The pre-independence days were full of self-determination from Nigerians. The champion of the struggles was Hubert Macaulay who formed the first political party in Nigeria, NNDP, 1923. His unwavering endeavors brought the beginning of the struggles for independence that lasted for 37 years, which was later gotten in 1960. The nationalistic mindset of Hubert Macaulay gave birth to the republican crusade of pre-independence politicians. The four constitution before independence showed that Nigeria’s independence was based on intellectual struggles. Hubert Macaulay was the grandchild of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, who authored the first Yoruba dictionary and translated the King James Version Bible to the first Yoruba Bible. Hubert Macaulay laid the foundation for the ethnic-nationalistic mindset of south-western politics.
J.C.Vaughn, H.O.Davies, Ernest Okoli and Samuel Akinsanya formed Nigeria Youth Movement in 1934. It was the first youthful political party to have a nationalistic view outside Lagos; the youthful party brought an activist perspective to politics protesting the inferior standard of Yaba Higher College founded in 1934. The founding fathers of the party were three south-western men and a south-eastern man. The success of the party was short lived because of ethnic tension among the founders. The emergence of Obafemi Awolowo was an indelible mark in the sand of time; he championed the emergence of south-western Nigeria to the fore of Nigerian politics, intellectually and culturally.
Awolowo made the Yorubas to beat their own drum of destiny by fashioning out policies that gave birth to her economic and intellectual emancipation. The term Awoism is a political ideology that accommodates believes in true federalism, regional autonomy and multiculturalism. ObafemiAwolowo is the soul of south-western politics; he is the foundation of the southwest political house built with ideas and organizational skills. Awo was the Abraham Lincoln of Southwest cultural identity; he brought a different aspiration to the fore about leadership and followership. The Awo movement is the cornerstone of southwest politics. The transformational leadership’s demand of the southwest could be traced to Obafemi Awolowo.
The Odua nation has her style of leadership that is driven by charisma and servitude, an Odua blood in leadership already knows what is expected of him. The fourth republic brought an Odua son to the presidency, his people actually voted against him, showing the resolve of the people about their political convictions. His presidency was characterized with controversies and aggressive development. Olusegun Obasanjo was the only president in fourth republic’s history that left $60 billion in the foreign reserve. He cleared Nigeria’s debt of over $30b illion. The internet and GSM revolution could be attributed to Obasanjo, the power reforms, infrastructural development, GDP growth, per capital income increment, and political stability.
The Odua nation has two political schools of thoughts, the conservatives and progressives. The conservatives had her root in Hubert Macaulay days of NNDP/NCNC, while the progressives could be traced to ObafemiAwolowo. Regardless of political ideology the southwest people are either to the right or left based on political associations. The foundation of the South-west political ideology took her source from Egbe Omo Oduduwa founded in London 1945. The founding fathers were Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr.Akinola Maja, Dr Oni Akerele, Chief Akintola Williams, Prof Saburi Biobaku e.t.c. The political organization’s aim was to unite the southwestern people to have a common aspiration of development and cultural identity. The group metamorphosed into Action Group in 1951.
The Oduas have always been intellectually curious. The first lawyer in Nigeria was Alexandria Sapara Williams who was called to the English Bar, November 17 1879. The first medical doctor in Nigeria was Nathaniel King who was trained by Church Missionary Society (CMS), and he later went to England to graduate in 1874 becoming the first indigenous medical doctor. The Oduas were the elite in most of the professions in Nigeria. The political curiosity exhibited by the Omo Odua is historically and intellectually driven. The Action Group’s dominance in the pre-independence days was not arrogance but the search for intellectually and cultural identity. Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s leadership and organizational skills had a huge impact on the southwestern politics. The opposition’s view of Action Group was not pride but to seek justice and equity for the southwest and minorities in Nigeria.
The fourth republic brought mixture of veterans and young Awoists to the fore. Afenifere was founded by ideological Awoists; The socio-political group that later metamorphosed into a political party called Alliance for Democracy in 1998. The 1999’s elections gave AD an electoral advantage in the southwest. The AD won the 6 southwestern states, Ondo, Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti and Osun states. The opposition of the AD was short-lived in 2003 when the AD lost 5 states and Lagos state was the last man standing. The new leader of southwestern politics came to the fore in 2003, Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose political orientation is a blend of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief MKO Abiola. His political DNA is in the middle. Tinubu’s view about politics is more of experience and understanding of Yoruba politics. He knows that the Yoruba electorate are independent thinkers who believe more in performance and the result of any political party. Tinubu is a strategic political thinker who knows that he will not succeed in southwest except through intellectual and economic development of the Yoruba people.
Lagos State became a vivid example of development to the other states in southwest. The 2015 elections gave birth to a new coalition instigated by the Tinubu-led Action Congress, a derivation from Alliance for Democracy. The coalition had Action Congress, CPC, ANPP, and some factions of PDP called the NewPDP, some APGA break away members led by Rochas Okorocha. The coalition gave birth to the All Progressives Congress that made General Muhammadu Buhari her candidate. The 2015 election was a battle between progressives and conservatives which was later won by the APC. The 16 years reign of PDP came to an end unceremoniously. The strategic positioning of Tinubu as the new leader of southwest politics is more of innovation than politics.
The 2019’s election was dominated by APC in the southwest because of Tinubu’s influence. The political arithmetic of southwest is 2023, and the next president must be a Yoruba man. The next president must be a staunch advocate of June 12. The day June 12 is an indelible day in the history of Nigerian politics. It’s a day that transcend tribes, it’s a day that unites all Nigerians both domestic and in the diaspora. The new elected president recognizes this fact by declaring June 12 as Democracy Day.
The next president of Nigeria after President Buhari must be a Yoruba man that believes in the ideology of the acclaimed winner of June 12. He must be a progressive, a man of the people that understands the language of the six geo-political zones; he must be a lover of the Nation called Nigeria. 2023 is 4 years from now; it looks far but very near. “The labor of our heroes’ past shall never be in vain.” God bless Nigeria.
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