By Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, February 8, 2021)
Gangan is the hourglass-shaped talking drum covered by cowskin that talks in the voice of man. Unique, the gangan talking drum is Yoruba’s invaluable gift to the world.
Quite unlike countless artefacts stolen from Africa, and transported to Europe, America and beyond, I believe that the talking drum was left unstolen because the gangan can’t talk without the dexterity of the fingernails – a fact supported by the Yoruba proverb, ‘ati ranmu gangan, kii sehin ekanna’.
But dexterity, in the case of gangan, belonged to the black man. Probably frustrated by in-dexterity, the white man let the talking goatskin, the wooden hourglass and its strings be.
Two weeks ago, the gangan roared in Igangan town of Ibarapa in Oyo State. Just like in the days of yore when drummers accompanied warriors to the warfront, I heard the gangan clearly, saying, “Sunday Igboho npale ogun mo, orisa ma je o t’enu mi jade!” Meaning: “Sunday Igboho is preparing for war, may the gods forbid me saying so.”
About three weeks ago when I interviewed the Akoni Oodua of Yoruba land, Chief Sunday Adeyemo alias Sunday Igboho, he talked passionately about Yoruba culture and tradition.
Despite the mystique surrounding his persona, Igboho was respectful. Without knowing my age, he accorded me the honour due to an elder brother, using the English noun, ‘sir’, and the Yoruba pronoun, ‘e’, both of which confer seniority – while talking to me.
Our talk centered around whether or not African bulletproof aka ‘ayeta’ or ‘odeshi’ truly exists. Igboho insisted that ‘ayeta’ is real and vowed to stake his life and N10m against anyone who doesn’t believe that African bulletproof exists. He said, “I will stake N10m against the N10m of anyone who doesn’t believe African bulletproof exists. The person should bring his gun and shoot at me. I will win the bet.”
A few days after Igboho spoke to me about ‘ayeta’, he visited Igangan and stood in the gap for his embattled ethnic nationality, which has come under incessant murderous attacks by Fulani herdsmen while the Yoruba political leadership, with the exception of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, maintained criminal silence.
Shortly after the gangan thundered victoriously in Igangan, echoing the liberation of Oduduwa children from rape, kidnapping and killings by Fulani herdsmen, a dirge was heard at the Tinubu Square in Lagos.
Ogini? Kilode? Wetin happen? Who die? Media attention shifted swiftly to Tinubu Square, where a torn gangan was found in the possession of a footman singing the songs of sorrow and crying more than the bereaved.
What’s the mission of this flunkey? The manservant wanted to outshine his master and reap quick media traction from the emerging Igboho sensation but met his Waterloo in a classic comeuppance.
Blinded by ambition, the opportunistic, imprudent and chauvinistic fellow danced naked to some anti-FEMInist music at the popular OJODU bus stop near Berger, in Lagos, when a rickety okada crushed him for his blasPHEMY.
The Igboho I know is a commoner, who doesn’t have access to questionable public funds like Nigeria’s politicians in the federal executive council, state executive councils, federal and state legislatures, and local government councils.
The Igboho I know is a 48-year-old tribal-marked man who spoke the only language President Muhammadu Buhari understood – force – forcing the northern president to sack his redundant service chiefs after yearly strident calls for the removal of the underwhelming military chiefs by Nigerians fell on deaf ears.
Shamefully, in order for the removal of the service chiefs not to appear as forced by the Igboho enigma, Buhari rewarded the failed military chiefs with ambassadorial posts when they’ve not even turned in their letters of stewardship for assessment.
The cluelessness of the trivial Buhari administration is further highlighted by the three-month tenure extension of the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, on the premise that the President is searching for the right candidate. This is the most stupid excuse for dullness. I don’t know how Buhari would use just three months to search for Adamu’s successor when he couldn’t do so in the last two years Adamau has been in the saddle.
The Igboho I know is a tribal lord, just like Buhari, who told all other Nigerian ethnic nationalities to vacate their lands and water for his Fulani kinsmen to freely use for Ruga.
Sadly, it’s on record that no Fulani herdsman has been prosecuted and brought to justice by the Buhari presidency despite damning evidence of complicity.
In its characteristic knee-jerk approach to issues, security sources said the Presidency’s first reaction was to attempt to arrest Igboho, but was advised against such a move for fears that the tension already generated by Fulani killings nationwide could result in simultaneous protests that would be larger than the #Endsars riots.
