The trouble with being Yoruba
The Yoruba tribe seems to be witnessing a resurgence with the fraught emergence of their President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The Yorubanization of our systems since this emergence, have risen in tempo and in noise to the chagrin of other components that make up the federation.
Now if one is not careful, one could be taken in with the vocal minority that push and sing for Yoruba superiority which if not careful could easily be pushed towards the disgraced Hitler theory of Aryan superiority.
In the last six years, we have continued to be buffeted with the cries of Yoruba superiority in almost every aspect of national life. We have seen documentaries on Yoruba religion being practiced globally, we have heard cries of the Oduduwa nation amongst others and the fight for a faux liberation of Lagos from the Omo Yibbos during the last election.
This remains sad because the Yoruba culture and ethos doesn’t prescribe most of the things that we see. From the very little that I know about the Yoruba social fabric, what you see is an expansive culture that has withstood over the years the attack of foreign culture, colonisation, military purges, and their own internal civil wars — they once fought themselves for 1,000 years to retain one of the most beautiful and regal cultures in the world.
If you push back the irredentism of the vocal minority and look very well into the intrinsic variation of the Yoruba culture or person, you will see a very rich cultural excursion, a very expansive and robust retention of the intrinsic value of a people, beautiful artefacts and a very hospitable ethos that pull in everybody as it builds a huge colouration of variated people.
The ancient Yoruba made me personally very proud. Their system of government which was monarchical devolved into a powerful separation of powers long before democracy was formed by the Greeks. The power of the Alaafin was checked by the Oyo Mesi and other such organs and it’s no wonder that the Oyo Empire conquered so many lands as far as Dahomey.
So it’s very sad when you see later generations of these very proud people go down the drain of pyrrhic ethnicism to achieve a very personal agenda while masking it as an agenda of a people, you begin to wonder what is going on.
I once read how the Yorubas who were transported to Brazil as slaves colourfully preserved their culture and religion by naming their gods after catholic saints in a bid to confuse their masters who insisted on their own religion.
It is to the credit of these wonderful Yoruba people that today the religion thrives in states in Brazil and a whole colony in the United States.
Yorubas are a very elegant ethnic grouping. They have and continue to contribute very richly not only to Nigeria but to the world. But for them to continue to hold their pride of place, they must reign in the vocal minority who are bent on limiting their influence with the push for an incestuous pull back from the larger society.
As an in-law, I stand as a bridge between the Yoruba and the rest of us. The Yoruba must realise that their position of leadership is not in Tinubu but in far more important ethos of culture, commerce and in leadership. Their forebearers had made sure of that by putting down very strong structures that ensure its influence in these areas globally.
So the neo-modern pro-Oduduwa leanings don’t show this wide-armed intention of their forbears but throw up a skinny cowardly intent of pulling back and retaining a colony that would limit their influence only in southwest Nigeria
This is why expansive Yoruba leaders like Obasanjo are seen by Yoruba irredentists as true representatives of their people but look at little leaders with nothing but their selfish interest as motive as their true representatives.
In so doing, they cannibalise their rich heritage by bastardising it with the establishment of funny stools all reducing the influences of the stools that derive their pedigree from Ile-Ife.
We have seen a video of a famous musician who was recently given a title that I hear is not even of chieftaincy level going on as a crowned head. Na wa.
The Yoruba must as a matter of urgency see themselves as what they truly are, a nation that has been predestined to lead. A nation that must be at the forefront of leadership and stop this childish introspective look at themselves as an ethically biased race of faux superior folks.
They must continue to lead in politics, in culture, in religion and in commerce but in so doing they must lead with the responsibility that comes with leadership otherwise, they may find themselves on the wrong side of history.
This is what Chief Awolowo himself would have said if he was alive today, I tell you.
•Written By Joseph Edgar