By Kayode Emola
It is very awful when people vested with some authority deliberately tell lies just to score a cheap point. That was what happened last week when a northern group claimed that the revenues generated from cotton and groundnut were what was used to develop the oil industry in the Niger Delta. This story which is completely untrue and unfounded, was yet capable of misinforming the unsuspecting masses and turning a lie into the truth overnight.
Perhaps this is not the first time such a situation will happen as the Yoruba people and other nationalities in southern Nigeria have constantly been fed with such many lies in the past. After all, it was once argued that the North are the providers of food for everyone in Nigeria. But the truth of the matter is that southern Nigeria is blessed with the most fertile soil in the country and has one of the best yields in agricultural produce.
Let me state it now for the record that the country Nigeria should not have been amalgamated into a union but for the resources of the south and the ever-increasing deficit in the north. It was this that made British government desperate and antsy when the parsimonious Lord Lugard did everything he could to force a union that was destined to ruin lives upon the natives. The Secretary of State for the colonies Lord Harcourt in 1912 when trying to balance the books for acquiring northern Nigeria that was always in deficit, called on Lord Lugard to help solve his greatest nightmare. Lugard had previously around 1906 wrote a long memorandum calling for the amalgamation of northern and southern Nigeria due to the continuous deficit in the Northern Nigeria budget. He argued that since Britain controlled both territories, joining the two protectorates was the right thing to do in order to spare the British tax payers of continuously supporting an unviable northern Nigeria not minding the peculiarities of both protectorates.
It is a shame that we the Yoruba people for many centuries have let our guard down and allowed many mishaps come our way, especially those of the 20th century. One would have thought that with the level of education our people have acquired over these years we should have been the brain powerhouse of Nigeria. Alas this is not the case; we have our intellectuals happy to be at the beck and call of the “supposed” illiterate northern Nigerian people. Having taught in several schools in northern Nigerian, I can emphatically say people of northern Nigerian are not as daft as we portray them to be. Majority of them have sound intellectual acumen equal to that of an average southern Nigerian person if not even higher. The only major challenge the people from northern Nigerian face is that their leaders and elders have not taken formal education seriously and has not done much to invest in this aspect for their theming population as compared with the south.
With our education in the south, we always think it makes us more superior humans than people from the north. However, we lack the requisite actions that should make the uneducated shiver when we make bold a claim. It is a pity that the level of education being handed down from the latter part of the 20th century was education not designed to transform our mind but that which makes us conform to the norm handed over to us from colonial Britain. For instance, most Yoruba leaders during the time of independence looked on without qualms when all our major institutions were systematically and covertly converted by the Fulani central government into Nigerian property. We lost all our tertiary institutions built by the Yoruba regional government to the Federal government. We also lost our many high commissions around the world, our radio and television stations, among several institutions that should have provided the backbone for our economic development.
With all the resources that should have given we the Yoruba people the independence and freedom we worked so hard to achieve. We watched whilst everything was either taken away from us or completely destroyed right before our very eyes. Our Yoruba leaders and present-day politicians continue to look on and to cheer the northern oligarchs as they manipulate our destiny. This has left us completely helpless and vulnerable thus making what is a difficult world even harder to survive. I believe many of these fantasy leaders would expect that this would continue in perpetuity but alas it is only a deluded mind that would think evil will triumph over good all of the time. It should be noted that not all generations will be confused and there is always a generation that would eventually get it right. I believe this generation is here to make things right so that the next generation need not suffer what we and our parents suffered.
Whilst majority of the Yoruba leaders continue to live in their cocoon thinking that the status quo in Nigeria will continue forever. Many northern Nigeria people continue to live in their delusion that Nigeria is indissoluble as though it was a chemical agent that has been bonded in a laboratory that cannot be reversed. Oliver Lyttelton, the Secretary of State for the Colonies when Nigeria was seeking her independence made a statement to the British Parliament on 21 May 1953 where he stated that; recent events in that time have shown that it is not possible for the three regions that made up Nigeria then to work effectively in a federation so closely knit together as that provided by the constitution. He noted that the constitution will have to be redrawn to provide for greater regional autonomy and for the removal of powers of intervention from the central government.
It is not surprising today that the first item that was attacked during the military era of the 1960’s when we attained independence from Britain was the Nigerian constitution. The same unworkable central government arrangement Mr Lyttelton talked about was hurriedly introduced which has continued to plunge the country into an abysmal depth with no hope of redemption. One would have expected the Yoruba politicians to quickly do whatever it takes to reverse the ugly trend but since no one was suspecting, the ugly situation was left unabated until it got worse. Whilst things are now at its worst, majority of our Yoruba politicians are still not conscious of the fact that Nigeria was built on a false premise whose promise of hope, unity, prosperity and love only lies in the recitation of the national anthem.
Northern Nigeria today is riddled with blood hungry terrorist opposing every form of western education. Schools are been pillaged every now and again to kidnap innocent students to the extent that it has now become a new normal. Rather that the northern elders and leaders to openly condemn these nefarious activities, they continue to spur the terrorist on. Urging them in their act of violence as if it is the only way to make a case for their own misfortune. To the extent that a popular cleric is now openly calling for the central government to enter into negotiations with the terrorist. This dastardly act that has now pillaged the country is the last that is about to break the camel’s back as Nigeria cannot survive its current misfortune.
It is a known fact around the world that treating the symptoms of any ailment can never bring the desired healing. A holistic examination needs always be carried out to examine the root cause of the ailment and then appropriate solution offered. With the many problems bedevilling Nigeria at the moment, one need not ask if dissolving the country along the arbitrary lines of latitude which doubles as the regional line is the only viable option. Whilst I implore the Yoruba people to look critically into their exit from Nigeria that is sinking into the abyss on a daily basis. I will urge the northern Nigerian to wake up from their delusion that Nigeria is indissoluble. No northern money was used to finance any project from the south. On the contrary, The Yoruba nation is contributing around 72 percent of her revenue to the Nigerian state and only getting around 18 percent in return. When the northern farmers threatened not to bring onions and other foodstuffs to southern Nigeria to sell, it was them who suffered it the most. The earlier the north and the south realise that Nigeria is no longer a viable entity, the better it is for everyone involved.