On a sunny afternoon filled with dust and harsh but enjoyable wind, Prince Ayo Ladigbolu rested under the shade in his large compound to take our reporter through the intricacies of Yoruba tradition, among other things.
He said the pursuit of communal peace stands the ethnic group out from other regions.
But on Monday in the Ojota area of Lagos state, the Yoruba nation agitators clashed with the police, defeating the cultural position associated with the ethnic group.
BREAKING NEWS: YORUBA NATION LAGOS STATE SUPER MEGA RALLY STARTS TODAY.— KOIKIMEDIA (@KoikiMedia) January 9, 2023
MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2023.
YORUBA NATION NO GOING BACK #YorubaNationMegaRally #yoruba #yorubalivesmatter #yorubalivesmatter pic.twitter.com/MNnYktVqM9
The agitators had earlier revealed that they would troop out in their numbers to demand what they said they wouldn’t relent on regardless of the obstacles they encountered.
They did come out and held their “Super Mega” rally in Ojota.
As reported by AllNews Nigeria, their controversial r demand for an independent Yoruba country from southwest Nigeria did not yield good fruits.
In the government’s view, the Yoruba Nation agitators came out to disrupt normal activities.
According to the Police Public Relations in the state, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, the police had to step in to prevent such from happening, a stoppage which caused national unrest, claimed lives and destroyed valuable properties.
In retrospect, who are the winners and losers of the agitation that has brought the likes of Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, to the government’s net?
These comprise individuals profiting massively from the civil unrest.
They would have hardly mattered in the national landscape but broke into stardom because of the self-government agitation.
Online media vendors who would have found their breakout from business promotion, influencing, and brand management have hijacked the media interaction of the agitation.
A platform @KoikiMedia on Twitter with about 18,400 followers has been leading the charge of the struggle from the United Kingdom.
The Yoruba nation struggle has become household content for the handlers of the platform.
They profit enormously from the existence of the battle.
The same goes for Facebook and YouTube. Social media influencers have seized the happenings in the Yoruba political space to make content for their respective blog sites.
Expectedly, Nigerians living abroad are the most vibrant conveners of the Yoruba nation agenda.
They are off the ground but support the few Nigerians at home who key into the project.
They mobilise the youths from their comfort zones, stir and induce them to stage protests while they help with social media posting. They are the “no going back” gang.
They push the narrative that they are in a far better environment and doing their best because of the love of their people.
Jamiu Adeleye, an Ibadan-based student, told AllNews Nigeria that this group of supporters is the most populous and dangerous.
At times, they paint the narrative that they would have led the protest if not for the distance.
“They will even motivate us when we feel weak and relaxed.
"I heard one say that he and his family are doing so well in Dublin that they don’t even have any business returning to Nigeria.
"But they are in the struggle for humanitarian reasons, to give us a bit of what belongs to us”, Adeleye narrated, giving an insight into how the Yorubas in the diaspora manoeuvre their ways into leading the struggle.
The country’s security system has been below par for many years.
But officers of the Nigerian Police have always been quick to lash out at the demonstrators.
ANYONE INVOLVED IN BREAKDOWN OF LAW AND ORDER WILL BE DECISIVELY DEALT WITH – CP ALABI— Lagos State Police Command (@LagosPoliceNG) January 9, 2023
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alabi, fdc, mnim, psc hereby warns that any person or group of persons found disturbing the peace of the state, under whatever guise, pic.twitter.com/KgT9zbn0hc
Today, the mood in the Nigerian Police and the official position is that they brought down individuals truncating the region’s peace, but this is no success compared to the truckload of security threats confronting the country daily.
As soon as the brawl broke began on Monday, many used the opportunity to come at political appointees, presidential candidates and state governors.
They have used this struggle to score cheap political points.
Just immediately, a particular section of people called on Peter Obi to bring calm in the Southeast. The Yoruba nation agitation begins to blow hot. Don't be fooled into thinking it isn't a decoy for a particular man to show he can calm his own people.— Kowa Ishaku Yahaya (@Yahaya_IV) January 9, 2023
The latest incident happened in a state the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, uses as a footprint, and his opponents have used the hiatus to find talking points.
As bountiful as some sets of individuals have harvested from the struggle, some groups have paid dearly for the agitation that has failed to attract national appeal.