The Sunday Igboho I know is far more compassionate and courageous than Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, all Yoruba governors, except Akeredolu, all Yoruba leaders, ministers, senators, and House of Representative members who have kept quiet because they and their children are safe from killer Fulani herdsmen.
The sound emanating from the gangan being beaten by spineless and greedy Yoruba political leaders is clear. It says, “Bamu, bamu layo, awa o mo bi Fulani npa omo enikankan, bamu, bamu la yo.” Meaning, “We’re filled to the throat, we don’t know if Fulani kills anyone, we are filled to the throat.”
The same thing goes for 99.9% of Yoruba obas, whose member, the Olufon of Ifon, Oba Adegoke Adeusi, was killed by suspected Fulani kidnappers, but who didn’t speak against the killing. Well, if a foremost oba was killed and Yoruba obas kept quiet, won’t they go dancing shaku-shaku if sons and daughters of nobodies in their domains are killed or raped? Yet, this set of leaders clamour for constitutional empowerment.
Only the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, wrote an open letter to Buhari, warning of the tragic consequences of the actions of Fulani kidnappers, herdsmen, and the general insecurity in the land. A couple of other Yoruba monarchs may share Alaafin’s views, but they need to speak up against the killing and raping of their subjects.
The Igboho I know understands the language of the fascist Buhari regime. Force is the language. Former US President Donald Trump thought Nigeria was in a democracy when he asked Buhari why were Nigerian Christians being killed over an alleged Islamisation agenda.
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, General Olusegun Obasanjo, General TY Danjuma, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Bishop David Oyedepo, emirs and numerous leaders of thought have warned Buhari that Nigeria is about to collapse, but the Katsina warlord will never listen because the only language he understands is force.
That Buhari’s next-of-kin presidency granted university licence to the General Sani Abacha family, last week, gives an idea of the depthless corruption subsuming the All Progressives Congress-led government.
If Abacha, Buhari’s benefactor, didn’t steal the country blind, maybe Nigeria would today have the capacity to store millions of COVID-19 vaccines about to be donated by western countries but which are at the risk of getting spoilt as a result of inadequate power supply.
Since I met Igboho at the Osun Peoples Democratic Party secretariat in the Dada Estate area of Osogbo in mid 2000, he has never changed from his down-to-earth nature. With what he did in Igangan, the puppy of Igboho is far better than the toothless and clawless lion of the Aare Ona Kakanfo, Gani Adams. I won’t gloat and beat my chest, saying I predicted the unfitness of Adams for the Kankafo post in 2017. The lesson I took away from Adam’s appointment was that to err is kingly, to forgive is divine.
My advice for the Igboho I know: You’ve blunted the sword of the Fulani with your palm, they’re coming from the highest places to demystify you. Be prepared, talk less, issue press statements. Nigerians are on your side, and they’re watching.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Opinion – Buhari: Yoruba can go to blazes by Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, September 26, 2022)
Until science unmasked the myth of the jungle and brought the secrets of wildlife home to man via the television, little did the world know the lion wasn’t the king of animals. Yep, the world never fully realised that the lion, when alone, was a potential danger, whose presumed invincibility is magnified by the strength in collective hunting, otherwise known as collective looting in Nigeria’s political circles: Kill and chop.
Partly owing to man’s predilection for royalty and the lack of adequate understanding of the jungle, humans ascribe kingship to the lion because of its crown-like mane, overlooking the biggest, fiercest and most powerful of the cats, the tiger; as well as the biggest of the beasts, the elephant, both of whom can kill the lion – one-on-one.
It’s a lesson in survival tactics when a full-grown lion tactically strays away from the path of the hippopotamus or swishes its tail in respect when a rhinoceros scuttles past.
One-on-one, the lion would be dead meat to the grizzly bear, neither can it single-handedly kill the giraffe, who can kick with the four legs, and would only stand a 50-50 chance in a duel with a silverback gorilla.
When I watched a video, in which a threatening pride of lions was afraid to go near a battle-ready porcupine, I remembered the Yoruba proverb, “kí kéré labẹ́rẹ́ kéré, kìí se mímì fádìyẹ,” and understood the taboo which the needle in the haystack has become for the chicken.
