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Voice of Emancipation: Knowledge is Key

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By Kayode Emola

What doesn’t kill you, they say, makes you stronger; however, when you do reach breaking point, nothing can keep you standing. I do not know how much longer Nigerians can hold out before reaching breaking point. The sheer multitude of problems faced by the country seems to suggest that our leaders, who should be the nation’s visionaries, are blindly leading the blind.

Philosopher John Stuart Mill said, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” The millions of Nigerians living in abject poverty is not the fault of the international communities. The fault lies at the feet of every Nigerian who has stood by or is currently standing by, who accepts the mediocre leadership delivered by the past and present political classes, who do not advocate for good, either for themselves or for their fellow country men and women.

Many gullible people are pinning their hopes for a solution to Nigeria’s problems on the 2023 elections, though these will produce nothing but another liar to be president. The irony is that eight years later they will repent of their foolishness, praising the previous government, searching for another messiah, whilst nothing changes. We repeat this same cycle of madness and yet hope that the outcome will differ and one day Nigeria will be better.

The bitter truth is, it doesn’t matter who becomes Nigeria’s president, Nigeria will never be better. If we continue to deceive ourselves, accepting the current arrangement, building hope on nothing, then we will never see improvement. So, we either rise up now and take our destiny into our own hands, or else we will perish in our ignorance.

No regime in Nigeria has produced a positive change. Conversely, the country has retrogressed at an accelerating rate over the recent years. The failure to prioritise development has condemned Nigeria to fail inevitably across every index of progress.

Consider the situation with our universities: the highest citadels of learning have been closed continuously for the last eight months because of strikes over pay. The future of millions of scholars hangs in jeopardy because the government cannot meet its obligations to the university’s lecturers. Many prospective graduates who were hoping to pursue further education or employment are now unable through no fault of their own. Yet we Yoruba sit comfortably in our high places concerning ourselves solely with who becomes the next president of Nigeria. No wonder the Bible says, “My people die because of lack of knowledge”.

When we tell people that their living conditions within Nigeria are abnormal, that the road to a life of fulfilment and happiness is predicated on removing our Yoruba nation from Nigeria, many people view us as the problem rather than the solution. The simple fact is our youths have never known anything better; whilst those elders who have experienced the riches of life under Yoruba governance, who ought to be at the forefront of the call for Yoruba nation, are instead preaching one Nigeria.

Now, may I ask: what really is Nigeria, and who really are Nigerians? Nigeria, as with many other African countries, does not qualify to be a country. Nigeria was formed as a company; and every company is owned by its shareholders – those who either formed the company or who bought it subsequently. Nigeria was formed by the Royal Niger Company (RNC) and then, in 1900, was sold to the British government for £864,000 for its maximum exploitation. It is clear to see why Chief Awolowo concluded, “Nigeria is a mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English’ or ‘Welsh’ or ‘French’.”

However, from the time of sale through to the transition into Independence in the 1960’s, Nigeria was effective as a corporate entity, living within its means and producing optimally. Today, the company has been run into the ground, and yet many still celebrate its smouldering ruins as a nation.

If there are no Nigerians bonded into a nation by a commonality of language and culture, if the term “’Nigeria’ is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not,” then why are we killing ourselves to protect a company that we did not create? We, the inhabitants of this geographical area, are not the shareholders of the company, but rather the commodity that is being traded.

Today, many Yoruba people are running away from their homeland as far and as fast as they can. They emigrate to the USA, UK, Canada, etc looking for somewhere to call home. Many have lived in the diaspora for upwards of 40 or 50 years and can no longer return home because, in reality, there is no home to return to.

Yoruba sportsmen and women who have achieved great accolades in their relevant disciplines, such as Anthony Joshua and Tobi Amusan, have done it outside the shores of Yorubaland. It is not that our homeland is cursed, but that it has not been built into the enabling environment required for our people to thrive and fulfil their destiny.

