It was sir Ahmad Bello, the late Sardauna of Sokoto who called the attention of Nigerians to what he called “The mistake of 1914.”
Indeed, what Sir Bello called “The mistake of 1914,” actually had its roots in the fertile mind of Flora Shaw, Lord Lugard’s fiancee who in 1897, according to Femi Owolabi in his article “NIGERIA: THE MISTAKE OF 1914”, coined the name ‘NIGERIA’ being so inspired by the River Niger. (The Times London January 08, 1897).
In 1914, seventeen years after the coinage of ‘NIGERIA,’ the Northern and the Southern Protectorates were amalgamated for administrative convenience. Sir Bello, in the heat of the struggle for Nigeria’s independence from the British overlords had regretted the fact that the North of Nigeria was in the same country as the South of Nigeria.
Unfortunately, the “mistake of 1914” has metamorphosed into the mistake of 2015 with previously unfathomable tragedies for Nigerians in general and the Yoruba Nation in particular. It is not as if the experience of the Yoruba ethnic nationality is too much different from other oppressed, subjugated and conquered ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, it is just that one writes from the perspective of a Yoruba Nationalist.
Gloating is not what a lot of people often like to do, especially where and when the fortunes of millions of people are concerned. It is believed to be a wrong thing to do when you kick a man that is already down for whatever reasons and by whatever means. But in reviewing how we got into the present quagmire as a means to charting the way forward, it is a serious challenge to avoid doing some knocking on the anchors of the present tragedy in Nigeria, and again, in Yoruba Nation in particular.
The election of Muhammadu Buhari as President of Nigeria in 2015 is without question, a monumental mistake. This is a self evident fact. The permeating gnashing of teeth resulting from pervasive hunger, poverty, want, penury, death, arson, maiming and raping that have become the lot of Nigerians are the CHANGE that Buhari has brought to bear on Nigerians.
Some apologists of All Progressive Congress (APC) who have come to accept the fact that voting for Buhari was a collosal mistake are quick to alleviate the guilt on their conscience by saying that they did not have a better choice between President Mohammadu Buhari (PMB) and former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ).
But this is smartness by half. They would not have had to choose between PMB and GEJ if they had voted their conscience during the primaries and not kowtow to the vagaries of mercantilist politicking.
The leadership is more to blame for the monumental mistake of 2015. The scheme of the leadership from the Southwest, put in place to and for the realization of the morbid ambition of a selfish cabal, draped in garb of Yoruba interest, shut out the possibility of consideration for alternative candidates in the days leading to the primaries in the APC, thus narrowing down the choice to two bad candidates.
Even then, when one hears the kind of justifications being put forward for putting a man who did not graduate High School in charge of a country like Nigeria, one wonders a lot of things. A man who would be hard put to get a job as a gateman was put in charge of the biggest economy in Africa. And we are all witnesses to the result of such an aberration.
It was and still is more than amazing how great minds of deep intellect, seminal erudition, unbridled sanity, dexterous administrators, reputable professors, responsible parents could all throw away their reasoning abilities and conclude that voting a certificateless politician reputed for ineptitude, incompetence and diarrheaic corruption is the one to help salvage a country like Nigeria.
In about four weeks, PMB would be two years in the saddle.It has been two years of woes and misery for Nigerians. It had been two years of deaths and mourning for many. It has been two years of blatant and flagrant display of banditry and gangsterism by Buhari’s relatives in Aso Rock. It has been two years of murdering, maiming and raping by Buhari’s tribesmen across the land.
For the Yoruba people, the mistake of 2015 has been enormously consequential. Their subjugation as a people has been further deepened. The enslavement of the Yoruba people have been further enhanced. The misery of my Yoruba people has metastasized. Even, those who sold my people into slavery have yet to be paid the price they expected.
The mistake of 2015 has seen my people being murdered on their lands; their farms being destroyed at will without any recourse. The mistake of 2015 has seen the Yoruba leadership cowed, humiliated and vanquished.
The mistake of 2015 has neutralized the Yoruba political leadership that it doesn’t even have any scintilla of courage to cry out over the butchering of its people in Ile-Ife, Ketu, Ikorodu and elsewhere.
The mistake of 2015 has underscored the vacuity of mercantilist politics. The mistake of 2015 has exposed the Yoruba Nation to undue vulnerabilities. The mistake of 2015 has consummated as an existential threat to the land of Oòduà. The mistake of 2015 has called to question the sincerity and judgment of those who imposed themselves as the Yoruba political leaders.
It is unfortunate that those in Yoruba land who anchored the return of the tragedy called Buhari in 2015 have themselves become pitiable victims. It is hope that this kind of terrible mistake would not repeat itself in the coming months and years. It is hoped the unity in Yoruba land would be reinforced against external and internal enemies.I t is hoped that Yoruba Nation would not tarry in this slavery for too long.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
– John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961
Remi Oyeyemi is a public affairs commentator. He tweets from @OyeyemiRemi.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.