Tinubu vs Yoruba Obas: The Challenges of a Hero
“To rule is to serve. But it is easy to forget this when you hold a position of power and responsibility. Power can corrupt and pride can get the better of you. Over time, you might think that you are entitled to certain privileges because things would collapse without you. Instead of putting the interests of others first, you may end up putting your own interests first.” - The Vizier
“ You can have a certain arrogance, and I think that's fine, but what you should never lose is the respect for the others. ”
- Steffi Graf
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently denigrated the Yoruba Obas openly. He publicly contended that all Yoruba Obas are “useless.” As an assumed hero of the progressive politics in the Southwest nay Nigeria, that statement leaves a lot to be desired. At best it is a poor reflection on the intelligence of Asiwaju himself that he could make such a ridiculous statement calling to question the integrity of our traditional rulers and our heritage. On that day, Tinubu crossed the thin line from being a hero to something else. Whatever that “something else” is would be left for the people of Yoruba land to decide.
As a proprietary politician, who has become so successful and powerful, it is very possible that he feels invincible. It is very possible that he equates himself to God and believes that he is above every human being around him. Tinubu not only believes it, he acts it and his utterances reflect it. He feels he could walk on air without his feet touching the ground. Tinubu does not only feel invincible, he has become swollen-headed, arrogant, condescending and contemptuous. Imbued with riches, he has become vain, rude and absurd. According to Jeffrey Klugger, this is a function of a “narcissistic personality” whose “Confidence quickly curdles into arrogance; smarts turn to smugness, charm turns to smarm.”
Some, not all, just some of those who mill around him, that he has enriched and cede a certain degree of influence and power are infected with the same odious characteristics. While he sees himself as “god”, they see themselves as “mini-gods” and become grateful but unquestioning “yes men” in the domain of the lordship's dictatorship. The attitude of these minions seems to reflect his attitude. Their thinking seems to reflect Tinubu's thinking. Their utterances seem to reflect his utterances. Their actions seem to reflect his actions. They all seem to have become ridiculous caricature of Tinubu in their mannerisms. When they are not acting as “mini-gods”, they assume the odious roles of repellent prophets of nauseating arrogance, repressive pomposity, feudalized hegemony and flagrantly revel as titans of tyranny.
So if and when you hear that some, not all, just some of the Alliance of Progressive Congress (APC) governors are always disrespecting all the Yoruba Obas in their domains, it should not be difficult to fathom why. The Chairman and Chief Executive of ABAT LLC, their leader, Lord and savior as well as merchant-in-chief, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has shown them the way to go. He has been leading them by example by not just disrespecting the Yoruba Obas, but by calling them names openly. He told the world with unassailable confidence that all the Yoruba Obas are “useless.” To say the least, it was disgusting, if not tragic.
Since Asiwaju Tinubu was audacious enough to utter such an abomination publicly, why would his minion in Osun State by the name Rauf Aregbesola not confine our Obas to plastic chairs at public functions? Why would he not place their plastic chairs on the grass while his so-called Special Advisers and commissioners sit in cushions on the dais? Why would Aregbesola not make our Obas sit down for hours before showing up at functions? Why would Aregbesola bother to call a meeting of Osun State Council of Obas in his four years in office? Why would Aregbesola not ignore the feelings of a cross section of Osun people while he engaged in public verbal scuffle with a respected first class Oba who was voicing the feelings of his people? Why would he not disrespect his own Oba, His Royal Majesty, the Owa Obokun Adimula of Ijeshaland, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran II? Why not if not?
Such a statement coming from Asiwaju Tinubu, the paramount ruler of APC and a Yoruba son for that matter, is nothing but a straight out blasphemy. There was no need or any reason for it. It was totally uncalled for. The making of such an egregious statement is an attestation to unwarranted blustery. It is a rubbishing of our heritage. It is an unmitigated insult to 1, 200 years of distinguished History. It is a derision of our forefathers. It is a denigration of the Yoruba psyche. It is a deliberate rubbishing of everything Yoruba. It is an act of atrocious treachery executed with crude condescension and obnoxious arrogance. It is a humiliation of our cherished culture, a culture that is universally admired and celebrated across the planet.
It was John F. Kennedy who contended that when “power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations……….When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” But this has failed in Tinubu's case because despite the number of lettered men around him “poetry” has failed to “cleanse” him of his arrogance. Thus in giving this statement a very critical assessment, one has not been able to fathom the reason for such an open ignominy on the part of Tinubu. Why Tinubu would openly disrespect our traditional fathers in that unspeakable manner seems to elude me. What was he thinking? What could have caused this? Is Mark Twain's diagnosis on point here? That what Tinubu did was a manifestation of the abhorrent confidence that his riches imbued him with? Is Tinubu's newfound riches a progenitor of his continuous display of his toxic “Pride, vanity, ostentation, arrogance and tyranny?” Is Tinubu's perennial tendency to be tyrannical also traceable to his riches too? Is his unwarranted attack on our History and heritage a function of his arrogance borne out of his riches? Is he going to be the first one to be rich in Yoruba land? Is he going to be the first one to be a political juggernaut in Yoruba land?
