By Bolanle Bolawole
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Many Yoruba activists and responsible citizens are critical of Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho on account of his alleged past. It is also on account of their opposition to Igboho – his street protests, his loquacious and supposed abrasive methods, his perceived arrogance and unmitigated low level of education – that some Yoruba sons and daughters that I know have broken ranks with the president-general of Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof. Stephen Adebanji (Banji) Akintoye, citing his association with Igboho – but they miss the point! Igboho as applied here is real; it is also a metaphor. There is no single fellow on earth without a past. Let me go even a step further by saying there is no one whosoever who walked this earth that did not have a past. Jesus Christ had a past, which was why, when he began his miracles, his compatriots derisively asked: Is not this the carpenter’s son? (Matthew 13: 53 – 56). If Igboho has no honour in the eyes of some Yoruba elements, it is not a surprise for Jesus had said: “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house” (Matthew 13:57).
Who is a prophet but the deliverer of his own people from domination, oppression, slavery, and servitude? Jephthah was a vagabond who eventually was begged by the same people who had despised and excommunicated him to return and lead them into battle against the enemy (Judges 11: 1 – 11). David, running for his life away from King Saul, gathered “worthless” men around himself “And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented… and he became a captain over them…” (1 Samuel 22: 2). On account of David’s past, God declined his offer to build Him a temple; yet, the same God favoured and used David mightily. We should learn a lesson from that: I dare to say that if God were to judge us by our past, He will find none of us worthy to be touched by a very long pole “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23). God uses us all the same – but He sets a limit and does not gloss over our past.
I was perplexed the day Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, spoke of his own past. I have heard him speak that way on a number of occasions, the last one being as recent as the August 2021 convention of the RCCG. Here is a man widely regarded as “holy” and humble; yet, he has a past. Get a copy of “The Covenant Church” CD that chronicles the history of the RCCG and you will find many interesting things about the past of Pastor Adeboye. Even Reverend Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, the founder of the RCCG, has a past. Prophet Muhammed, the founder of Islam, has a past. But for the usually needless sensitivity of some of the extremists in our midst – and to give peace a chance – I would have recounted some of Prophet Muhammed’s past here. Who does not have a past? No one! Those pointing at Igboho’s past have their own past which, in some cases, may even be worse than Igboho’s. When you point one accusing finger at someone else, the remaining four fingers point in your own direction.
But warn traitors to beware they will have their date with Karma! Those who betray their people usually do not end well. From time immemorial and all over the world, oppressors have resorted to the well-horned and time-tested weapons of intimidation, elimination, bribery and corruption to compromise freedom fighters and unhinge the liberation struggle. Has that also been the case with the Yoruba nation struggle as some have alleged? During the struggle for the actualization of MKO Abiola’s June 12 mandate, we witnessed fire-spitting activists who were loud, rancorous, and strident in the day time screaming “On June 12 we stand” but who ended up in bed in the night with the vile dictators. Many were those who sold their conscience for filthy lucre!
One day as I studied my bible, I came to the point where Elijah the Tishbite told God: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19: 4). I said, thank God I am better than my fathers! But, then, God opened my eyes in one important respect and I found that I was not better than my fathers. I fell on my face and said, Lord, I am sorry! On another occasion I was on my way to church as I listened to the 6 pm news. One of the highlights was about ritual murderers and I was vexed in my spirit. I called on God to expose them! I rained fire and brimstones on them! Suddenly, I heard: Are you better than them? By the time the spirit of God finished explaining to me why I was not better than them, I packed my car, put my head on the steering rack, wept and said, Lord, I am sorry!
There is no one without a past. If God opens your eyes to see your past, you will be wary of pointing accusing fingers at others. I listened to a prominent man of God say that he once wondered why Solomon, of all the sons of David, was favoured by God to ascend to the throne. Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, was an adulterer. His father, David, was not only an adulterer but also a murderer. What, on earth, qualified Solomon for such an honour? Then he heard God speak: Do you want to know? He answered, Yes, Lord. God said, no problem but I will ask you a question; when you answer me, I will answer you. God’s question was: Your mother; was she the first wife of your father? The man of God said he immediately fell on his face and began to apologise profusely! But God insisted he must answer! Was there not a done deal already? The man of God said he cried his eyes out that day, begging and pleading.
