Sunday Adelaja: Why I’m against Oduduwa Republic as a Yoruba man (18)

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Yorubas are not marginalized neither is any tribe in Nigeria
I pray that no Nigerian tribe, nationality or ethnic group will experience marginalization. As I am writing this, there are nations in the world that know firsthand what marginalization means in the real sense.

For a student of history, it is difficult to accept the accusation against Nigeria that Nigeria has not been fair to the Yoruba nation. As I have said above, the Yoruba people and the Biafran people have occupied every political, economic and military position in the Nigerian nation. As a matter of fact Yorubas are the most privileged people group in Nigeria.

A LIST OF THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN A MARGINALIZED SOCIETY

  • The marginalized group are not allowed to speak their native languages. Tell me who stopped the Yorubas from speaking their language? The marginalized group are not allowed to practice their religion. Are the Yorubas not allowed to practice their religion?
  • A marginalized group are not allowed to carry out socio-economic activities on the level of the privileged groups. Are the Yorubas not allowed to carry out socio-economic activities on the same level as everyone else?
  • A marginalized group is not given the right to be actively involved in the political life of the country. This obviously is not happening in Nigeria, because the Yorubas have their own governors, they vote for their governors, the people who rule over them are of their ethnic groups. Some people will claim that those who rule over them came as a result of corruption; well that happens all over Nigeria, not just among the Yorubas in the Yoruba land.
  • In marginalized societies, the marginalized groups are not allowed to send their children to school or receive higher education, I don’t believe this is happening in Nigeria. In that sense, only the poor people are marginalized in Nigeria.
  • In marginalized societies, the discriminated groups are not allowed to intermarry with the privileged groups, we simply don’t have that in Nigeria.
  • Marginalized people are not allowed to have a voice in the mass media: newspapers, television or radio. I am not saying there are no cases of marginalization here and there, but this will be in individual cases not a systemic thing in the federal government of Nigeria against the Yoruba people.

If we are to look at a list of marginalized people groups in our world today, we will see that we cannot compare what these people are going through to what the Yorubas are enjoying in the Nigerian nation.

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WHO ARE THE MARGINALIZED PEOPLE IN OUR WORLD TODAY?