When I was planning to come to the UK over 10 years ago, my plan was to spend one year obtaining a Master’s degree, before returning to a lucrative job with an oil company in Nigeria. Alas, 10 years has passed and now my home is in the United Kingdom, with no plans to return and settle in Yorubaland anytime soon. I am not complaining about the good life I have come to enjoy here in the UK; I am only saddened that our leaders have not done anything to create a better life for the millions of our people in our homeland. We, however, cannot follow in our leaders’ path of apathy; it is imperative that we stand up and fight for the future of the next generation.

We can continue to moan without taking action and wait for a miracle to happen; or we can begin to put in the effort required to bring our Yoruba nation out of Nigeria. The choice is in your hands, every Yoruba man and woman must choose whether to take the path of action or inaction. However, as for me and my household, we will continue to advocate for Yoruba nation. We are not pursuing independence because it is one of multiple solutions that can create a better life for our people; we are pursuing independence because it is the only way to create a better life for our people. The sooner we realise this, the better it will be for all of us.

Once realising this truth, the next question people may ask is, what should we do in response? We Yoruba need to be resolute in our demand for change, we must insist – in a non-violent manner – that there will be no participation in Nigeria’s elections across Yorubaland until we have been able to sit down and discuss how we want to move forward. After all, what we have in Nigeria is never election but selection – it is not the populace who elect their leader, but the electoral powers who select their choice. This is the time that will make or break Nigeria; we must accelerate the Yoruba independence journey to ensure that we are freed in totality from the mental shackles bound around our neck.

I implore those who are still searching for the solution to creating a better Nigeria to sit down and ask themselves: what is Nigeria? What language does Nigeria speak? If Nigeria is a cohesive country, then why is our lingua franca English? It is only when we know the truth concerning our origin and Yoruba heritage that we can appreciate who we truly are. We Yoruba are a great people, having a unique language, culture and tradition that transcend millennia. The sooner we begin reclaiming our identity, the better it will be, not just for ourselves but for all of the generations yet unborn.

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Opinion

Open Letter to FCT Minister, Chief Nyesom Wike By Richard Akinnola II

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Dear Hon minister,

First, a disclosure. You may not know me but we have met on two occasions in the house of our mutual respected Oga, first as a minister of State and second as a Governor, but l doubt if you can recognize me now. I’m one of your admirers and critic.

As a two-time Governor of Rivers state, you did well in terms of infrastructures, for which l often commend you. I however, sometimes disagree with you, particularly what l consider your streaks of high-handedness against those who disagreed with you politically.
I’m writing this letter, with the hope that don would send it to you, after watching your media interview with particular reference to your protégé and successor, Sim Fubara, a guy l have never met. No doubt, he wouldn’t have emerged as Governor without your imprimatur. I don’t have the details of your disagreement and I’m not even interested. What I’m interested in is you to rise above the alleged offence.

Take a deep breath and have an introspective view of your political trajectory since 1999.
*1999-2007: Obio-Akpor LGA Chairman
*2007-2011: Chief of Staff, Rivers
*2011-2015: Education Min. (State)
*2015-2023: Governor, Rivers State
*2023-till date: Minister of FCT
And you are just 55!
I stand to be corrected, nobody from Rivers State has been so politically favoured and blessed by God as you are, not that you are the most politically-savvy politician from the state but it’s just the Grace of God. I plead with you, don’t take such grace for granted.

As Governor of Lagos state in 2010, Governor Babatunde Fashola told me something that has stuck with me till today, regarding power and leadership. There was a three-month old strike by doctors in Lagos over pay increase. I stepped in to mediate between the doctors and State, which by the grace of God, l was able to pull through after extensive negotiations with the doctors and the strike was called off to the relief of millions of Lagosians. In the course of the mediation, Fashola told me that some people asked him to fire all the doctors but he made this profound statement: “Restraint is a powerful tool in leadership; the fact that you have the power to do something but chose to look the other way.” That statement has stuck with me till date. Why do you think American presidents, despite the temptation to press the nuclear button, when their interests are threatened, rather exercise restraint by refusing to go that route. It is leadership restraint.

