By The Venerable Segun Agbetuyi
Most Nigerians went to sleep on the night of Sunday, June 6 still trying to digest the shocking news of the unexpected passing of the maverick cleric, Apostle T. B. Joshua, only to wake up to the petrifying reality of the renewed arson and killings by the Fulanis in the Yoruba heartland of Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government area of Oyo State.
In Africa, it does not just rain, it pours. Our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and followers of Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua who indeed came, saw, and conquered. There was no shortage of controversy surrounding his ministry whilst alive and I dare hope that some of those controversies, birthed mostly by fellow clerics of other denominations, bear no collaboration with the main theme of this article, the Yoruba kosekosekojolureses. What is unarguable is the almost unanimous tribute of large-heartedness and kindness to the oppressed, the sick, and the needy which seemed to have been the hallmark of Apostle Joshua’s life & ministry.
If the exhortation of Jesus Christ in the Bible book of Matthew at Chapter 25, Verses 31-38 is anything to go by, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty you gave me a drink, I was a stranger you took me in; when I was naked you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me; when I was in prison you came to me.” Verses 34-36) then the man of God, Pastor Temitope Joshua by all accounts and widely held tributes of his kindness to the needy, is most probably resting comfortably in the bosom of Christ his Saviour. May his repose be sweet and may his memories amongst the living be blessed. Amen.
This article centres upon the unravelling vicissitudes in our land, particularly last Saturday’s renewed invasion of Igangan as seen in the context of Yoruba disposition to the unity and sanctity of our race.
In our habitual, cacaphonous disunity and morbid cowardice in facing squarely to the truth, we Yorubas have slept the sleep of death until our houses began to burn. Frankly, I always laugh when people say we are the smartest, and we claim the disguise of patient reasoning and planning versus hurried provocation when obviously we do not see beyond our noses. Discretion is the better part of valor, we claim falsely when there is no discernible discretion or even foresight in sight.
How can a race with probably the country’s highest educated elites suddenly find itself in our current predicament? Did Igangan and the Ibarapa not have elites? When one of them, Dr Aborode was brutally murdered and dismembered in his attempt to lift his community out of poverty, their elites went to their sleep of death in cacaphonous disunity until much, much later, when an Igboho rose to the rescue. Yet, Igboho’s qualifications quickly became the focus of condemnation amongst his own Yoruba people even as our aggressors rapidly grew in awe of him.
People who had risen from nothing to a false blossom, and who had empirically little to show as achievement other than splintering, de-molecularising, and disenfranchising an original Yoruba Protectionist Force, the OPC (founded by the highly passionate Dr. Frederick Fasehun of blessed memory), yet rose to be crowned the Generalisimo, the Are Ona Kakanfo of the Yorubas immediately rose from their slumber, baring their fangs against Sunday Igboho. In the years since his clowning recognition as Are, very little besides small talk (boroboro) and of course partying around in flowing, white garments was visible. It took the singular act of courage by Igboho in defence of his people to wake the tiger and prime his teeth.
Mr Bolobolo urgently went viral in his unrestrained condemnation of Igboho, questioning his integrity and qualifications in the process. For a man that was given the crown of the great Awodi Oke but who could not carry even the smallest fowl, this was grossly pathetic. But that unfortunately goes with the territory of what we Yorubas have become. We have become a people that famously eschew “ilara” in our dealings with others, particularly of our Yoruba stock.
Didn’t General Obasanjo as Nigeria’s Military Head of State once say deprecatingly concerning his fellow Yoruba, Chief Awolowo that he may not know who he would hand over power to but that he certainly knew who would not succeed him as President even though there were two major contenders? Did he also not buttress his point by saying publicly that the best (in the circumstances and grammatically, the better) may not always win? About another prominent Yoruba scion who won the freest and fairest election so far in the history of democracy in Africa, the same Obasanjo, now the latest self-proclaimed champion of Yoruba, also said that MKO Abiola was not the Messiah that the Yorubas wanted.
As in Obasanjo as in Mr Bolobolo, who incidentally may never be friends of each other due to unbending individual egos and disparate ambitions. Bolobolo was quick to see a threat in Igboho Oosa the same way that his elder Yoruba and former President betrayed mortal acrimony, fear, and jealousy (ilara) against both Chief Awolowo & MKO. All they see in their fellow Yorubas is a morbid threat of their hollow egos being eclipsed. If based on rife rumours that neither General Obasanjo nor Are Bolobolo may be pure blooded Yorubas, one is tempted to exculpate us the Yorubas, then consider the disdain and distraction that Professor Banji Akintoye has received amongst his own people.
