Cry, the beloved Yoruba

MR Segun Awolowo had died in a ghastly motor accident and it was the call of Mr Abraham Adesanya to break the news to the Leader, Oloye Obafemi Awolowo in his confinement. As Adesanya finished relaying the sad news, he expected Awo to go into mourning and shelve all other things.

But not Awo. He was pensive for a while and then turned to “Abram” as he fondly called Adesanya to brink the documents on the treasonable trial with him so he could study them. He was to explain later in life that the death of Segun pained him to the marrow, but he still had a duty to his followers going through trial with him that he could not abdicate since they were still alive.

It is such steely disposition that would not make him cry in his post-humous career if Pa Adekunle Ajasin and Senator Abraham Adesanya were to visit him today to compare notes on leadership in his dear Yorubaland at this critical time.

The trio would have been stupefied that Christian leaders who should know better would approach Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), the Governor of Ondo State at a time like this ostensibly to pressure him to allow them hold Church Service on Easter day in a season limiting people gathering is one of the most potent weapons against the spread of coronavirus.

That the clerics would go and meet the Governor not to tell him that they have on their own chose to shelve gathering in churches, but to ask him to allow them put the lives of their members in jeopardy by gathering confirms that leaders are often pushed to take wrong decisions in our country by powerful interests.

Arakunrin Akeredolu is no fool by any stretch of imagination. A silk and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is not ignorant of what it means to allow people to gather in large numbers across the state as all coronavirus needs to spread is contact. But he dropped the ball of leadership when he succumbed to the blackmail of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) and declared he had decided to make nonsense of all the efforts he had taken up until the meeting with the Christian leaders by allowing worship on Easter Day at a period even the Pope has  gone online.

The decision of Arakunrin Akeredolu was coming a day after the Katsina State Governor chose to open his state for clerics to hold a Jumat Service when Saudi Arabi has shut Mecca, the Islamic Holy Land.

Of course I know what I was saying when I wrote in my column in another newspaper recently that religion is worse than coronavirus in our country.

While Governor Masari was bending to the fear of religious fanatics who rioted and burnt a police station where a cleric was detained for holding Jumat the Friday before, Arakunrin Akeredolu in his own case was succumbing to blackmail as he has election to run later this year and Ondo State should be more than 90 per cent Christian.

It is rather unfortunate the Governor could not in the interest of the safety of lives of the people he leads trust in God of men for victory but instead chose to fear men of God to commit this error of leadership.

It was a moment to show leadership stuff that we know in this part of the country. When Chief Obafemi Awolowo led the Action Group (AG) to start free education in the Western Region in 1954, there was serious campaign against the programme by enemies of progress and the Action Group performed badly in the following elections. It was a moment for a politician to drop the programme for expediency but Awo the statesman remained dogged in pursuit of progress. He not only regained control but was winning the West over 90 per cent down the line. The revolution that leadership tenacity did for the region and the pace it set for was evident in many ways till date.

The greatest expansion of the period was at the primary school level. The number of primary schools rose from 3,550 in 1952 to 6,274 by the end of 1954. By 1955, the figure had risen to 6,407. By the end of 1958, the number of primary schools had risen as high as 6,670. The general trend of expansion of primary and post-primary schools was unimaginable.

Be that as it may, one of the most significant features of the era was the rapid growth in school population at all levels. In 1952 when Awokoya presented his historic proposal before the Western House of Assembly, the number of children at school in the region then was 381,000. The total number of children of school age at the time  was estimated at 1,146,000. Going by that estimate, the number of children out of school was about 765,000 or 66.75 per cent of children of school age.

During the first six years of Free Universal Primary Education, there were increases in both boys’ and girls’ enrolment. In the 1954 school year, 456,600 pupils were attending primary schools in Western Nigeria but when the scheme was launched in January 1955, 811,432 children turned up, making an increase of 354, 832 over the figure of the enrolment for the previous year. These figures represented a jump from 35 per cent to 63 per cent of the 5-14 year-old shows. By 1958, over one million children were enrolled and the children of a lot of the number are renowned professors around the world today.

How low have we fallen that an elected Governor would not be able to stand and defend the lives of our people against any powerful interest in a season like this, in a land where Awo took losing election as part of it for his decision to liberate our people from the shackles of ignorance, which now makes religious leaders to act against the lives of our people?

