National Unity Contest: "The Reactions by some Yoruba Leaders Are my Worries" - Danjuma

The Nigerian Tribune marking its 70th anniversary is itself a historical attainment, particularly in Nigeria where business generational succession is an anathema.
Yet, it shouldn’t be a surprise, being an Awolowo legacy. I doubt if any biological or political child of Awolowo would be negligent or reckless enough to allow Tribune go under. All those who have worked for the Tribune since inception must have complemented the vision of the founder and the biological children who have labored strenuously to keep the tabloid on our breakfast table ever since.
Tribune is, however, not the basis of my intervention today. General T.Y. Danjuma, one of the three main dramatis personae at the 70th anniversary, is.
I also would not have made him the subject of this intervention but for the reactions that trailed his speech at the celebrations. What did TY Danjuma say that had not been said in respect of our nation in recent times?
First, he contended the Yoruba have lost their voice. Second, that it would appear no one now cares about what is happening to the nation. And finally, that if he says what he knows to be happening to the nation today, people would lose their sleep.
It is the reactions by some Yoruba leaders that got me worried. If any nationality is in any danger of physical emasculation today, it is the Yoruba people. If, however, there is a nationality that is in self-deceit and completely discounts the danger facing it, it is also the Yoruba. Or, how else can we interpret the reactions of the various Yoruba leaders to a very innocuous observation by the former Chief of Army Staff who before now had seen the country in her utter nakedness.
There is always a seemingly deepening confusion amongst Nigerian elites; the confusion on the surface stemming from a seeming lack of understanding of the difference between a message and a messenger. It is as if they are coterminous.
The Nigerian elite especially the political genre, to my mind, deciphers correctly and appropriately the difference between the two. Their hypocrisy is the reason I speak of a seeming confusion. There is none; they only create one to suit their selfish and political purpose.
At the critical stage in which the country now finds itself, it would be a sin to look at Gen. Danjuma with the same prism as his message, for to do so is to court danger unabashedly.
Let’s critically examine the three planks of his postulation. The General said every Yoruba is losing his voice. Is this statement true or false? That is what should be addressed. In speaking of every Yoruba, I can imagine that the phrase includes the current elected or appointed political leaders.
It also includes political leaders who, by virtue of their former offices, remain leaders or play vital political roles. Business leaders, traditional leaders, and the ordinary Yoruba people are equally included. Danjuma’s first contention is that they have all lost their voice.
Critically evaluate the role of the categories of Yoruba people identified above. Do they still have a voice in the affairs of this country? One of those who countermanded TY’s position stated clearly that Yoruba have not lost their voice, and the other suggested the Yoruba were being set up against other Nigerians.
Both spoke about the General’s motive or intention. To me, the issue to ponder upon is whether the present crop of elected Yoruba officials, be they governors, senators, representatives, assemblymen, council chairmen and councillors have had a voice in the ongoing imbroglio.
There was a time, when Lagos State under Bola Tinubu came in and out of courts challenging the infringement of the constitutional rights of Lagosians to create new local government areas, seeking to uphold the statutory rights of Lagos over land ownership and, if I could recollect correctly, being a member of a collegiate of states judicially challenging the revenue sharing process.
Of course, there would be a contention that Lagos State government was in opposition at that time, but that the present crop of governors and senators are no longer in opposition but in bed with the central government, one that looks them directly in the face and tells them off, or treats them as would an opposition government .
If we argue that Tinubu’s government was then in opposition, what happened when the interests of the core north were purportedly threatened by the Jonathan government? Did Kwakwanso, along with those Baraje led out of the PDP convention, not belong to the central government they confronted? They acted firmly once they perceived that the interest of their people was threatened by the central government.
Yoruba business leaders have never had spine nor voice in any matter that concern their people. We are all living witnesses to their roles during the trying Abacha days; that selfish attribute thrives till date. They are always in bed with the government in power.
Even where their clout is limited to the state or region, they are ever conscious of the need to mute their voice to protect their fiduciary interest.
Can Danjuma be said to have mis-spoken as it relates to Yoruba traditional institutions. Other than the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi who had painstakingly and consistently spoken for the Yoruba people and for all other oppressed Nigerians by advocating for constitutional restructuring of our country, which other Yoruba Oba has spoken out? Many of these traditional rulers are into other pursuits, some bedecked beyond decency, cat walking as if they are in competition with celebrities and designers; some wearing religious crosses louder than those of the renowned priests of yore, and turning their palaces into fellowship centers , thus abandoning their people, their culture and religion. I doubt if many of them can speak Yoruba language without intervening English words!
Can we then speak of former office holders: governors, senators, ministers, the persistent office seekers etc., Do they have any voice at all? Maybe, some of them had voices in the past, but today, do they have any?
That leaves us with the hoi polloi, the ordinary citizens like many of us, what voice do we have? The muted one that craves to seek a living through squeezing water from stone? So why dismiss Danjuma’s message? Why castigate him simply because he is Danjuma? He might have allegedly had our beloved son Francis Fajuyi murdered in cold blood at his behest with no tinge of remorse.
He might have been one heavy hand that aided the installation of successive presidents in our country including Obasanjo and Buhari.
And recognizing that the nails of any one donning lice infested clothes may never be clean of blood, would Yoruba themselves not realize that they have muted for long and only just being reminded? Would Yoruba themselves not acknowledge that the reason they had not dared to stretch their necks out or raise their voice is that ordinary words alone landed Sowore in detention?
Will being a retired military general, and a wealthy billionaire obscure his capacity for reading the country’s existential index and speaking out? If not, why trivialize his message?
Danjuma’s second postulation was that it would appear no one cares about what is happening to our country. Again, can we take the message in its literal form and leave out the messenger? I believe we should if truly, we believe in the survival of the country.
Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the military under the nozzle of their gun hijacked the country for almost 30 years, and the civilians have also under the delusion of entrenching democracy ruled the country for 30 years.
The ruling clique, be it military or civilian have had an almost equal proportion of opportunities at building or raping the country. I contend that sans the brief period between 1960 and 1966 when the founding fathers comprising Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and Nnamdi Azikiwe struggled to build a federation, have we had any semblance of government and or governance in our country? A government exists because those who exercise authority and those over whom authority is exercised care about their country.
If the duty of care is lacking or insufficient from either of the parties described above, no governance can be said to be taking place.
Danjuma’s message is that no one cares about what is happening to the country. Is this a fact or not? That is what should be interrogated. Descending on him in a derogatory manner only serves to becloud the situation.
Finally, Danjuma’s declaration that if he says what he knows, Nigerians would not be able to sleep. What is false in this innocuous statement that some political hatchet men are arraigning him before a firing squad? Really, are Nigerians sleeping with their two eyes closed even now that he has not said what he knows? Are we?
Do you dare sleep with the spate of kidnapping and degradation of human lives that sustainably stare all Nigerians in the face? The other time, a one-year old boy in a church’s kindergarten looked over by religious church wardens disappeared in daylight.
Can his parents sleep? A professor returning from serving as external examiner was shot in cold blood in daylight, and a retired Deputy Controller General of Prisons undertaking a trip was shot and murdered in cold blood. Can and will their wives and families find sleep, even as justice is not delivered to them.
Let Danjuma speak what he knows. It is unlikely to exacerbate our sleeplessness. If it does, it may be that it would fast track our journey to making and moulding the country into our desired form. A country in which all nationalities would have and experience justice and equity, one in which none ever again dominates the other. Let Danjuma talk so this journey can be shorter.
Happy New Year.


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