Nigeria: Recent mayhem at Ilé-Ifẹ̀ exacerbated by Abuja & Northern meddling, offshoot of pirates’ structure of Nigerian state – Atayéṣe

March 27, 2017


Map of Nigeria showing Ilé-Ifẹ̀ [Google Images]

One must ask on the Ife crisis:  what and where made it a matter for the central government? Why the rash and rush visit by the central government’s Internal Affairs Minister? To an unbiased mind looking at a matter in a supposed FEDERAL TYPE OF GOVERNMENT, the likely answer gave the appearance of protection for Hausa Community in the city … AND WHAT WAS KANKWASO, WITH NO OFFICIAL LOCUS, DOING AT SABO, ILE-IFE, FUELING DISCORD AND MISTRUST?

For over a decade, Atayese the Yoruba federalist movement, has consistently and relentlessly subjected the Nigerian project to a continuing observation, study; socio econ and political engineering.  The focus of this engagement has and remains the surreal character and pretence to federalism, we have had to suffer under, since1966. The saddest concern is the corruption fueling the creation and expansion of an ever widening canopy of a rentier group, contributed by all the 300+ nationalities of the so called Federal Republic. ATAYESE has come to the rational conclusion that major survival mechanism of these bandits and brigands parading in the garb of elected leaders, has been the criminalization of all sections of our community of nations. Within and across the ethno-geographical boundaries of Nigeria there lurks a band of looters, brazen and reckless thieves whose lifetime preoccupation is assets stripping and bleeding the dying carcass of Lugard’s creation. Atayese has repeatedly warned about the danger to all of the precariousness of the pirates’ structure of the Nigerian state.

The genesis of this corruption is the excessive centralization in the Nigerian body politic and is traceable to the 1914 amalgamation, further reinforced by the May 29, 1962 declaration of a state of Emergency in Western Region. The trend and codification emerged from 1966 when  in spite of appearances Nigeria was managed like a military formation The usurpation of powers and functions of the federating units of Nigeria by the Central government has created, nurtured ,and fed the embers of socio psychological insecurity and potential for chaotic implosion and eventual explosion for individual and group lives in the Nigerian state. The increasing poorly recorded rate of suicide and the ongoing threat to communal peace in the Yoruba ORIRUN (heartland) are warning signals and pointers to the dangers of real existential threats to the Nigerian State.

The accounts and reports of mutual slaughtering, gory and primitive sadism on the 8th of March at Sabo Ile-Ife in Osun State are warnings on the dangerous possibilities of a tinder slowly burning under the Nigerian house.

To the Yoruba nation and people  Iná njó l’órùlé Óòdúà.

The question today, the matter of greatest concern at ATAYESE is whether governments at both Abuja (the country’s capital and Osogbo, the capital of Osun where Ile-Ife is located), and indeed, all over Nigeria understand and fully grasp the existence of a brewing and boiling volcano under, and in our  political space.

Throughout known human history, rulership, leadership and governance emerged to provide and ensure security of life and liberty to those who submit their individual rights to a legally and democratically constituted authority. They do this in return for peace progress and prosperity as our YORUBA Obas agreed to pursue at Kiriji in 1886.

Over one century later, we continue to live in a society in which the highly productive and assuring marriage of  CRIME AND PUNISHMENT  has been dissolved and JUSTICE , the child of this marriage, is a vagabond, presently in a state of life threatening coma. Governments and PEOPLE-FRIENDLY GOVERNANCE are now held hostage by a band of “ELECTED” criminals committed to bleeding the state to death.

A bewildered people all over the Nigerian state now suffer anxiety, alienation as they face an increasingly uncertain tomorrow. People, rich and poor, indigenes and alien, indeed the international community are beginning to wonder if the Nigerian state is heading for FAILURE. In such a circumstance hardly anyone honestly expects the machinery of state to protect or deliver fairness and/or justice to them as individuals or as community. Accordingly, people are increasingly alienated, people no longer seek redress from governments. From Ogoniland in the oil-producing delta to the whole of the North East, Benue state, to Kaduna state,  fires are burning, lives are being wasted as highly dissatisfied and disgruntled people choose to become their own government, protect themselves and find justice for themselves. The conflagration of the 8th of March, the fire in Ile Ife the historic source of life and origin to the Yoruba is only the latest. INA NJO L’ORULE OODUA (there is fire in Yoruba’s heartland) .

As may be expected of failing organizations, the first loss is TRUTH, and for Nigeria, the mayhem at Ile-Ife on March 8th is no exception. Both so-called Federal and State governments as modern institutions of authority are yet to institute a formal open fact-finding investigation into the carnage and murders reported. We are accordingly still managing the crisis with hear-says eye-see and mischief and criminal negligence, impolitic and political insensitivity. The terrain is now littered with anxiety, suspicion, rumors, wanton lies, chicanery, confused signals and human rights abuses.