If Papa Ajasin’s state is this afflicted, Papa Awolowo and Senator Adesanya’s state is under strange rule that distresses. Governor Dapo Abiodun did well when he varied the cantonment approach lockdown of Ogun State alongside Lagos and the FCT, Abuja to give the people opportunity to prepare. But he used a small mess to spoil his backside when a pass surfaced issued by his Secretary to Government exempting Dangote’s truck drivers from the lockdown.

The pass to subvert the lockdown  read:

 

“COVID-19 LOCKDOWN EXEMPTION OF DANGOTE TRUCKS

This is to conform that Dangote Plc trucks are exempted from the restriction of movement and total lockdown of the state as a result of the corona virus (COVID -19) pandemic. You are requested to permit the trucks move freely within the state because of essential multi-sectoral service the company renders to the public.

Thank you.

 

Tokunbo Talabi: Secretary to the State Goverment”.

This unfortunate memo that made the Governor looked like a lackey of Dangote who always appear to find a way around playing according to rules as a special interest. He  now distributes his spaghetti in Ogun while Honeywell, Unilever etc cannot… His cement is on sale while BUA closes shop.

Many people in the state of enlightenment started asking what “multi-sectoral service” Dangote did for the governor to deserve this favouritism and rightly so?

And instead of Mr Governor to admit this was a goof he chose to pour insult upon injury when he addressed a press conference in his hometown. There was nothing else serious out of the press conference than ‘rankadede’ to Dangote. He only forgot to invite KSA [King Sunny Ade] to sing some praises for him.

He asked his critics to succeed like Dangote if they wanted the kind of privilege he has granted him. Thousands of Ogun indigenes and non-indigenes who disagreed with him will do better than Dangote if they are given the kind of undue advantages this system has granted him. His monkey has no special skill beyond nearness of trees.

Hear the governor speaking further “First of all, Dangote is the person leading the private sector and the CBN initiative to support the entire country during this  exercise and that group today has raised N20b” (And how much have they taken from the system fairly and unfairly?)

He is not done “So, when people start saying things like this, I don’t know how many Dangote’s are there in this country or on this continent? As far as I know, Dangote is the African richest man today”

Who did we offend for an elected governor in Yorubaland to be this fawning to a Dangote? Is he saying he leads a state of ‘oloriburuku’ that Dangote and his truck drivers should have special privileges over? I disagree. Ogun boasts of so many greats than Dangote minus his waivers and privileges is just a citizen like them.

Is it the duty of a governor to defend special interest above public good or to promote public good against entrenched interests?

What would make a governor to lock former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Interim Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan and so many greats Ogun has produced are also under lockdown alongside millions of proud citizens while their governor is rubbing it in their noses that Dangote and his truck drivers can have privileges over them because he is African richest man. Richest man my foot! I hope the governor would not replace Ogun anthem with Dangote praises some day.

This would have been tolerable if it were coming from a “foreign “ MILAD  in the hue of an Onyearugbulem in Ondo or an Usman  in Oyo in those cursed days. But from an elected indigenes of Ogun State? It is shameful !

I shudder why a whole Governor would  spew out the filth credited to Mr Dapo Abiodun and not through a press secretary. Not that it would be pleasant in the ears if it were from a media aide but the Governor would have been insulated from this embarrassment a bit like in the situation where one of his commissioners was running his mouth against Aremo Olusegun Osoba.

Like the boys would say on the streets, wahala wa!

 

…China our new coloniser?

The other day I wrote about the way this government is creeping us into debts around the world, I did say that one of the things that would do to us is that we would lose our sovereignty and dignity as a country, And it is happening very fast. With our credit rating drying up in the West, China is going to be the next port of call and that country will avail us cash to take control of this place.

We have all seen the game this government is playing on us with Chinese doctors amidst all the conspiracy theories on coronavirus. They initially told the truth that they were bringing doctors from China and there was serious condemnation. Then the SGF played some usual APC game with us and said that only six engineers were coming to install equipment. Now 11 doctors are here with about 100,000 dollars medicals according to a member of House of Representatives.

That is how it starts. Let us just pray that no other thing comes out of this.

 

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