OPINION: Baba-Ahmed and the ranting of the wild, weakened west, By Abdul-Azeez Suleiman
What really separates man from beast is culture, the desire to learn about and understand the relationship between people and the surrounding world, the need to form communities, make art and play decent games. If a person is cultured, he should be seen to be interested in the world, tolerant of contrary viewpoints and open to new experiences and ways of looking at things. If on the other hand he is uncultured, he does none of those things.
Quite justifiably, in this context, the Yoruba that predominantly occupy southern Nigeria, are accurate personification of whatever could be said to be artless, uncultivated, unrefined and uncouth.
One would therefore have been surprised if the recent irrational rash thinking said to have been penned by one Lasisi Olagunju and published by the Nigerian Tribune on Monday 27th September, 2021 on Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed were from the relatively modest South-Southern part of Southern Nigeria. Coming however from the wild uncultured forests of the West, calls for no surprise.
Historically, the Yoruba are known for their cognition, thinking, talking, or acting without inclusion of rationality. More specifically, their actions or opinions have usually been given usually given through inadequate use of reason, or through emotional distress or cognitive deficiency.
The terms used by that obscure writer in that Tribune piece to attack Dr Baba-Ahmed’s simple political views expressed intelligently, therefore only depicts the typical Yoruba thinking and action that always are less useful, or more illogical than other more rational alternatives since the time of their Sage, Obafemi Awolowo.
The traditional irrational behaviours known to have been exhibited over time by Yoruba individuals, groups and leaders that include taking offense or becoming angry about a situation that has not yet occurred, expressing emotions exaggeratedly (such as crying hysterically), maintaining unrealistic expectations, engaging in irresponsible conduct such as problem intoxication, disorganization, and falling victim to confidence tricks clearly manifested in the article from Olagunju.
This article, literally a more contemporary normative conception of what constitutes the manifestation of irrationality known only in people with a mental illness like schizophrenia also perfectly exhibited the irrational paranoia endemic in the Yoruba thinking whenever matters that relate to the North or coming from a northerner are commented on.
In continuum of this warped mindset, Olagunju, playing very cheap and really silly could not understand that just because Baba-Ahmed’s roots as claimed by the writer, might have been in Mouritania, does not make him less Nigerian just as the entire Yoruba ancestry of Benin and Togo forests does not make them less Nigerians.
Migration has been part and parcel of human nature since the time of Adam’s descent from the heavens and no one has been able to define accurately how indigenous an indigene of the world should be ever since.
Out of sheer ignorance, Olagunju did not seem to understand that the the entire Yoruba people he today proudly see as Nigerians actually migrated from the forests of East Africa to their present lands west of the lower Niger River more than a millennium ago.
It is indeed shameful when a so called educated people speak like primitives which they actually are anyway because education or rather schooling has failed to enlarge their horizon, abandoning them to continue to insult themselves by appointing themselves sole enemies of the North.
Willy-nilly, the North has become their target of accusations and abuse for everything that is wrong with Nigeria today with history being shamefully and blatantly reviewed, rewritten and falsified to suit certain agendas that tend to portray the North in bad light.
They have accused the North for committing every sin under the sun excepting perhaps natural disasters or Force Majeure and have vilified the North, killed its leaders, scandalized its institutions and ridiculed its traditions and customs.
They have under various administrations tried to bring down the North by destroying its institutions, expelling its people from positions of responsibility in government, undermining its economic and social fabrics, and encouraging rampant social problems like armed robbery, prostitution, drug and substance abuse.
All this while, the North bore these difficulties with equanimity, stoical calm and resignation and continued to bear the brunt of the agitations for secession and the recent clamours for restructuring as the obvious target of all the complaints about virtually everything that is seen as wrong in the system.
In spite of this studied and dignified reserve of the North and refusal by its people to engage in altercations with its self-appointed enemies and antagonists, no stone is being left unturned by these people to see that the North is goaded into reacting including threats and blackmail.
If the Southern enclave can still not reach out and negotiate for votes the all decent politicians do, let it be known that the North shall remain united in the proud remembrance that its forefathers toiled and paid with their lives for a united and prosperous people and is today ready, more than ever, to repay them by at least resisting antics of the protégés of those that planned their assassination, their foot soldiers from other parts of the South who carried it out, and handful of cronies from the North.
Therefore, no matter what game they play, the North has something they can never take away; and that is the numbers.This is what Baba Ahmed is saying and millions of northerners stand by that position with the certainty that they will do again what they did in 2015 with their permanent voter cards.
Suleiman is Spokesperson, Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG)