Yoruba Nation Or Tradition-Nation: What Do We Really Want?

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Abideen Muhammed

I think it is important to set the record straight before moving too fast. The struggle to have Yoruba nation (self determination of Oodu People) didn’t start with Sunday Adeyemo (popularly known as Sunday Igboho). It started in the 1990s. A critical review of Ganiyu Adams’ press release titled: “THE YORUBA NATION AND SELF-DETERMINATION” on October 26, 1999 confirmed the claim that the struggle for Yoruba nation didn’t start with Sunday Igboho.

According to Ganiyu Adams in the aforementioned article, it partly reads: “That Nigeria is a Country under siege is apt and incontrovertible. It’s political history since independence in 1960 has been characterized by an avalanche of avoidable political tragedies caused by a tiny clique of military and political adventurers. The denial of Chief Obafemi Awolowo (who fought for the united Nigeria during the 1967/70 civil war) of the leadership of this country during the 1979/83 General elections was an avoidable tragedy.

The Annulment of the June 12 1993 Presidential Election won by Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola, by the military wing of the Hausa-Fulani hegemony with their Southern collaborators was also an avoidable tragedy. The incarceration of M.K.O Abiola for about four years in a solitary confinement by the caliphates of the North for demanding his mandate was an avoidable tragedy. The murder of Chief M.K.O Abiola and his wife Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Pa Alfred Rewane, etc. in the hands of military wing of the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy were all avoidable tragedies.”

Ganiyu Adams, the then President of Oodua People’s Congress blamed the Northerners for killing and incarcerating its great leaders in Yoruba race and that, we, as Yorubas have been marginalized, therefore there’s urgent need for self-determination. I need to also state that the article was released during the regime of Obasanjo (an indigene of Yoruba race). That is one thing, another thing is to ask ourselves what we really want as we agitate for Yoruba Nation.

One will be left with no choice than to agree with the submission of Adam Smith. Adam Smith has proposed a theory of human wants and the ways to satisfy human wants which are unlimited. In the case of our country, we say what the Government can do is very limited but the wants of its citizens remain unlimited. However, the case of unlimited wants seems to be off point in the case of agitating for Yoruba Nation.

It seems the agitators and supporters are really lost as to why they do what they do. We are yet to extensively discussed how Yorubas have been marginalized other than saying “Hausa have been the one leading us”. As it may seems the ominous fact, we are not still objective in our claim. What is even worst is that we don’t know if we want a tradition enabled society or just want to follow the trend of Igbos. This is because among the reasons for the need of Yoruba Nation as stated by Ganiyu Adams are: unemployment, implementation of Shariah in Zamfara state, etc. It means that once we have Yoruba Nation, Shariah (the law of Allah) will have no place in Yoruba nation. I said once we have Yoruba Nation, well it is good sometimes to dream and talk about a future full with hope and dreams that may never come.

Another question under this that keeps circulating my mind is that are we agitating for self determination to copy the IPOB or we just want to frustrate the effort of the present government or we are really interested in establishing a full and well-established country where all Yorubas will be subjected to traditional rites and ways? Either way is a no-go area for a conscious Muslim. In my opinion, as a Muslim for instance, supporting Yoruba nation without considering what will become your religion is a clear support of tradition and disbelief practices which Islam warned us against. The question we then ask those Muslims agitating for Yoruba Nation is that are you really ready to wage war against Allah?

Let’s look at a fact from researchers as regards tradition and Yoruba. Many Yoruba researchers have argued that you can’t separate Tradition from Yoruba and vice versa. This means that, establishing Yoruba nation with the current trend is actually a means to establish traditional nation. Hence, my question: “yoruba nation or tradition-nation; what do we really want?”

According to Yemi D. Ogunyemi on Yoruba race and tradition: “The Yoruba people, who number more than 30 million on the African continent and many millions in their diaspora, inhabit a world of myths, allegories, poetry, and the love and wisdom of the Ifa divination system. Those are just a few of the components of Yoruba culture, the genesis of which is the holy city of Ile-Ife, Nigeria. They serve to remind the Yoruba of a past that has survived through oral tradition. From that foundation have Yoruba philosophy, religion, and literature developed, all of which blend ancient truths and divine moralities with reason.”

It is a clear fact that what the agitators of Yoruba nation want is not just a nation but a traditional nation. Just like the popular saying “Yoruba ronu”, I am saying the same thing to the Muslim folks, before you show support for the traditional nation, ask yourself, what do you really want and why do you really want it. Are you really happy building forces against Allah? “Musulumi! Jo ronu”.

Abideen Muhammed is a researcher, data scientist and software engineer. He has interest in writing about Politics, Education and Islamic affairs.

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