Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: Yoruba and Our Reactionary Attitude

By Kayode Emola

Many of us were greatly surprised when we heard the news of the arrest/kidnap of the leader of the Indegenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, on Tuesday afternoon. Multiple speculations were mooted on social media about his arrest and many friends were calling me all day to confirm whether it was true, as though I was privileged to information about his arrest. Whilst I am not a security expert, I spoke with some lawyers and we started to analyse the whole situation and what it would mean for the Biafran and Yoruba agitation for sovereign states. Even though we did not have all the facts about MNK’s arrest, we asked questions about the legality or otherwise of the actions taken by the central government of Nigeria. We established, among many other things, that, as a British citizen, Nnamdi Kanu could not have been arrested or kidnapped from the United Kingdom – or any other European country for that matter. We also concluded that he could not have been arrested in any other more economically developed country (MEDC), such as Canada, USA etc, as to do so without an extradition hearing would amount to diplomatic breach.

Having established that Kanu could not have been arrested in one of these advanced countries, we knew the culprit nation must either be an African, Middle East or an Asian country. If he were arrested in an African country, what country could it have been and what could he have been doing there? Equally, if it were an Asian or Middle Eastern country, those same questions apply. These were the kind of questions we analysed, with discussions around what his mission could have been. Nnamdi Kanu made a lot of videos and audio recordings in the recent weeks prior to his arrest which are particular cause for concern. The ones that stand out for me are those where he read a Psalm every day. In the very first episode that I listened to, he said he might not even finish the devotion of the Psalms – just 150 chapters – before something significant happens. Whilst we may not be able to accurately predict the future, I wondered if Kanu’s arrest was the beginning of the end for Nigeria.

Returning to our Yoruba people, I immediately convened a meeting to ask them how we would respond if a similar fate were to happen to us. Of particular concern to me was for Chief Sunday Adeyemo, given his prominence and vocality on the public stage. The response of many of those present was “God forbid”. Our usual attitude in our part of the world is to commit whatever little task God has given us to do back into His hands. I’m sure by now that if God wasn’t the One who created us, He Himself would be asking what kind of people are these Yoruba? He would have been astounded by our docility, which has made us ever more foolish, even at the point of extinction. I reminded our people that, whatever we are doing to further our self-determination cause, it is now time to step up our game. I’m gladdened to see that a lot of our people saw the need to act fast to avert the coming danger, but I have to question: did we do enough? There are still many people who do not know that to win this battle ahead we need to build the mind of a revolutionary, and not that of a reactionary. Like always, many of our Yoruba people did not put on their revolutionary cap and have only come to the internet to react after the Thursday morning when this disaster had struck the home of Chief Adeyemo.

I am sure by now that you must be wondering what my reactions were and how I felt regarding this invasion of Chief Adeyemo’s privacy. For the record, we must now call Nigeria for what it truly is: a rogue nation that supports terrorists’ activities. It is only in a farcical state like Nigeria that you will see someone’s home being invaded without a warrant of arrest. It is also only in this kind of country will you see citizens been kidnapped from another country and transported without any extradition hearing, in violation of international law. Nigeria has openly breached international law and has shown the entire world it does not play by the confines of the world’s convention. If the international communities are truly sincere about wanting to pursue global peace, then by now Nigeria should have been declared a rogue state and appropriate sanctions handed down to force her government and ruling elite to respect the human rights of her citizens. You may speculate as I and many others are that, is there an ulterior motive for the lack of action by the major global players? Could it be that the free flow of resources from Nigeria to these developed countries might be automatically stopped if they decide to react? Hence it would appear that the better option for them is either to look the other way or to outwardly pretend as though they are mediating whilst actually achieving no progress.

Many of the Yoruba people both home and abroad did not know that the central government of Nigeria is dominated by a particular tribe and thus are on a mission. Whatever that mission might be, I cannot imagine that they truthfully believe they can successfully fight the entire southern and middle belt people without repercussions. For many years, the Yoruba people have failed to realise that our reactionary attitude would be our own undoing. We need to begin to think “Yoruba First”. A number of people have asked me how we can employ this attitude of “Yoruba First”? I tell them it’s simple. Our forefathers invested so much into the project Nigeria that some Yoruba beneficiaries are not willing to let go to the undoing of their kindred. For example, we established the Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) network, yet it wasn’t named “Yoruba Television”. Why? Had it been named Yoruba Television, this would have highlighted it as a Yoruba property. Because the name given to the TV station was Western Nigeria TV, it has allowed the central government the opportunity and effrontery to covertly turn it into a Nigerian property.

What can we do now?

The Yoruba people must now realise that, with the invasion of Chief Adeyemo “Igboho’s” house, we have been shot at and shown to the world naked. We must now put aside our differences and come out together in one strong voice to condemn this barbaric act of the central government of Nigeria. We must all demand, in the strongest possible terms, the unconditional release of the innocent people abducted from Chief Adeyemo’s house during the invasion of his residence. All of his belongings – amounting to multi millions of Nigerian Naira – must be immediately restored or replaced by the government to their original conditions. We must all sign a petition to the international communities to sanction Nigeria for crimes against humanity if it fails to abide by the international laws and conventions. The Nigerian government must not be allowed to get away with these dastardly acts, acts that are capable of throwing the world into jeopardy. If, due to their high-handedness of the rogue country Nigeria, a civil war were to break out in Nigeria, the world would be in the most difficult situation. The refugee crises would be worse than those of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Somalia put together. It would be great a burden for the world to shoulder, especially with the global disaster of Covid-19 still damaging many countries’ economies. We must, as one Yoruba, stand up, speak out and make the world hear our voice.

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