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SOUTHWEST INTEGRATION (1): Ko s’ogun mo, ko s’ote mo … – Tola Adenle

SOUTHWEST INTEGRATION – One

Dear non-Nigerian readers AND Nigerian non-Yoruba-speaking readers of my blog,

Above title means “war is over, no more schism.”  

After reading the online edition of The [Nigerian] Tribune of yesterday, February 7, an eye-catching major story –

http://www.tribune.com.ng/news2013/index.php/en/component/k2/item/4762-no-more-war-aregbesola-ajimobi-tell-mimiko-%E2%80%A2extend-hands-of-fellowship-on-regional-integration

caught my attention just as it must have caught the attention of many not only in Southwestern Nigeria but in the entire country. A follow-up story beckoned and I knew a suitable title and the accompanying essay from a past newspaper column lay somewhere in my files. Luckily, the subject matter of the essay that carried the title is not far off the mark from The Tribune’s story of Action Congress party’s governors calling a cessation to what Osun State’s Governor Aregbesola described as what had been a “war” – a one-sided “war”, if truth be told – that had pitted all the Southwest [Yoruba] governors  against Ondo State’s Governor Mimiko AND the people of the state not just since the last elections but for well over two years. 

Exactly a week ago today, I posted a short write-up as an introduction to a follow-up to Tribune’s interview with Fayemi in which the governor of Ekiti dropped a hint in the interview acknowledging a commonsensical fact that “southwest integration can take place under multi-party arrangement”:

http://emotanafricana.com/2013/02/01/south-west-integration-can-take-place-under-multi-party-arrangement-ekitis-fayemi/

My follow-up welcomes the refreshing change from the warring governors against Ondo that southwest integration can be multi-party driven as has been pleaded by this essayist even before the “war” came into the open.

A full-court press – ‘scuse the basketball game terminology – now seems on with the governors calling for Mimiko to join hands with them so that the region can move forward. 

This is indeed great news and must be welcome by all, especially those of us who wrote many times for a re-consideration of a road that was leading nowhere with the negative labels hurled at Ondo indigenes and non-ACN politicians in Ondo state.

A warning needs be sounded as anything short of sincere desire for inclusion would lead to a return to the status quo:  the leadership of the ACN as well as the governors need to do all that is within reason to ensure that this new direction is pursued without personal bitterness and goals.  The group that cast out a part of its family IS THE ONE that must reach out.  The party’s leadership must shun those who would rather the old intransigent position continue; their gain would be our collective loss.

 Let’s forget labels: “progressives”, omo ale (non-Omoluabi), “political prostitutes”, etcetera, and do what is right for the masses.  Here are several paragraphs from the last part of one of the essays referenced in last Friday’s piece.

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from – Labor & Action Congress Parties and the self-destructive politics of Nigeria’s Southwest: A short comment – Tola Adenle, November 3, 2011.

“What baffles me is how a PDP “chieftain” like Tayo Alasoadura can perform a Kafka-esque metamorphosis into a “progressive” and how the “progressive” Action Congress, no matter how desperate for candidates, can go after politicians who are hated in their home communities and who jump from bed to bed in search of new greener pastures.  Alasoadura is not the only politician among ACN wannabes who has slept in “unprogressive” beds

“Dr. Agunloye was Late Uncle Bola Ige’s P.A. (A.D.) which alone, apart from personal acquaintanceship knowledge, screams “progressive”.  As Obasanjo-appointed minister to replace a Yoruba slot after Ige’s cold-blooded murder, he was PDP but later became Labor.  Now, he’s AC!

“Dr. Agagu, Please take newspaper ads stating exactly how much revenue Ondo State received while you were governor, how much you expended on each project, etcetera and what you plan to do differently from your last rule of the State.

“Others in the PDP crowd:  which template are you going to use?  It is in the news, for example, how Olujimi, Fayose’s deputy, sat on a panel that nullified Bayelsa’s Sylva from the next contest.  N500 million has reportedly been given to PDP to change Sylva’s situation.

“As for others in the AC field a couple of whom I respect, take out ads in newspapers and tell us Ondo indigenes what exactly Mimiko is doing wrong and how YOU will change things.

“This is for the Action Congress leadership:  Chief Bisi Akande and Asiwaju Tinubu, if we leave our flanks open, we may find that we have cut our collective nose to spite our collective face.  To most of us Ondo State indigenes, there’s no difference between the ACN and Labor.  All we want is good governance and the Action Congress’ fight with Mimiko seems to be diverting Mimiko’s attention and energy from what he needs to do, and in Nigeria, this generally means that a state governor commits resources to things that do not bode well for state development.

“What would the N500 million allegedly paid off to PDP have contributed to Bayelsa’s development? Former Labor Chairman, Oni publicly gave away his reason for leaving the party:  he was not given the chance to make money as part of his return on his investment to the success of the party in the State.  What is the difference between his wants and what PDP blatantly practices?”

“Who are the losers in all these politics-as-investments?

