We read with nostalgia the long communique written by the 75 “Yoruba Elders” in the name of VOICE OF REASONING ( VOR.)
We are a people with pride of noblest tradition that compels respect for elders and mercy towards the younger ones. We regard highly the likes of General Alani Akinrinade, a former Chief of Army Staff, whose name has appeared in a number of past “Yoruba Agenda” projects, and still appeared on the list of 75 “Yoruba Elders” being circulated recently. Thus we had hesitated and tarried this while in the face of ridiculous oppression carried too far by those that desperately seek to make dubious history of no Muslims in South West. Muslims arguably account for well above 55% of South Western populace of Nigeria. But here we are again with another list of 75 (representative) “Yoruba Elders” that accommodates less than 5 Muslim names, and the only about 3 names appear alien to the established south west Nigerian Muslim Community and especially to the Muslim Community Elders or to MUSWEN as the umbrella Muslim Body of our People, Communities, and Organisations in South West!
We are utterly surprised as to the chameleonic and/ or amoebic nature of some of these self seeking elder organisations and their suspicious motive, especially given their ridiculously snobbish modus operandi and antecedents of unremorseful treachery. Each of the evolving groups seem to be more in banal business than for moral struggles. We have observed them more as people driven by stomach and bigotry well blended.
We use to have Afenifere who greedily and callously traded at both ends with June 12 struggle except few. Still at another time, we had Afenifere Renewal Group who added clear bigotry to the agenda of baleful bitterness against the Muslim/Core North and especially Muslims anywhere.
At a point we had Yoruba Council of Elders. We have yet another group who claimed Eldership too and have been calling for still birth Oduduwa Republic fashioned after IPOB.
The same Oduduwa Republic Advocacy Group splited, and fought dirty recently on the pages of news papers over claims of leadership.
Now we have this 75 Elders Group tagged VOR, standing logic, reason, and peace on their heads.
What is however common among these so called Yoruba interest groups is the fact that they hardly find quality Muslim-minds or known Muslim personalities to be in the leadership rank or/and membership of their fraudulent representation. And they seem to have perfected acts of making their choice of some effigies to represent us whenever they are cornered.
They took the Muslims in Yoruba land for granted and assumed in dangerous arrogance that Muslims must promptly flow with the Christian character of their groups and their co-travellers in islamophobia.
The groups before now and the 75 Elders inclusive, witnessed and/or acted in clear oppression of the Muslims in South West Nigeria without raising a finger or signal a warning.
They gave direct, tacit, overt and covert approvals to the glaring oppressions that started long ago and it has been renewed with vigour. They took the trust and tolerance of the Muslims for stupidity, … granted and automated.
These so-called Yoruba Elders gleefully sidelined Muslim Elders and representatives, ensuring to demarket our views and feelings as their Muslim brethren in the South, especially during the Jonathan regime’s Confab that shockingly had slots for one of them on this list-75 plus his wife! They have scored so negatively and balefully high, remaining without remorse till date, and never to be trusted, such that Muslim rights can never be guaranteed in any of their schemes and agenda. This they have perfected, and now advancing with snobbish and clandestine strategies.
Yoruba bo won ni, atesekan bodo oni nfa, baa ba ti mejejeji bo nko ? ( Once beaten twice shy)
As a matter of historical chronicle the elders, as so called, are busy instigating minority Christians in the North against Northern Muslims while simultaneously cajoling Southern Muslims whose rights they usurp for support on platform of tribal/ethnic sentiments and brotherhood!
They looked away, when school assemblies are conducted four days christian way with exception of Fridays.
They looked away, when IRK teachers were deliberately not employed in our schools.
They looked away, when Muslim children are being forced in schools against their religious identities and rights. Even as they were compelled to buy and sing with Christian SOP.
They looked away, when Gideon Bible invaded schools in South West to impose forceful acquisition and possession of bibles on all and sundry.
They gave silent/tacit approval, when Hijab is denied Muslim women and girls at official places and institutions for ages, and till date. Muslim girls are flogged in Lagos Schools just as the UI International School is busy tearing hijaab off the innocent heads of our daughters.
They looked away, when political appointments are permanently tilted in favour of Church establishments and/or their agents.
They looked away, while in some states both Governor and Deputy are of one Christian faith for ages and till now.
They looked away while most Government houses have chapels and never a mosque for more than 50 years until recently in South West Nigeria.
They looked away when Muslim Students and Public Servants in South West are constantly denied few hours on Fridays while Saturdays and Sundays remains work free day for Adventist and other Christian denominations.
They looked away when employment and admission are skewed against the Muslims despite preponderance of qualified candidates.
They cannot expect us to trust them with a Christian Republic veiled as Oduduwa Republic after we have suffered and still suffering from high handedness of these unjust elders and their cronies.
We cannot guarantee our right, safety and security as Muslims in the so called Oduduwa Republic for lack of proper consultation with the Muslim community as major stake holders, and given the oppressive profile of the drivers of this new project and the bigotry tone of the call.
We therefore dissociate ourselves from this and similar calls until Muslims are considered as stakeholders in all matters that concern the South West.
Finally we shall be careful to learn from the wise saying of the Yorubas that says “boju o ba to togun oju to tile”
Political Awareness Group
Bar. Abdul Waheed Olowonjaye
Political Awareness Group
Hon Abass Agbara