Nations Are Not Built By Name Or Geography.
“Let us make no pretense about it, every human being loves power; power over his fellow men in the state, or in business enterprises; or failing that; power over his wife and children, and over his brothers, sisters, and friends, or, in the case of children, power over his playmates. Of these categories of power, the desire for power over one’s fellow men is the strongest” Chief Obafemi Awolowo
Great nations are great not because of geography or who they cohabit with in the country. Great nations are not built by the virtues of their wealth but by the wealth of their virtues. Without every citizen being committed to the greatness of the nation by consciously imbibing cultures of diligence, honesty, integrity, discipline etc., there will be no great nation inspite of any name we choose to call ourselves.
We may call ourselves Oduduwa, Biafra, Arewa or Nigeria, our problems is not with those names. Our problem is in the wealth of our virtues or a lack of it. Our problem is that we do not have a proper system that instills the proper virtues in our people. Our problem is that we have allowed so much lawlessness in our land. Our problem is that we no longer have a lot of people who are committed to excellence and ideals of selflessness. We have a few people with these ideals here and there, but those ideals have only resulted in their personal success and not national success. What we must urgently do is build systems that replicate these men of values everywhere.
Without putting a system in place to generate virtues and qualities responsible for growth and development in our people we shall continue to wallow in the darkness of underdevelopment. What we have now is a society of the haves and the have nots. The few privileged elites take it all, while the majority of the population wrangle in lack and poverty. The reason is that we didn’t input in our citizens the virtue of service, compassion, kindness, love for our neighbors. We are religious but without godly virtues, hence oppression is everywhere, the rich exploit the poor, the landlord oppress the tenants, the house owner oppresses the gatemen and the housewives oppress the housemaids. If we get a Yoruba Republic would these change, of course not. They won’t change until the values of our people are changed.
There are value systems responsible for development and civilization, these values are presently absent in Yoruba land and in any part of Nigeria, hence we have such a nation as we have today. When we change the system of values in our people to align with virtues that are responsible for growth and development then only would we see a new nation. We need to design these values and consciously build our society on them. Without this it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, Biafra, Oduduwa or Nigeria, it’ll all be the same.
As an individual, it is either you have the right values and ideals within you right now or you don’t have them. When you do not have them, you are quick to blame others, especially your country for your predicament. You are quick to see others as your problem. The problem with you is not other people, the problem is that you have not taken time to build values within yourself. Whatever values you have within you right now is what you will eventually become. Nigeria is not your problem, you are your own problem. People who are great in Yoruba land now are also great within Nigeria. Take such individuals to any part of Africa and Europe, they will still be great. Remove them to far away places like China or India, they will still find a way to be great. They achieve greatness not because of the virtues of their wealth, but because they are wealthy in virtues. If we succeed in building systems that multiply great virtuous individuals within our nation, there is no gainsaying that we will have a great country.
In the same manner, people who have no wealth of virtues among themselves blame everything and everyone for their predicaments. Such people blame their country, their tribe, other tribes, their family etc., for what they lack. Such people rarely accept responsibility for anything. When they are not achieving, they create excuses. They blame the poverty of the country, rather than blame their own poverty of values. It does not matter where you place such individuals, they will remain poor. Whether you place them in Nigeria, Oduduwa republic, Arewa republic or Biafra, they will remain poor. Because the real problem has not been fixed. The real problem is that they are poor in values.
Therefore, the first thing to fix within Nigeria is not restructuring or secession, the first thing to fix in Nigeria is our value systems. If we restructure Nigeria, as long as the components are still made up of the present Nigerians with our warped value systems, nothing will change. We will have new names, but we will not have new experiences simply because we have not embraced new value systems.
But with the right value systems, it does not matter where our citizens are, they will be great. It is great citizens that eventually make up a great country. A great country does not shoot up suddenly. It is great citizens who painstakingly build their country block by block, one value system after another.
Nigeria, in spite of the challenges still has great citizens. They are just not many. Every here and there, there are pockets of people who have embraced the ideals that make a great nation for themselves. Such individuals have been able to distinguish themselves, not just in Nigeria but also in Africa and around the world.