Brimming with muscular pounds of strength, the bull’s physicality is etched in stone. Mentally, however, its head is a vacuous cavity lacking the brain needed to survive jungle predators. The meat of the bull cannot be food for a lone lion except lions hunt in packs to beat starvation.
Predictably, there would be an imbalance in the food chain if bulls were wise enough to collectively repel lions. But bulls won’t attack lions because it’s in their DNA to be docile, to be big-for-nothing and stupid, except for occasional acts of resistance when the hunted turns around to gore the hunter.
We, Nigerians, are bulls. The retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari-led government is a pride of lions – cowardly bullies devouring ancestral patrimony and trampling on the rights of the timid masses incapable of thinking because that’s the way the governing lions want them to be in the jungle called Nigeria.
If the lineage of lions had not messed up the minds of Nigerians, the masses would have realised the power in their numbers and risen to liberate themselves from insecurity, totally collapsed infrastructure, poverty and starvation. Nobody, except uniformed servants like the members of the Lagos transport union and destined slaves, would be associating with the All Progressives Congress today.
In the nonsensicality of his wisdom, the king of Nigeria’s namby-pamby pride of lions, Buhari, approved for state-owned security corps in Katsina and Borno to bear AK-47 guns but he denied the request of Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, for the Western Nigerian Security Network Agency aka Amotekun security corps to bear arms.
Although I’m not at all sold on the candidacy of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and that of the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, for both are cut from the worse-for-wear Peoples Democratic Party cloth, the hypocritical actions of Buhari since 2015 are nails long enough to seal the coffin of the APC.
Akeredolu, miffed by the nepotism of the Emir, Northern caliphate, Sheikh Muhammadu ibn Buhari, accused the ex-soldier who was booted out of the Army in August 1985, of deliberately exposing Yoruba lives to marauders and destroying the region’s agricultural sector.
Akeredolu, who is the Chairman, South-West Governors’ Forum, said, “Denying Amotekun the urgently needed rights to legitimately bear arms is a repudiation of the basis of true federalism, which we have been clamouring for. That Katsina was able to arm its state security force with AK-47 means we are pursuing a one-country, two-system solution to the national question.
“If the Katsina situation confers advantages on some, in the face of commonly faced existential threats, it means that our unitary policing system, which has failed, is a deliberate method of subjugation which must be challenged.”
Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group, and former Secretary General, National Democratic Coalition, Honourable Wale Oshun, also accused Nigeria of double standards in approving arms for Borno State JTF and Katsina State security unit while denying Yoruba states of the same gesture.
In a telephone chat with me on Sunday, Oshun particularly bemoaned the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the South-West, warning that the instability in the system portended grave danger for the entire country.
He asked in the video, “Why should Borno JTF and Katsina State Security Unit have arms approved for them by the unitary government yet Amotekun, in the face of flagrant incursion into Yoruba land by unidentified ethnic terrorists of both local and foreign origins, cannot carry arms, why?
“Afenifere Renewal Group contends that it is this kind of impunity by the unitary government of Nigeria and the subversion of federation principles that brought us to this low levels of flagrant insecurity, collapse of our educational system and the massively impoverished populace in our country.”
Oshun, who commended Akeredolu, said irrespective of the 2023 elections and the pretence that democracy was on course, Nigeria would only survive as a country only when the required constitutional restructuring was carried out.
“No section of the country can hold it (Nigeria) together on the sheer force of arms on a permanent basis. It will only remain together if we, all Nigerians, agree to let it remain together,” he said.
Like a people with bull brains, Nigerians rankadedelise our tormentors, who shut university gates against our children, we live in abject darkness, daily waste five hours of our lives on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and nod to ghastly Emi Lokan rhythm by the minstrel of Bourdillon.
I’ll reiterate for the umpteenth time that none among the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, Atiku and Obi is seeking office to genuinely develop Nigeria; all are seeking office for the power, perks and paraphernalia therein.
I say this because each of the presidential candidates knows that no development can emanate from the continued use of the pro-North 1999 Constitution, which supports the current madness ailing our dear country. But none of them has said the obvious nor explained how to bring about the desired constitutional amendment alias restructuring.
Going by political history and emerging indications from the camps of the APC, PDP and LP, the reading of the political barometer of the APC in the South-West shows a propensity for vote buying, ballot snatching and violence, exactly the same indications on the PDP Northern barometer which has child-voting to boot while the LP barometer on the South-East axis shows divisive comments, ethnicism and cyber bullying.
