A Yoruba Oba Dancing Naked At The Market Square

For The Records

The Statement of Aiyede Ekiti Kingdom, Ekiti State delivered by the Attah & Paramount Ruler, Oba Alhaji Abdul-Mumini Adebayo Orishagbemi on the occasion of the courtesy visit to His Eminence, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, LL.D, in the Sultan’s Palace, Sokoto on Tuesday, 20th April 2021.

Your Eminence Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar,

Your Royal Highnesses Distinguisehd Councillors of the Sultanate,

Gentlemen of the Press,

As-salam alaykum waramotullahi wabarakatuhu.

My colleagues from Yoruba Land, the Alara of Ilara-Epe Kingdom and one of four Vice Chairmen to the Oba of Lagos as Permanent Chairman, Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs, His Royal Majesty Oba Olufolarin Olukayode Ogunsanwo, Telade IV, the Atayero of Aramoko Ekiti, His Royal Majesty Dr. Olusegun Adekemi, JP, and I are here in Sokoto in this crucial time of our national existence because, it has reached a point that traditional rulers cannot continue to do what the late former Governor of Old Oyo State, Chief Bola Ige, called Siddon Look.

I mean, if it is the Yoruba parlance – and I believe it is – that says, “The elder cannot be in town and watch the head of a backed infant bent”, then, why should we allow them to thrive, a people whose stock-in-trade is to feed fat on inflicting us with calamities setting us against ourselves as tribes and religion’s people of Nigeria?  We have had enough and I am telling you here that ethnic war that is being clamoured for, by some elements of the South and in part of the North will not be solution to the problem that we have at hand.  For this reason, we are saying that, we have always trusted Your Eminence to have the capacity for uniting us as peoples across ethnicities and religions.  The best we can do is to come around to let you know that, whatever way you have chosen in ensuring that the problems of Nigeria have solution, we are with you.

This delegation, this time may be small in number but, is huge as you could see that it is a coming together of some quality based traditional institution’s leaders to make a bold statement that we believe in leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto steering the ship of National Traditional Rulers Council of Nigeria, NTRCN, for the peace, unity and development of our great country.  For this reason, we believe that a society as big and gigantic as Nigeria cannot but have its own challenges, but the causes of those challenges, we are saying loud from this Revered Royal Chamber of the Sultan’s Palace, should not include population and diversity.  I am saying this because, our large population and diversity cannot be our problems but must be the sources from where we draw our strength.

Your Eminence, Distinguished Councillors, Gentlemen of the Press, you would agree with me that achieving success and peace in diversity is not the absence of conflicts but how we manage those conflicts.  It makes no sense when we have collective challenges and disaster and some among us, instead of cooperating with collective solution being proferred, cry abroad over unverifiable claims of how one out of many tribes is purportedly supported by the government headed by one of its members to kill the rest of the tribes and take over their land.  It is obscure such a claim.

Therefore, solution to the problem of Nigeria cannot, in all honesty, be achieved through religious and ethnic war mongering over its large population and diversity.  What we need to do is for all Nigerians of different socio-cultural and religious backgrounds to sit up and realize the humanity in them and say “NEVER AGAIN” to agents of separation for self-based reasons, who are setting us against one another for no other reason but to see our most cherished United Nation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria collapse for them and their sponsors to laugh having achieved their evil aim.  Does it make sense that once an amalgamated entity or human has attained the age of 100 it or he break or die at all cost?  United States of America is over 225 years, it continues to grow as a united country waxing stronger for the good of its people who say at all times, “God Bless America” whenever they wake up in the morning.  It is sad that Nigerians will wake up daily and wish that “God breaks up Nigeria”.  How does a country you curse daily bless you as citizens?

Why should our own case be different in Nigeria?  Your Eminence.  Are we going to say because we are over 200 million people and so we are too large to manage ourselves as a united people?  Or are we saying that because we are now well over 60 years of independence and are yet to reach the Eldorado we must then crash?  What then do we make of China, the biggest population of over two billion people now in the world and still continuously being so?  What do we make of India, an equally claimant to large population?  At what age did those countries discover their final path to greatness or have we not heard or read history of British treatment meted to the red colours of Indians?  Because they did not allow their challenges to affect their reasoning, they put their acts together.  The Eldorado they attained is gound today in the fact that we now seek China and India in terms of everything including healthcare and technology was not a thing achieved in situation of mismanaged population size and diversity.  Food for thought for Nigerians across classes.

