By Joe Iniodu
The ownership of APC, the major opposition Party in Nigeria is no longer debatable. Its metamorphosis from Alliance for Democracy, AD, when it was jointly owned by Yoruba people to Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN when it became Tinubu’s investment to All Progressive Congress, APC that he is currently the sole proprietor, depicts a business concern with profit as the sole motive. And the target is the wealth of the South-South which is oil. It is the oil wealth that he is plotting to use APC as a platform to control if the latter wins the presidency.
The action of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu should not be a surprise to those who have followed Nigeria ’s political history. The Yorubas as a race have always undermined the rest of the country. They have innate arrogance and believe that they are a superior race. During the days of Northern and Southern protectorates, they exhibited this complex in their dealings with other sections of the South. When Calabar was made the capital of Nigeria by the colonial masters, the Yorubas using their famed advantages, employed all kinds of subtleties and subterfuges to have the capital relocated to their enclave in Lagos . We lost that and still trusted and maintained them as allies.
When our nation launched for independence in the early fifties, the Yorubas played a leading role not totally in the interest of others but for the reason that a country where they would have control because of the advantages that accrued to them was about to be born. This perception was given credence when the colonial masters leveraged their hold on the country and paved the way for self determination. The Yorubas refused to join cause with Namdi Azikiwe who lived in their community and worked with them. They formed a Yoruba party and attempted to force it on the rest of Nigerians. But Nigerians knew better and consistently denied their leader who ironically was then the best for Nigeria political leadership. It was true reward for the attitude he and his race consistently exhibited towards others. For instance, it is a known fact that their leader introduced ethnic politics into the nation’s polity.
In that first republic, the arrogance of Yorubas and its leadership led to Wild Wild West or “Operation wetie” which culminated in a crisis that eventually took a toll on the nation. Infact, the seed of insurrection was sown from there and which led to the coups of 1966. The masterminds of the January 15 coup apart from appearing to be led by somebody of Igbo extraction also had Yoruba men as accomplices. Many believe that the coup failed because the Yoruba participation was half hearted. It is said that it was why the coup with all its redeeming ideals failed from Lagos and succeeded from the Kaduna axis that was led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu. The Yorubas had sabotage their co-travelers in that coup in submission to their known tendency of treachery.
Of course the botched coup had a cataclysmic effect. There was a reprisal coup masterminded by the Northerners which many believe also brought upon the Yorubas nemesis as the coupists did not spare their people. The North was turned into a killing field of Southerners, Yorubas inclusive as it is playing out today. Ojukwu who was the governor of Eastern Nigeria , however, received the greatest number of victims and returnees. Many protested the violence in the North but without attaining let or hinderance. The violence continued unabated with victims heading to the South in droves. The then governor of Eastern Nigeria met with the leadership of Yorubas to chart a programme of protection of the entire Southern region. And history records that they agreed to co-operate for the common good of the South. It is said the two regions of the South then agreed to secede with the intent of one declaring Oduduwa Republic and the other the Biafran Republic . But at the critical moment, treachery set in and the South-East was betrayed. And so the civil war witnessed Yorubas fighting on the side of their captors and tormentors. It was again the vintage Yoruba attitude towards other sections of the South.
When the civil war ended in 1970, a Yoruba personage who had earlier been rewarded with a high office for betraying other sections of the South decided to go for the jugular of the people of today Akwa Ibom. He hectored the then Federal Government which he was Vice Chairman Federal Executive Council into going for the pound of flesh of the people currently inhabiting Akwa Ibom State . He introduced the onshore/offshore dichotomy which denied the people of the proceeds of its God given wealth despite the environmental degradation to which they are perennially subjected. It took the benevolence of military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida for that obnoxious law to be repealed.
But that gracious gesture was again scuttled by another Yoruba man, General Olusegun Obansanjo who re-introduced that anti-people law until the prayers of the faithful touched his heart and he reverted to status-quo-ante using the doctrine of political solution. This happened after Akwa Ibom people voted massively for him in 1999 and 2003. The then President believed that denying Akwa Ibom people access to their God given wealth was appropriate for their numerous gestures including unalloyed support for him and his government. He also believed that he owed neither the State or any section of the South any obligation. In his opinion they are far lesser in esteem than the Yorubas and should consider relating with Yorubas even a privilege.
But the Yorubas don’t seem to know that things have changed and would continue to change. They have failed to observe that the emerging universal policy of rubb my back, I rubb yours has become a social constant. They don’t seem to see the modern approach of quid pro quo as the new social formula. For many years, other regions have toiled for Yorubas. But the Yorubas are yet to produce any record of their support to any other region except only when it is convenient. During June 12, 1993, the entire of South-South and South-East filed out behind a Yoruba candidate in the person of Moshood Abiola and voted massively for him. They did not only do that, they joined the various protest groups to advocate for the revalidation of that election result.
In 1999, General Olusegun Obasanjo who was released from prison the previous year was nominated as the presidential standard bearer of PDP. They were credible candidates from the North equally. But the South-South and South-East felt it a reasonable action to placate the Yorubas who had suffered a pyrrhic cost on account of June 12. The two regions considered it worthy to support a Yoruba man despite the egregious failings of the Yorubas as a race, the deficiencies of their character and even the character defect of the nominated candidate of PDP then who was Olusegun Obasanjo. The regions supported him massively in 1999 and in 2003 and was almost hood-winked into supporting his selfish third-term project despite the ineptitude of his eight-year rein. At the risk of sounding immodest, the Jonathan administration has achieved more in the last four years than his (Obasanjo) administration achieved in eight years.
The 2003 election of Obasanjo was a difficult election. He had nothing to show as achievement. Corruption was rife and in full display. Anti-democratic tendencies were also in full display yet the South-East and South-South tolerated him and reelected him for a second term. Even his fellow Yorubas grudgingly voted for him but he still failed in his ward. He rode on the votes of the Southerners to win that election which he contested against this same Buhari. But where is his gratitude to the South-East and South-South?
Rather what has been on display is treachery, betrayal and pettiness not expected of such a supposedly mighty man. Nigeria has been good to Obasanjo. PDP has been good to him. His plot to destroy the party today may be viewed as one of the tendencies of the Yorubas to be part of only things that serve their interest and their interest only.
Today the South-South which has through great sacrifice kept Nigeria together from independence through oil that was discovered in Oloibiri in 1958 is seeking just a constitutional second term of another four years in office in a country that has existed for about 54 years in which the North has ruled for more than 38 years and the South West for more than ten years. And for these four years, the country is on such scale of sabotage and propaganda in which Obasanjo is leading the charge with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. For convenience against the race of the South, these arch enemies of Yoruba extraction have found the need to co-operate against the race of the South.
It must however be known to them that the rest of the South is learning and would learn fast. The rest of the South is aware that Tinubu, the fabulously wealthy politician of today made his first inroad into wealth as worker with Mobil unlimited which he eventually served as a treasurer. How has he repaid the people of South-South where he made money from? Is it by betraying them? Is it by looking at them as outcast and unworthy of a second term that other regions get without performance? Do unto others what you would wish others to do unto you. Tinubu, do unto the South-South what the South-South has been doing to the South-West. Obasanjo, do unto the South-South what the latter has always done to you. A stitch in time saves nine.