Conducting the 2023 elections without restructuring, and expecting a change in the fortunes of the country is like fetching water with a basket or heading up North from Abuja and expecting to land in Calabar.
No matter the amount of prayers and well wishes, nothing good will come out of Nigeria except we, Nigerians, lay the foundation for greatness by addressing the inherent injustices in the system.
God has never come down to help any people develop their country. As we lay our bed, we will lie on it.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
OPINION: Queen Elizabeth: Saint or satan? By Tunde Odesola
Opinion: Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi, last man standing, bows out gracefully
By ACM Bisi Kazeem, fsi
When he was appointed as the first internally groomed Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) by former President Goodluck Jonathan on 23rd July 2014, the emergence of Dr Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi was celebrated widely not only among the staff of the Corps, but stakeholders and members of the public who were conscious of development within the Corps. The wide jubilation that heralded his appointment was borne out of the long expectations of the people that a competent officer with full understanding of the vision and mission of the organization got the opportunity to manage the elite Corps that had earlier earned public trust and got certified with the global certificate of standardisation, otherwise referred to as ISO 9001:2008 for sustained improvement.
Prior to his appointment, Oyeyemi who was one of the few founding officers of the Corps had gained wide ranging experiences spanning all the major departments and commands of the Corps, all of which he excelled in managing without blame. With his robust background in operations, motor vehicle administration, training and policy, research and statistics, which he managed with excellence, all eyes were on the Federal Government to give him the opportunity to showcase the leadership skills he had learnt over the years under successive Corps Marshals.
His emergence was, therefore, not surprising to all those interested in the growth and development of the Corps. Interestingly, he did not disappoint the people as he hit the ground running after his swearing in by the former secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim in the conference hall of the SGF office. An advocate of policy continuity, Oyeyemi had no difficulty in recognising the need to uphold and build on the policy direction taken by his predecessor, Chief Osita Chidoka who had earlier been appointed as a minister and member of the Federal Executive Council.
He announced his management ideals during his maiden strategy session with the principal officers of the National Headquarters and Zonal Commanding Officers when he stated that the principles of his management would be anchored on the tripod of Consultation, Reward and Punishment ( CRP) an acronym for the use of carrots and sticks in managing the affairs of the Corps. As a versatile computer user, Oyeyemi not only promoted the digitization policy of the Corps, but took it to the next level thereby widening the scope, usage and accessibility of computers among the generality of the Corps in the last 8 years that he was saddled with the responsibility of leading the organization.
Having successfully spent his two tenures at the topmost office of the Corps and is graciously bowing out, the questions on the lips of many anxious Nigerians are, what did he do differently that he could be remembered for by the coming generations? Here, we must point out first and foremost that the unprecedented levels of recruitment that he secured from the Federal Government within the years has, no doubt, raised the number of qualified personnel available to carryout specialist and general duty assignments that have significantly improved the presence and visibility of the Corps across the nation’s highways. His policy of ensuring effective management of the wide network of road nationwide has led to the Introduction of Corridor Commands and Station Offices which has made the presence of the FRSC in all the nation’s 774 local governments possible for collective ownership of traffic management as envisaged by the Road Safety Strategy initiative.
Concerned with the poor office accomodation and dilapidated nature of most of the structures occupied by the Corps on rent basis across the ststes, Oyeyemi-led Management vigorously pursued the policy of constructing permanent office accomodation most of which have been commissioned across states in the six geopolitical zones of the country. This has created opportunity for modern and permanent office structures owned by the Corps.
Towards ensuring a happier and more productive post service life for staff, the last man standing unveiled project 20,000 staff Housing Scheme to make house ownership easier for all staff of the Corps while we brought into existence FRSC Post-Service Scheme (PSS) to help members of the Corps save for retirement before the retirement benefit/pension are paid.
Furthermore, the aggressive pursuit of the policy of fleet renewal by his Management has led to the procurement of unprecedented number of operational vehicles, tow trucks, ambulances, administration vehicles and other rescue equipment, the largest ever secured by any management in the 34 years of the Coros’ existence.