Up to now governmental interventions have towed a dangerous line of sending wrong political and social messages to all concerned especially the two communities involved. The presence and visitation of Abuja have been badly thought out and crude, to say the least.

ATAYESE urges higher levels of maturity and avoidance of steps and actions likely to fuel discontent or lead to further loss of faith in the governments at Osogbo and Abuja.

ATAYESE is interested in a fast, firm and fair resolution of the conflict. All the water in the rough rude sea cannot wash away the distinction between our nationalities. An English man, a Yoruba, an Hausa, a Fulani will always be English, YORUBA, Hausa and Fulani with all the psycho-cultural baggage that carries. Primary among these is a legitimate claim to land and territory.

Yoruba lands are known well defined historically sovereign. SABO in Ile Ife must originally have been granted by its Yoruba owners to the first Hausa as the Sabongari in Kano was to its present day non-Hausa occupants.

What all civilized, high-minded and noble leadership can do is to continuously work for, assiduously preach peaceful and fruitful cooperation among different peoples who find themselves on the same boat. The supposed 1820 arrival of the Hausa in Ile-Ife even if earlier, cannot change the dynamics of ownership. Ife is a Yoruba home and all non-Yoruba living there will not and cannot become YORUBA and must understand and be guided in their cohabitation by the psychology of a tenant visitor and passerby. The land of the Yoruba – their homeland from Lagos to Ogori  Magongo are not, WILL never be TERRA NULLIUS!

This is not to suggest that the owners of the space can or should ride rough shod or ignore the dignity and honor due to an AJOJI. In fact, Yoruba’s  ỌMỌLÚWÀBÍ way of life enjoins this on the all Yorubas encapsulated in the old saying about free and enslaved people being born the same way; slaves have parents even though they may live very far from the enslaved descendants’ places of abode: Bi a ṣe bí ẹrú la bí ọmọ; ọ̀nà l’ó jìn, ẹru ní baba.

A political culture based on these noble and humane teachings and observations will protect and accord dignity to strangers among them. However, this civility this high-mindedness must never be mistaken for a bad sense of value or unreadiness to protect and defend what is ours.

All the above virtues must in present day Nigeria be honed in sound federalist structures, in a federal constitution if there is to be peaceful and fruitful cohabitation among the three hundred and more large and small nationalities that British Lugard corralled into a Nigerian state.

The need for a State Policing and security system alongside a Federal one as in the First Republic strongly recommends itself. Overbearing CENTRAL presence will eventually cause offense and will be rejected at the local levels.

One must ask on the Ife crisis:  what and where made it a matter for the central government? Why the rash and rush visit by the central government’s Internal Affairs Minister? To an unbiased mind looking at a matter in a supposed FEDERAL TYPE OF GOVERNMENT, the likely answer gave the appearance of protection for Hausa Community in the city … AND WHAT WAS KANKWASO, WITH NO OFFICIAL LOCUS, DOING AT SABO, ILE-IFE, FUELING DISCORD AND MISTRUST?

We are at a point where and when great care needs be taken to resolve this crisis with high concern for the dignity of both Yoruba landlords and Hausa tenants but most importantly for the future of the Nigerian State which to survive and thrive MUST quickly find the least painful way to return to its truly FEDERAL REALITY AS CHIEF AWOLOWO preached all his life and all Yoruba believe as the best form of cohabitation.

For now ATAYESE preaches SANITY to all in all and from all: assailant victims right and wrong landlord and tenant especially, the Federal and State authorities in Abuja and Osogbo. All concerned must act and be seen and believed to be acting with fairness to all parties respecting the rules and dynamics of peculiar relationship the type that guides tenancy and ownership. The arrests and shipments of only Yoruba suspects being paraded as criminals at Abuja away from all succor from their family and friends is crude and unhelpful arrogance and act of impunity to the average Yoruba. The imbalance and one sidedness of this move threatens faith in the supposedly blind justice.

It is still good time and ATAYESE urges both State and Federal governments to swiftly establish a fact finding Commission of inquiry to immediately and within ninety days present an honest slate of facts immediate and remote causes, recommendations to ascribe blame enter lawful prosecution for crimes and thoughts for a future of peaceable and fruitful cohabitation in  the Yoruba homestead of Ife and its Hausa tenants.

ATAYESE is primarily for the sustenance of our KIRIJI undertaking for peace progress and prosperity and will always protect these and the interests of the Yoruba people and nation within the pathways of the OMOLUWABI PHILOSOPHY AND WAY OF LIFE . For this, and on these we offer no apology. Nonetheless, our wider framework remains the NIGERIAN experiment; the success of which we will continue to pursue and work for.



Oodua a ba wa se, o!!!




Tokunbo Ajasin, Chairman; Tunde Amusat, Res. & Publicity Secretary & Wole Aina, Secretary General

For & On behalf of Atáyéṣe Yoruba Federalist Movement

MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2017.  5:30 a.m. [GMT]

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