Permit me to recall a story which you yourself regaled your audience with at the 70th birthday reception you held in honour of Dr Peter Odili. You said that when you wanted to contest for the Chairmanship of Obi/Akpor local government in 1998, you approached Dr Odili, whom you were meeting for the first time and sought his support. He obliged by giving you his support and according to you, he gave you the first financial support towards your ambition, even when he himself was campaigning to run for the governorship of Rivers State. You became the Chairman and when you wanted to go for a second tenure, some political actors removed your name and according to you, you ran to Dr Odili who was then the governor and he saved your political career by reinstating your name.

Fast forward to when you completed your tenure as the Chairman of the local government, when your erstwhile friend, Rotimi Amaechi who just became the Governor, appointed you his Chief of Staff and that administration commenced a process to humiliate Dr Odili by setting up the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission where your benefactor, Odili was the target and was put in the witness box.
Later when cracks began to emerge in your relationship with your boss, Amaechi, you ran back to your benefactor, Dr Odili to apologise for how your administration humiliated him. As a large-hearted person, he forgave you and that began a wonderful relationship till date. Why am l making references to these incidents? If Dr Odili could forgive you and took you back, why can’t you also forgive your political offenders, including Fubara, particularly since God has been so good to you?

Anyone who has transversed Ada George road, Port harcourt and seen the humongous, palatial estate you reside in, that takes a substantial part of that road, would know that you are not lacking materially. Coupled with that, you are a minister in the current government and your wonderful wife is a judge. What else does any human being want?

My brother, please calm down and let go of your ego and learn from history. Who would have thought that a whole General Shehu Yar’Adua (rtd) could die like a chicken inside prison; who would have imagined that a whole Bashorun MKO Abiola, the then richest man in Africa could spend five years in detention and die in custody, despite his international connections; who would have imagined that Major Hamza Al-Mustapher, the de facto Head of State during the junta of General Sanni Abacha, a man even Generals genuflected for, would spend 14 years in prison? Please, pause and think. This life is ephemeral. As the book of Ecclesiastes 1 states, life is vanity.

In Oyo state, there used to be the strong man of Ibadan politics, Lamidi Adedibu but his house in Molete, Ibadan is now desolate after his death. Adedibu was law as far as Ibadan politics was concerned. He was feared by all political actors across the nation. Before him, there was Busari Adelakun, otherwise known as “Eruobodo” in Ibadan politics. They have all been consigned to the dustbin of history. Learn from these because whether you like it or not, you would also pass away one day like all mortals.

God has been so good to you. Though I don’t have the details of your feud with Fubara but you claim he is an ingrate but this same “ingrate” took bullets for you as your Accountant-General when the EFCC was investigating your government. If you didn’t have confidence in him, you wouldn’t have put him forward to succeed you. Please, rise above political offences and be a leader. May it not be counted against you that since 1999, your successor would be the first Governor of Rivers state to be impeached. No garland for such feat. It would be a pyrrhic victory and your new political masters in Abuja would even be wary of you. You are new to Tinubu’s school of politics. Don’t get carried away.
May God guide you right.

Richard Akinnola
(Your admirer and critic)

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Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: How to Achieve Yoruba Sovereignty (Pt. 3)

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By Kayode Emola

Many people would have us believe that achieving Yoruba sovereignty is a gargantuan task, yet the reality is that it should not be as difficult as they make it appear. In part one of this series, I outlined how we first got into this mess, through the combination of unfavourable trade alliances and the sheer determination of the Europeans to colonise our lands for their personal gains.

Just as we are in this mess through the colonial powers’ determination, we ourselves must be doubly determined to remove ourselves from it. This is not an abstract idea that we can notionally support without any concrete action. Rather, we must be actively striving for our freedom, determining metrics by which we can measure our successes. Without such measurement, how can we ascertain whether we are truly making progress or, instead, retrogressing?