Yes, particularly China, they saw that they were poor countries but they saw that they had a large population and sat down to make use of the large population as opportunity for achieving a workable growth and development for themselves.  China started with technology transfer, whereby it ensured that any foreign supplier of technology did not handle a single spanner installing or repairing anything supplied but train and teach its own citizens how to do it.  Before you know it, China jumped to the peak in technology and today, there is no civilization in the world that has neither respected nor looked forward to China in its quest for growth, development and seeking relevance.  Immediate past President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, even alluded to the fact that China was capable of deciding who wins elections in America by saying the Xi Jimping’s country was positioning to sack the Republican sitting President through the now past election and install the Democrat’s candidacy of Joe Biden.  In society where people of diverse backgrounds push differences behind and work together, that is what you have.  Nigeria can be better than China and America.

You would also agree with me, Your Eminence, that the problem of foreign debts that Nigeria has till today did not start because Nigeria needed a loan but because some powers around the world believed that to bring an African Giant under their feet they must subject it to borrowing, even when it did not need to borrow, so that, by that means, they could now begin to dictate how it lives its life.  This is the area managers of our economy and the masses, who just love to talk without looking deep and deeper down the cause of problems, are not bothering to know.  And they will not stop having the problems unless they change.

There is no place in history where I have seen that the North or Hausa-Fulani is the reason Nigeria is in shamble and nobody has given me a proven evidence to believe that.  The question we are not asking ourselves is, we call ourselves a Federal Republic and now complain that we are not operating true federalism, how did we stray from the path of true federalism?  This question we are not asking but, quickly, some of us are jumping to conclusion to blame the North.  How is the North the problem of the rest of us?  This is not because I am standing here today but it is what I have made people to know even in my kingdom, across the South West and overseas where I have interacted with people.

We have facts of history to prove that Northern Nigeria developed and grew itself with what it had in cotton, groundnut, hides and skins and so on and so forth without the oil from the South.  Where then is the North a parasite?  Likewise, we have fact of history that the Western Region developed and grew itself with its cocoa, neither with oil of the Niger Delta although it now has its own oil, just like the North also has its oil deposit.  So, also, the East grew itself not even with oil.  How come today that those who grew their own regions of the South yesterday without even the oil nor ever dependent on one another in achieving it are the ones with huge cries of marginalization despite that all the dues from the centre never stopped to come?

And when we ask: who is marginalizing who?  We are told the North marginalizes the rest of us.  This must stop because, we have seen since President Buhari came to office and he has focused on knowing why the Niger Delta, South East or South West is not developed and backward and what we see, especially from the Forensic Audit of trillion pumped in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to make the oil rich region a Dubai of a sort but without anything to show, what we have seen is that we now know how many of us who cry foul are the parasites eating deep into the growth of ourselves.  Why then can we not just sit down and face the issues and stop lumping it over one another?  This is where we failed and we must improve in our approaches to pass if truly our lives and future of our children matter to us.

Just before I end this statement, it will not be an exaggeration to say that the Coronavirus pandemic we experienced, which set my Kingdom of Aiyede Ekiti and the Sultanate of Spiritual Leader, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, mni, CFR, LL.D, apart for close to two years now, is a never-seen-before.  Whether we like it or not, we can begin to count the negative impacts of the pandemic in our human relations, talk less of the socio-economic impact that saw the Yaomal-Kiyamah experimented on our planet earth as the rich and the poor met at the same level and began to drag in struggle for survival because of the protocols, being the global measures against the dangerous disease.  I can also go on to tell about the on religious practice as our mosques were shut, inadvertently, against us for almost a year.

We can only pray to the Almighty Allah to himself intervene by cleansing our earth of such dangerous and very tedious experience in our human life.  It should, however, be a great lesson to the world, particularly, those nations believing that, because they have all the atomic bombs or chemical weapons and technical know-how of this transient world and thereby inflicting pains such as the man-made virus to show strength over other nations to remain relevant as world leaders.  It should be a great lesson to such nations because, they themselves later realized and regretted, whether they admitted it publicly or not, that they, as human beings, could only start a war, this time chemical-based laboratory made virus, but were in total disarray as to where it would end.  To us as Muslims and other believers in Almighty Allah, we have accepted as kadara, destiny, but it should be clear to the world powers by now that nothing can be, under the firmament of this planet, except as decreed by Allah.

