Diego Maradona was a notoriously one-footed maestro, with a left foot that had few, if any, equals. Shane Murray.
Dr. Yemi Farounbi is a former Nigerian diplomat. He is also a politician. But, importantly, for us, he is a moving force behind a new subnational group, the Yoruba Patriots Movement. Recently, he fielded questions with The Punch and said the following:
‘’Some of his [Tinubu’s] aides, supporters and men are no longer with him. Even within his political family, there have been factions…. The Yoruba have made mistakes and others have exploited the mistakes. We don’t get what belongs to us because we only understand regional politics but not national politics.’’ See Yoruba must learn to play national politics better – Farounbi, The Punch, 11-02-17.
The point is that, before now, it was received wisdom, even scriptural, to assert that the Yoruba played the best politics guns or votes can procure in Nigeria. And no Yoruba man has ever spoken in the precise manner: that the Yoruba only understand regional, not national, politics. In fact, the prospect of the Yoruba not being masters of the game, the Nigerian political game, was not even considered. It was a trite and accepted conclusion that we were all in ‘’The Yoruba Century.”
And to consolidate on this, nearly all public commentators, including those of Igbo extraction, were evangelising the Yoruba genius for intergroup politics. In fact, they were torturing the Igbo propagandistically to import the Yoruba way to life and politics.
We can recall three prominent Igbo who were on the roadshow canvassing this apocryphal psalm. One was the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) national president, now nominated for appellate court career, another was a June 12 activist and current political office holder in Lagos State and another was a former president of the NBA, Ikeja branch.
However, even before Farounbi came to his lifesaving revelation, it should have been clear to any discerning observer that the propaganda of the Yoruba as masters of the game, the game of Nigerian politics, was just smoke. In fact, the Yoruba may themselves have been smoked. But the point is that there was a manufactured public intolerance for the alternative “it is not the Yoruba century’’ viewpoints of discerning ones.
Why do we say so? When first we broached the idea that, despite appearances, the Yoruba were getting the short end of the stick, just all parties thought we had gone warped. How was it that we couldn’t see what was self-evident, that we were all living in the Yoruba century, playing the Yoruba game, one and all?
Anyway, we went on to write our books and as a minority of one insisted otherwise. We quote copiously form our latest book, Why and How the Yoruba Fought and Lost the Biafra-Nigeria Civil War.
Now, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not just a Yoruba leader but also the most dominant of all contender Yoruba powers. Electorally, no other Yoruba comes a close second to him.
Of course there is no begrudging he is a great strategist and ‘practice thinker’, thinking out with considerable clarity the fittings, nuts and bolts of operations. He has excelled in it more times than once such that it cannot be just luck. However, and despite all this, we still hold to the opinion of him, which we canvassed in our earlier book, Corruption in Africa: Resolution through New Diagnosis: “Whatever else one grudges Tinubu, one must concede he is an ace political operative. In fact, playing and restricted to his home turf, the South-West, he is all too possibly the greatest Nigerian politician alive. His feel for the delicacy of Yoruba politics and his sense of Caesarean drama, tailor-made for his people, is the greatest political roadshow by these sides. However, beyond the South-West he falters, but that should not bother us here or now.”
That was in 2014. But, unlike then, now that he has “strayed” beyond the South-West with real consequential implications it should and bothers us. It is interesting to recall that politically exposed Igbo… were all over the TV canvassing that the future Tinubu specifically and the West generally were cutting was ebeano, the preferred future and choice… Perhaps this is the second instance in one lifetime of the Yoruba or her factional leaders literally digging a hole and falling into one.
For reasons that are not clear, Tinubu like Awolowo before him focused wholly, but narrowly, and almost religiously on defeating and sacking the enemy, here, the Jonathan-PDP presidency from history. All well and good! But the fact is that the forces Tinubu and the West arrayed against Jonathan were not just Tinubu and the West. It was a coalition force, made up of the Tinubu-West and northern factions. As things now are, it is clear that outside the South-West Tinubu or the Yoruba faction he represents have fallen under friendly fire that was forewarned. He won the instant, the war, but lost the spoils, the future. Thus Tinubu’s strategic prescience needs to be re-evaluated, at least, for future strategy tinkerers. For us, Tinubu’s genius is territorial and diminishes into little or nothing outside his Yoruba imperium.
An anatomical dissection of the “faltering” indicates that the Yoruba under Tinubu rather than being bi- or even multi-ocular as to achieve perspective, both of time and space, decided to be so narrowly focused; they were monocular or even partially blind. For them, “immediately the focused defeat of Jonathan is delivered, all is well; the post-victory party will be ‘ours’, and will be equitably all-inclusive of victors. And in victory and peace there are no more wars or there ought not to be.” They may have self-satisfyingly assured themselves thus, but that is a conjectural or dreamed-for state of things. There are no signs it is how the real world runs, or is run.
It was apparent that Tinubu and the Yoruba he led paused or were distracted by the prospect of today’s victory. That distraction, apparently, weaned them away from wanting to win and secure the future, or the peace and spoils of war that must follow victory. That is, they were distracted from the eye of the fire, anyaoku. Apparently, they were too excited by the fireworks to remember that the fire was in the first instance for the baking of the banquets and not to feast the eyes, and they lost focus and vision. In other words, it may be said they “trusted” their coalition partners and forgot to “verify”. But the word “verify” is a technical word and has to be understood. It is not looking into the dark hearts of your coalition partners… So, to verify means to keep a potential enemy, even if present ally, out of all firing ranges within which you are a target. That is, you must oust him, whoever he is, former foes, or present allies, out of the striking distance of your vulnerabilities whatever be his or her goodwill and or assurances of same. That is, he must be so far or made to so be that even his most lethal and longest-range munitions cannot reach you or your vital regions. You must insist on and possess the right and capacity to survive their “nuclear strike” and respond in all MADness. It is a game, not a mission, not a nation. Nigeria is a game, is the game.
This security programme is sometimes called the Monroe Doctrine. It is that in your geopolitical home region and its outlier territories, no other powers, no matter how allegedly friendly, should be granted access or allowed right of mere presence. Let them stay in their own home regions.
That is, prior to 2011 [when we wrote, Corruption in Africa: Resolution through New Diagnosis] we had reached that conclusion that the Yoruba Patriots are reaching today, and that most Nigerians would be waking up to. Anyway, nobody has contradicted our facts, logic or conclusions as have been carefully laid out in our Why and How the Yoruba Fought… Rather, the great Yoruba patriots speaking through the prime mover and just about any other parties that have read us are confirming what we have known since the ancient past.
Is this then the historian at the task of prediction? Not quite. However, in the same book [please reference pages 55-68], we predicted clearly the wooing and the falling of the SouthEast by the APC. Now we warn: It is nothing for the Igbo to celebrate. It is also nothing for the Yoruba to do sidon look. It portends tragedy for both parties and, ultimately, for the nation. It is only that the risks are hidden but must in time unfold. This is the future we have glimpsed that many apparently are blinded to it. It will pain us that later in the day another Igbo or Yoruba will, like the great Farounbi, come to another life-saving revelation. And that is a revelation that historical due diligence has anciently led us to. All we did was to assay historical data, human nature, using the cognitive tools of Mother A’Endu and game theory. And lest we forget, we also warned the Yoruba in particular, and the others at large, to be wary of the always self-inflicted Alcibiades Syndrome.