Like the biblical Jews, the Yorubas are also special creations of God. Indeed, they are a unique breed.
You can’t, but salute their enormous capacity for leadership, Wisdom of Solomon, industry, enterprise, creativity at its zenith, and of course, their very rich cultures & traditions that has singled them out as one of the most sought-after race across the globe.
God only confirmed the uniqueness of the race by creating those collections of great men in their rank-Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Herbert Macauley, Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Sir Ladoke Akintola, Sir Adeola Odutola, Chief Henry Fajemirokun, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Otunba Subomi Balogun, Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Mobolaji Johnson, General Adeyinka Adebayo, Madam Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Prof Wole Soyinka, Chief Ebenezer Obey, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, Chief Rotimi Wiliams, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Benjamin Adekunle& others.
However, the greatness and eminence of a race, is not in the collection of business moguls, nor Amanda of professionals, neither is in the set of successful politicians in her rank, but in the purposeful, focus, credible, reliable, developmental and visionary leadership, who could galvanize them into indomitable force.
A race desirous of growth & development, as well as prosperity, must as a matter of necessity, has a visionary leader who would be her rallying point. That’s the mark of a great nation. That’s what set apart a nation from others.
Herbert Macaulay in his era credibly shepherd Yoruba flocks. He provided leadership, even though, he’s not a typical politician in the mold of those legends the world know; nonetheless, he was the mouthpiece of the race. He symbolized their struggles and ideals. There weren’t much of political & economic challenges during his time.
The legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo appeared on the political stage in the mid 60’s. The Iconic leader provided exemplary & commanding leadership for the race. He brought them under the same umbrella. Awo was undoubtedly Yoruba idol. In his time, it’s either you’re with Awo/Yorubas or you’re them. That’s the measure of Awolowo acceptance by the Yorubas.
Indeed, the race always speaks with one voice during his time. He was Premier, Western Region, a political enclave he almost turned into paradise. Awo optimally utilized cocoa revenue to build WNDC, the first TV station in the whole Africa continent. He deployed the revenue from the same source to construct gigantic Liberty stadium, also the first of its kind then, in Africa. He built that glorious edifice-Cocoa house and several Iconic public institutions across the region. His government provided free qualitative education & medical facility for people of the region. Awo constructed modern roads, both in urban & rural areas. He provided platform for all stakeholders and professionals to flourish & blossom. His political ideals & philosophy remained unchanged, even as leader of Action Group, as well as that of Unity Party of Nigeria. Till death, he was incredibly purposeful, resourceful, visionary, and essentially, a rallying point for the Yorubas in all walks of life. Till he breathes his last, Yoruba oneness & togetherness was never subject of controversy under his watch.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo supposed to have been handed over the baton of Yoruba leadership after Awo, but, the retired general missed it. He collaborated with northern aristocrats to truncate Awolowo dream to become president. He compounded the misadventure with his infamous and well publicized damaging pronouncement after 1993 presidential election that was won by Bashorun MKO Abiola that, ‘MKO was not the messiah Nigeria needed’.
This pronouncement sounded a death knell for whatever ambition Obasanjo had, to lead the Yorubas. After spearheading NADECO battle as one of the key players to enthrone democratic order in Nigeria and essentially, after a brilliant and achievement-filled tenure of office as Lagos state governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu dramatically emerged leader of the race, continuing from where Awolowo, Macaulay, Ajasin and Adesanya stopped. Since assuming leadership of the race, Tinubu has re-launched the race into the main stream of Nigeria politics, with AC, his party dominating the South west political space at the start of the 4th republic.
Not satisfied with regional influence and also, in a bid to ensuring that, Yorubas indeed play national politics, he collaborated with progressive groups across the nation to form a national party-APC, the party that has been in charge of the nation affairs since 2015.
Tinubu also established it as tradition, to always follow the footsteps of Awolowo by providing a rallying point for the race. Consequent upon his visionary & commanding leadership, South west zone has continued to remain the political fortress of the progressives.
Over the years, he has also influenced infrastructural, educational, medical, as well as agricultural development within the zone. Just like he has done at the national level, he has also influenced and provided platform for the fulfillment of aspirations & visions of numerous people in the zone, most especially, the teeming youths.
The crux of this piece is not about the achievements of past & present Yoruba leaders, but the political and socio-economic challenges that lie ahead and how the relevance & importance of the race would continually be maintained, sustained and strengthened.
In a country with more than 350 ethnic groups, where rat race is forms of tradition, with four (4) of the ethnic groups, always struggle to dominate each other, it’s germane that Yorubas must adjust & continually adjust their thinking caps, as well as have the consciousness that, if they slumber, they would lose their relevance & respect. This is therefore the clear message that, this writer is passing across to the disgruntled elements amongst the Yorubas that, sponsoring splinter groups would not help our cause. Discordant tunes from all directions are not the way out.
Overambitious postures of young leaders, who ordinarily should be learning the ropes, watch the footsteps of the leader of the zone and wait for their turns, is not the solution. Deploying every emerging difficult situation as platform, to fabricate lies & falsehoods, as well as plotting evil against the leader of the zone in order to attract undue favors from the president and leaders of other zones, would continually compound our problems. Let me unequivocally admonish all Yoruba leaders that, maintaining & sustaining the political legacies bequeathed on Yorubas by Chief Awolowo and other past visionary leaders lie in our ability to sustain an indomitable and impregnable bloc.
2023 general elections is very close than we ever imagine. While other major ethnic groups are vigorously plotting to present a common front, some disgruntled elements within Yoruba race are sponsoring disunity & disharmony amongst the race.
I made bold to announce that, American greatness lies in their oneness. Germans pre-eminence in the global affairs is in their togetherness. The same goes for Cubans, Russians and others. Back home in Nigeria, the dominance of north in the political sphere, as well as their stronghold of the nation power & authority is consequent upon their togetherness, the concept they would continually deploy the last point of their blood to achieve.
By now, the Yorubas in view of their political ingenuity, enterprise and visionary, ought to have identify a candidate of Yoruba descent to be presented for 2023 presidential race, as well as the team to provide support for him to drive his vision & mission for the country. Let me reiterate that power & authority is meant for that political bloc & ethnic group with superior strategy, tactic and vision and not for those that come to negotiating table in fragments and in splinter groups. In the same vein, the resources of nation in terms of revenues & appointments distribution is for the bloc that have her tactics right and always speak with one voice whenever issue of resources comes for discourse. I hereby encourage Yorubas to wake up from their slumber, take pragmatic steps to sustain and strengthen their stakes in the polity and work in unison by identifying a resourceful, visionary and purpose candidate to be presented to other stakeholders to be anointed as leader of Nigeria comes 2023. Bola Tinubu deserved to be selected and presented to other stakeholders in the country, on account of many wonderful things he’s done for the zone and the country.
Kola AMZAT (FCA, FCIB, ACS, MBA)
Lagos Based Financial Consultant.