“By the way, Edo is – mercifully – freed from the clamps of the PDP but pray, tell, what is “progressive” in Oshiomole’s recent declaration:

“Disregard criticism, Oshiomhole charges Jonathan” 234 Next.  The former labor (Union) leader “Commenting on the security challenges that have tested the strength of all security agencies in Nigeria, Governor Oshiomhole noted that Nigeria is far safer than some other countries in the world.  Nonetheless, he added that in spite of the problems of poor infrastructure, insecurity, unemployment and other sectors of government, the unity of the country alone is worth celebrating.”

“THAT is reactionary.”

from – Labor & Action Congress Parties and the self-destructive politics of Nigeria’s Southwest

Once the reunion is properly started, we can all move forward on a path long charted for us by the great Awo with the single destination – through all possible routes – to our region’s development, for our people who are desperate for good leaders, whatever their stripes, as long as their programs are masses-centered.

Below is the essay from The Nation on a Sunday in 2010 which alluded to a metaphorical cessation of war:

TOLA, Friday, February 8, 2013.

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Ko s’ogun mo, ko s’ote mo …

Yoruba people – from Akungba through Akure in Ondo; Ikeji, Osun; Akute, Lagos, and back to Ikole in Ekiti, (a land where Madam Ayoka’s version of “Christian conscience” succumbed to electoral manipulation and worse – are relieved that blood will not flow, come April as one of the remaining vestiges of retired General Obasanjo’s (rGO) do-or-die politics joins the falling dominoes.  Not to worry, blood will not flow in Oyo or Ogun or the rest of Nigeria, come April 2011.

To Osun progressives – socialists/fake Awoists and “men of God” whose ballot box-snatching exploits defy Christian injunctions; to senior fake Awoists who controlled killer squads; to “respectable” women of timber and caliber who stood by – metaphorically – as thugs raped teenage girls for non-compliance with PDP ethos; to politics of do-or-die acolytes whose weapon of choice was murder/mayhem and who had vowed to achieve their goals of high offices by walking on carpets of Osun citizens’ blood they wanted to rule:  the “glorious dawn” predicted by the real Awo  when he was clamped into jail by internal colonialists almost a half century ago, is almost fully upon Yorubaland.  And Nigeria would be better off by its arrival.

I wake up daily feeling giddy since the dismissal of retired Brigadier Oyinlola (rBO) from a post he never won but it’s nothing personal.   Since I’ve been spending quite some time at Osogbo for a couple of years, I was not unaware of the tyrannical, brutal and lawless rule by rBO’s administration.  There was a time [newspaper] vendors could not display The Nation for fear of outright confiscation and/or attacks by PDP thugs.   ACN politicians’ travail could be better imagined if readers consider that even I – no politician – had to curtail my movements a great deal for personal safety, including staying indoors during funeral activities for two sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law.  Politics in Osun was war and wars usually bring deaths.

While the rule of law must be central to the new administration, the need to prosecute some of the criminals who ransacked the state would not bring back those dastardly murdered but it would teach lessons to those who believe in impunity as well as restore some order and redress on a dehumanized people.

Well, Osun painters, get ready to paint over zillions of schools named for rBO who, in the eye of the law was never governor of Osun State; your brief arises from this blast from the now distant past

“… Nigeria is a land of fakes in spite of NAFDAC …[a food & drug regulatory body] You also claimed to have gone to study law after your misrule of Lagos to help your people although I was naturally skeptical.  Your name is inscribed on all Osun schools built during your reign … Awo built zillions of institutions but never had his name on a single one.  Painters will get contracts to paint over them, someday.  Wear this award … on your well-fed figure for wanting to make a name without making the sacrifice.” Part of rBO’s non-excellence award citation [that I wrote for] The Nation on Sunday, December 31, 2006.

And turning Osun to rBO’s fiefdom where his trite hypocritical sayings like “There is only one God …do the right thing” are displayed along with huge pictures, North-Korea style all over the capital, are among the least of the cesspool of despoliation wrought on the state.

Despite PDP claims, the will of the people has been manifested each time the courts overturned the despotic impositions of rGO as evident by the massive jubilant crowds in Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, and now Osun.

Why was there funereal pall [in Ekiti State] each time Oni was awarded victory, especially after Madam Ayoka’s “Christian conscience” was worked on by Madam Great Nation (Dora Akunyili)?

A good opposition is a necessity in a democracy, and living in fear of death by opposition members must never again be visited on the people that a government is supposed to protect.

The Yoruba can rejoice like Osogbo people did when Alaafin Iku Baba Yeye Oba Adeyemi visited Osogbo in the 60s to end the age-old resentment by the founding Ijesas who had Oyos imposed as Oba [traditional ruler] for almost a century before 1920. The talking drums resounded:  Ko s’ogun mo/Ko s’ote mo/ Aiye di jogbodo ruku, njogbo! [There is no more war; schism is a thing of the past; it’s peace and joy to all.]

The Nation on Sunday, 2010.

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