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Voice of Emancipation

Voice of Emancipation: Like Kenya Like Nigeria

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By Kayode Emola

Nigerian youths are famous for their protests when they need the attention of the government. They know the right buttons to press to make the government succumb to their demands and the ENDSARS protest of October 2020 did not disappoint. That is not to say many African youths don’t protest in their countries to make the government do the right thing when things go wrong.

We all witnessed the Arab Spring in early 2010 and how it toppled many African leaders from Egypt to Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia to say the least. These were youths dissatisfied with high unemployment in the land and the high burden of taxation.

This week, the youths of Kenya had enough, they have endured pain and frustration like their African counterparts and this time around, they are going to vent their anger. It is not going to be in a civil discourse, rather it will be on the streets of Nairobi. They know that African leaders when push comes to shove, know how to sheath their swords when matter gets out of hand.

President Ruto immediately understood the handwriting on the wall and withdrew from the controversial tax hike. Why did it take protest to force the government into action, the people have been burdened by high taxation already but the government doesn’t see this, rather than help to reduce the burden, they increase the pain and suffering by further impoverishing the people.

Like many of the other protests mentioned earlier, that eventually toppled the African leaders, we don’t know where this is going to end as the youths are not backing down yet. They are hellbent on seeing the Kenya President resign. Whether he resigns or not is a matter for another day. I want to focus on why African leaders wait for street protests before they listen to the pains of their people.

It took the youths of Nigeria several days on the street for the Nigerian government to agree to disband the notorious SARS Police. Even at that, the Nigerian government unleashed the army to a peaceful protest that saw so many innocent youths lose their life while fighting for their rights. No parents should have to worry about their child(ren) going into a protest and not returning at the end of the day. If truly Africa claims it is practicing democracy, then there should be room for dissenting voices.

I was saddened yesterday when I watched the burial of a 19-year-old boy Ibrahim Wanjiku who was shot twice by the Kenya police in the neck. This is totally an unnecessary killing by the police, as it stands, at least 20 Kenyan youths have been killed unnecessarily for peacefully protesting against a policy that will make them poorer. I believe this police officers should be held accountable for their actions

Like Kenya, the Nigerian government in 2020 killed many innocent youths through the army with the authorities covering their atrocities. This should not be as there should be accountability in every facet of our society. Those in charge of the country’s affairs should understand that they are holding the position as a trust on behalf of the people. They should use it diligently to serve the people with dignity and respect rather than using it to cause the death of innocent youths.

As we journey into Yoruba nationhood, we should hold our leaders accountable to ensure good governance so that no one in the society is left behind. It is only good governance that can ensure we do not resort to street protests before the government listens to the plight of the people.

We need a robust system that will cater to everyone in society, not the current corrupt system that only caters to the elite in society. Yoruba needs to come out of Nigeria to build that kind of system and the earlier we achieve our own independent Yoruba nation, the better it will be for the majority of our people who are caught up in this current system of failure.

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Voice of Emancipation

Voice of Emancipation: Why the Kenyan Revolution is Only the Beginning

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By Kayode Emola

Last week I wrote about the Kenyan uprising and how their youths stunned the world by protesting for good governance. This protest quickly turned into a revolution, provoking the government into rapidly responding and rescinding the Finance Bill scheduled to take effect on 1 July 2024.

The Kenyan youth won the hearts and minds of the security agencies and indeed the entire country, but they must not fail to also win the battle. I say this because history has demonstrated repeatedly how easy it is for us as Africans to become complacent after achieving only a tiny victory. We lose sight of the bigger picture, and end up ignoring the real problem whilst focusing on the insubstantial.

I know many Africans would argue that the majority of African countries are independent; however, I beg to differ. Our rulers know where the ultimate power is seated, that the current government structures in Africa were not set up to give Africans true independence, but rather a façade to appease the credulous.

To be truly independent, a country needs to have autonomous control of all its God-given resources: human, economic, materials, mineral. This was the basis of the African nationalism movement in the 1950s that culminated in the granting of independence to many African countries; and yet even today, the people of Africa do not have this liberty.

The proponents of independence for African countries sought an independence that placed Africa on a level playing field with the rest of the world. But the other global players, especially Europe and America, were pursuing their own agenda, to perpetuate their exploitation of Africa. This is the reason that many leaders in Africa today have become the puppets of other, more powerful nations, both in the West and the East.