For example, in recent past, we had a man called Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO). Abiola was a Yoruba man who lived in a country that was also plagued with many challenges. But with the right ideals and values, he became a very successful businessman, philanthropist, publisher and politician. Abiola was widely known around Africa and the world for the changes that he brought about and affecting many lives positively. Abiola at his time was not clamoring for Oduduwa republic or secession, despite the fact that problems also abounded in his days. Rather, he sought to make himself a different citizen that his nation would be proud of. Building himself to build his people was his priority. Abiola took responsibility for himself and for his country even until the point of death. He died for a better Nigeria, what a betrayal to now dump that same nation that another one died for.
Like Abiola, there are many Yoruba sons and daughters who have made not just the Yoruba race proud, but have also made Nigeria and Africa very proud.
Today, the world speaks of great Yoruba sons and daughters like Mike Adenuga, Wole Soyinka, Folorunsho Alakija, etc. Asides these people, there are thousands of Yoruba men and women who are making the country proud outside the shores of Nigeria. My main focus in this discussion however are the exceptional people who despite the challenges that the nation has thrown at them, have remained successful and exceptional.
In short, we can safely say that Nigeria has not stopped anybody from becoming great. While Nigeria has failed to provide the necessary environment and the foundational values, yet you are not great not because of Nigeria, you are not great because you are yet to accept personal responsibility. It is wrong to blame Nigeria for all your lack and problems. Doing so is proving irresponsibility.
If we are going to make Nigeria great, then, we need to pay attention to developing the mind and character of every citizen, rather than continuing to criticize our geography or neighbors. We must critique own people rather than criticizing geography and the composition of the country. What will Oduduwa republic give us? A new geography but with same people with old mindset.
We say we want to go home, i.e., “Ileya”, but to where are we going? Are we not occupying our own lands right now? Will there be new lands added to what we have got at the moment if Oduduwa republic is declared today? Are Yorubas not living in their own territory now? Are we not inhabiting our own “ile” right now? Where are the secessionists claiming to go? Do we want another set of leaders to lead us, what of now, are we not having same Yoruba sons and daughters leading us? Are you ordinary Yorubas better than your leaders? What exactly will change apart from the geographical naming of your new boundary? Maybe you’ll say we won’t have Fulani and Hausa, are you sure you’ll be better off without them? If you’ll sit down and analyze what the north is giving to the Yoruba Nation right now you’ll be shocked. The north provide the meat we eat, including 70% of our foodstuffs and agricultural produce. A Yoruba nation that cannot feed herself is doomed. As long as our youth are more interested in internet scamming than in farming and technical skills acquisition Yoruba nation will only end up becoming a worse version of the present day Nigeria.
Once more, the only thing that will change with secession is only acquiring new country name and of course a different flag. Nothing else changes. We may call ourselves anything we want, but one thing remains certain; we are not going to be more Yoruba than we are right now. Right now, we are “Omo Oduduwa”. We are no less ‘Omo Oduduwa’ just because ‘Omo Oduduwa’ is located within Nigeria, neither are we going to be more Yorubas when we get the Oduduwa Nation. It’s like a mad chase after an illusional mirage. What makes Omo Oduduwa should rather be the component of our character instead of just the language we speak. Our people got it right when they called themselves Omoluabis, that is what we need to fight for to once again be known as Omoluabis in the real sense of the word. What is the good in having a Yoruba Nation where there are no Omoluabis, it’ll be a curse on the earth. Is that what we want as a nation? Everyone will flee from such a nation, much worse than what’s happening in Nigeria now. A great nation is determined not by the bloodline of those living in that country, but by the content of their character and their belief systems. Today unfortunately for the Yorubas, we don’t have either of the two, no Omoluabi character anymore, and no sound belief systems responsible for development and civilization. If we truly care about Yorubas as we say, then we should concentrate on impacting to our people sound values of character, a system of beliefs that will distinguish our people in whatsoever nation they find themselves in.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By DR. SUNDAY ADELAJA