By Femi Fani-Kayode
The truth is that the unconscionable oppressors that constitute the Nigerian ruling elite and political class and those at the top never see things clearly until the explosion comes.
More often or not they are intoxicated by the opium of power, they become deluded, they lose touch with reality and they are blinded by the awesome power that they wield.
And when there is a reaction to their tyranny, arrogance and oppression and the call for resistance and self-determination begins to gather momentum, history proves that instead of reaching out with compassion, love and understanding, they treat their vassals and victims with insensitivity, brutality, savagery and contempt.
Yet despite all one thing is clear: regardless of their relentless opposition and repression, when the time comes, when the song of liberation beckons and when the freedom bell tolls not even one million misguided and bellicose Nigerian Army commanders can resist the restructuring or break-up of our country once it is clearly established that that is what our people want.
The truth is simple and clear: you cannot force people to remain together forever!
And if you really want them to stay together you cannot treat them like animals. You cannot break their hearts, wound their souls, bind their spirits, shatter their dreams, abort their vision and constantly make them shed tears.
You cannot abuse, threaten, kill, maim, incarcerate, intimidate, insult, rob, humiliate, demean or cheat them but instead you must show them love, compassion and kindness and treat them well.
The Nigerian State has been callous, insensitive, cruel, brutal, unjust and unfair to most of its ethnic nationalities.
Throughout our beleaguered history and over the last 56 years of our existence as an independent sovereign state, genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and indeed all manner of injustice have been gladly adopted and employed by the state as a lawful, legitimate and, I dare say, acceptable means to keep our people in check and hold them down.
Millions have been killed in the name of “keeping Nigeria one” and many more have suffered.
This is especially so in the case of the Igbo, the Niger Deltans, the Middle Belters, the northern Christians, the Shiite Muslims and, to a lesser degree, the Yoruba.
As long as this remains the case, if the country is not restructured and if equity, justice and fair play is not properly and adequately enthroned, eventually the roof will cave in and Nigeria will crumble into a number of pieces like a pack of cards.
And when that happens no man born of woman will be able to stop it and neither will an army of one billion hard-line and hard core ultra- conservative dinosaurs who erroneously believe that it is their God-given right and duty to keep Nigeria together by hook or by crook regardless of the heartfelt desires and freely-expressed will of the people.
It is a new dawn and today we are witnessing the last kick of a dying Nigerian horse. Soon we will be free and the tyranny, madness, sadness, tears and shattered dreams that are the hallmarks of Empire Nigeria will be gone forever. God wills it and so it shall be.
Permit me to conclude this contribution by offering a small explanation for my earlier assertion that the Yoruba suffered in the hands of Nigeria to a lesser degree than others.
I do not wish to in any way offend anyone or play down the pure hell that the Yoruba have been through in Nigeria for the last 56 years.
There are indeed many instances and examples of injustice, indignity, shame, pain, suffering and wickedness that we the Yoruba people have been subjected to by those that believe that they own and will always control Nigeria over the years.
However, as bad is it may have been, I believe that there is a big difference between what we have been through and what others have seen.
We suffered immeasurably as well but we had the strength and wherewithal to fight back and survive it rather well. We also flourished over the years compared to others because we didn’t need the Federal Government or the Nigerian State for anything in order to excel and to survive.
They murdered our leader Chief MKO Abiola; his wife, the beautiful Kudirat and many others. They killed Chief SL Akintola in the sanctity of his home and in front of his family. They killed Brigadier Ademulegun and his eight month pregnant wife. They killed Colonel Francis Fajuyi because he opted to stand by his leader and friend, the Head of State, General Aguiyi-Ironsi. They jailed Chief Obafemi Awolowo whose oldest son Segun was killed in a car accident whilst he was in jail. They jailed President Olusegun Obasanjo and quite a few others. They detained and tormented Senator Abraham Adesanya, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and hundreds of others. They drove Professor Wole Soyinka, Professor Adebayo Williams and many others into exile. They destroyed the lives and persecuted many but they never slaughtered us in millions as they did to the Igbo.
They never killed over 100,000 of our people in three months with cudgels and cutlasses as they did to the Igbo all over the north during the pogroms of 1966.
They never killed over 300 of our army officers as they did to the Igbo on the night of the “northern officers revenge coup” of July 29th 1966.
They never denied us our right to life and to self-determination and slaughter over two million of our people during the civil war as they did to the Igbo.
They never starved one million of our young children to death or confiscated our properties and left us with only twenty pounds each after the civil war as they did to the Igbo.
They never subjected us to ethnic and religious cleansing or enslaved us and took our history, culture, language, dignity and faith away from us as they did to the Middle Belters and to the northern Christians and minorities.
They never burnt down our homes, desecrated our burial grounds, blew up our places of worship, wiped out our communities and buried our dead in mass graves as they did the Shiite Muslims.
They never took our mineral resources, plundered our land, destroyed our environment, polluted our rivers, stole our money, humiliated our leaders, dehumanised our men, raped our women, bombed our towns and committed genocide against our people as they did to the Niger Deltans.
Yes we the Yoruba suffered too: we lost Ilorin, we suffered remote-controlled carnage and fratricidal butchery in the politics of the early ’60’s and the early ’80’s, we lost many good men and women during the June 12th struggle, we were relegated to the status of second-class citizens over the years and so much more but we managed to weather our travails with dignity and even a shrug and a smile.
We were big, strong, resilient and powerful enough to take whatever evil that was meted out to us and, more often than not, we fought back and survived it with our heads held up high.
In any case our collective oppressors were always a little more careful with us when compared to others because they were wary of the very real danger of arousing the lion within us and kindling a raging and uncontrollable fire in the Yoruba nation that could well have burnt down the entire country.
Others ethnic nationalities were not so lucky: they had their souls and the very essence of their being sucked out of them. They suffered beyond measure and some have been so scarred and broken over the last 56 years that they may never recover.
These groups must NEVER forget what Nigeria has done to them and neither must we.
The suffering of the Middle Belters, the Niger Delta people and the Igbo particularly should be the fuel for our collective quest for liberation.
The suffering of my Yoruba people through the ages, though less when compared to that of the Niger Deltans, the Igbo and the Middle Belters, acts as a source of strength for me to stand up, to fight on and to fight back.
I chose my words carefully and I meant them. The suffering was relative and those of us that suffered less than others ought to be able to acknowledge the trauma, pain and wickedness that others were put through by our internal colonial masters and their allies.
We acknowledge this not to mock them or subject them to ridicule but to honour them and to learn from their horrific experiences. None of us must ever forget and all of us must ask God for forgiveness for the role we played in assisting and supporting the butchers in the past.
Where we find blood on our hands we must acknowledge that we did wrong and ensure that it will never happen again.
The recollection of history is important. That is why we must always set the record straight and make all the fine points and distinctions.
We must never forget and, like the sons and daughters of the proud Jewish State of Israel said after the horrific genocide of the Nazi holocaust, we must always say, “NEVER AGAIN”.
May the Lord of Hosts forgive Nigeria for what she has done to so many of her ethnic nationalities and her own sons and daughters.
May the Ancient of Days deliver us all from the self-appointed guardians and enforcers of Empire Nigeria and may He effect His purpose and will in our nation. Shalom. (CONCLUDED).