ATIKU VERSUS TINUBU IN 2035 UNLESS – 2
RILWAN AREMU AKIOLU I IS MY OBA
“Leadership is the ability to define issues without aggravating the problems.”
Warren Dennis, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ p 125.
It has been years ago when events forced me to touch base with home – Lagos State. That was long before we were provided with computers. So, it is impossible to refer to the date and topic. I recollect that it was in connection with determining who is a true Ono Eko or Lagosian. Late Honourable “Double Chief” Alli, who had undertaken a great deal of research on the history of Lagos, was my resource person and mentor. I spent days in his company; learning as much as time permitted about my state of origin. At the very least, I wanted to be clear about the main outlines of my people’s history – if the occasion ever arises for me to use the knowledge as a basis for deciding my position. I hope Lagosians will forgive me for straying too far from home. But, today, Omodele is my name.
What brought me back home is the raging controversy, ignited as usual, by the Alafin of Oyo, and the comments attributed to him during the installation of his new set of vain-glory seekers. Ordinarily, I have never been enthusiastic about chieftaincy titles granted to various individuals by traditional rulers. Two of my late brothers were installed on the same day. Being young and warm blooded then, I chose to do what 46 years old Nigerian males do on weekends instead of participating. I was offered a title by one of my late in-laws who retrieved his lost crown with my help. Baba was astonished when I turned it down. “Dele, do you know how much people offer me for this title?My answer was short and simple. “If they are that desperate, then give them; and let them pay.”
So, the events in Oyo would not have been of interest to me – but for three reasons. First, I am just putting finishing touches to the history of a community in Ekiti. Suddenly, there was violent boundary dispute recently between the community and another one. I found myself a party to controversy far away from Lagos. Information we dug up is now being cited. I have re-learnt a lesson which had been taught on this page for years. History matters.
Second, it is becoming a recurring matter for the Alafin to install chiefs – not for Oyo only – but for the entire Yorubaland. Invariably, disputes erupt; insults and maledictions fly between those supporting Alafin and those who don’t agree with His Royal Majesty. His supporters always trot out the same set of “facts” – like lame old horses – to support Alafin’s claim to supremacy over all the other Obas in Yorubaland; and their people. With all due respects, I strongly disagree.
I respect all the traditional rulers in Nigeria – including the newly-crowned Olu of Warri. I will greet each of them the way tradition dictates without hesitation. Once, in the 1980s, visiting one of my customers in Agbor, as a Marketing Manager, of a multi-national, he took me to the Palace to meet the Dein of Agbor; who was the same age as my first daughter. My host went down and I was down a second after. I have no complexes on cultural matters. But, I cannot accept the Alafin as a paramount ruler of all Yorubaland.
My own Oba is at Iga Idugnran in Lagos Island. He is Oba Rilwan Aremu Osuolale Akiolu I. Three historical reasons account for my position. Eko, or what later became known as Lagos, after the arrival of the Portuguese, was never a part of the Oyo Empire – wherever its boundaries might have been. Obviously, if the Alafin’s claim rests on the fact that his forefathers dominated a large area of Yorubaland, then he must exclude Eko from the empire. And once Lagos is removed, his authority is not total.
Two, I am surprised by the actual or feigned ignorance of those supporting Alafin’s claim. Have they never heard of the Kiriji War, 1877-1893? The war, which lasted for 16 years, was one of the longest fought in what will later be called Nigeria. It ended with several people in Yorubaland declaring independence from the Oyo Empire. In other words, the empire collapsed before the end of the nineteenth century.
Three, even before the Kiriji War, the British Empire had already grabbed the area during the Partition of Africa. As any historian can testify, two empires cannot co-exist at the same time in the same territory. Oyo Empire, like the Roman Empire before it and the British Empire, after it, has vanished. It makes as much sense to base a claim of sovereignty on it as for Britain to want to claim parts of the United States – which was once under British rule.
My advice to our Royal Father – the Alafin of Oyo – is to continue to give chieftaincy titles; but to restrict them to his domain. I cannot speak for others – the Egba, Ijebu, Ijesha, Ekiti etc; but, I am confident no Omo Eko accepts the Alafin as a paramount ruler. We already have our own. And, there cannot be two paramount rulers.
ATIKU VERSUS TINUBU IN 2035 UNLESS – 2
“It is unthinkable that wisdom should ever be popular.”
Johann Von Goethe, 1749-1832, VBQ p 275.
One reason wisdom cannot be popular is because logical reasoning is rare among individuals. In every American university, students are required to take Philosophy as an elective – irrespective of what they want to study. Embedded in Philosophy is Logic; which should guide our thoughts at all times in order to minimise the intrusion of emotions into our discussions and decisions. If Africans want to know the truth, then we must acknowledge that the reason every other race is advancing in technology and we are not can be easily explained. We are mostly illogical in our thinking. Till today, Yoruba musicians still record songs saying “nobody knows how water enters a coconut” despite the scientific evidence. And people pay to listen to that rubbish.
I knew what to expect when the first part of this series was published. The title said this is what Nigerians should expect in 2023 unless something happens along the way. Tinubu and Atiku are among a few names which, if mentioned at any time, incite the most illogical reactions from Nigerians. Despite the clear statement in paragraph three – “this is not my wish” – text messages came in from young and old people asking: why are you promoting people whose source of wealth is unknown or people who are corrupt? Why are you not encouraging the young people to take over? Don’t you care about equity and justice for the Igbo? How about Christians candidates?
Clearly, those who resent the possible emergence of the two candidates labour under the grand illusion that their opposition to their choice by their parties will alter the outcome of events. Nothing can be more foolish. Here in why.
“Politics is always concerned with power. Alan Schoomaker”, VBQ p 191.
Those who will decide the winners at the Congresses and Conventions of the parties are not idealistic individuals. They want power; and they will support only those they think have a chance of winning. Invariably, that means those who can assemble a political siege machine to ensure victory. It is all well and good to say in sports that “the joy is in participation”. In politics winning is everything. Regardless of what their critics say, their party members will field those who can secure victory. And, since it is an axiom of politics that “you can’t beat something with nothing”, those who don’t want Tinubu and Atiku better start working hard. Time is against them already.
ANYBODY CAN BE BEATEN IN AN ELECTION
Most of the critics of Tinubu and Atiku make the recurring mistake of thinking that their resentment of the two, and perhaps prayers, will defeat them. That again is the worst form of wishful thinking. Only by adopting political strategies based on the weaknesses of the two political giants can they be defeated. I think each of them has at least two serious vulnerabilities which can work against them if their opponents can craft their campaigns around them.