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The Yoruba nation and history lessons – Part 2

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Rotimi Akeredolu

Rotimi Akeredolu

Despite the reality of the improved version of politics of “stomach infrastructure” in Ekiti state to “pot-of-soup democracy” in neighbouring Ondo State, we have reasons to thank God that the lessons of history were sobering last week in Ondo state where the governorship election was peacefully concluded. We can thank the God of all grace that another state election in southwest did not make us relive the gory tales of “Wild, Wild, West” that truncated the first republic in 1966.

It is also gratifying to note that the story of reported scientific rigging of the then NPN in Oyo and Ondo ‘guber’ elections in 1983 was not reenacted last Saturday in Akure where a significant ‘son of soil’, Olaiya Fagbamigbe and many others were burnt following an announcement that Chief Akin Omoboriowo had been ‘elected’ governor of Ondo State. It will be recalled that in 1983 too, the dust in Ibadan where Dr. Omololu Olunloyo reportedly defeated Chief Bola Ige in the governorship election had hardly settled when the third republic too fell to ‘militicians’ including General Muhammadu Buhari who later emerged as military Head of State after the end-of-year coup (1983). These details are still important to the impressionable minds who may have missed the lessons of history.

So, as the Ondo State governorship election has produced a Governor-elect, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, it is now the responsibility of the people in the state to tell him that election is over and it is time to plan for good governance. He should truncate his thank you tours to Abuja, Lagos and other hills where help obviously came for election. He needs to borrow a leaf from Donald Trump who was elected barely three weeks ago and he is almost through with forming his government before embarking on some thank-you tours. In the course of his thank-you tour before the weekend, he and the Vice-President elect, Mike Pence, went into a factory (Carrier) in Indiana where Pence has been governor since 2013. They have set up a solid economic management team. They still have 27 days in December and 20 days in January before inauguration. So, instead of berating opponents and ‘I won’t-probe my-predecessors promise without benefits of data from handover notes, let Mr. Akeredolu settle down with a transition team that will plan what to do with Ondo state in the next two years before reelection politics will begin. We the people already know that Nigerian politicians always get to office before planning what to do as we have now even in Abuja where they want to launch an economic blue print after spending more than one and half years in office.

So, Mr. Akeredolu who has not been living and practicing law in Ondo state, does not have to like Trump before borrowing yet another leaf from him. Trump has been organizing his government, building his cabinet and nominating people even among those who criticized him during the bitter campaigns including Mitt Romney, one of those being considered as Secretary of State. So, instead of planning to govern amid a poisoned chalice being shaped by unguarded utterances after election, Elder Akeredolu should note some lessons we touched on last week here: That most of the states in the South West are not doing well in the context of country competitiveness. As we noted here before, the biggest global weapon of competitiveness today is quality (in) education. I have often noted that the United States is always exceptional No.1 not just because of the philosophy and dreams of their founding fathers that they have almost destroyed through political correctness and libertarian conundrum, they are always on top because of the quality of researchers that are in their universities where they shape development.

They are No.1 in Research and Development Funding in the world. In other words, there is this nexus between quality in education and development of countries in global context. You may not agree with global rating by experts but there is a common thread that runs though all of them: education quality leads to development. That United States is No.1 is always confirmed that in all global rating of universities (including recent ones on employability skills of graduates), the United States always tops 7-8 to 2-3 in the United Kingdom where they have their Oxford and Cambridge Universities. In Africa, it the last few years, South Africa and Egypt always come into focus when top ten universities are unveiled. It is shameful yes, always shameful that Nigeria that used to boast of the University of Ibadan and its Teaching Hospital as part of the best five in the Commonwealth Comprising Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, India, etc can no longer compete in the best ten in Africa. The glory began in Yorubaland and has departed.

So, it is not by coincidence that United States, Japan, Germany, China, India South Africa, South Korea have strong brands in the world market such as Apple, Toyota, Coca cola, Microsoft, Samsung, Mercedes Benz, etc. In Africa, for instance, South Africa has the strongest economy (despite our rebased statistics) and it is the only African member of G-20 and BRICS – a club of powerful emerging markets: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This illustrates the point of direct correlation between quality in education and economic development. The same applies to the United States, Japan and China: they have world-class Universities. This sobering fact is confirmed by a recent rating in University products employability skills index where California Institute of Technology (U.S) is No. 1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (U.S) No.2. and Harvard University is 3rd. University of Cambridge (U.K) is 4th while Stanford University (U.S) is 5th; Yale University (U.S) is 6th while University of Oxford (U.K) is 7th; the Technical University of Munich (Germany) is 8th; the 9th of the top 10 is Princeton University (U.S) while University of Tokyo (Japan) is 10th.

In Africa, according to Times Education ranking, Universities of Cape Town, Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch in South Africa are top three in Africa and The American University In Cairo, Cairo University and Alexandria University in Egypt feature trail South Africa. No top university in Nigeria is rated in the employability skills index in 2016. This is where we are. And so Governor-elect, Akeredolu should reflect on these things and be a unique brand ambassador of federalism and revival of what was good about the old western Nigeria that set the pace for television broadcasting, first stadium, first newspaper, first of so many things. The people of Ondo state are waiting for the change the APC has promised.

Please, note my earlier political note here that: if you want a brand performance like Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s, you should prepare to invest in your own Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Which reinforces an ancient saying that only good trees can produce good fruits. Hope this message is clear to Akeredolu who coincidentally hails from Pa Ajasin’s birthplace, Owo, where the sage used to enforce education quality control.