Sunday Adeyemo returned to the fray of national discourse during the consistent threats to lives and properties in the Ibarapa and Okeogun axis of Oyo state two years ago.
According to a resident of Ogboro who identified herself as Fadekemi, the community leader only came to help when the Oyo state government was quiet about the continuous killings of farmers in the zones.
“He was here to help us, but I think he was cajoled or dragged into the struggle unknowingly.
“From there, he became too involved and got inundated into the struggle to the point that he became an acclaimed leader.
“And you know our government, they will always be looking for scapegoats. They picked him up and made him suffer for months.
"You can hardly win the government unless you receive favour from God. Since he was released, he has not been active in these struggles."
Sunday Igboho has remained as quiet as a mouse since he crept out of his accusations by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Lagos state police command said its team of police officers in the Alausa Division and the Raid Respond Squad (RRS) promptly stepped in to disperse the unlawful gathering and prevent a breakdown of law and order.
The miscreants attacked the police, shooting and destroying two vehicles, according to the force.
Every rally and public demonstration staged by the winners of these struggles has come with hefty prices.
People lose their lives, properties get destroyed, and everyday lives go on afterwards.
According to sources, at least two people died from the incident, two innocent souls that could have given Nigeria what it was missing.
Even if the group later got their wishes, it is impossible to raise innocent individuals who have lost their lives to a struggle that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
The traditional institutions are in tight ropes. They can’t fight a hand feeding them even if they want to.
It will take a state governor nothing to replace them or withhold their entitlements. It is impossible for them to join the struggle even if they wish.
But the frontiers of these struggles don’t want them to be part of the deal.
They see them as antagonists to the ethnic interest. Some influencers had even said they would sideline the traditional institutions once they attained independence.
The traditional institution won’t join the struggle no matter how suitable it looks because the government and constituted authorities are against it.
They can't also turn their back on the people who want them to speak.
They have been on the fence against their wishes, according to a second-class ruler who spoke with AllNews Nigeria in confidence.
On December 23, 2022, at the launch of Emblem Appeal to flag off the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebrations held in Akure, the Ondo capital, the chairman of the South-West Governor’s Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, kicked against the agitations of the formation of the Yoruba or Oodua nation and the crux of the agitation.
The Ondo state governor disclosed that those behind the agitation need to “perish the idea” or get arrested by the police for treason.
This is the position of all governors in the state in the South-West region and their elites.
They do not tolerate the movement and won’t allow the agitation to "scuffle the sacrifices of Nigeria’s heroes”.
“Those clamouring for Oodua nation will not succeed. People have not laid down their lives for this country for unscrupulous individuals to scuttle it.
"This country is very important to some of us.
“We recognise the right of the people to protest or agitate. But if the police feel your actions are treasonable, they will arrest and prosecute you,” Akeredolu pointed out.
Southwest governors don't have a choice but to support the dictates of the constitution of the land.
The two-term Lagos governor is the foremost Yoruba presidential candidate in the 2023 race.
Some Nigerians believe his presidency surge is a move to stamp the self-government determination.
If more Nigerians buy into this ethnic traction alongside Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim ticket, it could count against him at the polls.
Today, the usual winners have won but Oodua or Yoruba nation remains a dream that cannot come through, at least for now.
The regional peace characterised by the ethnic group has been truncated, and the families of those who lost their lives are inconsolably bitter, dying for a lust cause.
When our reporter reached out to an erudite professor of African History at Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, Professor Chimma Korieh, to get an academic perspective on the struggle from an international angle, the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) don said he would prefer to refrain from speaking on the agitation.
We also proceeded to Professor Wande Abimbola’s Ifa Heritage Institute at Oyo to know if the traditional religious institution was part of the struggle; the accredited institute was under lock and key.
Residents of the area said people only enter the premises strictly by invitation.
But upon insistence, our correspondent came in contact with a source close to the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and Majority Leader of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Abimbolawho.
The source said he could confirm that the professor or people in his quarters are not major stakeholders in the Yoruba nation push.
The source, who only agreed to speak on the agreement that he would not be named, added that there had not been any time since the pushers of the struggle had seriously consulted the academician in the last two years that the movement had hit full force.
“For example, today’s protest in Lagos, as you have relayed to me, I can tell you authoritatively that the leaders and fosterers of Yoruba heritage which Professor Abimbola is one of them are not consulted”, the source noted.
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