This is the time to do a roll call of people who are genuinely serious about Yoruba independence. The fight for self-determination must demonstrate an irrefutable desire for our own independent country outside of Nigeria, and to do that we need to put concrete measures in place. This is not about holding endless zoom meetings that lead nowhere, but rather ensuring that these meetings are backed by action, with direction and clear plans for how and when we get to our destination.

We in the self-determination struggle must have a clear understanding of where we are and where we are going. I hear too many arguments about which direction we should be traversing and how to circumnavigate the rough terrain of Yoruba independence. The truth is that those who are for one route or an opposite route are mistaken. We must be opened minded about our direction and all the options must be on the table and prepared for.

Take for instance, some people will say we want diplomatic route, and some people will say we want to get Yoruba nation forcefully. There is no such thing as diplomatic route or military route as those expressions are just gimmicks and grammars to keep us in check. There is only one route and that is the determination of our hearts and minds to liberate our country. Every other fantastic word being used is just an illusion of the mind.

Therefore, to begin our journey all we need do from the beginning is to plan how to get to our destination including self-defence. During the planning phase, this will highlight how long or short we realistically believe that the journey will take. The planners should be able to put a time limit which should be limited, not more than 2 – 5 years that Yoruba independence must be achieved and put measures in place on how it can be achieved, which I believe its realistic including whipping up sentiments among our people back home.

Once the planning on how the journey is to be executed which should be done by only a selected few, this information can be trickled down to the masses in the form of implementation. The planning should include how funds can be generated both from individuals who truly believe in the cause and from organisations or sympathetic governments around the world that are willing to listen to our plights.

Take for instance, when Israel was attacked on 7 October this year, Israel was determined to free the last citizen taken as hostage by HAMAS. This was an uncompromising position Israel set out for itself from the onset not mincing words or trying to compromise. Israel was determined to free their citizens and declared war against HAMAS and today we can see that they are winning the war and hostages are being released.

Thanks to the Israeli government resilience and determination, the freed hostages are being reunited with their families. That is the type of determination those at the forefront of the Yoruba must have if we are to make any headway on our journey.

Once those at the forefront are resolute and determined, then we need to take a roll call of those who truly believe in the freedom of Yoruba. By this, I don’t mean people who would just turn up for zoom meetings. I mean all the ordinary man on the street who are suffering from the hardship Nigeria has meted out to everyone and is determined to leave Nigeria to embrace their Yoruba identity.

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Opinion

Journey into SELF: Your Mind, a Weapon, Your Brain, a Powerful Machine!

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“The ultimate goal of every exploration is to discover something or unravel mysteries, and maximize those things in order to conquer: fears, flaws and limitations; thereby advancing one’s self for the benefit of those around us, especially our nations and generation(s). Your mind is a weapon; your brain is a powerful machine that aids in the explorations of the ‘empires’ that lie within the cores of your being for exploits beyond measures, such that it is on the basis of how far your inner eyes can see, so you are bound to become whatever, whenever and however your goodly and Godly heart desires are. The alignment of the Spirit, Soul and Body are channels for the openings of portals within and beyond realms. They are gifts for accessing from God that which makes us to be “Made Above Nature” for fellowships, also custodians of the deep things of God, wired as carriers of His essences and presence on this earthly plain, primarily for His glory!” – Tolulope A. Adegoke

By the activation of the process of what is termed to be self –exploration, the prodigal son in the Book of Life came back to his senses and went back home. He came to himself and arrived at the juncture of self-realization by a process – the process of self- exploration.

How far a man conquers the world is a function of how well he conquers himself; hence, the greatest journey, the most prestigious journey, the most rewarding journey any man would ever embark on is the journey of self-exploration. The ultimate goal of every exploration is to discover something(s) or unravel mysteries, and maximize those things to conquer: fears, flaws and limitations; thereby advancing one’s self for the benefits of those around us, especially our generation(s).

