When Mr. Rotimi Odunayo Akeredolu Aketi, SAN, became President of the Nigerian Bar Association in 2008 – a time that the voiceless needed a voice and the legal institution required astute leadership – I was one of his ardent fans. I always looked forward to hearing the position of the NBA on topical national issues. I was never disappointed, in the least, because of the brilliance, very definite and faultless standpoint of the NBA under his leadership.
Things, however, took a detour from February 24, 2017 when he assumed office as the Governor of Ondo State and assumed the title “Arakunrin”, which I assumed was a mere “art of damaging” just like the titles “Ogbeni”, Servant-leader etc. I opined, perhaps quite erroneously, that a change in title was too pedestrian and unserious for a laborious work of Governor of my state. Besides that, his general physical appearance would not have encouraged me to recommend him for such a lofty job. This is because such an office requires a polished dress-code and neat outlook. Those two indices create quite an impression. Were he to appear before me in an interview, I would have scored him zero on account of his white beards and flowing “jalamia” gown, which are his trademark. Since he assumed office, albeit I do not live in Ondo State, the only noticeable infrastructural development I observed was the Ore flyover which takes me to my town while civil servants still complained endlessly of outstanding salaries, gratuities and pensions.
With the stand of Akeredolu on the legless agitation for Oduduwa nation by some individuals and seemingly myopic lot among us however, I am elated to have a distinguished Arakunrin as my governor. Arakunrin, on this matter, I agree with you. Arakunrin has demonstrated rare courage on national discourse again, as he did when some Fulani herders were unleashing mayhem in my state. He has manifested brilliance, deep thought and a refusal to be silent or sit on the fence like his peers, who despite knowing what was right, were scared of speaking out. It probably could be to protect their future political aspirations and fear of being castigated by people who do not know the difference between six and half a dozen.
First, my position on this agitation is predicated on the fact that the amalgamation of Nigeria by Lord Fredrick Lugard was not an accident of creation but was providential. God created the country so that our tribal diversities would be our corporate strength and the nation ought to be the rifle of Africa as pictorially represented on the map with Lagos as the trigger of great things to Europe. There is no gainsaying the obvious that each of the tribes of the country: East, West, North and South has diverse strengths and weaknesses. God blessed our country with different tribes, attitudes, separate business orientations, divergent social styles, contrasting cultures, and distinctive strengths, which are supposed to be used to better the country. If we had combined our national strength, the nation Nigeria should have been the real giant of Africa in every sphere of life and human endeavour. If we had overlooked our weaknesses and used our tribal strengths to assist one another, “Team Nigeria” ought to be one of the global giants economically, technologically and infrastructure wise.
It is, however, unfortunate that the nation Nigeria has been going down the ladder when evaluated by every positive index. This is the case because we have placed our weaknesses on the discussion table – using it as a means to negotiate our dismemberment. We need to have a serious and apolitical national conference of different ethnic and religious entities, which can be a basis for a new constitution, with the buy-in of all to move the nation forward and restructure the polity.
The second, and of course very important point, is that there can never be an end to agitations for independence. Assuming the self-seeking agitators succeed, I assert that the problem of those new nations shall be more compounded, as charlatans will be uploaded and mediocre persons shall be celebrated and revered highly. Besides that, what we ran from in the bigger group shall torment us with greater venom, and this will return us to the problem which we ran away from, forcing us to go back to talks of marginalisation and self-determination.
I have never had issues with people from other tribes. The only problem I have consistently had is with the myriad of attention-seekers and terrible politicians that will stop at nothing to pull the wool over the eyes of the uninformed to enable them to reach their hidden agenda. This explains why our professional politicians run from pillar to post, from one party to another at every opportunity. My problem has never been with where who is leading me is from, whether Yoruba, Igbo, Efik, Hausa, Ijaw, Urhobo, or Fulani. My challenge has been with their selfishness, wickedness, pride, love for money and drives to hellfire. Yoruba and Niger Delta indigenes have led this nation before, and roads leading to their places of abode are probably the worst in the world.
I have never been a fan of Akeredolu but on this matter of Oduduwa Republic, I align with him, and I will never support the selfish, thoughtless, self-serving and politically sponsored elements in their bid to push our relatively peaceful nation into any senseless war. Please, let us return to the drawing board. Let us lay bare our issues and agree on what we need to move forward. Let us continue to live harmoniously, as brothers and sisters, using our divergent strengths to benefit one another and our nation. I am confident that Nigeria will rise again. On this, I support you, Arakunrin.
Rev Adelegan wrote in from Lagos
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