Open letter to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Dear Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,I hope you are doing good sir?If so, doxology.Sometimes, we have greatness thrust on us. Sometimes we fight for it. I believe you have fought for the position you occupy today in South-West Nigeria. But I also believe that there is a new kind of greatness that could be thrust on you by no conscious design of your doing, but only if you want to be great.I grew up with great respect for Papa Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo. As a young boy growing up in Ibadan in the 80s, I met the sacrifices of the foundation for free primary and secondary education laid down by the Western regional government led by Papa Awolowo and after that by the late Aare Ona Kankafo – Ladoke Akintola. Those were the days of the title Aare Ona Kankafo having meaning, not the discussion for today.
The Yorubas had a great headstart in education because of these men who went beyond myopic achievements and realized that it all depends on the quality of education. I imagine that the glory of those days, including the vision for the University of Ife and other quality undertakings of the Western Regional government back then, would never have happened if we did not have a regional government.It is also instructive that the regional government structure was well established with a proper contract that governed it. Each region controlled things and had its destiny to worry about. They sent previously agreed rights to the central government. The North of Nigeria did well, the East also did well. The federal government system is what is practised in the United States. A federal constitutional democratic republic is good on paper when done the right way. The states in America have autonomy, and their individual decisions up to the agreement in the constitution are sacrosanct. Each state hustle for relevance, commerce, etc.
The federal system practised in Nigeria is a scam. It is not what was promised. We also don’t have a constitution to be proud of. The way the system is set up, even Joseph (Jacob’s child) of the old testament, a fantastic leader in Egypt, will struggle to make anything good out of the country. There is really no nation as it stands.
Having laid a background, sir Asiwaju. I am finally getting to my point for this long post. I mentioned that greatness can be thrust on someone that is not looking for it. The funny thing is you are looking for a certain kind of glory to become the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Unfortunately, we should all realize that it is a scam of a republic due to its faulty setup. You may not have realized, sir, that there is a greater honour that you may be missing.
In 1967, when Papa Awolowo was minister of finance, he was more than that. He was seen as a man that should be president of Nigeria. He saw himself as president too, but above all, most Nigerians saw him as a man deserving of such honour. I have been thinking a lot about Papa Awo’s decisions about secession back then. Did he make the right decision? Remember, he had been premier of the Western Region. He had been a federal minister. What else can he do with his life if not become president? But he never became president.
Instead, he was punished. I wonder if a focus on the South West of Nigeria wouldn’t have been a better decision today. I am wondering what Biafra might have become. I wonder if, after Nigeria stayed as one country, whether it would not have been better to somehow keep the regions instead of the states that were formed and marked the beginning of the end for the country, culminating in what we have today. So many things to ponder about. But it is easy to see, backed by the hard fact that Nigeria has not done very well since the end of the civil war and the end of the regional structure. The states have done badly. And badly in every ramification.
Today, we are in a big soup. You, sir, are preparing for 2023, but we are not sure what will happen before 2023. A higher calling by you and other Yoruba elites should be to do the real Yoruba Ronu. This Yoruba Ronu is meant to ask ourselves tough questions about the present federal system Nigeria is practising. We don’t have too many options, but we must get out of this present arrangement that is not working. I am not clamouring for a breakup. I am clamouring for real restructuring that puts the power back in the regions. This system may not be in tandem with your ambition of becoming president in the present format that gives too much power to the centre. But if you were to lead the Yoruba people to a restructuring arrangement that puts our people on the way to prosperity, education and security once again – you will be rewriting yourself into history in such a way that will elevate you to the levels of the Awolowo’s and Akintolas. And yes, I say this with my chest.
Are you the one?
Your fellow Omo Oodua.