A man will be stuck in ‘yesterday’ no matter how well read he is or how well he has explored the world around him, if he neglects to travel through himself; that is, to explore the industries that lies with him. Empowerment for change of levels or development does not come from travelling round the world; it comes from travelling through one’s self. Africa as a continent and government of its nations, for example, craves to attract Africans in diaspora to come back home to make Africa better is an unnecessary move. Africans that will develop Africa are not those that have travelled round the world, they are simply those that have ‘travelled into the industries that lies within their earthen vessels’. The prodigal son is a testimony of this fact; despite how well-travelled he was, he still fell from grace to grass, from a Hero to zero, but he got connected to a program of restoration when he embarked on the journey of self-exploration.

Self-exploration is the art and act of outgrowing childish dependences on individuals, as an individual, a people, a nation or continent, in acknowledging and celebration of the cultural values of developing and assigning one’s natural or innate potentials or gifts to the benefits of others.  If you cannot lean on your inner grace (as given by God), you will end up becoming an unnecessary burden unto those around you. Treasures lies within everyone. To be honest, self-explorers out-grow and outshine childish nature of dependence on others. They do not just sit down and wait for others to make things work for them or better; rather, such category of people gets up and work-out things for the better by accepting responsibility for the well-being of peoples, or corporates or nations without any need of compulsion.

 Self-explorers meet needs, they do not waste time thinking of who to call on to help them meet their needs when in need. Therefore, such a man or woman waits on him or herself, because he believes in what the Creator, God Almighty has embedded in him or her, which are consciously and continuously worked upon to become better and more useful to God, society at large and not only to himself! We should be observant enough to know with empirical evidences that major life’s activities are usually done or carried out in seclusion. In quietness lies the truth. My daily mantra goes thus: ‘calm, quiet, available and useful is my soul before God Almighty, My Maker!’ For example, real banking transactions are carried out in the strong room and an organization’s behaviour is cultivated and strengthened and accounted for in a secluded company boardroom. Also, medical operations are usually carried out in secluded places known as the hospital-theatres. So, self-exploration is carried out in the empires of the mind!

 Self-exploration involves securing personal independence for self-realization and self-productivity, which requires a secluded or serene atmosphere and the culture of practiced silence. Because, in silence lies the truth! A man that does not engage in silence is bound to perform below his potentials! The prodigal son as a powerful case study here was launched to self-realization and fulfilment of his potentials simply by engaging in silence; listen to the account from the Book of Life: (Luke15:15-16)

15“And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; And he sent him into his fields to feed swine, 16And he would fain have filled is belly with the husks that swine did eat; and no man gave unto him.”

The prodigal son celebrated this truth: “…he sent him into his fields to feed swine.”

17“And when he came to himself, he said how many hired servants of my father have bread enough to spare, and I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto him…am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

As we can see, the prodigal son became alone with pigs, he was disconnected from men, such that he had nobody to come to his aid or depend on. He became alone, disconnected himself from clubbing, from hanging out with sluts and macho guys. He indeed disconnected himself from distractions (the noises), so as to gain attention to the call of destiny!

 Even, Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists ever lived was bearing witness with the prodigal son’s engagement to silence, when he revealed that:

“I am truly a ‘lone-traveller’ and never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family with my whole heart. In face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude, feeling that increase with the year.”

What the above simply means is to practically engage in silence beyond locking yourself in a room, disconnected from all manner of human and mechanical noise. It simply means disengaging your mind from all manner of desires, lust, pursuits, values and associations that are not loyal, subject or beneficial to the discovery, development and deployment of your God given or innate potentials.

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Says the Holy Book of Life!

The Hero called Michael Jordan, the man whom God had in mind in blessing and entertaining mankind with the basketball skills. The game of basketball would have become boring without the legendary exploits of this rare gem. With a divine sense of understanding, there are reasons beyond the visible that made Michael Jordan such a timeless star, which has helped to inspire a lot of individuals across the world and lured many of us study several respective versions of his biographies.

