Nigeria Opinion Politics


PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : March 26th, 2023


The fact that our reverred leader and one of the fathers of our nation, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, can sit there and say nothing when Chief (Dr.) Emmanuel Iwanyanwu, an elderstatesman who I have always respected, describes the entire Yoruba race as “rascals” that the Igbo “will DEAL with” tells me that the rumour that he is NOT a fully-fledged Yoruba man and that his father was an Igbo may well be true.

Whatever the case this is not the OBJ I once knew, loved, defended and worked so hard for. Something has gone wrong.

No-one could have made a statement against ANY tribe in the presence of the old OBJ that we all knew and respected and got away with it. He would have got up and told them off.

As for Iwanyanwu I will not respond to him or to all those that were at that event and that collectively rubbished our people because they are my in-laws and because my four sons are half Igbo.

There is nothing Iwanyawau can say that will make me turn against the Igbo because I have blood and family ties with them and I will continue to love them despite this outrageous provocation.

Apart from that there are millions of Igbos who do not share Iwanyanwu’s views and who have shown nothing but the greatest respect for the Yoruba race and our Northern brothers and allies.

Amongst them are dear friends and brothers like John Nwodo, Orji Uzor Kalu, Chimaroke Nnamani, Ifeanyi Ugwainyi, David Umahi, Hope Uzodinma, Innocent Chukwuma, Emeka Offor and so many others.

Iwanyanwu does not represent them when he calls us rascals and neither does he represent the wives of Seyi Makinde, Rotimi Akeredolu, Ademola Adeleke, Gbadebo ‘Chinedu’ Rhodes-Vivour, David Adedeji Adeleke (AKA Davido) and yours truly who all happen to be Igbo.

What I will say though is that those Igbos that think like Iwanyanwu need to be careful and appreciate the fact that those so-called “Yoruba rascals” have shown the Igbo race more love, respect, admiration, fraternity, solidarity and courtesy over the last 63 years than ANY other tribe in Nigeria and millions of Yoruba men have Igbo wives.

Again many Yoruba leaders stood with and supported Peter Obi in his ill-fated quest to become President of Nigeria including Pa Ayo Adebanjo, OBJ, Afenifere, Akin Oshuntokun, Gbadebo ‘Chinedu’ Rhodes-Vivour, Babatunde Gbadamosi and so many others. I wonder if they are “rascals” too?

We extended our hand for a handshake across the Niger a few years back and we built bridges with the east.

Chief Iwanyanwu, Ohaneze and Afenifere were at that conference and so was yours truly.

As a matter of fact we all made resounding and inspiring speeches seeking for a closer relationship and greater collaboration between our people.

It was a wonderful occasion and a great experience.

We were in full solidarity with the Igbo then and lamented the injustices they had been subjected to over the years.

I even went as far as to declare that Nigeria owes the Igbo an apology for the genocide they were subjected to during the civil war and the pogroms before the war. I maintain that position till today and so do many other Yorubas.

The only thing we asked for in return was a little respect and for them not to describe Lagos as a “no man’s land”. This is a very emotional issue for us. The assertion that Lagos is not part of Yorubaland is deeply offensive and insulting to us.

We also chose to support Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a proud son of the Yoruba, for the Presidency.

These two things have caused a handful of misguided Igbos to now display hatred towards us, to insult us at every turn, to unleash their youth against us in the Media space and to describe us as “rascals”.

With those words and that attitude the bridge between our two people may soon be broken and the handshake across the Niger may soon be withdrawn.

That would be a tragedy of monumental proportions and a negation of all we stand for. We must not let it happen.

We must be restrained and careful not to destroy the love and trust we have built over the years.

The Yoruba are not a people that can easily be insulted and we do not take such things lightly.

We are kind, welcoming, accomodating, civilised, generous, cosmopolitan, liberal and open-hearted to a fault.

We are also slow to anger but irresistible in battle.

We have long memories and when we choose to take a stand and fight it goes from generation to generation.

I pray Chief Iwanyanwu and those that share his views can cultivate the prescence of mind and courage to have a rethink before it is too late.

Millions of Igbos reside in and have their businesses in Lagos and we should preach love, peace and unity between our people and not resort to calling each other names or indulge in racial profiling or stereotyping.

We choose to overlook what Chief Iwanyanwu has said this time and look the other way but it must NEVER happen again.

A word is enough for the wise.


Nigeria Opinion Politics




Given what is unfolding in the South West today certain questions have to be asked and certain truths need to be spoken.

Permit me to begin with the following.

Would the Afenifere of old ever have supported a non-Yoruba candidate in a presidential election?

Why do we have to cut our nose to spite our face?

Simply because you hate or envy Bola Ahmed Tinubu does not mean we must deny the entire Yoruba race a crack at the Presidency.

And even if Tinubu offended you in the past can we not forgive?

You know very well that Peter Obi cannot win the presidential election and by supporting him in the West you are splitting our base and opening the door for an Atiku Presidency.

Is that what you want?

Do Nigeria and the Yoruba, whose interest you are supposed to further and protect, not deserve better than that?

Can you fathom or appreciate the implications of an Atiku Abubakar Presidency for our people and for the nation generally?

Have you thought it through?

Do you understand what that would mean for us all?

I am a great supporter of the handshake across the Niger but the following question must be asked: would Ohanaeze ever support and back a Yoruba presidential candidate over and above an Igbo one?

