the whole of society. We would prove to the World that the brown man is not cursed. (My daughter takes serious exception to being called “black”, I wouldn’t want to upset her, in case she is reading this. Most especially, I would not like to be at the receiving end of her legal skills).
I must state here that I feel very disgusted, scandalized and nauseated by your position that other ethnic nationalities have the right or the last say to determine whether I should be FREE OR NOT in Yorùbá Land. It is a height of self humiliation to find one’s self in that position. A roadside vulcanizer would be made to puke at such thoughts. For such a contemptible, ignominious and shabby thought coming from a lettered mind induces a depth of worry and sickness. Wooow!
Who does not know that freedom is never given but has to be taken? No one cares or should care what the slave owners think. The day the slave begins to worry whether his or her freedom discomforts his or her master, it was the day such freedom was foreclose. Not mortgaged, I mean foreclosed.
It doesn’t matter what the Hausa or their Fulani overlords think. We are ready to be free and no force would be able to stop us. The so called first “World War” did not stop the fighting of the second “World War.” In fact, Prince Longe drinks from the same gin cup of Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister (1937 – 1940) who was furiously voted out by the British for “appeasing” evil which Adolf Hitler represented. The British voting public knew that if they did not fight, they would end up not having their land, not having their freedom, not having their heritage and everything that was important to them.
It should also be made clear that the gruesomeness of the Second “World War” have not stopped many more gruesome wars across the planet. Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian General had once said, “The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.” That is why he advised in another breath, “There are cases in which the greatest daring is the greatest wisdom.” We could not and should not wait for what the others think before we decide to be free or not. The Ibo are free to decide their own desitiny. The Fulani are free to do the same. The Tiv are welcome to do the same. Every other ethnic nationality is free to do the same. But none of them have the right to determine the future of the Yorùbá people and Oòduà Nation. What we need is to learn from History, be properly prepared. And we are getting there.
In the hands of the ordinary man in the street rest the final success or failure of our struggle. Since the commencement of Oòduà Nation, each generation of Yorùbá has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty, even when we were engaged in internecine wars. Our Yorùbá land is littered with the greatness and bravery of Olúgbón, Arèsà and Oníkòyí. The courage of Ajíbógun, Òràngún Ilé Ìlà and Ajerò of Ìjerò bear us witness. The gallantry of Ogedengbes, Ogunmolas, Latoosas, Ogunsiguns, Fabunmis et al suggests that this Land of ours would not be given up to the Fulani or Ibo for that matter.
In ending this letter, I would like to say, inspired by words of Theodore Herzel himself that, I believe that a wondrous generation of Yorùbá are springing into existence. The Yorùbá are rising again. We would have our own Nation to the glory of Elédùmarè, the God of our forefathers. We shall live at last, as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes. The other ethnic nationalities held hostage in Nigeria, the other African Countries and the World indeed, would be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth and magnified by our greatness. Whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare, would react powerfully and benevolently for the good of humanity.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
-John F. Kennedy January 20, 1960.
*©️ Rèmí Oyèyemí*