Elegushi, Oluwo visit Tinubu on state of the nation
Two first class Obas from the South-West, Oba Saheed Ademola, Elegushi Kushenia III of Lagos and Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, the Oluwo of Iwo in Osun State, on Monday, July 2, 2018, paid the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, an unscheduled visit in his Ikoyi residence, Lagos, to discuss national issues, which the two Obas confessed gave them cause for concern. Palace Watch met the two Obas and the following conversation took place, with the Oluwo speaking.
What was your visit all about?
Mr. Omonhinmin, how did you get information about traditional rulers’ movement across the country? You are now behaving like a mafia journalist. Anyhow, we as traditional rulers are not politicians and any self-respecting Oba will never take active part in partisan politics, since we are expected to play the role of fathers to all. So, if you must know, we did not visit Asiwaju to discuss politics, instead we visited the APC national leader and he was gracious enough to grant us audience, even within a very short notice. He is a very well respected national figure, we visited him, to express our concerns over recent happenings across the country, and pleaded with him to do all within his powers to help the present administration, to check these ugly incidences.
Interesting! Who initiated this high profile meeting with Asiwaju?
Who initiated the meeting does not matter any longer. What happened is that Elegushi and I as a matter of habit speak regularly. In the course of one of our discussions, we both expressed concern about recent happenings, and immediately resolved to go and see Asiwaju Tinubu to express our concerns. That was how we came about the meeting.
What are these national issues that gave you two concerns?
Mr. Omonhinmin, must I go through them all, you are supposed to know the issues, aren’t you a journalist anymore?
Kabiyesi, I am still a journalist, but I don’t have the powers of clairvoyance or telepathy, so, it is not possible for me to know what you and Oba Elegushi had in mind before the visit to Asiwaju.
Ok, we discussed the recent killings across the country, alongside acts of corruption, which is synonymous with most political office holders in Nigeria, the suffering of the majority of our people alongside the economy in general with Asiwaju.
We think he is the right and proper person we should discuss all issues concerning the wellbeing of the country with. Because, we know him to be very well meaning especially on issues that concern this country and not only that, he has direct access to the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari. And one thing anybody can’t take away from Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is the fact that he has provided leadership in Lagos, and Lagos is working since he left office as governor of the state.
We are worried about the behaviour of most Nigerians, everybody especially politicians claim to be Nigerians, but whenever any little issue occurs, some of them are the first to be calling for the breakup of the country, these are no good signs for the country. We as traditional rulers can’t keep on watching and looking at things while they degenerate. Once they are allowed to get out of hand or control, it is the traditional rulers that will bear most of the brunt of these actions or in action. The concern of every right thinking traditional ruler in Nigeria right now is, how to foster national unity. An Igbo, Yoruba, Nupe, Efiki, Ibibio, Hausa or Fulani man or woman should be able to live comfortably in any part of this country without any form of molestation. This is the Nigeria I want and this is the type of Nigeria Elegushi also craves for, that was why we had to go and meet with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, just because we know him to be a patriot.
Mr. Omonhinmin, if you decided today to relocate to any part of the North or come over to Iwo my domain, should you be known as an Edo man in the North and Edo man in Iwo? I expect that you should simply be known as a Nigerian.
The attitude of asking anybody who wants anything in any part of the country, to be asked to go back to his place of birth even though he or she lives and earns his daily living in that part of the country, is reckless and should not be allowed to continue, if we must have a united and indivisible country called Nigeria.
For example, the land available in the Northern part of Nigeria is much more than the entire lands in the Southwest, South-south and Eastern Nigeria put together. If an entrepreneur in agriculture from this part of the country decides to invest heavily in agriculture, he or she should be free to go to any part of the North that pleases him to carry out such investment, and vice versa. Until we begin to see things from this perspective Nigeria will never move forward.
For further emphasis, we went and met with Asiwaju about the unity of Nigeria and how to move this country forward. Elegushi and I and some other young kings in Nigeria are forward thinkers and we are up and doing and mobile kings, thinking alike when it comes to issues that affect us generally. We are not going to wait until the country collapses on our face. No, that will not happen, before we begin to act. We are ready and willing to do anything and everything to unite this great country called Nigeria, this is part of our self-assignment.
Our resolve now as young kings is how to work with all the relevant authorities to stop and take out all the bad habits that have stunted the development of Nigeria.
Kabiyesi, if I may ask, what was the response of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu?
He thanked us profusely for the visit and promised to continue to do his best to ensure the massive development of Nigeria, North, South, East, South-South and West. He told us that he has never been part of the people calling for the break up of Nigeria. He said, if we must restructure Nigeria, we should first be talking of restructuring or how to tackle the bad habits, which have become endemic in Nigeria. He said that the bad habit in government, which is corruption, the killer of most Nigerians.
When you and Oba Elegushi sat down with Asiwaju, what did you tell him?
We told him some people and sections of the country are marginalized, and that he should help do something fast about this, as this will help bring about harmony in the system. But the real job on our hands right now as a country is how to effectively sanitize Nigeria, so that it will begin to work for the good of all. If some past leaders had taken a firm stand against corruption the way and manner President Buhari is doing, the country would have been better. It would not have become fashionable for people in politics to begin to think that politics is an avenue to loot the country dry. Our take is that people in government must make efforts to sanitize themselves, as corruption is gradually killing this country. This can no longer be allowed to continue. This is the point we are making. We are not interested in who does it, it could be APC, PDP, APGA or any other political party, and it does not concern us, we are not politicians. All we are after is the welfare and well-being of all Nigerians. Once the right steps are taking, we would be ok, quietly go back to our domains and minister to the needs of our people.
Unlike in the past, Nigerians are today very much aware, that corruption is a major problem; let us join hands to fight it together. This is what we want. What we are advocating is that, all past corrupt politicians who have enriched themselves at the expense of the country, should simply come out and make restitution. Let them refund if not all, but part of the money stolen back to government. As we speak, there are some politicians who have done this. I don’t think the President Buhari government is keen on prosecuting people who have made this type of restitution. I had told you before, that Ojo ta ri ebi, ni ebi wole.
Let me use the defunct Soviet Union as an example, they were formally actively involved in communism, the day it was stopped and capitalism was introduced in present day Russia, did they say we must go back to it? No. They simply moved ahead as a country and they are better for it now. America was also known before as the “Wild-Wide West” because some people during that period stole money from bank robbery, and did all manner of evils to enrich themselves. Those ugly days of America were not allowed to continue, something was done to stop it, and it was stopped for good, America today is a great country.
Another example, if someone was a rebel and later fought for the freedom of a country, should we not forgive such a person(s), must we continue to say, he was a rebel, he or she should not be forgiven? My take is simply anybody who has done this country wrong one way or another, it is about time they come out and ask for forgiveness and let us move on as a country.