Bulletin #8: The “how” Question For The Yoruba (part 1)
This is the first part of our engagement with the Yoruba Professionals Foundation based on the Communique issued at the end of its “1st Democracy Lecture on the State of Yoruba Nation”.
The YORUBA REFERENDUM COMMITTEE believes that the Communique reflects the entirety of the conclusions of the Lecture, which we shall now address, this first part derived from Dr. Akin Fapohunda, the Keynote Speaker’s address and Prof Banji Akintoye’s goodwill message to the Lecture.
(A) Dr. Akin Fapohunda’s conclusions are as follows:
(i) it is time for all the Yoruba Intellectuals to come together with ideas and concepts that will birth the new Yoruba Nation.
(ii) it is good to have our nation, but it won’t be good to go into the new nation without an economic blueprint that will fast track our growth and development.
(iii) in spite of the numerous national conferences, meetings and talks on the call for restructuring, nothing has been done to salvage Nigeria.
(iv) the need for the masses who constitute the electorates to hold the current political class accountable.
(v) the ruling Yoruba elites are not doing anything positively to advance the course of the Yoruba Nation.
(vi) We need to have our own standard blueprint that will ensure that there is a viable means of generating IGR using indigenous resources as we cannot solely depend on taxes.
(vii) In the Yoruba Nation of my dream, security votes, immunity for President and Governors, etc must be eliminated.
YORUBA REFERENDUM COMMITTEE’S RESPONSE:
(i) “ideas and concepts” are not abstractions but reflections of a praxis. Thus, the Yoruba anti-colonial movement, after the decay of the Pan-Nigerian, anti-colonial movement, floundering on a proposed PATHWAY anchored on denying the Multi-National and Multi-Cultural nature of the Nigerian Colony.
(ii) this led to the formation of the Egbe aimed at a Nigeria anchored on a “Federal State” which eventually led to the formation of the Action Group as the PATHWAY for its realization by way of its electoral victory. It is therefore not enough to seek the “coming together with ideas and concepts” without an undergirding pathway which must inform on the “coming together”. (iii)Seeking a “new Yoruba Nation” is, by itself, NOT an idea or concept. The ROADMAP or PATHWAY towards achieving it constitutes the “idea/concept” which will determine the impact of the “coming together”. (iv) An “economic blueprint” is a function of the reality of the geo-political entity through which it will be embraced. Therefore, the first task is NOT the blueprint”, but the “economic philosophy” that will drive the political quest and vice versa leading to any subsequent blueprint.
(v) An “economic blueprint” may as well be anchored on IMF/World Bank Standards, or dependent of “Chinese loans” or “direct foreign investment” etc—all of which will NOT lead to economic development for the Yoruba, just as they will NOT challenge the centuries of servitude in Africa.
(vi) Therefore, the necessity for an ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY that will take all of these into consideration from which a “blueprint” can emerge. For example, the AG developed its blueprints after winning the elections, based on a campaign of a WELFARIST PHILOSOPHY(AFENIFERE) which spurned “blueprints” (policies) on education, agriculture, and engagement of the international market via the Marketing Board, the Development Bank, and Industrial Estates as a combined and even “blueprint” for economic development.
(vii) “Salvaging Nigeria” and the quest for a “new Yoruba nation” is a contradiction in terms. IF Nigeria will or can be “salvaged” there will be no need for a “new Yoruba Nation”. Thus, the question is whether Nigeria as presently constituted can be salvaged or not. IF so, not only will there be no need for a “new Yoruba nation” but also the question of HOW to “salvage” must be answered. IF it cannot be “salvaged”, the question of its replacement as well as HOW to go about it must also be answered. (viii) seeking a “new Yoruba nation” is also a-historical. The Yoruba are already a NATION, by all measurable metrics. What we lack is the ability to govern ourselves, our own Self-Government. And this may or may not entail relationships with other Nations/Nationalities in Nigeria thereby rendering null the issue of “salvaging Nigeria”.
(ix) IGR, Security votes, immunity etc are all manifestations of the deficiency of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State and ought not feature in any discourse for a “new Yoruba nation”.
(x) IF the masses who “constitute the electorate” are to hold the current political class accountable, it is incumbent on the “intellectual class” to provide critical appreciation of the political economy in such a manner that ideas will rule the society, hence the “HOW” question must always be answered in any discourse.
(B) Professor Akintoye, Renowned Emeritus Professor of History and Leader, Ilana Omo Oodua’s goodwill message concluded as follows:
(i) “the only factor responsible for the slow pace of development in Yoruba Land is the amalgamation of 1914 of Southern and Northern Protectorate.
(ii)neither restructuring nor the ongoing review of the 1999 constitution can solve the problems. (iii)"Restructuring cannot stop the Fulani Herdsmen from invading our farms. It won't stop the central government from subjugating the states. We have seen how President Buhari is using Executive powers to overrun the National Assembly, Judiciary, and the State Governors.
(iv) "If restructuring gives room for a state Police, such a policing system will not have an equal status like the central police
(v) By the way, the Fulani will still control the military and armed forces. Virtually all the Military Training Schools in Nigeria are domiciled in the North. Everything was deliberately planned."
(vi) "Therefore, our road to redemption in Yoruba Land is to have a country of our own where the intellectuals will preside over our commonwealth, and not the current system that promotes urchins above the philosopher-kings across all Board”.
YORUBA REFERENDUM COMMITTEE’s RESPONSE:
(i) It is NOT TRUE that amalgamation was the “only factor responsible for the slow pace of development in Yorubaland”. Yorubaland, via the Oyo Empire, had begun a slide into underdevelopment with the rise of Basorun Gaha, who established a “reign of political instability” in aid of his economic ventures leaving room for the “introduction” of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade into Yorubaland by which Yorubaland formally became involved in the trade and ultimately ensuring that Yorubaland “contributed” more than a third of the total number of slaves during the late stages of the trade. This political and economic dislocation fueled the collapse of the empire and led to the Yoruba Civil wars.
(ii) The 1886 imposition of “Pax Britannica” on Yorubaland formally introduced British colonial regime, ultimately ending with the 1914 Amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates.
(iii) The “Golden Era” experienced in the Western Region occurred despite amalgamation; its decline due to various political factors that space will constrain us from delving into, here.
(iv) While it is agreed that a “review” of the 1999 Constitution will “not solve the problem”, we make bold to state that “RESTRUCTURING”, as a catch-all phrase, can take care of all the issues raised against it by its CONTENT, primary of which would be ensuring that the LIMITATIONS of the 1963 Constitution (made retroactive to 1960) especially concerning the powers of the central government to interfere in Regional affairs, are completely negated.
(v) This flows into the “road to redemption in Yorubaland” which must be dependent on the PEOPLE as the DRIVER of the quest, which mandates a roadmap, a pathway that must be developed and this cannot be predicated on a false demarcation between “restructuring” and “Yoruba Country” -- for even the pursuit of a “Yoruba Country” MUST have a road map, a pathway.
This is the “HOW” problematic for the Yoruba to resolve.
TO BE CONTINUED.