The South-West Road to Kigali – Part 2
As I was saying before the tailpiece last week, in 1962, the Western House of Assembly was set to remove Chief Ladoke Akintola after the party had earlier passed a vote of no confidence in the premier at a party meeting, crisis erupted on the floor of the house. The majority expelled Chief Akintola from the party. The then Governor of the Western Region, the Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi demanded Chief Akintola’s resignation as Premier and named Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro as his successor. And the crisis this set off in Western Nigeria earned the region the appellation “Wild Wild West”.
And Abubakar Tafawa Balewa led federal government intervened to curb the violence by imposing a state of emergency and appointed Dr. Moses Majekodunmi (the Federal Minister of Health) as Administrator (interim premier of Western region) on the 29th of June 1962. This became the first imposition of a state of emergency in Nigeria’s political history.

And Abubakar Tafawa Balewa led federal government intervened to curb the violence by imposing a state of emergency and appointed Dr. Moses Majekodunmi (the Federal Minister of Health) as Administrator (interim premier of Western region) on the 29th of June 1962. This became the first imposition of a state of emergency in Nigeria’s political history.

Following an alliance between Ladoke Akintola and Ahmadu Bello, the federal government returned Akintola to power on the 31st of December 1962 despite the protest by Dr Nnamidi Azikiwe who requested fresh election instead of arbitrarily reinstating Chief Akintola. By 1963, the plot by Akintola, Balewa and Bello was perfected and Chief Obafemi Awolowo was arrested for coup plotting and treason. His trial commenced in earnest and he was alongside some accomplices convicted for treason and jailed for 10 years. This again was the first alleged coup plotting and conviction in Nigerian history. Intent on dismantling Chief Awolowo, Chief Ladoke Akintola together with his Deputy Premier Remi Fani Kayode “Fani-Power” (both of Nigerian National Democratic Party) went into a political alliance with Prime minister Tafawa Balewa’s Northern People’s Congress (NCP) and new political party known as the Nigerian National Alliance (NNA) was formed. Dr Azikiwe led NCNC teamed up with the incarcerated Chief Awolowo’s Action Group (AG), the Northern Progressive Front (NPF), the Kano People’s Party (KPP), the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), the United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC) and the Zamfara Commoners Party (ZCP) to form the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA).

When federal elections were due in 1964, irredentism, intimidation and violence were major campaign weapons. Chief Fani Kayode and Chief Akintola’s campaign was almost entirely based on tribalism, according to reports. The NPC won the election: Northern People’s Congress (NPC), which won 162 of the 312 seats in the House of Representatives, whilst the NNA held a total of 198 seats. This election was reported as widely rigged and the first to be so reported in the country. The announcement of the allegedly rigged results quickly triggered unprecedented thuggery, violence, arson in the region.

Following the crisis, Dr Nnamidi Azikiwe requested the military GOC to intervene and re-organise the elections in the region to avoid violence, but the military high command refused. In fact, Dr. Azikiwe was briefly held for making such a request.
In the heat of the constitutional crisis the elections to the Western House of Assembly were conducted on 11 October 1965. The election set off another chaos. Ironically no state of emergency was declared. Instead, the Federal government sent security forces to support the victory of Chief Akintola and Chief Fani Kayode’s NNDP. The violence and lawlessness in the Western region was to continue from 1964 until 1966. It was under these conditions that a section of the military finally struck and overthrew the government on 15 January 1966. The military coup led to the killing of Nigeria’s key government officials and senior military figures including Alhaji Ahmadu Bello (the Premier of the Northern Region), Sir Tafawa Balewa (the Prime Minister), Chief Okotie-Eboh (the Minister of Finance), General Maimalari (the Chief of Army Staff), Brigadier Ademulegun(Commander of the Northern Garrison) Chief Ladoke Akintola (Premier of Western Region) and so many others.

In the heat of the constitutional crisis the elections to the Western House of Assembly were conducted on 11 October 1965. The election set off another chaos. Ironically no state of emergency was declared. Instead, the Federal government sent security forces to support the victory of Chief Akintola and Chief Fani Kayode’s NNDP. The violence and lawlessness in the Western region was to continue from 1964 until 1966. It was under these conditions that a section of the military finally struck and overthrew the government on 15 January 1966. The military coup led to the killing of Nigeria’s key government officials and senior military figures including Alhaji Ahmadu Bello (the Premier of the Northern Region), Sir Tafawa Balewa (the Prime Minister), Chief Okotie-Eboh (the Minister of Finance), General Maimalari (the Chief of Army Staff), Brigadier Ademulegun(Commander of the Northern Garrison) Chief Ladoke Akintola (Premier of Western Region) and so many others.

I hope this lesson was absorbed last Saturday In Ondo State where we had a peaceful election generally believed to have been nurtured by “pot of soup democracy” as widely reported.
***Grammar School returns soon.



3 Comments
  • Iskacountryman

    so awolowo did not plan a takeover…

  • ajibola omole

    AKEREDOLU IS NOT AN HISTORIAN.HE IS A LAWYER.HE ONLY A NARRATIVE BASED ON INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO HIM

  • lord of jaspers

    i hope d yorubas r readin dis? d once who said dat azikwe was part of d pple dat ousted awolowo! i hope dey r readin dis! dose yoruba fools dat neva seem 2 learn frm history should rada ask y awolowo afta comin out of prison chose 2 support d pple who put him thr in d first instance!