I am impressed that the youths of Kenya did not settle for mere street protests, but sought to target the economic interests of their elected officials. This strategy reached the politicians where it hurt the most, giving them a vested interest in addressing the demands for accountability.

As the revolution is cooling off, my advice to the Kenyan youths is to guard against becoming complacent with the enormous strides they have achieved thus far. They must maintain this momentum, mobilising themselves in small groups, with education and enlightenment as their watchwords.

For the revolution in Kenya to have been a success, its youths must educate themselves and their peers on how they got into this mess in the first place. Once they understand the underlying causes of their problem, they must tackle them earnestly and systematically, leaving no stone unturned.

They must engage in activities that promote justice, both in their communities and at the national level. It is only justice that can build a nation; without it, no nation can truly survive. The neo-colonialists know this, which is why they seek to undermine it by enticing African politicians with material largesse, bribing them to sell their country and its resources for tawdry trinkets.

I will implore the Kenyan youths not to squander their hard-fought victory by now resting on their laurels and hoping that the politicians will do the right thing. They must unwaveringly maintain the pressure on these politicians, until good governance, the bedrock of democracy, is ubiquitous throughout their nation. That is the only way that victory can be truly ascertained.

For us Yoruba, hoping and praying to achieve our own independent nation, I believe that we, too, must hold our elected officials to account. We must be resolute in our single-mindedness and determination to achieve genuine independence for our people. We must ensure that we build an independent Yoruba nation that is truly free to make its own choices and provide justice for all.

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Voice of Emancipation: Restructuring of Nigeria

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By Kayode Emola

Recently, the talk of restructuring Nigeria has hit the airwaves as though it is the panacea for our development. Proponents of this cause however laudable are failing to understand that Nigeria cannot be restructured. Not simply because of how events have unfolded in Nigeria since 1966 after the first coup but because restructuring is not just feasible.

Firstly, to stop Ojukwu from having his independent Biafra country, the Gowon government hurriedly created 12 states on 27 May 1967. Today, we have over 36 states in Nigeria plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). How we break down all these 36 states back into just 6 or 8 regions remains to be seen. The best that will come out of any such proposal for restructuring are the creation of more states, more local governments, more government officials and more misery for the people. All my people will do in such situation is to pray for a messiah that may never come.

Secondly, restructuring is just a hoax to make the people believe that Nigeria can still work. The many problems bedevilling Nigeria cannot be solved by legislation, it has to be discussed in a round table by all the stakeholders involved just like the three regions were negotiated between 1957 to 1959.

Additionally, every solution for Nigeria will come with its own pain and gain but we have to take the bull by the horn and not merely romancing the problem and hoping that it will go away. Nigeria has gone beyond bad and merely hoping that it will work again is just a wishful thinking.

If we understood how the regions were broken down in order to favour state creation, we will understand that restructuring was already dead-on arrival. However, I salute the courage of our fathers especially in Afenifere who are still championing restructure as a solution for Nigeria.

Many of us are no fools, and we cannot be cajoled, what Nigeria need is a true national dialogue before it is too late. Not the meri go round rhetoric approach that leads to nowhere.

The Fulani bandits that are terrorising our towns and villages do not understand the word restructuring. Their motto is jihad and conquest and that is the code they live by on a daily basis. If we continue to shout restructuring from now till eternity, that will not change the status quo of things in Nigeria, it is only prolonging the doomsday for Nigeria.

Nigeria is already doomed to fail, many countries like it in the past ended up breaking apart, some into 2 separate independent nations and some into 7 or 8 other smaller countries like in the case of former Yugoslavia. If anyone still thinks that Nigeria can continue to weather the many storms and challenges it faces, then they better think again.

For Nigeria to be restructured back into regions will mean that the Fulani hegemony is completely broken; this they will never allow and would rather allow Nigeria to be broken than restructured. The earlier our Yoruba elders and leaders understand this, the better our chances of saving our Yoruba ancestral land.

Some have even begun to promote the 2014 Goodluck Jonathan national confab document as a solution to Nigeria’s wonky national arrangement. It is high time they knew that it is also not a saving grace for Nigeria. The country they love to cherish and protect is not there anymore, it is long gone.

