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The Destruction of the Yoruba Nation: From Collegiate to Caliphate-Styled Leadership

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Prof. Adeniyi Ojikutu

Prof. Adeniyi Ojikutu

Once upon a time, the Yoruba in Nigeria were a unified people concerning issues of education, the economy, discipline, morals, ethics, good governance and the rule of law. Yoruba shunned and disparaged ill-gotten wealth, as well as undeserved acquisition of power and position.
Yoruba embraced and encouraged diversity of religion and worship. They made allowances for diverse opinions and their free expression. However, after much debates, consultations and deliberation, once a decision was made by the Apex body of leadership, the decision would be final and binding: The Yoruba spoke with one voice and acted in unison. They were the pride and envy of other tribes and ethnicities in Nigeria.
A Chief Awolowo or Pa Abraham Adesanya could rise up from a meeting of the elders and declare “thus says the Yorubas…..” without any fear of contradiction or dissension. The decisions of the elders were time tested and nearly infallible. But all that is gone now!
We now have a Yoruba Nation that is dismembered, confused and in disarray. One which lacks a definite purpose of existence, has no clear direction, but open to the exploitation of all manners of charlatans, from outside and within. Just as the Jews in Babylonian exile sang their song of lamentation “By the rivers of Babylon, where we sat down, and there we wept, when we remember Zion…….” The Yoruba Nation needs such a song of lamentation.
I weep when some Yoruba sons and daughters mockingly cast aspersions on the vestigial remains of Afenifere. Unwittingly, these have now solidly pitched their tents with the instruments of destruction of the Yoruba Nation, instead of making efforts to return the Yorubas to who they were before captivity. Slaves unaware of their slavery, but singing the high praises of their tormentors, is a most pitiful state of being.
A “tin-god” has emerged to capture the heart and conscience of the Yoruba Nation. Those who fail to bow down to the tin-god’s altar of Baal are sacrificed to appease this “tin-god”, who can never be satisfactorily appeased. Dissidence to the totalitarian rule of the “tin-god” is held in abeyance by an elaborate scheme of graft and punishment. Others speak of their captivity in hush tones behind sealed walls of their homes and private gatherings.
How the great Yoruba Nation became a disfigured shadow of its immediate past has been well documented in the personal account of many who were present at the ruthless destruction of the collegiate leadership that existed in Afenifere and its gradual replacement by a once deceptively humble son.
Unlike the biblical Absalom who staged an unsuccessful palace coup against his father (King David), our Absalom not only succeeded, but sent many of the Yoruba leaders to their early grave, through broken hearts of regrets. As prophet Eli failed to correct his sons at the early stages of their waywardness, so did the Yoruba leaders failed to correct this mammoth colossus of destruction in his early appearance on the stage of political involvement.
My caution to Pa Adesanya was always rebuffed by “Omo ina l’a a ran si ina”, meaning you don’t send a sane man to challenge a mad man, but an equally mad man. So, the Yoruba had a mad man capable of and suitable to challenge their mad political adversaries. Sooner than later, the Yoruba mad man turned his dagger on the Yoruba leaders in collusion with their political adversaries in a “Night of Long Knives” to hijack the Yoruba leadership.
Truth be told, Yoruba are now a conquered people, sold to selfish greed and dumb sense of self-worth. But, there are still un-quietened voices and pockets of resistance in the Yoruba Nation that will one day rise up and take back their dignity from this usurper of the former Yoruba Collegiate Leadership. I hope and pray that the revolution would not be bloody, but time will tell.

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