By Wale Adedayo
It appears there is an ongoing effort to set the South-West on fire, by politicians, who feel they have no stake in the current arrangement in Nigeria. Unfortunately, a King Solomon is not on seat to act decisively against this ungodly move to cut an innocent baby into two. Deploying popular sentiments to sway the gullible and the not-so-gullible into believing that any act of criminality in this part of Nigeria was done by a specific ethnic group is nothing but a sure Road to Kigali.
My thoughts for several hours now had been on how to pay a befitting tribute to slain George Iwilade (Afrika) and his colleagues, who were killed in cold blood at the Obafemi Awolowo University 20 years ago. But reading the latest development about Pa Reuben Fasoranti’s daughter, Mrs Funke Olakunrin, being allegedly killed by ‘herdsmen’ gave me serious concern about the calibre of persons parading themselves as Yoruba leaders.
For the avoidance of doubt, son of man will remain an Afenifere of the old order till death. The topmost leadership of the organisation knows that some of us sacrificed our careers in furthering the cause of the organisation. I once rejected an offer to be its Administrative Secretary/Spokesman about the year 2001/2002, when the split in the organisation took some of those currently using insidious propaganda to promote personal agenda in the name of Afenifere were on the other side.
And, despite the popularity of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led other side of the divide, those of us who lost out, remain steadfast in our commitments to the organisation. Of course, we have our challenges with how things are being run today by those in charge of the old order, the foundational beliefs of Afenifere remain our watchword. Sadly, the introspection before reaction and suggestions about problems in times of crisis, for which we were noted, are hardly followed these days.
But despite these shortcomings by those in charge today, I’ll also not be a party to an indirect seizure of an inch of Yorubaland by another ethnic group. But at a time like this, there is need for caution. A genuine Yoruba MUST pick his/her war with common sense. Why goad people into mob action, when common sense dictates otherwise? Why adopt name-calling and generalisations to achieve partisan objectives, which are way different from what our revered leaders of yesterday stood for?
Insecurity is a general issue in the country with many state governors, instead of getting to work as former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, did during the Badoo crisis in Ikorodu, now wringing their hands in resignation, as if they were not elected to protect the people in the first place. The regular excuse has always been that, ‘it is the Federal Government that controls the Police.’
In Lagos State, both during the Badoo crisis and its earlier twin – kidnapping, local hunters, vigilance groups and the different factions of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) were mobilised with logistics along with quality understanding on the part of the Lagos Police Command to move in. Of course, the strategy worked, and still works in Lagos State till tomorrow. So, in the face of a Federal lethargy in containing these challenges, why is it that the governors of the states with problems have not deemed it fit to deploy local solutions?
Enter the partisan groups and individuals, pretending to be Yoruba patriots, they have been generalising the kidnapping challenges and employing name-calling in a subtle attempt to politicise a general problem. Sadly, being an issue very dear to the hearts of many of our people, popular sentiments is craftily being directed to achieve set political goals. And, this to a number of us is unacceptable as it is bound to backfire and very disastrously too. No ethnic group in Nigeria has a monopoly of knowledge or violence for that matter.
To persons like me, criminals should be dealt with. At some point in Lagos State, 99.9% of armed robbers arrested by the Police were from a particular ethnic group. Not once did our leaders generally describe persons from that part of Nigeria as armed robbers. And, in this particular case, a Nigeria Police Force and DSS worth its name should NOT wait for The Presidency before they arrest those involved within 24 hours. It is very possible that the killing of Mrs Olakunrin will serve as a wake-up call to both law enforcement agencies to act proactively before this part of Nigeria is plunged into a needless crisis.
May the soul of Mrs Funke Olakunrin rest in peace. Pa Reuben Fasoranti has been hit, and very badly too. He had voluntarily relinquished leadership at some point, partly due to some of the flaws many of us complain about today. But Papa has no choice than to soldier on despite the tragedy that has befallen his family. We have been praying for him. Not just for emotional strength on the murder of his beloved daughter. But most importantly in continuing to steer the ship of Afenifere in a direction that will make generations of Yoruba to venerate him years after he would have joined his ancestors.
Wale Adedayo is the Publisher, Uhuru Times (uhurutimes.com)