As an organization built on the ingredients of knowledge, the FRSC Management under Oyeyemi paid special attention to staff capacity development programmes through which opportunities for local and foreign trainings were offered to all cadres of staff. Further to this, the various institutions of learning aimed at developing the intellectual and road traffic management expertise of the Corps were not only established, but some upgraded to make it possible for them to offer advanced knowledge and certification. To this end, the FRSC Academy Udi, Enugu State was upgraded as centre of excellence for study of road safety and affiliated with the Federal University of Technology, Owerri for the award of post-graduate degree programs in transportation Management.
His Management has been able to successfully negotiate and took delivery of an ultra-modern Inspectorate Training School, Owa Alero in Delta State through the benevolence of the government and people of Delta State. 8n addition, he has been able to negotiate and secured the agreement of Plateau State Government to build the Road Marshal Assistant Training School in Shendam, Plateau State, where work is already at an advanced stage. And in his commitment to career development of staff which aligns with the policy of rewarding excellence, the yearly promotion exercise has continued to be observed in the last 8 years of his management thereby creating opportunity for upward movement of the staff in line with available vacancies and strict adherence to the provisions of the federal character principles.
More to the above, Oyeyemi developed transformational initiatives focused on People, Processes and Technology (PPT) that is why today not only does its staff pride as the most disciplined but the Corps stands as the best Information Technology (IT) driven organization in Nigeria with its robust data base and over 95 percentage digitalized administrative and operational procedures.
His administrative ingenuity that led to the deployment of FRSC personnel to Tank Farms has to a large degree, dwindled the rate of crashes associated with articulated vehicles, particularly tankers carrying petroleum products. Through its Safe-to- Load initiative, articulated vehicle have been subjected to checks before they are allowed to load from the various depots across the country with trained personnel of the Corps undertaken routine checks to ensure strict compliance.
Meanwhile, the need for constant education and enlightenment of road users and members of the public on road safety matters as well as conditions of the roads as they move out everyday, led to the establishment of the National Traffic Radio (107.1 FM) Abuja. In the same way, the quest for improved service delivery in the licensing system of the country has led to the establishment of additional Print Farms in the country, while his Management has given impetus to the operational performance of the Corps through the establishment of the operations monitoring and Control Center, procurement and deployment of Body Cameras and establishment of Drivers Proficiency Center at Inspectors Training School, Owa Alero in conjunction with the Delta State Government.
The Corps under his watch, has successfully strengthened inter-agency cooperation with relevant stakeholders such as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), all Military and Paramilitary organisations and Banks in Nigeria with evident success in inter agency collaboration and harmonization of data for national development.
Again, it is noteworthy to look at the direction of his leadership’s swift response to the incessant abuse of traffic rules which led to the putting together of the OPERATION COBRA to address certain life-threatening and traffic-related offences. Offenders arrested by the Operation Cobra squad are usually referred to a government health facility for Emotional Stability Test. This step has entrenched compliance and safe road use within the operational areas where the Cobra squad operate.
The subsequent introduction of the body camera by patrol teams will no doubt increase the desire for transparency and evidence based operations that could enhance public trust in the Corps. This will not assist in curbing violence and illegal transaction by personnel while on the highway but will lend credence to the anti-corruption stance of the Corps.
The feat achieved by the FRSC in the last 8 years of Oyeyemi management has led to various local and international recognition and awards that have placed Nigeria’s FRSC as the best example of a road safety lead agency which other governments in developing societies are encouraged to emulate by replicating it in their countries. And with more investments through increased budgetary allocation as well as private sector intervention under the Corps’ partnership initiative and drives, there’s high expectation that the message of road safety will reach great number of people and would impact more on the driving culture of the people towards the envisaged attainment of the goals of safer road environment in the country.
Nigerians that are conscious about the positive developments that have taken place in the Corps in the last 8 years under Oyeyemi-led Management are no doubt convinced that that FRSC has reached a point where its capacity would be able to satisfactorily tackle the challenges of traffic management and safety administration in the country, such that road traffic crashes would not necessarily lead to death.
And as he bows out gracefully after a successful sojourn in the FRSC as the last founding officers that has seen the growth and development of the Corps in the last 34 years 8 out of which he spent as its head, the common refrain is that, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi maybe retiring, but he should not be tired of rendering his services to the nation in whatever areas his expertise could be demanded, even in retirement. By so doing, the nation would stand to continue to derive from his wealth of experience in tackling some of the socioeconomic and security challenges bedvilling this nation and truncating its march to development.
- Assistant Corps Marshal Kazeem is the Corps Public Education Officer of the FRSC.
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