You attempt to justify your position by saying that you base it on fairness, justice and equity but do they not say he who comes to equity must come with clean hands?

Are Obi’s hands clean?

Does he even like the Yoruba?

Has he, throughout his distinctly uninspiring period in public office as Governor of Anambra state, shown any respect to any tribe or ethnic nationality, including his own?

If we were talking about an Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, an Orji Uzor Kalu, a Chimaroke Nnamani or a David Umahi, all of whom have proved themselves to be true nationalists, who have always put the national interest before the tribal one and who have shown immense sensitivity and respect to people from other parts of the South and the North, you may have a point but Obi does not fit that bill and is far below that level.

He is essentially provincial and insular and he has little understanding of the history and complexities of a wider Nigeria.

With him everything begins and ends in Anambra state and of course his containers.

Apart from that you know what his real agenda is and those he takes orders from.

You also know that the divisive and sinister agenda that they have is not in our interest as a people or a nation.

To tread such a path will have grievous consequences for the unity abd stability of Nigeria and we can barely afford a second civil war in an attempt to “keep Nigeria one”.

In any case to attempt to subvert the will of the APC, the largest political party on the African continent, by denying support to its legitimate and only presidential candidate on the basis of microzoning or regional and ethnic considerations is unjust and inequitable.

This is especially so given the fact that the South West is one of the two pillars which the party rests on and which has provided a solid foundation for its success.

Are we to throw all that away and jettison the aspirations of our people on the alter of micro-zoning and wanting to right what many have described (including yours truly) as a historical wrong?

When the courageous Southern Governors met ACROSS PARTY LINES in Asaba last year and demanded a power shift they did not say it must go to the South West, South South or South East.

They did not micro-zone it and they did not say that only South Eastern candidates should be considered.

They opened it up to every son and daughter of the South including the Yoruba.

And neither did they say the candidate must be a Christian or a Muslim: they opened it up to both.

Again when the selfless and gallant Northern Governors of the APC insisted on a power shift to the South, they never said it must go to any particular one of the three Southern zones: they opened it up to the entire South and Bola Tinubu won the nomination in a free and fair election at the party Convention.

Are we, as APC members and leaders, meant to turn our backs on that and betray our party simply because Afenifere says so?

Are we meant to act as if we have no party and that we have no loyalty to our collective and common cause as a political association?

Are we to behave as if we have no loyalty or decency and are we expected to attempt to subvert the will of our party members as enunciated, reflected and established at our National Convention?

Surely not.

And anyone that is waiting for that to happen will wait forever.

I sincerely hope that our beloved leaders in Afenifere will think again.

They know how much we love, revere and respect them and they must nurture and sustain that disposition and affection by displaying a little more flexiblity and respect for the views of others.

The cost of supporting Obi is very high and may end up destroying the unity, efficacy, utility and credibility of the entire organisation itself.

This is especially so when the old leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, has staged a comeback and has said he does not accept the decision of Pa Ayo Adebanjo, the new.

If there was ever a time for the Yoruba to ‘Ronu’ this is it.

There is nothing that is decent, noble, inspiring or elegant in seeing and hearing elderstatesman who are all over the age of 90 and all of whom we hold in high esteem, disagreeing and fighting publicly over issues that they ought to have been able to establish a broad and amicable consensus.

Do we really want yet another vitriolic, vicious, unending, fratricidal and gargantuan feud and division in our ranks as a people and ethnic nationality as we have had on so many occasions in our beleaguered and chequered past?

Has this insufferable and accursed infighting not been too costly for us over the last 62 years and has such division not ultimately affected the fortunes of not just the Yoruba but also the entire nation?

Anyone that knows the history of our nation can attest to that.

We paid a terrible price for such a feud and division in the First, Second and Third Republics and many lives were lost: now we are preparing to do it all over again in the Fourth.

We cannot afford to continue to tread this ugly, blood-lusting, blood-stained and acrimonious past which is more often than not fuelled by nothing but petty rivalry, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness, ego, bad-belle and vaulting personal ambitions.

We cannot and must not abandon our son Bola Tinubu at a time like this and this is especially so after he has done so much for our people and race over the years.

A defeat and disgrace for Tinubu is a defeat and a disgrace for every Yoruba man in the country and in the wider world.

Is that what Afenifere wants?

To disgrace its own?

Does it give them pleasure to remove the trousers of their own child before the world and humiliate him?

Is a father not meant to protect and nurture the fortunes of his son?

Did the father not forgive and take back even the prodigal son?

Throwing away your own is not a virtue: it is a Vice.

And doing so with pride and arrogance whilst attempting to justify it before the world with some kind of false and fake righteous indignation is unacceptable.

It is not just, it is not right, it is not fair, it is not reasonable, it is not justifiable, it is not defensible and it looks very awkward and ugly.

It is also embarrassing.

We must present a united front and stand in support of our own and we must present him to Nigeria as one and in one accord in order to ensure that they vote for and support him.

We must secure his base and we must build on it by reaching out to every other part of Nigeria.

That is the cause that a reverred and noble institution like Afenifere ought to be pursuing and not any other.

Yet if the truth be told, with or without Afenifere Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu shall prevail and by God’s grace, will win the presidential election.

(Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, the author of this piece, is the former Minister of Aviation and the Director of Public Engagements, Special Media Operations and New Media of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Organisation)