BY SEMIU AKANMU
In his usual manner, Femi Fani-Kayode on 18th of May, 2014 (as published by Premium Times) made a passionate call for Oduduwa Republic; a secessionist advocacy from the Nigeria state; an entity he dubbed “cruel failed state that has no soul and that lacks humanity and compassion”.
Naturally, the former Minister, going by his antecedent entertaining but uninformative treatises and penchant for idealistic (ethnic and religious) bigotry, does not worth one’s response. One needs to wonder: what value and difference will it make in responding to a character that once described Obama as an Anti-Christ –in disagreement with US policies? Won’t it be pertinent to examine the ethical standard (as expected of an Omoluabi) of a one-time attack dog of the Presidency, who took our elders like the respected Kongi to cleaners at every stance of the literary icon’s posture against the then administration? Won’t it be necessary to test the intellectual healthiness of a person who had once published his ‘penisume’ (a fusion of penis and resume) so as to defend his alleged ethnic chauvinism? But, before the apostles of ‘the-message-is-different-from-the-messenger’ bounce on me, before I am taken on another psychotic tutorial of dealing with the message and leaving the messenger alone, let me pretentiously consent, and put his message under scrutiny. At least, from Socrates’ words “the unexamined life is not worth living”, hence, an unscrutinised opinion is not worth taking.
From the Femi Fani-Kayode’s treatise referred above, he wondered what had happened to Nigeria that hypnotized our Army and reversed her historic might, validated by her role in stopping civil war in Liberia and quelling military coup in Sao Tome and Principe. He is surprised that middle class Nigerians cannot own finest cars and properties in London, Paris and New York, and could not afford summer to ‘walk’ in the streets of Belgravia, Chelsea, Hampstead and Knightsbridge -as the case was before. The former Presidency attack dog is in bewilderment on the state of insecurity in the country, the incessant killing and maiming in the North, the bombing of Churches, killing Pastors and Imams, slitting of throats of young and old, kidnapping of our girls, and all sorts of barbarism that the terrorist cultists of Boko Haram appellation has plagued our nation with, in their murderous campaign of political Islamism. These characterize the problematization phase of our former aviation’s problem-solving framework, and in theorizing his solution, he propounded a theory of secessionism. He says “I will never accept the idea of living in a nation side by side with religious extremists who slit the throats of children… Let those of us from the west establish Oduduwa and let us celebrate and enjoy our freedom from the bondage … Give us Oduduwa or let us die”.
For a solution to be rendered valid and plausible, it must treat the problem it sets to solve. There, we need to probe Fani-Kayode’s theory and examine its viability in solving the afore-highlighted problems plaguing our nation, our collective unpleasant experience powered by few theocratic fascists. In doing this, we need him to answer some questions: (1) How many are these terrorists whom Femi cannot sit side-by-side with, and which of the states do they govern that the Oduduwa republic will carve away from? (2) Does Femi think terrorism is a problem of the North exclusively? (3) Is he ignorant of Nigerians of Yoruba origin that have been arrested and/or convicted of charges related to terrorism, and even linked with al-Qaeda? (4) Is Femi ignorant of a similar camp to Boko Haram (some misguided Muslims) situated in Kishi/Ogbomosho, Oyo State in Oduduwa Republic, which was dismantled by the present government? (5) Does he not have a grasp of the contending international wave of terrorism which defies ethnic or racial peculiarity? (6) Is the proposed Oduduwa republic a nation of the media-construed Christian south? (7) Of what economic model and leadership structure is the proposed Oduduwa republic which will be a sharp contrast to the present experience in the region? (8) What do the mekunnus in the South-West Nigeria stand to gain from the Oduduwa republic that the talakawas of the North will be envy of?
Again, if Fani-Kayode’s concern about our Northern Christians informs his newly-found ethnic activism and secessionist advocacy, does Femi plan to migrate the Christians of the Fulani, Kanuri, Nupe, Gwari -and host others- enclaves to the proposed Oduduwa republic, so that they can live in his imaginary Eldorado, and sent on packing after some years? If he truly loves his faith brethren in the North and wants to salvage them from the hands of the terrorists, how does secession stop the killing and maiming? How practically does Femi Fani-Kayode’s theory of secessionism attend to the problems he outlined? To see this kind of disjointed and incongruent analysis from a one-time establishment personnel; a person capable of suggesting policies that affect lives of millions of Nigerians shows how devastating meritocracy has suffered in Nigeria public service. In sane climes, people like Femi should still be undergoing leadership tutelage as supervisory councillors in their respective local government areas. But, this is Nigeria, where nepotism and favouritism has made us victims and beneficiaries of leadership deficiency.
In as much as any region of the present Nigeria should be respectfully allowed to secede without insulting the sensibilities of others, even as the debate for/against its potential advantages continues, in as much as right to self-determination should be allowed without making mockery of the theocratic inferno consuming this particular region, what we have at our hand now is to continuously mount pressure on the Presidency to grow witty and steel balls and deal with the situation decisively. And we must never allow personalities like Goodluck Jonathan or Femi Fani-Kayode –characters suffering from chronic ethnic and religious bigotry– to mount the podium of our leadership again.
My strongly believed theory is that Goodluck Jonathan is deliberately not fighting Boko Haram (as he should) so as to maintain instability in places where he feels he will not be voted for. And if I am to paraphrase and conclude with what my good egbon; Kayode Ogundamisi posited: “The nonchalant attitude is simply as a result of some vengeance against a perceived region we tag ‘born to rule’ so if they kill themselves to the last man, it served the purpose of the primitive man who just see himself as President and Commander in Chief of a segment of Nigeria. The seeming indifference and ‘god catch them’ attitude of the Jonathan administration against countless victims, women, children and elderly continuously massacred by Boko Haram is disgraceful”. We pray for Nigeria!!
Doctoral Researcher, Universiti Utara Malaysia.