Has Tinubu become loose cannon on the political landscape? Does he think he is bigger than the entire History of Yoruba race? Is he bigger than our entire heritage? What could have been the basis of and for this detestable temerity, effusive effrontery and damnable audacity? How does one define this kind of abominable arrogance to the entire Yoruba race? How does one psychoanalyze the spur for this kind of bubble bursting outburst? Where does one begin to diagnose this kind of absurdity? What could he have known about our Obas that would have warranted such ignoble exudation of odious rascality? Where is he coming from and where is his destination?
What has become of all the Yoruba elites that they cannot call Tinubu to order? Where are the literati and the glitterati of the Yoruba Nation? Where is the intelligentsia of the Yoruba Nation? Where are the businessmen and the professionals of the Yoruba Nation? Where are the Historians of the Yoruba Nation? For how long would the Tinubus of this world continue to insult and disgrace our collective heritage without any consequences for their actions? For how long are we going to stand aside and look on as our Obas are pitch forked mercilessly? Are they so compromised that they can no longer speak the truth? Are they so pulverized by poverty that they can no longer defend our common heritage from unwarranted assault? Are they oblivious of Tom Cochrane's admonition that tragedy in life “normally comes with betrayal and compromise?” Is our intelligentsia unable to understand that “failure comes” when one trades on “integrity and not having dignity in life?”
Are we all inflicted with poverty of courage and clairvoyance? Are we all inflicted with poverty of vision and positive pride? Are we all tilting to the tide of tyranny? Are we so cowed that we are all intimidated and can no longer stand for our dignity? Are we all so frightened that we would allow our forefathers to be dragged shamelessly in the mud without any consequence? Is this conspiracy of silence all because of pecuniary interests accruable from corrupted politics and politicians? When has it become dignifying to live on our knees in Yoruba land? When have we stopped fighting, stubbornly remaining on our feet and if necessary, die on our feet for the sake of our dignity? Courage is the harbinger of dignity and integrity is its corollary. Where there is no integrity, courage takes a flight and dignity ebbs on retreat.
Yes, it is true that the APC governors are developing our infrastructure. It is true that they are trying to deliver to our people to the best of their ability. But at what cost to our dignity? At what cost to our essence as a race? At what cost to out psyche as the children of Oduduwa? At what cost to our integrity as a people? At what cost to everything that our forefathers have worked for and bequeathed to us? At what cost? At what price? And for how long would this continue? For how long would we be dragged collectively in ignominy by a mercantilist politician? For how long are we going to stand with our arms akimbo? What are we so afraid of? Is it intimidation or assassination? How many times is given to cowards to die? How many times is given to moral marauders to murder men of courage?
John C. Maxwell, an expert in Leadership isolated two kinds of “pride.” He insisted “'Good pride' represents our dignity and self respect. 'Bad pride' is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.” So, to elucidate this, did we not have an Awolowo delivered more than the APC governors put together can deliver in three life times? Did that Awolowo insult us in this manner? Did he ridicule our heritage in this manner? Was that Awolowo this arrogant and condescending? Was that Awolowo this obnoxious because he gave us free education? Was that Awolowo this denigrating because he gave us the first television station in Africa? Was he this preposterous because he gave us the first standard industrial Estate in Africa? Was that Awolowo this detestable because he gave us the first housing estate in Africa? Was that Awolowo this despicable because he gave us the first standard sports stadium in Africa? Was he this repugnant while he was building the first skyscraper? Was that Awolowo this repellent while he was building roads that lasted over 60 years and providing running water taps across the then Western Region?
It is time to put an end to this public macabre dance of Asiwaju Tinubu. It is time for him to be called to order. It is time for Tinubu to be told that our Obas in Yoruba land are not useless. If anyone truly and honestly wants to liberate a people, such a person would not begin by pulverizing their dignity. If anyone wants to liberate a people, he does not set off by assaulting and insulting their sensibilities. In Yoruba land, we not only determine who lead us, we determine his fortunes. We respect our leaders and we are not afraid to pull the plug when they overstep their boundaries. The Yoruba are a grateful people. We appreciate good leadership. But we are not idiots. We are not going to be taken for a ride.
Only honest and open discussions can help us resist contused hypocrisy and abhorrent arrogance that has enveloped our political elite in a cocoon of superiority complex. Even, when issues become contentious, controversial and potentially conflagrative, the only way to resolve such would be an open, honest and democratic way. The Yoruba will not accept what a reviewer of one of Professor Wole Soyinka's plays described as “a dramatization of denigrating arrogance of power and disgusting imbecility of heroes,” either from Tinubu or any of his cohorts for that matter. They may still win some elections, but eventually we will get rid of them. We will not be cowed, intimidated or blackmailed into silence. The Yoruba Nation would not be denigrated, insulted and be taken for granted. It is high time the handlers of Tinubu drum this into his consciousness. This is important if he still wants to remain relevant in the politics of Yoruba land going forward.
“ In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it. ” - John F. Kennedy