Omo Njale, Omo Fe’Your Yoruba Case Against Goodluck Jonathan By Pius Adesanmi
Fearing a humiliating defeat on February 14, 2015, Ogbeni Goodluck Jonathan and the criminals he has painstakingly surrounded himself with contrived to postpone the election. He spent the respite thus gained on two things: (1) orchestrating a belated positive surge on Boko Haram in the far north to gain cheap political mileage; (2) relocating Aso Rock to the southwest where he proceeded to spend weeks pissing and shitting on omoluabi – the very core of Yoruba personhood. Without omoluabi, a Yoruba person is nothing. To piss and shit on omoluabi is to completely eviscerate the core being of the Yoruba person. To go and do it in his homeland is worse than Netanyahu going to whip Obama’s ass in Washington.
The only equivalent I can think of is Akukalia going to destroy Ebo’s Ikenga right inside Ebo’s family shrine and in the presence of Ebo’s ancestors. Akukalia paid for this unheard-of travesty with his life. Goodluck Jonathan must pay for the vitiation of omoluabi right there in the Yoruba homeland with the loss of his office. This is neither the place nor the time for me to delve into omoluabi for the non-Yoruba reader. For Omoluabi 101, google and read “Ti Oluwa Ni Ile”, a lecture I delivered to inaugurate Afenifere Renewal Group-USA in Michigan back in 2011 (
How did Goodluck Jonathan piss and shit on omoluabi in Yoruba land? His was a three-pronged attack. Yoruba land is currently awash in dollars (for the privileged) and naira (for the less privileged). President Jonathan was not content to relocate Aso Rock to Yoruba land. He also relocated the Central Bank and proceeded to flood the land with cash. The closest thing to this scenario was in the 14th-century when Mansa Kankan Musa of the Mali empire flooded Cairo with gold on his way to Mecca. President Jonathan and his henchmen were determined to buy every living being and every non-living thing in Yoruba land. They bribed Oba, they bribed Ijoye, they bribed eru (slave), they bribed the owner of eru, they bribed the house rat and told him to announce to his kinsman, the bush rat, that dollar was flowing in the streets of Yoruba land.
Yet, your history, your culture, your worldview, all the spiritual principles at the centre of your Yoruba personhood, everything you have ever known about omoluabi comes down to an ontological opposition between oro (wealth), ohun ini (material possession) on the one hand, and omoluabi on the other hand. When your ancestors built this foundational opposition between oro, ohun ini, and omoluabi to define your race and your essence, they were not by any stretch of the imagination glorifying poverty or criminalizing wealth.
Far from it! They were thinking of higher ideals of personhood and values, while insisting that the road to wealth must be that of hard work, honesty, and integrity. They wanted to ensure that nobody would assume that wealth – either properly acquired or ill-gotten – was a guarantor or procurer of bibire (good breeding). These are the ancestral values that Goodluck Jonathan went to piss and shit on when he relocated the Central Bank to Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Osun, and Ekiti states and tried to buy everybody. How dare him! Those of you who took his money are now egregious violators and betrayers of omoluabi. I will return to how you may redeem yourselves presently.
The second violence that Goodluck Jonathan has wrought on omoluabi has to do with his now infamous semantic hair-splitting between stealing and corruption. He and his unprincipled spokespersons have continued to insult the nation’s intelligence by cutting, slicing, dicing, and spinning this evidence of Dr. Jonathan’s ethical purulence. In omoluabi, your ancestors were not interested in the finer details between stealing, looting, and corruption; between slaughter and murder. In fact, your ancestors hated hair-splitting, equivocation, or vacillation when it comes to naming and condemning stealing and unethical behavior. That is why they came up with the proverb in the title of this treatise. If your son is a thief (omo njale) and you go about metaphorizing and euphemizing, saying, “my son is light-fingered” (omo mi fe’wo), the Yoruba will condemn you immediately on the basis of omoluabi. They are not interested in the difference between “omo njale” (stealing) and “omo fe’wo” (light-fingeredness). In the province of omoluabi, stealing is stealing, equally bad, equally condemnable, irrespective of scale and metaphorical hue.
Nigeria has had a succession of very bad leaders. I challenge you to prove me wrong: none has ever dared to inaugurate a legitimate national debate between right and wrong. Babangida institutionalized settlement. He never argued that settlement was right or that there were gradations to the badness of settlement. He just did it because he could. But he respected us enough not to try and inaugurate a national debate on the difference between settlement and bribery. Ditto for Obasanjo. Obasanjo’s was an era of unregulated looting and plunder, for Baba is a talented thief. The culture of corruption under him was legendary. But Baba is not on record to have ever inaugurated a national debate between looting and plundering. For even making us spend valuable national time on the difference between stealing and corruption, Goodluck Jonathan deserves the hottest place in hell. That is how seriously this man has destroyed national ethos. And this is the worldview he brought to Yoruba land to piss and shit on omoluabi. The money he shipped along to distribute to you is a product of corruption, not stealing and that somehow makes it right in his deranged mind.
Goodluck Jonathan’s third and final assault on omoluabi lies in the sort of leadership he has tried to foist on you. All of a sudden, hastily pardoned criminals, indicted thieves, accused murderers, and indicted drug pushers have been given unlimited funds and transformed into your race’s public face in the most brazen case of social engineering in recent memory. When you look at the public sphere of the southwest and listen to it, the airwaves now belong to FFK, Ayo Fayose, Buruji Kashamu, Bode George, Iyiola Omisore. Looking at this awful list, it would seem that criminal indictment, present or past, is the singular qualification you need for Goodluck Jonathan to pump money your way and attempt to elevate you above Wole Soyinka or Tunde Bakare in Yoruba public leadership/speakership. This calls for sober reflection.
I promised to return to those of you who collected Goodluck Jonathan’s filthy money during his mad spending spree across Yoruba land. Well, the deed is done. You have committed the offence. You cannot now return it. It’s one of the travesties of our condition: impoverish the people and the crush their dignity by offering them money to buy votes at a time they need to feed and pay their children’s school fees. Why will they even listen to somebody like me who says it is unethical to collect the money but has no immediate solution to their problems?
It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken by integrity. And that is what we hope to start with General Buhari. You have collected Goodluck Jonathan’s money. Vote against him tomorrow. Vote him out of Aso Rock. Use his money to organize victory parties all over Yoruba land once the results are known. Use his money to organize his sendoff to Otuoke. They call you an owambe people. They call you a faaji people. They say you are an ariya people. Celebrate Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat with loud ariya all over the land. Join King Suny Ade in singing:
Ariya has no end
By now, most people have read the story of the…