By Abel B.S. Gaiya In a previous article on Gamji,…
By Joe Igbokwe
The Yoruba Nation I know has been in the Opposition even since the inception of Nigeria and yet they are not the worst in Nigeria. After the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential elections won by Moshood Abiola, the powers that be tried to console the Yoruba by appointing Ernest Shonekan the head of the interim Government. Did Yoruba accept Shonekan? No, they did not. They did not come out on the streets with Gbedu Drums to celebrate Yoruba and Chief Shonekan.
Yoruba proudly told the powers that be that you can only be the Head of State in Nigeria through two methods: either through an election or through a successful coup d’état. In the case of Shonekan, he did not ascend to power through either of the above processes. He was therefore rejected by the Yoruba. Now, if it were the Igbo, would they have reasoned this way? I doubt it. In the struggle for June 12, Abiola was put in detention, and his wife killed. Several Yoruba people were in detention and some hounded abroad. Abiola was eventually killed. But did the Yoruba go to war or resort to self-determination? No, they did not. They fought back using common sense and the power of ideas.
In 1998 when the presidency was zoned to the South-West because the late MKO Abiola has paid the supreme price, the Yoruba preferred Olu Falae but the powers that be forced Obasanjo on Nigeria. Now did the Yoruba accept Obasanjo because he is a Yoruba man? They did not. This unique race rejected Obasanjo for the eight years he was in office, from 1999 to 2007. To date the Yoruba still believe that Obasanjo wasted their eight years. OBJ was rejected even in his own ward, in his local government, and in the whole of the Western Region. That is the Yoruba nation for you. Can the Igbo do this? I doubt it. After the 2003 elections, the PDP stole all the states in the South-West, leaving only Lagos because they were afraid of the trouble Lagosians will give them. The Former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, fought back like a wounded lion with his committed associates to reclaim almost all the States in the South-West. He did not stop there; he spread his intimidating political tentacles across Nigeria, forming alliances across building networks and bridges, and the result is what we saw on Saturday, March 28, and April 11, 2015.
Now, can any leader in the South-East achieve this feat? Where is the character? Where is the courage? Where is the wisdom and understanding? Where is the Common sense? Where is the discipline? Where is the capacity and capability?
Joe Igbokwe is the Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State.
Editors Note: This was originally published last year before the creation of this website but we find it to be relevant to the current national discourse on issues affecting Southeast Nigeria