Uche Usim, Abuja To ensure availability of petroleum products for local consumption, the Federal Government on Wednesday disclosed that it was in talks with a number of financial institutions like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), among others, to provide contributory financing to potential investors in modular refineries in the…
The flag was beautiful, it had all the colours of the rainbow on the upper right hand corner but the flag was predominantly white and green. There were a lot of people, gaily dressed standing in groups. There was music and traditional Yoruba music. It was like a very big owambe party in full swing. Everybody was talking at the same time. Then I took a second look. If it was a party, why were there no hot bowls of amala and gbegiri being ferried from table to table? Why were some people talking and others dancing? In fact, there seemed to be more talking, cacophonous talking indeed, than merry-making. The only feature of owambe in the atmosphere was the dresscode: aso-oke in all hues, caps in all elegant traditional styles, iyun and segi beads around necks, waists and ankles. My hands folded across my chest, I took a closer look at the arena. And there it was, the big banner billowing in the wind: Yoruba Country. Wow, what was that, I wondered, as I wandered through the crowd to get a real feel of what the flag and banner were about.
I soon found out that there were heated discussions going on all over the arena, hence the din.
There was argument about virtually everything.
Why in the name of all the 200 gods of this land was the name Yoruba used?
And there are goddesses in the pantheon too like Oya and Osun.
Please let’s focus on the name issue. We can count the gods later.
Exactly. Yoruba was a coinage by the Hausas. We cannot leave the contraption Nigeria and still end up with an Hausa name.
Ah aha ah, where did you hear that Yoruba is an Hausa word?
Okay, break it down syllable-by-syllable and tell me what Yoruba means.
But we have been known by that name since the days of our forefathers.
I am more worried about where the capital of this new nation should be?
For where, Ibadan is not befitting, it does not even have an airport.
No, it has a landing strip.
Lagos is the choice. It has everything, sea port, airport and it is already well developed. In Ibadan, we will need to start virtually from the beginning infrastructurally. Ibadan is an ancient place.
What is wrong with ancient?
Oyo is ancient and the political capital of the old power.
Ile-Ife as the cradle of creations should be the capital. It is a natural choice for a fresh beginning.
This is the 21st century for crying out loud! There is so much to do, we cannot be counting the gods and considering ancient history.
We have to consider our history to shape our future. I think we should restore tribal marks in a more refined and more beautiful way.
W-h-a-a-a-t, Mr Caveman, are you being serious right now? Tribal marks are primitive, backward, reprehensible, criminal…
That is enough! I want to stress that Yoruba textbooks coming to Ekiti must be written in Ekiti dialect.
Good, that means the ones coming to Ila-Orangun should be translated into Igbonna.
I do not think this will work…
Which part of it won’t work?
Please, who will be our own King or Queen of England?
What does that even mean?
The paramount ruler, the national royal icon like Queen Elizabeth of England?
The Ooni of Ife, of course.
The noise that followed that would have woken up all the Yoruba ancestors but I did not wait to find out or was it that noise that brought me back from wonderland? Yes, that trip to the Yoruba Country woke me up. So, all that was a dream. My ears were still tingling from the loud arguments of the citizens of that new country. I sat up in bed, trying to find a meaning for the strange dream and then right on the screen of the television set I’d left on the previous night were news headlines on the newspaper Review: Quit Order.
Ah, now you understand? Different ethnic groups want their own different independent republics. Everybody is feeling marginalized. Some don’t have enough ministers in Abuja. Those who have ministers want ministers in juicy offices. Those who have both want more allocation from the center. Everybody wants something more, something extra and by some strange stroke of unity, everybody wants to go his own way, form his own nation. Yeah, somehow, there is an evil convergence where everybody has concluded that cutting off the head of Nigeria will cure it of the headache it is suffering from. Both the people demanding gratitude and the ones accused of ingratitude have agreed that scratching an itch is the solution to a festering leprosy. You know, for a people renowned for academic excellence in every field all over the world, we are actually suffering from a very bad case of National Stupidity.
Take a second and third look at my dream again. Did you see the number of issues the Yoruba people could not agree on, starting from the name of their new nation? Just pause and ponder the number of issues the people in your region will argue over forever if they end as an independent nation? Check out the history books and see the frequency and number of intra-tribal wars, communal clashes in all the regions presently agitating for independence. You will be shocked at the number of kings who conquered neighbouring villages, took slaves and prisoners from communities they shared same language and culture with. And then today, in the year of our Lord 2017, there are towns and people who feel superior to their neighbours. Even when they get to Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt, those lines of superiority are still visible under their oh-so-sophisticated designer apparels. Does anyone really need a soothsayer to predict how the republics being agitated for will end?
I’m sure you felt describing what ails us as National Stupidity was harsh, right? But try and answer these questions. Will the corrupt people from the south east be cured of their corrupt tendencies if and once they become citizens of the Republic of Biafra? Will the unavailable jobs in the south east suddenly become available to the able bodied men who are agitating right now? What will make the kidnappers in Lagos stop, Oodua Republic? Would Evans, the celebrity dollar-demon have been less powerful in Lagos without the intelligence and technology that ended his reign of terror? The people who protected Evans and helped him all these years, are they from all over or one region? Arms smuggling, fake drugs, substandard building materials and building collapse, all of them will end as soon as we break Nigeria into pieces? The poor will become rich and the rich poor, or what? On a lighter note: will the husbands who beat their wives in Kaduna stop their beastly acts if we relocate them to Ibadan because they are Yoruba? Oh pleaseee!
From where I stand, poverty, homelessness, unemployment and sickness have no ethnicity. They are determined not to secede from Nigeria . It does not matter to them what we call ourselves, the colours and designs of our flags or the verses we adopt as national anthems. Like tapeworms, their hooks are sunk deep in our national intestines. We know we have serious problems but we prefer to play the ostrich. Maybe we think if we hide our heads in the sand long enough, the problems will disappear. Unfortunately, we have only ended up with sand in our eyes, ears and mouth, which is why we are no longer making sense. Or what sense is there in agitating to break Nigeria into pieces when there are 19 governors who have not paid teachers’ salaries? What kind of people worry about the map when cows chase their children out of classrooms and defecate on the desks? What kind of people worry about little nations when their bridges are being washed away? How exactly does this country redrawing its map going to chase away kidnappers, armed robbers and insurgents? Will our leaders become born again when we dissolve into little nations? Does anybody still remember that a governor in this country actually bought coffins for his people as part of his dividends for democracy just last year?
Seriously, let us compare what we are thinking and doing with what those cows in classrooms did. We are looking at creating small kingdoms while those cows are making progress. From stomping around in the farms and causing traffic jams, they are now ready for western education. Between those cows and the people giving quit notice all over the place, be honest, who is really thinking?