By Wale Odeku
It is written:
“Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them…………And all the congregation complained against the rulers. Then all the rulers said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel; now therefore, we may not touch them. This we will do to them: We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them. Joshua 9: 14-21
The Gibeonites, a strong city with a strong army, despite which they became slaves on the assurance that their deception would secure their safety and freedom under Israel; having recognized the power and authority of God whom they were prepared to worship.
Israel, with Joshua as the leader, presumptuously agreeing to the Gibeonite’s supplications, relying on their own military exploits; only to later discover the ruse; but bound by their oath sworn before the Lord God.
Rather than getting punished, they obtained Mercy from God; the Gibeonites, serving at the temple of God; Israel, not diminished in her efforts at reaching the Promised Land.
By which we know, God’s Grace abound, even in our presumptuousness. Continuous willful disobedience to God cannot and does not attract Grace.
Yoruba existential heritage, the “omoluwabi”, the physical manifestation of Yoruba cosmogony, always expected to drive internal, external, personal, and communal relations, coming under attack, by omission or commission; the result of opposing social and cultural values, now laying the land prostrate.
But refusing to go the Gibeonite route; having recognized the historical and contemporary context under which these are taking place.
In contemporary times, represented by the Awolowo school of thought, at one stage seeking to introduce Yoruba existential paradigms to the rest of the country, based on expanding what had become beneficial to Yorubaland in terms of social, economic, and cultural development, arising from the dominance of a praxis tailored toward the regeneration of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State, with an assumption of reasoning as a core value of State.
Serially attacked by the center, comprising the unholy alliance between the Hegemony of the North and the East, as the custodian of State Power, both united in their attempts at neutralizing the Yoruba West, the only obstacle to their political and territorial ambitions.
Fueled by their intellectuals and progressives, disregarding the Multi-Cultural composition of the Nigerian geo-political space; in the process embarking on a series of illegalities in pursuit of maintaining control of State Power.
Affirming the lie of the “carpet crossing” as the source of Awolowo’s Parliamentary victory, despite its purveyor, Nnamidi Azikiwe’s NCNC only able to provide a list of 27 members in an 80-member Parliament and the Action Group, having 42 victorious members.
Appropriating “Nation-building” as their area of exclusive preserve; ascribing “balkanization” to the Action Group’s insistence on Federalism of the Nationalities as the basis for an independent Nigeria.
Disregarding the reality of many of the Peoples of Nigeria already balkanized into different geo-political territories by the colonial regime; and this, taking its full course under the post-independence alliance between the East and North Hegemony.
With other African Peoples and Nations already balkanized into different countries maintained by artificial boundaries created by the colonial powers; the acceptance of which substitutes for the natural boundaries of the Nationalities. But which we know is not the case.
The bogey of “balkanization” leading to the denial of Regions for minorities in Nigeria; the “balkanization” that will correct the artificiality of the boundaries and create a platform for the Nationalities to work out their best form of coexistence.
The aim being the denial of the capability and capacity of the Yoruba Nation to pursue her dreams and aspirations.
All of which gave rise to a contest of praxis in Yorubaland.
Between advocacy for “mainstreaming”; that is, surrendering to Northern Hegemony as the senior partner with the aim of substituting itself for the Hegemons of the East.
Having come into full bloom under Olusegun Obasanjo, twice an official partaker in these infamies, only to be tossed aside, with him, in the 21st century, lamenting the “Fulanization” of Nigeria.
A process that had begun since the 19th century amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates establishing the Nigerian State.
Utilizing the powers of the Post-Colonial State in its relentless pursuit of “Fulanization”, with the Hegemons utilizing all means at their disposal to deny the non-Fulani Peoples of the North and the East the possibility of their coming into being.
A telling example. The Mobile Police Force, also known as “Kill and Go” established as a force to crush the demand for the Middle Belt Region, the Hegemons having seen it in action in similar situation in Malaysia, eventually transforming into a force of repression to the Peoples of Nigeria, till date, living true to its moniker.
The “progressives” opposed to the “mainstreamers”, hoping to transform the Post-Colonial State by reinventing the wheel of development through supplanting the Hegemony.
It is written:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Limited in its quest by not addressing the fundamental defect of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State; relying on assumptions of its neutrality in the underdevelopment of the Peoples, in defiance of the reality of the Post-Colonial State as the expression of Hegemonic political calculations; the end-game for imperial domination.
Fueled by its presumptuousness as to its knowledge and ability to make sense of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State.
Offering alternatives to existing paradigms, substituting the pretensions of the Hegemony for the all-embracing pursuit of development; the coming into being of the Peoples. Denying the reality of the Post-Colonial State as incapable of ushering the becoming. Relying on their ability, trusting in their own knowledge, their ability to turn things around, their political sagacity.
With only the solidification of the Hegemony to show for it.
Bringing forth the necessity for the Yoruba Nation to complain against the entire Leadership; just as “all the congregation complained against the rulers” .
The Yoruba leadership, the “mainstreamers”, and the “progressives”, both having run their course, must now answer the Yoruba National Question.
Questioning Yoruba leadership, based on the recognition that all over the West/Yorubaland, in 1999, the deeply held popular opinion was that the Alliance for Democracy (AD) was the vehicle for Yoruba Regional Autonomy; there was an army but no commanders.
The self-determination groups that could have been the general staff headquarters were busy ingratiating themselves into the politicians’ orbit, falling into the cesspit of leadership fetishism.
The Yoruba Peoples’ perception of what was expected did not propel these groups into taking any political initiative, even if it meant taking on the political establishment, leaving room for the missing of opportunities to map out an Autonomist Agenda, even if only by making it the electoral issue of the land.
And this, hugely different from the usual pre-electoral promises of either “Restructuring” or economic development; usually forgotten once elections are over.
It is written:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3
The Post-Colonial State, through the Hegemony, having created an electoral system on its terms, based on false Census figures assuring electoral majority for itself, Legitimized with the 1999 Constitution, all wrapped around the fallacy of its being the product of the Peoples of Nigeria, is on the road to being permanently established as the determinant of the leadership of the Post-Colonial State.
By which we know that the Yoruba Referendum is the way of the Lord, the answer to the Yoruba National Question, the only way to address the clear and present danger to our existential preferences and Legitimizing our existence, a necessary precondition for the resolution of our existential crises.
That which I have heard from the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, I have declared to you.