IJEBU STATE: CHIEF OBASANJO PLEASE DON’T THROW SAND SAND INTO OUR GARI O – Prof Onasanya
For the better part of the last few decades, His Royal Highness, Alhaji, [Dr.] S. K. Adetona, Ogbagba II, by the special grace of Allah, the Awujale of Ijebuland has led a relentless and gut-wrenching crusade for the creation of an Ijebu State. It has not been an easy task. Anyone who knows His Royal Highness will tell you that he never embarks on a project with failure in mind. Impossibilities must, to my Alaiyeluwa, become possibilities. How long it takes does not matter. He just never gives up.
Ever since the Awujale, years ago, reminded Nigerians that of all the former provinces the country had prior to independence, only Ijebu province has not been constituted into a state yet, he has embarked on this journey to effect a “much-needed correction” in this state of affairs. A man of unquestioned integrity and a stickler for justice, the Awujale has railed against this injustice to his people. Regimes and dispensations, military or civilian, have not fazed him. He remains undaunted today, an octogenarian, as he did the day he first made the demand.
Ijebus have supported the Awujale’s demand and crusade. At a point in time, the opening compliments Ijebus accorded each other around the world was the Awujale’s famous and unshaken demand for the creation of the state “nain, nain” [now, now]. It became the Ijebu mantra and remains so. They composed songs, produced dvds, designed clothing, face-caps, t-shirts and what have you in support of the cause. While very many non-Ijebu Nigerians around the country and the world have lent support to the creation of the state, others have been against its creation. It should be and was expected.
And now, that circumstances are emerging that point to an imminent creation of the state, many of the demand’s previous antagonists are changing tones and urging its creation; a very much welcome development. However, some of these newly-found supports are insidious; coming, as it were, from people who had very many chances to ensure the state’s creation many years ago but refused to! To add insult to injury, they are setting conditions for garnering their supports for the state’s creation.
Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was recently reported to have expressed his support for the creation of an Ijebu State, provided the capital is located at Ikenne, ostensibly to honour late Chief Obafemi Awolowo who hailed from Ikenne. Not only did Chief Obasanjo have so many opportunities while he was in charge as Head of State to create the state, his present attempt is dead set to create animosities between the Ijebu and Ijebu-Remo groups.
Perhaps he should be quickly reminded that Chief Awolowo was not only an Ijebuman but was also the “acclaimed leader of the Yoruba.” So, Ikenne, his choice, would be a very appropriate capital for a Yoruba State.
As an Ijebu, Chief Awolowo would be writhing in his grave if anything is done in his name to denigrate Ijebu customs, traditions and people. The Awujale is the paramount ruler of Ijebuland. He is accepted and revered as such by all Ijebus. Consequently, he has the last say in any and all matters relating to all Ijebus.
From the get go, His Royal Highness has insisted that the capital city of any Ijebu State is Ijebu-Ode and the Ijebus are all in agreement! Popular Yoruba parlance has is that “Egba meji ki i ja ara won niyan,” “bawa,” [“two Egbas never contradict each other,” “it is so”] they will agree to underscore Egba unity. Well, be it known that millions of Ijebu never contradict each, “waa ma ni” [it is so] they will echo in unanimity.
So, Chief Obasanjo and others in his camp are urged to please stop and desist from trying to sow the seeds of discord among Ijebus. It is an attempt to sprinkle our “gari with sand sand.” We love our gari so much we may even take it with clenched empty fists! Instead, a little sprinkling of “sand sand” in “lafun” is advised as it will do it a lot of good; give it some desired colour.
His Royal Highness, Alhaji, [Dr.] S. K. Adetona, Ogbagba II, by the special grace of Allah, the Awujale of Ijebuland has spoken for the Ijebus, times without number, that Ijebu-Ode is the capital of Ijebu State and the Ijebus are solidly behind him. No Ijebuman or woman has contradicted him, ever and so far! So shall it be. So help us GOD!
IJEBU STATE WE ARE ALL ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR YOU!
*Angelicus-M. B. Onasanya, DBA, writes from Ijebu-Ode.
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