STRANGELY, rather than team up and passionately apply themselves to the thorough implementation of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), the six Yoruba State Governments are rigmarolling around in the bid to retain Yoruba ascendancy in Nigeria and guarantee socio-political and economic pre-eminence and sustainability.
In the wake of the outcome of the recent Presidential election in Lagos, there was a jolting; to a reality that has been in the making for decades: that truly, Yoruba is surrounded by those who covet their land and want it – either by force or by electoral guile. We are clear about the bandits.
As for political guile; a majority must be a valuable majority – otherwise, an enterprising and politically smart minority can reach alliances that will deliver them majority votes. It is always the consequences of politics and governance that has lost sight of its lofty spring and missed its development goals.
Democracy will ever remain a game of numbers. It is the intent of the democratic order that the majority, in any political space, should determine who governs them.
One man (woman), one vote is sacrosanct, and the more the power elites try to manipulate the proceedings away from this rule, the less credible the election outcome will be.
The earlier we realise that there are factors that endow superiority and political ascendancy other than crude anti-democratic electoral manipulations, the better for Yoruba tomorrow.
In any case, why were Yoruba, until recently, the leading light of not only Nigeria but Africa (as always rendered in the Yoruba Nation anthem, adopted from the anthem of the Unity Party of Nigeria under the Sage, Obafemi Awolowo)?
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The answer is simple and incontestable: Education, Human Capital Development and Character (Omoluabi Ethos). By education, we do not mean just schooling; we mean education (knowledge, character and skill acquisition) in the fullest breath, as best defined by all pedagogy.
The patent truth is that ennobling and uplifting goal has been systematically abandoned since the end of the UPN era. Decades of elevation of wealth from odious source, glorifying unearned income, promoting area-boyism, “omo-onile,” and youth hooliganism (now joined by alarming hard drug use), putting money over believe in people in politics, devaluation of even common schooling and trades apprenticeship, all have caught up with us, as our Nigerian neighbours who hitherto placed no premium on education or character but who are masters of all those other base engagements (and are better than us in them), took time to overtake us.
There was one “unusual” intervention in contemporary times though. Upon assumption of office as Governor of Osun in November, 2010, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola, right from the inauguration podium, sent a powerful message that was a clarion call to all Yoruba people and governments.
He assumed the plain title of Ogbeni (dropping both Engr and His Excellency); he proclaimed that he was going to run an unusual government and amongst his very first acts in office were two initiatives that should have been seen as a powerful example where tradition is dying: he rebranded Osun State and set up an Education Summit Chaired by Nigeria’s one and only Nobel Laureate.
The details and outcome of those two initiatives have deep meanings for Yoruba future that still have neither been rigorously studied nor embraced. He eventually was the first to create a Ministry for Regional Integration and appointed a Commissioner for it, as one of the pioneers of DAWN.
How long shall we now continue to arm-twist or railroad those who want what we have to vote our way, or prevent them from voting: they, being now even more enterprising than our own common people, who we have disempowered and seek to punitively tax to death under all kinds of pretext?
We reduce governance to raising IGR through taxing longsuffering people rendered unproductive and near mentally unbalanced! Then we focus on erecting certain grandiose and sparkling infrastructure, forgetting that not all that glitter is gold, and the most precious possession of any nation or state is the quality of its people.
When we build a nation where when we pave all the streets with gold, the people excavate and sell it as sawdust, we will eventually realise that it is better to solidly and beautifully invest to building the people, and they will eventually build the road how beautifully they want.
In UK, “foreigners” do become Prime Minister and neither the departed Queen nor the New King is ever afraid that “natives” are thereby doomed; so it is in America and all democracies. What those “indigenes” have that gives them such confidence is what Yoruba Governments need to reinvent rather than preoccupation with goals, strategies and tactics that are doomed on the long run.