Thank goodness, for God is good and His mercy endureth for ever (Psalm 136:1). He eventually let the pastor off the hook with a stern warning. The pastor said he knew better than to volunteer an answer! If your mother is not the first wife of your father, how is she different from Bathsheba? And if God is not justified to promote Solomon, how more justified is He to promote the inquisitive pastor to his own exalted position? The Scripture is complete: Judge not, lest you be judged (Matthew 7: 1 -2)) This is, however, not to say that man will not account for every deed, including even idle words uttered (Proverbs 11:21; Matthew 12:36). Importantly, however, there is a place for repentance and forgiveness, to turn a new leaf and to receive a new lease of life (2 Corinthians 5: 17). Otherwise, the coming of Christ and the work of redemption would be a waste. Saul, then, would never have become the apostle Paul and the gate of eternal life would forever have been shut against mankind.
Many of us neglect to drink from the deep well of wisdom left for us by our ancestors. Consider the following Yoruba adage or proverbs: “Omo ina l’a n ran s’ina”; “Omo buruku l’ojo tire”; “Nitori were ita l’a fi n toju were inu ile eni”; “ogede dudu ko yaa busan, omo buruku ko yaa lu pa”; “omo eni o sunwon ka fi f’ekun pa je”; “omo eni o se’di bebere, ka fi’leke si t’omo elomiran, teni n teni” There are many others that should have informed our outlook in these harrowing times. Witness how the conservative and feudal North has defended, shielded, promoted, and ploughed our common patrimony as ransoms into the pockets of Boko Haram, bandits and Fulani herdsmen until these criminal groups and terrorist organisations became the Frankenstein monster that they are today! You think the Fulani are fools? IPOB is banned but not Miyetti Allah; not Boko Haram and not Fulani herdsmen! They negotiate with bandits but not with IPOB or Yoruba self-determination groups. I dare to say we must develop a counter force to these people! Like Psalm 127: 5 posits, we must have our quiver full of our own Igbohos; only then shall we be able to “speak with the enemies in the gate”
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said it all: The Igbohos are children of necessity in these dangerous and perilous times and are sorely needed by the Yoruba nation. But for their rough edges to be smoothen, they must not be left unguided; so as to avoid a head-long descent into what Prof. Babafemi Badejo described as “warlordism”, the kind that reduced Somalia into an ungovernable entity. The tail must not wag the dog. It is in this very important respect that Akintoye and Ilana Omo Oodua must be commended for the wisdom and strategy of bringing Igboho under their wings. The alternative is to allow him operate as a loose cannon which, ultimately, may become an ill-wind that blows no one any good. (TO BE CONTINUED).
On: Who is afraid of 86-year-old Akintoye?
This is simply refreshing and unapologetically blunt! Nigeria is not a country worth dying for at all. In a clime where cows command more attention and sympathy than humans courtesy of Muhammadu Buhari’s regime, one cannot but feel sorry for being in this sorry pass. Emeritus Prof. Banji Akintoye did the right thing. He is definitely not a coward but our great hero. He will surely laugh last; not Buhari and the evil regime he superintends. Our God is surely on the throne. – Lanre Alabi.
I had always wondered why the former national anthem was replaced with the present one. Was it that the military or the government responsible for the replacement didn’t want to recognize the efforts of our heroes past who fought for independence? Or they wanted us to know that there has to be oppression? The present Awoists are goal getters (focused at getting) favour and votes from the unsuspecting Nigerians just to get into power because they do not have the ideology of Papa Awo. Also, they lack the pedigree to muster enough votes for themselves to win election (so) they pretend to be followers of Awolowo to gain the sympathy of the people. Thanks for sharpening our knowledge of history and politics. – Kola Oloye.
Say more, please! Looking at the political history of the country and the trend of things, it could be observed that at certain point, divine intervention manifests. I praise the Changer of times and seasons! – Balarabe.
I give kudos to Prof. Akintoye! The struggle continues and the self-determination struggle of the Yoruba is sacrosanct. Dr. DF Olukotun.
No one is after our Baba; if he had continued with his peaceful way of doing things without involving Igboho, it wouldn’t have come to this. Igboho does not control anyone; yet, he promised (Northern leaders) what he could not deliver. If he had kept quiet without taking the shine off our Baba, it wouldn’t have come to this. You cannot dine with the devil and go scot-free. You will realise that FFK’s noise has also gone down. – Princess Oyeronke Akinlolu.
Mo’ja, mo’sa, la n mo Akinkanju l’ogun! – Oludoye.
Which way for the Yoruba Nation? An 86-year-old man is being put under severe pressure! Are we going to fold our arms? – Odunayo.
If restructuring the country is not considered by the powers-that-be and action taken, to go our separate ways becomes imperative. Can we quietly return the country to the parliamentary system of government to guaranty true federalism and resource control as a means of promoting stability, peace and unity and the society’s well-being? – Elder Akinlolu.
TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT SUNDAY.
Who is afraid of 86-year-old Akintoye? – 3
By Bolanle Bolawole