It has been discovered that Michael Jordan’s winning edge is his mastery of the ageless art of silence. He once wrote this powerful piece online:

“When I am out there, no one can bother me. Being out there is one of the most private parts of my life…during the game; for a few times in my life, I feel untouchable…I mean that about a game being like meditation period for me. Anytime I am playing serious basketball, it’s like meditation.

Sometimes even in the middle of the game, I am able to think about things as loud as it is; it’s almost a quiet time for me. I know that basketball game can be very exciting, but for me the game is one of the calmest parts of my life.”

Michael Jordan’s winning edge no doubt is his discipline to play the game on the platter of silence, by being united- spirit, soul and body-with the game of basketball; not minding external applauds or distracting forces which surrounded him- the process with such force that would break any unfocused man. By this, he is able to initiate and maximize communication and application with the unusual and inherent basketball energy he is endowed with.

Silence is the strong force that connects the physical into the spiritual, if properly harnessed to yielding the manifestations of possibilities. Silence, therefore, is the art of being immune to distracting-external forces in order for one to initiate or propel or maximize communication with inherent and invisible resources endowed in man by God. But the art of silence has been neglected by vast majority of mankind; yet it is as important as the art of prayer. Surprisingly, those that are master of the art of ‘prayer’ without mastering the art of ‘silence’ make little or no contribution to human existence. But, those that master the art of ‘silence’ enjoy the grace to maximize, expand, explore, exploit and contribute meaningfully to the advancement of humanity!

Attesting to the reality of this fact, Bishop David O. Oyedepo revealed in his book titled: “Maximizing your Destiny” that:

“Quietness enhances the quality of thinking. Quietness enhances productive reasoning. I cherish quietness and I will do anything to have it…that is why although we have many rooms in our house. I sometimes have to put certain guest in the hotel, to avoid the noise they will make in my home. Quietness is precious to me. It has great spiritual value…”

A prolific and industrious writer, Samson Adah Paul wrote this mind blowing piece that reminds me of the Divine creation techniques:

“When God Almighty saw the need to create woman for man, he did not inspire man to employ the ‘art of prayer’, he simply inspired man to connect to the art of silence…”

“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs…and the rib which God had taken from man, made He woman.” [Genesis2:21]

Silence informs! It is the factory house of progress and development. Any quest for progress and development that is pursued without the art of silence will ever be in vain. Samson Adah Paul writes again: “Africans that will experience the fulfilment of the ‘African Dream’ will have to be masters of the art of silence. Mind you, silence in this context is not about being mute and dumb, it’s rather about being immune to distracting external-forces in order for one to initiate and maximize communication with the inherent resources endowed in man by God.”

Some sensitive aspects of Thomas Edison’s life have been a great lesson and positive example to me as a person after series of comprehensive study about him. I discovered too that his greatest strength was his mastery over the art of ‘silence’. His life showed impeccable discoveries and exploits, but were all as a result of paying attention to necessary matters; it is much more a function of withdrawing attention or refraining from unnecessary matters. He refused to submit to his medical science advancement for the treatment of 100% deafness which he suffered from birth on one ear and 80% deafness on his other ear. Edison rather preferred to bear the burden of deafness, for him to become better; because to him, that was an advantage. He wrote this mind-blowing piece:

“Even though I am nearly deaf, I seem to be gifted with a kind of inner hearing which enables me to detect sounds and noises that the ordinary person does not hear.” Edison did not consider hearing disability as pain but as gain which helped to strengthen his concentration levels in the areas of discoveries and impeccable inventions, thereby serving as a plus to humanity, rather than living on the guise of excuses! This, I call the Journeys of Our Beings to ‘Being’ whatever our hearts desires, whenever and however! It is a journey less travelled by a majority across the world, but mostly practised by the ‘One Percent’ of the ‘One Percent’ (Geniuses)!

Dr. Tolulope A. Adegoke is an accredited ISO 20700 Effective Leadership Management Trainer. 

E-mail: adegoketolulope1022@gmail.com;

globalstageimpacts@gmail.com

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