  1. THE KURDISH PEOPLE
    A study into the Kurdish people will reveal to us what it means to be marginalized. These people are said to be largely marginalized in the true sense of the word in countries like Iraq, Turkey, Syria, etc. Despite the fact that it is well known that they are hugely deprived and oppressed, still they cannot break away from those countries to get their own nation. In spite of the fact that the whole world knows about their plight, no one country is willing to risk the benefit of cooperation with the existing countries to officially take the side of the Kurdish people. Friends, it is not easy to break away from a recognized state even in the case of oppression, much less when it is difficult to prove such cases.
  2. THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
    Thanks to mass media and worldwide television networks, everybody is pretty aware of the plight of the Palestinian people. As much as we love and support Israel, we cannot deny the fact that the Palestinian people are a marginalized group of people. Contrary to the belief of many, the Palestinians are not only marginalized by Israel, they are also marginalized in the Arab countries as well. They are marginalized in countries like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, etc. The level and stages of marginalization of the Palestinian people varies from one place to the other. It is impossible to say that in Nigeria the Yoruba people are as deprived as the Palestinian people.
  3. THE HUTU/TUTSI PEOPLE
    We have all heard of the tragedy of Rwanda, where the Hutu nation committed a huge genocide against the Tutsi people. Most of the world talk about how wicked the Hutu people were to have murdered about a million Tutsis in a matter of days, but hardly do we ever question what it is that led to it. Well, what led to it is the story of marginalization. The Tutsis have always been the privileged few in the nations of Rwanda as well as Burundi. The massacre, therefore was an expression of the dissatisfaction with the form of marginalization, which had been practiced for years against the Hutu people. We all know how this ended. May God never allow us in Nigeria to experience what marginalization really means.
  4. THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH SUDAN
    The latest country to have gained independence in the continent of Africa is South Sudan. They fought hard and long for this privilege. They really knew what marginalization meant in the nation of Sudan. As black people, being significantly different from the Arab majority of Sudan, they were hugely marginalized and deprived. In their case, South Sudanese people will testify to you that all the factors of marginalization that were listed above were experienced by them. Needless to say, that situation led them to agitate for an independent state. It led to a protracted war lasting for over 30 years, before the international community agreed with them that they needed independence. I am not sure the Yoruba people want to forfeit all the privileges and opportunities they have now, to engage in a protracted war with the rest of Nigeria or any other nation. Peace is more important.
  5. THE KOSOVO PEOPLE
    The name Slobodan Milosevic has become synonymous with evil, thanks to the world television networks. He managed to earn that vicious title due to his treatment of the Kosovo people. Kosovans will tell you what marginalization means. It is true that Kosovo is now an independent state, but they too will tell you how many lives were lost, and other losses they incurred before the world managed to pay attention to their plight. Even today, not all countries have recognized Kosovo as an independent state. Hundreds of thousands of lives were sacrificed, yet they are still unable to enjoy their dream of a prosperous independent state. The man behind their suffering is the name I mentioned above; Slobodan Milosevic — The strong man of Serbia. Unlike Serbia though, there is no overly dominating and controlling tribe in Nigeria, as was the case in Rwanda, Serbia, Yugoslavia, or even in Russia. The three main tribes in Nigeria are almost all equally balanced.
  6. THE BLACK SOUTH AFRICANS
    Without going far, it is easy for every African to associate marginalization with apartheid, when the black people of South Africa were largely marginalized in their own country. In spite of the obvious injustice of that regime, it took about 40 years of struggle before they could be recognized by the whole world as freedom fighters. As blatant as apartheid was, the countries of the world, especially developed western countries, did not support the armed resistance of the South African black majority. Nelson Mandela had to sacrifice 27 years of his life in prison before the world would grant the South African people their dream of equal rights. I am sorry my dear Oduduwa people, what proofs and facts of marginalization can the Yoruba people produce against Nigeria to justify their recognition by the international community as an independent state? It is virtually impossible in our modern world today.
  7. THE PEOPLE OF ERITREA
    Let’s go to the country of Eritrea and they will tell you how many lives they had to sacrifice before they could gain their right to independence. Beside the wars and damages that these people have had to endure, their struggle and campaign for independence lasted for years. I mean years of fighting, killing, bombing, shelling and destructions. Even after the war with Ethiopia was over, they had to agonizingly endure decades of reconstruction. A Yoruba proverb says “it is only those that have not lived to see a war that dream about one.”

    THE HIGH PRICE OF INDEPENDENCE
    Apart from these seven people groups that have been mentioned above, too many other people groups in their hundreds are struggling and clamoring on a daily basis for an independent nation even as we speak. If a detailed list were made, such people groups might run into a thousand. Can you imagine a thousand new countries emerging in our world today? It’s just not possible, they will not be recognized. It is going to create chaos and confusion.

Let’s have a quick look at some people groups that are agitating for their recognition or independence in our world today.

  • In Ukraine where I live, the eastern part of the country is agitating for independence with countless thousands of casualties already.
  • In Russia, the Chechen people, have been involved in two wars, yet they can’t get away.
  • In Afghanistan, the Taliban wants to build their own caliphate of Islamic state.
  • In Armenia, the Nagorno-karabakh people want their own recognition.
  • In Cameroon, the English speaking people have been struggling for years to have the same equal rights as the French-speaking people. Some of them have been forced into exile, yet it has not been possible.
  • In Kenya, tribes have fought and spilled blood, yet no country has sided with any one of them to become independent.
  • In Great Britain, Northern Ireland has waged guerrilla war for years and still they could not get their full independence.
  • In Congo, part of the nation wanted to control their mineral resources, other foreign governments have only exploited them.
  • In Cyprus, the northern part of the country has been struggling for years, still they are not recognized as an independent nation.
  • In France, Guadeloupe have been fighting for years to be free and yet it is not easy to get their full independence.
  • In the Philippines, the Filipino guerillas have been living in the jungle for ages and they have not been able to build either their Marxist or Muslim nation.
  • In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers have dreamt about independence but it has not been easy coming.
  • In Turkey, the Kurdish people have dreamt of building Kurdistan. They have fought for it, yet to no avail.
  • In Spain, the Basque nation has fought for their independence for years, still, it is not coming.
  • In Mauritania, the minorities have been complaining of oppression, but no help and understanding has come from the bigger nations of the world.

What more can I say? A word is enough for the wise….

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