‘Yoruba Nation’ Agitators’ Storming Of Agodi: Matters Arising

‘Yoruba Nation’ Agitators’ Storming Of Agodi: Matters Arising

For a long time now, ostensibly due to the political misbehavior, administrative nepotism, corruption and abject incom­petence of individuals who, by whatever means, found themselves at the helms of affairs of Nigeria, there has arisen a corresponding disre­gard of the legitimate authorities of Government along with the sovereignty of the Republic. People are increasingly feeling alienated from the system of government. From all indications, our govern­ments have not been able to earn that traditional respectability and even legitimacy from the people because of poor governance.

The ordinary citizens in the streets have been able to clearly see the rotten underbellies of suc­cessive post-colonial Nigerian administrations, be they democratic or military dictatorship and with that degrading awareness went the tradition­al aura of government and everything associat­ed with it; the influence of government over the people has been diminished by the government failure to live up to the expectation of the gov­erned while the notion of sovereignty is losing its essence.

That explains the casualness and ease with which anarchic people openly dare the State and its security apparati these days. Rather than being the official agency for their security and welfare, the perception of the people about gov­ernment nowadays is that of an enemy that must be resisted. The only question now, is how do they do that within the present constitutional order without running afoul of the law thereby setting up themselves against brutal and punitive State coercive machine? The reality is that under the Constitution of Nigeria, whoever takes the presi­dential “Oath of Office” has vowed never to allow the dismemberment of the territorial integrity of the country as boldly enunciated under the Constitution.

Late Gen Aguiyi Ironsi

Just three weeks ago, precisely the 27th March, 2024, we tabled here for discussion following the killings of soldiers in Okuma and other places, the vexed question of the relationship between the nationalities of Nigeria and the emergent Nige­rian State under the alarming title: “Why Ethnic Nationalities Are seemingly At War with the Nige­rian State”. Unfortunately, many readers, as usual, did not deem it worthy of serious consideration or even a cursory ponder. The ill-fated storming of Agodi, the historic seat of power for the post-colo­nial Yoruba nation of Western Region, by a group of self-styled agitators for the restoration of the Yoruba nation within the bowels of the present Republic of Nigeria last week must have jolted the intellectually ill-prepared.

Nigerians are more attracted to lewd and sala­cious stories involving high-profile personalities such as that of the trial and conviction of a certain Idris Okuneye, alias “Bobrisky”, the self-confessed male crossdresser or the unmitigated buffooneries being regularly displayed by politicians instead of serious issues that have greater impact on their national and personal destinies within the frame­work of the Nigerian State. Such are generally considered as “theories” that are of no immediate or material impacts on their lives, forgetting that the world is ruled by ideas, be they good or bad.

Since the fall of the First Republic on January 15, 1966 and the subsequent imposition of military dictatorship which effectively truncated the orig­inal architecture of the post-independent Nigeria through the deliberate diminution of the federal system, in which every part of the country enjoys considerable autonomy, various national groups who felt left out in the power distribution system have been agitating for a return to the old tem­plate wherein the regions more or less governed themselves.


, separatist agitations have become wide­spread, from the North where the “araba” sepa­ratist clamours were first heard to the East where a secession with the name of Biafra actually took place and to the West where the Odua Yoruba na­tionalism has taken roots. The truth however is that the regional elite promoting these separatist movements are doing so out of their greedy search for larger portions of the National Cake since the nationalization of regional resources has moved much of the resources to the centre. It is that con­sciousness that gives force and rationality to the cacophonous demands for “true federalism” and in the extreme cases, separation from the Nige­rian State, an entity that has been structured to undermine regional autonomy and development ab initio.

The evolution of IPOB, the so-called Indige­nous Peoples of Biafra separatists group move­ment which has now been proscribed, the Oodua national independent movement whose fighting wing struck Oyo State House of Assembly and many other groups are motivated by their regional ethnic leaders who have drummed it into their fol­lowers’ heads that secession is possible and indeed quite imminent.

It is quite unfortunate that these politicians know the historical routes that led us from the time when we were truly independent and in­deed governed ourselves through our traditional political institutions headed by Obas, Emirs, etc. through the colonial era when the native leaders lost their sovereign powers to govern and became captives, subjects and dominated under the White colonialists who invaded, conquered and subju­gated them.

It is instructive to note that no sooner the Yoru­ba Nation army struck at Ibadan in their naïve effort to translate the preaching of their ethnic leaders into reality but failed prematurely, than the various so-called leaders rose in unison to de­nounce them as not being their members. From Sunday Adeyomo (Igboho) to Prof Banji Akintoye and others, the ignorant people who attempted to put into action what they have been preaching to them cowardly placed them under the bus by quickly labeling them as “hoodlums”, “rascals” and “common criminals”.

It suddenly became the case that their separat­ist agitations, as loud as they are being made, are not intended to be violent. The Ilana Omo Oodua even went as far as saying that “self-determina­tion is backed by international law, and we are committed to achieving it without resorting to war”. Really?

How do these ethnic separatists want to peace­fully get back what the colonialists forcefully took away from their forefathers and in fact compelled them to renounce their sovereignties forever with­in the framework of the same international law they are now relying on? You cannot in good con­science be holding out the prospect of retaking what was initially taken from you by force through means other than by force. That would simply be deceptive to the followers and hypocritical as an argument.

As we have already noted, if the colonial pow­ers wanted to give back sovereignty to the previ­ous nations and their erstwhile traditional rulers, all that could have been sorted out at the various pre-independent Conferences. Instead, they cre­ated a new State and endowed it with sovereign powers within the international framework of the 1933 Montevideo Convention dealing with the “rights and duties of States”, as we explained three weeks ago on this page.

“So, the federation that emerged thereafter was one that consciously reflected the complexities of the peoples inhabiting the various geographical zones which they called “regions.” To, therefore, in one fell swoop, decreed the abolition of the re­gions by military fiat , Decree 34 of 1966, was a devastating assault on the fabric and substratum of the post-colonial Nigerian society which was still largely an amalgam of various contending interests within a legal entity symbolized as the Nigerian State.

“The federation’s march towards a harmoni­ous Statehood comprising the various nationali­ties was abruptly truncated by shortsighted and bigoted native politicians who abdicated their constitutional responsibilities to forge a stronger and well-integrated federal system that was be­queathed to them as they started pursuing corrupt and divisive provincial objectives at the expense of integrated pan-Nigerian policies.”

Much as the government and, to some extent, the media want to downplay what happened in Ibadan where the flag of the Nigerian State was treasonably pulled down and replaced with that of the Yoruba Nation, even for a second, it is a re­minder to the fact that there are still many Nige­rians who have lost faith in the present governing system but they have no idea about how to change their situation.



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