It should also be a lesson to the sitting and successive governments at all levels – Federal, State and Local Government – of Nigeria that, according to a parlance, to make provision for drinking water before draught is always imperative and should be major priority of State Authorities.  If President Muhammadu Buhari had not actualized the initiative that, as a sovereign nation, we should produce what we need or eat, what would our situation be in terms of food security amidst the killer pandemic period?  More, however, should be done on other aspect namely; security, health, education, portable water, economic development and, above all, anti-corruption.  And there is no way these can be achieved without holistic effort at sincerely tackling insecurity for peace and stability of all, economic development through declaration and activated State of Emergency on total Industrialization.

We all cry today that prices are on the high side.  I wonder why the successive economic advisory councils and advisers of the President, before and now, have not known that the situation is like this, mainly, because as a nation system and people, we choose to be counter-productive by our shameless taste for remaining perpetually as consumers of foreign made products even food items.  We are all in this together as government and people.  If government wants Made-in-Nigeria goods patronized, what are its policies to that effect in terms of procurement and how is the government monitoring the adherence or compliance to those policies?

We all know what position the textile industry occupied in its days as major economic power provider.  Because of Nigeria’s taste for foreign products, which, when their supplies are shut against us, no people will surpass us in poverty level and hunger, and because of draconian government policies, the textile economic sector was killed.  And today some people can claim the poverty level in the North is the highest in Nigeria.  The question we should ask ourselves is, when the cotton-textile-garment value chain reigned, generating employments and making cool money for the North and the entire country, and this value chain was largely dominated by Northern Nigerian farmers of cotton, merchants and other partakers, was there any such narrative such as of “poverty level highest” about Northern Nigeria?  That was the period Northern Region was built; may Allah continue to bless and repose the soul of Sir Ahmadu Bello in Al-Jannah. Amiin.  During the period the North got all its development without oil money.

Any government that is desirous of reactivating the Nigerian economy to restore the abundant employment glories of the past should and must take Textile industry revival serious.  That was why in 2017 when President Muhammadu Buhari launched his policy on restoration of the Cotton-Textile-Garment value chain of the economy we all jumped for joy.  But today, four years after, how many of the moribund textile industries they promised to revive have they actually revived?  I heard they pumped over N120 billion into retooling and actual restoration of the moribund textile mills to augment the 24 surviving ones.

We have continued to see no-impact-situation and nobody is asking questions.  Who are the people charged with this Cotton-Textile-Garment Revival and what are their challenges?  How many cotton farmers have they involved, trained and funded?  How many of dead textile mills have they revived and how many new ones have been registered and established?  We keep hearing about monies being loaned to textile manufacturers.  If these monies were truly loaned to these manufacturers and our narratives about unemployment have remained the same with out youths still agitating against a system appearing to waste their generation, then we have a course to worry about.  Or does it mean the people, to whom the monies were given, rather exported it abroad to produce using our money to develop economy and employment rate of other country and then only import what they use our money to do in another land into our country and sell to us as mere consumer nation people?  What could have led to that attitude, if it is the case?  Lack of stable power supply?  Corruption of civil servants and workforce?  The government that put in place Made-in-Nigeria police needs to look into all of these.  Even some Nigerians knowing that, for instance, a product is made in Nigeria, would prefer to patronise that of the foreign country.  This is also a factor.  Where is the National Orientation Agency, NOA?

Our Made-in-Nigeria policy will work the day Nigerians in all spheres change the attitude from hypocrisy to sincerity and bad to good and personally self-convince themselves about the Nigeria project.  How can we as a government preach Made-in-Nigeria goods and our National Assembly places vehicle orders with no one favouring cars made in Nigeria?

Our military: The Army, Air Force, Navy, the Nigerian Police, Customs, Immigration, Civil Defence, Road Safety, and other uniform institutions are increasingly in need and are using uniforms daily and we still cry of low employment rate?  If these organisations patronize the Cotton-Textile-Garment sector of the Nigerian economy, what would unemployment and recession be doing in our public life as Nigerians?  Is it not because we failed over a long time to make our agricultural and, by extension, local industries work that some among us are holding the rest of us into Ransome over oil?  We suffer the high cost of living because of the xchange rate and no way we would continue to choose foreign products over ours that we can get out the problem.

Thank you.

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