Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: Yoruba Spirit Cannot be Caged

By Kayode Emola

It is no longer news that the central government of Nigeria is doing everything it possibly can to silence the struggle for the Yoruba emancipation. Part of the tactics it has employed is the clampdown of agitators and the assassination attempt on the life of Chief Sunday Adeyemo aka Igboho Oosa. This actions by the central government of Nigeria needs to be openly condemned by all and not just by few people. If I could recall, it was the leadership of this present government that staged several protests across the country against its predecessor on the increase of fuel prices from ₦65 to £90 and on the kidnapping of over 300 Chibok school girls. It is this same government that has enjoyed the privileges of freedom of speech, freedom of association among several freedoms in the past that is now doing everything to trample the human rights of the Yoruba people. One thing is definitely certain, it doesn’t matter how hard any government of the world tries to suppress the views their own citizens, the will of the people definitely always prevails.

The Yoruba people have existed for thousands of years and have travelled across the length and breath of the world carrying their value systems with them. During these periods there have been numerous attempts both internally and externally to completely annihilate the Yoruba race by several kingdoms and world powers without any success. The Yoruba people instead continues to grow from strength to strength and not just managing wherever they find themselves but excelling in any field of endeavours. Whilst we may not be given the proper accolade we truly deserve; it does not deter the fact that we continue to pour our heart in anything we do striving for excellence which makes us to stand out among our peers. This among many other value systems we embody is the reason the Yoruba people has sometimes being described as eyin loju Olodumare (eggs in the eyes of God).

When the struggle for the Yoruba self-determination started in earnest around 2018/2019 not many people anticipated the direction it was going to take. Quite a lot of people even said no nation has ever embarked on this type of journey without bloodshed. Some people even attributed the struggle for self-determination as a call to war in order to silence the genuine agitations of the Yoruba people. Truth be told, the Yoruba people have invested quite a lot in the Nigeria project and we continue to do till today. However, there is nothing to show for all the sacrifices we put to make the Nigeria state work. On the contrary, Nigeria continues to give us every reason to want to run away as quickly as possible from insecurity, mismanagement of our resources and the open violation of the rule of law by the oligarchs.

The central government in their wishful thinking had thought that by arresting or assassinating Chief Sunday Adeyemo, the spirit of the average Yoruba person fighting for self-determination would be dampened. It failed to realise that the struggle for freedom and the rule of law is not a political party that can be crushed by any government. The escape of Chief Sunday Adeyemo on the assassination attempt of his life on 1st July 2021 should remind our Yoruba people that the Yoruba spirit cannot be caged. I do not want to imagine what could have happened by now in Yoruba land and Nigeria in general if Chief Adeyemo was arrested or killed on that day. I am glad like many others that by now the government of Nigeria realises that the Yoruba people are not a push over.

We the Yoruba people know how to pick our battles and we know where to place our priorities. We know when to speak and we know when to be mute and it is this attitude that has made us survive the harshest of conditions wherever we find ourselves in the world. For instance, it is not only the Yoruba people that were sold into slavery during the slave trade era. However, the Yoruba people are one of the tribal people of Africa that made the most of the slavery and this has made the Yoruba language the second official language in Brazil. It is therefore not surprising that many nations across the world recognises the contribution of the Yoruba people to their societies, whether physically or spiritually.

In pre-colonial times, there are at least seventy-seven recorded attempts by the Fulani tribe to conquer the Yoruba people. The Yoruba people continue to stand strong and firm in their resolve not to be conquered. This is not because the Yoruba people are the strongest or wisest people on planet earth today. It is because God has embedded in us the spirit of endurance and an average Yoruba person is very calculative before embarking on a journey. The Yoruba people never live their lives far away from divinity be it Christianity, Islam or Traditional worship. We recognise that there is a supernatural force aligning the balance of power on the earth and nearly every Yoruba person is spiritual. It is our collective spirituality that makes it difficult to cage the Yoruba spirit.

I will enjoin all my Yoruba brothers and sisters to not lose hope in the battle ahead. I have heard a lot of people say the Nigeria government has got more military ammunitions than we do and have more resources than we do. If only my people know that what will determine whether we win this battle ahead of us is not by how many guns the government of Nigeria has or not have. The present-day Yorubaland is our undisputed ancestral land and the centre point of our divinity. Even though we are scattered all over the world today our collective spirituality is connected together fighting these battles on our behalf. I want our people both home and abroad to be rest assured that even if it gets to the stage where it is only one of us remaining on the face of this earth, the Yoruba spirit cannot be caged.

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