When Baba Akintoye, a distinguished, world renowned Professor of history, determined that enough was enough and he rose to break the leadership inertia amongst Yorubas, what did our “settled in” gerontiatric “leaders” in the infertile, self-acclaimed socio-cultural organisations do? They riled against him in opposition. Now, at a quarter after the hour, you can expect all these self-appointed and self-proclaimed “leaders” to start singing new tunes. You can expect guttural, diabolical, and uncultured voices from a strange new hymnal choral. Didn’t they say that the agitation for self-determination was madness? Now let us see them activate their noises about restructuring from slavery.
Apart from cowardice, which is often smartly disguised as painstaking strategising, we Yorubas have at least two other self-immolating traits. The one is disunity, fuelled by annihilating jealousy (ilara) which has been exemplified in the samples above. We fight against the destined purpose of God in the lives of others. God Almighty, the Omnipotent and Omnipresent Father of the World, has hardly ever been sighted to come down physically into the arena of life. Yet, having made man in His own likeness and deposited His breath (a microcosm) into him, HE still listens to him (Psalm 65:2, Matthew 7:7), and sends help through His created flesh.
He sent Moses to take the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, Gideon the week, and fearful to rescue his people from the marauding Midianites and even, a lady, Queen Esther to justify the Jews. But every time God answers our prayers and sends us help from above in Yoruba land, all we tend to see is a man less qualified than us and against whom we deploy total venom of hatred & opposition in ballistic extremes. In the process, we kill ourselves & destroy our race.
But never diminish the destiny of God’s messenger. Like queen Esther, may be Sunday Igboho’s destiny was to stand up against the oppression of his people? There will be no shortage of Mr Bolobolos amongst the Yorubas (some may be even Nupes faking Yoruba) to rise against Igboho in cacaphony. Even in the elite circles, no shortage of opposition to the courageous, highly strategic alternative leadership offered by Professor Akintoye. That is the essential Yoruba. Many say it is an ancestral curse on the Yoruba race from which we must obtain deliverance. It is ingrained in us and all over us so much that I have come to call it by a peculiar Yoruba terminology: Kosekosekojolurese. You will find the Kosekosekojolureses in every fabric of the Yoruba life: in our villages, social clubs & even alumni associations.
The second is the maddening addiction to power and relevance by gerontiatrics. In a nation where 80% are below 40 years of age, we have people at over 80 years still clinging to power, recognition, and fake leadership even when it is obvious that the world has gone past them/us. They/we notoriously & desperately claim to be the sole and exclusive owner of the solutions to a future which no longer belongs to them/ us. To be poignant, their future is in the graveyard, and they expect the youth, the true stakeholders, and owners of the future to come to pay them/us in worship & obeisance even as we, the spent forces sit deliriously over imaginary thrones in our diapers and nappies.
Look around and you will find us everywhere, even in the smallest, most fragile social clubs & alumni associations. We were forced to retire from employment as managers decades ago but are unable to relinquish our perceived and imaginary powers and influence even a lifetime after retirement. This is the Buhari and the Obasanjo in all of us. It is a wider societal affliction beyond Yorubas. At 80+, we clown around as decision makers in the smallest village affairs when our grandchildren are making waves in a world being effectively managed by their age mates.
The youths themselves must be the solution. They must rise in determination to take charge of a future which is more theirs than ours. Without fear or hesitation, the youth must show us the ” Ali must go” gerontiatrics our place in the dustbin of history if we elect not to voluntarily climb up from the trenches into retirement as elder statesmen. Afterall, we had our own lifetime of opportunities and all we did with it was to locomote the youth and their future to this current sad pass.
Lastly, Napoleon Hill once said, “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.”
The key here being this: EVERY SITUATION HAS ITS BENEFIT!
Recent horrifying events including the renewed arson and killings at Igangan show that the Yoruba race is at a watershed. Every watershed signal compelling change for the good or for the bad. The Yoruba race has a choice to either change holistically or continue to clown around under the banner of false intelligence/hollow superiority which only leads us theretofore to become history at home and slaves on the land of our ancestors. Like the warm feeling that comes from peeing in the pant, our children and grandchildren ejaculated into a strange land by our failures at home, can continue to make waves abroad in developing countries that will never truly accept them as free borns, but only as elite slaves.
Yoruba e ronu.
The Venerable Segun Agbetuyi, contributed this piece from Lagos.
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