Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety ― Benjamin Franklin
I was very young when Chief Obafemi Awolowo died, but I have read many of his plans, deeds and unfinished projects. He never wanted the Yoruba race as an adjunct to other ethnic entities, the reason why he could not successfully broker any alliance with the North or East. I have stayed away from the ‘RUGA’ debates that have dominated our news and public space because of the eventual outcome, considering how nepotism and inequality have been institutionalized in our country, especially in the last 4years. Many pundits have given examples of ranches under different regional government in the past but have failed to x-ray the ‘body language’ of the incumbent in response to herdsmen’s activities in the last few years and how their legal or state backed settlement will help Nigeria’s unity.
Afenifere was formed as a socio-cultural society for the Yoruba people of Nigeria circa 1998. Shortly after, there was disaffection amongst these prominent fellows and factions set in. In 2008, the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) was fashioned with the intent of reuniting the disputing factions, but conceivably as an alternative to the faction headed by the older generation of leaders. In November 2008, a faction of Afenifere in Ijebu Igbo, led by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, installed Chief Reuben Fasoranti as the new chairman of the group. ARG Leaders including Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chief Bisi Akande, Wale Oshun and Yinka Odumakin stated that they did not accept the move. Responding to some questions by his followers at his London Awqaf Africa College, a Yoruba Muslim cleric Sheikh Abu-Abdullah Adelabu described Afenifere as “a bunch of tribalists and self-serving ambitious, greedy rivals driven by xenophobia and deep bigotry, and possessed by a delusion of their so-called cultural commonalities”.
There are some voices among the Yorubas that see the organization as a self-centered group, which only avail themselves the opportunity to negotiate the way for self-enrichment, under the disguise of a Pan-Yoruba movement. The illusion they [elites] cherish of being a brave minority heroically facing the whole world, false as it is, gives them nevertheless a strange sense of comfort: they feel untouchable; they feel absolutely safe, being equipped with the most powerful political tools in today’s world which gives access to the commonwealth.
My business is not to criticise anyone/group or assert anyone’s claim but rather to stand on the tenets or purpose of the founding of this great pressure group, which must always put the interests of the Yoruba nation first. Whether power will return to the South or not, we must be alive to see this — not when a substantial percentage of our population is gone to itinerant militias. The American writer Henry David Thoreau was right when he said, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
Kidnappings and highway robberies have been a long-time menace attributed majorly to some groups. A former Finance Minister and also an Afenifere Chieftain, Chief Olu Falae was kidnapped and released after days in captivity, he provided shocking details of his ordeal at the hands of his abductors, narrating how he was deprived of food and made to trek several kilometres to freedom. After so much noise, this was the charge: “That you, Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed, Idris Lawal and others now at large, on or about Monday, September 21, 2015 at Kajola/Eyinala Community in Akure Judicial Division did give information for the purpose of kidnapping and abducting Chief Samuel Oluyemi Falae.”
Attacks on our highways have been a normal life for the masses. We go out with prayers and if by luck, we are back home in peace, we would be full of praises to God. The ordinary Nigerian’s life is of no value to the government and they care less to protect it. What then is the purpose of government? If the utmost reason to have, any government in place is the ‘protection of lives and properties’, then this government or any one at that has failed. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
The gruesome murder of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of the Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti was not planned by these monsters who have grown from being an unorganized group of persons to structured groups of criminals, It was rather business as usual of gunmen, herdsmen, bandits or robbers to rob, to kidnap and kill commuters daily.
Few days after Funke’s assassination, Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo wrote an open letter to the incumbent president, President Buhari on the state of the nation. This ritual has been on for some time, as the Owu Chief usually writes the incumbent when he feels all is not well — although it may be seen to be for selfish reasons by some quarters, but certainly it is for the good of all. This is the best time to SPEAK OUT. It’s not only the time for the Yorubas alone but for every Nigerian under the illusion that all is well.
This day, I condole with the revered group — Afenifere; the father and families of the deceased.
Today, I condemn the insensitivity of our ruling elites.
*Dare Glintstone-Akinniyi tweets from @djglintstone