Tinubu: A Misapplication And Misappropriation Of ‘Yorùbá ronú’ Dictum


Tinubu: A Misapplication And Misappropriation Of ‘Yorùbá ronú’ Dictum

I am completely perplexed by the illogical logic that because Bola Ahmed Tinubu appointed Professor Yemi Osinbanjo, PYO must forever subsume his inalienable aspirational rights to those of Tinubu.

Obama would never have been elected President under that logic. When he was a junior senator from Illinois, ranking Senator Dick Durbin recognized his talent and advised him to ride the flood.

Tinubu did not choose Osinbajo from the ranks of the unemployed. Instead, he chose a distinguished Professor of Law from one of our top universities.

Whatever Osinbajo gained from working for Tinubu is insignificant in comparison to what Tinubu gained from having a genius as his State's Attorney General.

Because of the brilliance and professional dexterity of the diminutive Osinbajo, Lagos State triumphed six times in the Supreme Court against the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Tinubu should pay daily pilgrimage to the graveside of Ganiyu Dawodu if Osinbajo is beholden to him for life!

Can a student outperform his teacher? Can a protege surpass his mentor? Both questions have a resounding yes. There might not have been a Tony Blair if Neil Kinnock had not existed. From Barry Goldwater, the magnificent Ronald Reagan took up the Conservative politicking baton.

A mentor should never be worshiped as a god. Plato was mentored by Socrates. Plato disagreed with his teacher. Plato was Aristotle's mentor, and the two had disagreements. Each protégé arguably outperformed his celebrated mentor!

Why must mentoring leave no room for the exercise of conscience to the point where one is smeared as a "traitor"? In matters of conscience, we all have only God to answer to. That is why, I am never afraid of being in a minority.

Who are the Yorubas being used as pawns against their kin? Is anyone who does not support Tinubu being used against their kin? If that is the case, could Tinubu be the one being used by non-Yorubas against Osinbajo? On what arrogant basis are people of other ethnicities labeled as "unwise men"? On the basis of Western education? Please let us progress from the ridiculous to the sublime.

For the record, the Yorubas are Nigeria's most populous ethnic group. Nonetheless, the Yorubas remain a minority in Nigeria. No politician in our lifetime will enjoy the popularity that Awolowo did in Yoruba land. Unfortunately, it was not enough to secure Awolowo the presidency.

For far too long, desperate politicians have used ethnicity to gain political advantage. The Fulani bogey is a superficial sophomoric appeal to atavistic feelings. The Fulani bogey is, without a doubt, a lazy and fraudulent intellectual ruse devised by Southern politicians.

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was not of Fulani origin. In any case, anyone who claims to be one must admit that the Fulanis did not impose Tafawa Balewa as Prime Minister on the Nigerian Federation in 1959. Azikiwe was the one who turned down Awolowo's offer of the position of Prime Minister on a silver platter. Yakubu Gowon was not of Fulani origin. He was also not Hausa.

Shehu Aliyu Shagari was Nigeria's first Fulani ruler. However, dishonesty combined with intellectual laziness creates a convenient narrative of Fulani hegemony to falsely explain Shagari's ascension to the Presidency in 1979.

But consider the 1979 election results, in which Shagari came first and Awolowo came second in terms of total votes received per candidate. However, in terms of geographical distribution of votes, Awolowo did not finish second to Shagari; the GNPP's Ibrahim Waziri did. Waziri was neither Fulani nor Hausa in origin. Kanuri was his name.

The GNPP was a breakaway faction of the original NPP, which is an undeniable fact of Nigerian history. Waziri had the option of running for President or becoming Party Chairman. He insisted on holding both positions, as was the case in two other parties, the UPN and the PRP.

Azikiwe, Adeniran Ogunsanya, and Areoye Oyebola begged Waziri to ensure that the NPN had separated the positions of Presidential Candidate and Party Chairman. Waziri refused to budge. As a result, the party was split in two.

Nobody should blame the Fulani for the original NPP schism. The NPP would have easily won the presidency in 1979 if it had not splintered. Shagari would have finished second, while Awolowo would have finished third, well behind Waziri.

Hackneyed cries of "Yoruba ronu" are frequently heard from political corners that recognize that the Yorubas are Nigeria's largest ethnic group but, sadly, forget that Yorubas do not constitute a majority of Nigerians.

It was folly for Awolowo and the UPN to forget that in 1959, Awolowo's party, in alliance with Eastern minorities (current Cross River and Akwa Ibom) and Northern minorities (former Gongola, Benue, Plateau, and Kwara), could not win. How were they supposed to win in 1979 when many of Awolowo's former lieutenants from other parts of Nigeria had joined other parties?

No politician in our lifetime will enjoy the fervent support that Awolowo did in Yoruba land in 1979. It was insufficient to win the presidency. Obasanjo, on the other hand, lost his geopolitical zone, state, hometown, ward, and polling booth. In 1999, he won the presidency with relative ease! One can only hope that the proponents of _Yoruba ronu_ do not overlook this fact.

Ebenezer Babatope is alive and well. He must recall my earnest plea in Ikenne on March 5, 1979, the eve of Awolowo's 70th birthday, that Awolowo would lose the election. Uncle Bola blew up on me. Tai Solarin intervened, requesting that I be given a hearing. Alhaji Young Sidi of Kano praised my bravery but predicted that we would come in first or second place in Kano. We didn't do it.

In a heterogeneous society with numerous multifaceted pluralisms, Yoruba ronu should not be a banal appeal to ethnic sentiments. Our _ironu_ must not be agitated by our feelings for any aspirant (s).

It must be founded on the understanding that a political ecosystem is frequently greater than the sum of its parts. Those who dismiss so-called intangible factors frequently discover, perhaps too late, that these are the underlying locks of political webs and ecosystems.


By Prof. Sola Adeyeye

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