Many people feel offended when you tell them that Nigeria should breakup. Well, I don’t blame them, their ancestors were first taken as slaves and dehumanised in foreign lands. Then their parents were also dehumanised in their own lands and forced to speak foreign language as their first language in their own land which was handed over to them. So, it is the only thing they’ve ever known and that is the trauma they are still going through themselves so trying to change that mentality will require a great task.

Let me be crystal clear, Nigeria will break up either by choice or by force because the way it is going is not sustainable, and the people will be forced to react at some point. If we think we’ve heard the last from those that organised the ENDSARs protest, then we should be in for a rude shock. If the Nigeria politicians don’t make room for peaceful dialogue when there is still opportunity, then they may be caught up in the impending doom that may befall the country. I hope and pray that our politicians do the right thing whilst there is still opportunity, to before warned is to before harmed.

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Voice of Emancipation: Was Democracy Worth It?

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By Kayode Emola

This week, on June 12th, Nigeria celebrated democracy day for the second time this year, not without drama. However, drama aside, was it really worth it fighting for democracy?

What would have happened to Nigeria had General Abacha not died? Would the economy be this bad? Would there have been even more martyrs than died already in Abacha’s regime, hell bent on killing anyone who stood in his path? All these questions beg for answer that we may never truly know.

However, what we do know is that democracy, as it’s conducted in Nigeria, is a killer. It sucks the life out of the country, turning leaders into mere puppets as it destroys the economy. This is the harsh reality to which Nigerians are being forcibly awoken. A country where the general populace must accept without complaint price increases whenever the government officials seek more money to steal, but where these same people have to go on strike innumerable times before their salaries can be so much as considered for an increase.

During the democracy day celebrations in 2000, Bola Tinubu, then Governor of Lagos State and now President of Nigeria, told a crowd of supporters that he believes in Yoruba nation, that Yoruba nation is the only solution to the people’s problem. Two decades later, the Nigerian economy has repeatedly demonstrated that unless we get out of Nigeria, the worst is yet to come for the Yoruba people.

The truth is, Nigeria’s problems didn’t start today; so anyone thinking that any solution, other than total dissolution, is deluding themselves. Unless we accept this reality, we may as well continue this charade, as though merely chanting “Democracy” will put food on our tables.

Countries like Yugoslavia walked this destructive path and it didn’t end well for them, with the eventual dissolution of the country in 1992 following a brutal and bloody war. We can continue to pretend that Nigeria is one indivisible entity, but the reality is that Nigeria is not, has never been, and will never be a united country, no matter how hard the beneficiaries of the crooked country try to make us to believe.

It would be of greater benefit to everyone if we work towards a round table discussion on the future of the country, rather than allow the forces of nature to overtake us. Have we ever asked ourselves why the military always took the reins on Nigeria’s affairs? It is because Nigeria can never function as a unified entity, so the only way to hold it together is by military force.

Every single politician is only seeking to benefit themselves, their families and their cronies. This is why none of the political actors ever try to implement sustainable development structures that will make the Nigeria people prosper, because wider sharing of the wealth among the general populace would result in less for the politicians to keep for themselves.

When our leaders do think of building infrastructure, it is only so that they appear to be doing something, with no intent to create benefit for the people. They appeal to the World Bank, IMF and any country willing to grant them loan, so that they can co-opt the money for themselves. This is the reason that Nigeria is in such a pathetic state.

If democracy were the solution to Nigeria’s problem, then 25 years after military rule ceased the country ought to be showing signs that it is on the path toward economic freedom. However, the reality is: the currency is on its knees, the majority of the youths are unemployed and the only solution the government offers to the people is patience.

Patience is a virtue, but it doesn’t put food on the table and it doesn’t pay the bills. Our people require real work and a decent living wage to take them out of poverty, not sympathy. Our people need to know that deceiving ourselves that Nigeria will be great again is futile. It can never be, so unless we dissolve the country, we will merely be vainly championing a democracy that will never solve any of the country’s problems.

Therefore, there is only one option left for us as a people: to be determined in our heart to get something better. We must, as Yoruba, pull ourselves together and ask for our own independent nation. Any other solution proposed will be no more than sticking a plaster over a heavy brain injury – we know it cannot work. Either we continue living in impoverished delusions of democracy; or else pour our energies into advocating for Yoruba independence, so that we can build ourselves a strong future in a nation that is our own.

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