FROM time immemorial, land has been a major cause of dispute between countries, cities and even villages. Nations have fought wars over territories. Lands and tribes have much in common, for people cannot exist without having to occupy a space of settlement. In Biblical and modern times, erstwhile friendly nations have fought battles only to claim and reclaim territories. The world woke up one morning in August 1990 to discover that the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, had occupied Kuwait, a neighboring country. In 1982, Britain fought Argentina over Falkland Island. We also have on record the Hutus and Tutis massacre in Rwanda and Kigali. There is also Adolf Hitler in history, who strongly believed his tribe was superior to others and attempted lording it over the whole world. It is difficult to separate tribes from their lands of settlement. The political conflict between the North and the Yoruba had its root in the territorial ambition of the northern oligarchy to extend their feudalism to Yorubaland, formally using the northern dominated Nigerian Army, but in recent times employing religion to cajole some Yoruba people to enable them spread their feudalism.
The quest to overrun Nigeria, particularly Yorubaland, is an age-long grand agenda. The feudal lords had stopped at nothing to retain the status quo which is favourable to their cause of promoting and dominating the entire Nigerian landscape and if anyone appears to challenge this position, they are subtly dealt with in the name of one Nigeria. During the Shehu Shagari-led administration in 1983 or thereabouts, the slogan was one nation, one destiny. This was however a ruse. The juiciest and most powerful positions went to northern politicians. Many of these politicians tried to cover the ruse through public and official statements. The late Maitama Sule, Nigeria’s permanent representative to the UN, declared in 1997 that no section of the country was greater than the other but it was glaring that this was in letter and not in spirit.
The pattern of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is not different from what obtained in the past. Plum federal appointments have always been the exclusive preserve of men and women of core northern extraction. Today, virtually all security chiefs, including the first three most important federal portfolios, are occupied by the president’s kinsmen without any qualms. As if that was not enough, the Ruga project was introduced to disinherit the Yoruba and other Nigerians of their lands. How on earth in the 24th century would a democratically elected government conceive the idea of transplanting an ethnic group from elsewhere to occupy Yoruba land, especially the Fulani herdsmen who have nothing in common with the Yoruba and who are notorious for dispossessing their hosts of their lands. In an ideal set-up devoid of deceit, the suspended Ruga project would not have been mooted at all. But it had to be done in fulfillment of the age-long ambition of the feudal lords in the North. Ruga was designed for annexation of the Yoruba territory in the near future. As a way of winning people to themselves, the feudal lords in the North had always hidden under religion to deceive some Yoruba people.
It is indeed unfortunate that some Yoruba sons and daughters have chosen to align with quislings of Yoruba stock. It will be recalled that in the heat of the suspended Ruga controversy, some Yoruba All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders hurriedly morphed into a factional Afenifere and paid homage to Aso Villa in a manner suggestive of approval of President Buhari’s archaic policies, while accusing the authentic and generally accepted Afenifere of religious bias, forgetting that this group had been known for decades to be at the forefront of defending the Yoruba interest. It was this same Afenifere with patriots from the Middle Belt and the South that stood up against the annulment of June 12 election with some of them losing their lives in the process of fighting for the cause, even when the majority of them do not share the same faith with Abiola.
That APC as a political party derived it source from Yoruba land is not a guarantee that it could not be used against the Yoruba as it is happening already. Miyeti Allah, the umbrella association for Fulani herdsmen has, several times, claimed responsibility for many of the killings in the country but a Yoruba leader has risen to their defence. Under APC rule, we are witnessing state Houses of Assembly legislating in favour of Arabian dress codes for women. To make matters worse, the rich Yoruba language and culture is undergoing bastardisation on a daily basis. Yoruba parents employ English as a medium of communication with their children of kindergarten age even at home. Some of them even consider it as a thing of pride that their children cannot speak Yoruba fluently or at all, but instead of our honourable men proffering solutions to halt the trend, they are busy debating which culture of other countries should be adopted for our women. They are less concerned as long as they smile to their banks at the expense of the electorate.
Some Yoruba persons are being brainwashed into sowing the seed of discord among their kinsmen. They discredit Afenifere men of proven integrity in the name of agitation for Yoruba presidency; they are becoming a sellout based on their parochial interests. They are ignorant of Nigeria’s political history and do not take cognisance of the lopsided federal structure that does not favour an active Yoruba president. Yoruba politicians in the ruling party have risen in opposition to the nation’s restructuring that would enable the South-West to grow at its own pace. They are defending their oppressors at the detriment of their own people. History shows that they will be confined to the dustbin of history after being used and dumped by their northern masters.
- Adegbulu, a cleric lives, in Ibadan