The Oasis Reporters
April 19, 2018
By Remi Oyeyemi
My friend and colleague, Sam Omatseye, gave a birthday gift to the indefatigable Pa Ayo Adebanjo on the occasion of his 90th birthday. But it was a Greek gift. A gift given with a “treacherous purpose.” It was a gift wrapped in beautiful prose with intent to shroud its venomous contents. It was a weird gift, a bunch of durapaceous pejoratives that more than anything underscored the conscious attempt by Tinubuists to rewrite History before our very eyes.
In his piece of April 16, 2018, titled “Adebanjo: Not my progressive – In Touch” in The Nation newspaper, Omatseye continued his employer’s noxious agenda to bring down the House that Obafemi Awolowo built. Omatseye is one of the tools employed for the agenda to create an alternative hero for the Yorùbá Nation. This, in my view, is unnecessary because a Nation could make do with more than one hero, especially if his employer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, deserves to be one.
In the said piece, Omatseye wrote inter alia:
“Ayo Adebanjo has drawn quite some attention over his 90th birthday. Some columnists, including the folksy Reuben Abati and Segun Adeniyi, have gushed over the man’s progressive credentials. I congratulate him on his nonagenarian lamppost. I am also ready to congratulate him for his battles in time past, duelling the British, standing beside Awo over the western region imbroglio, suffering the claustrophobia of jail terms in the turbulent 1960’s, being a warrior, however muted, during the June 12 maelstrom.
What some, including many political stalwarts, have left out is that a man should spend decades pursuing one goal and then turncoat in a later year. People see such birthdays as moments to slobber and flatter, especially for a man in his hoary years. Not this writer. That is what I cannot congratulate Adebanjo for. He was part of the unblushing train of Goodluck Jonathan. He was in bed with the Otuoke chieftain who embarked on a dollar junket in the southwest to buy the Yorubas, including some of it’s royal fathers and its Pentecostal deviants. Adebanjo stood by this man who played out a drama of permissive morality. The Yorubas, ever discerning in such matters, buried Jonathan in a ‘no’ vote at the polls. Adebanjo should not have become part of Jonathan’s amen choir at an age when his wisdom should have served as a lamp of experience for a misguided generation.”
Evidently, Sam Omatseye came across as a truly confused man with a chronic amnesia. His analysis is a perfect study in historical revisionism; an odious exercise in nauseating political jobbery. Just as he and his fellow travelers did in revising the Muhammadu Buhari’s unholy trajectory on the political space of Nigeria into a “saintly” one that has culminated in the present tragedy everyone is going through. Omatseye’s piece is an intellectual derision of facts, as it were.
For those who followed the events in the last seven years before, during and after the 2015 election, the kernel of the issue for Pa Adebanjo and his fellow Afenifere leaders was and still is, RESTRUCTURING. The Yoruba has been fed up with the Nigerian arrangement. They wanted RESTRUCTURING.They clamoured for a National Conference to discuss the modality for restructuring.
It was what the Yorùbá people wanted. PA Adebanjo and the Afenifere were speaking for a cross section of the Yorùbá Nation who were and are tired of being second class citizens of and in Nigeria. They were and still are articulating for the people of Yorùbá Nation that were and are still tired of being subjugated in the Nigerian arrangement. They prevailed on President Goodluck Jonathan to call a National Conference and he did.
This was opposed by Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his group across Yorùbá land. The opposition of the Bourdillon to the National Conference was another evidence that they are not propelled by any interest of the Yorùbá Nation. It was an evidence that their plan was to use their support base in the Yorùbá Nation as a negotiating chip to further their morbid personal ambitions that had nothing to do with the Yorùbá national interest.
At a very private meeting somewhere in the State of Pennsylvania in the United States in the months leading to the 2015 elections, one of the leading lights of the Bourdillon gang, when questioned as to the rationale for opposing the National Conference had retorted, probably without thinking of the implication of his response, “We just want political power in the next election.” He had noted that they were not concerned about the “noise about any restructuring and the so called agitation about Yorùbá being relegated to the background.”
In his further explanation, he was of the view that with political power in the “next election”, 2015 that is, they would be able to reverse the relegation of the Yorùbá people to the background. This couching of the Bourdillon morbid ambition as the interest of the Yorùbá Nation was used to defraud, deceive and mislead the people into the political, social and economic ditch in which we all find ourselves. Meanwhile, they were publicly promising Nigerians that they would do “Restructuring.”
This thinking by Bourdillon, today remains part of the evidence of myopia on the part of Tinubuists. It is evidence of lack of long term planning. It is proof of lack of depth. It is an averment of the aridity of ideological exactitude of its political leadership. More importantly, this is an attestation to the fact that the leadership of Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not grounded in the nitty-gritty of Yorùbá national interest beyond using the Yorùbá votes given to him in good faith for negotiations, in furtherance of his own personal ambition without caring about what happens to the Yorùbá Nation in the long run.
Particularly irksome in Omatseye’s piece on Pa Adebanjo are the following words:
“He was part of the unblushing train of Goodluck Jonathan. He was in bed with the Otuoke chieftain who embarked on a dollar junket in the southwest to buy the Yourbas, including some of its royal fathers and its Pentecostal deviants. Adebanjo stood by this man who played out a drama of permissive morality.”
For standing up for what the Yorùbá wanted is a crime in the book of Omatseye. For Pa Adebanjo’s consistent advocating a change of system subjugating his people is a crime in the book of Omatseye. For Pa Adebanjo’s refusal to join the Buhari train to tragedy and misery is a crime in Omatseye’s book. Yet, Omatseye, in his shameless admission in some of his columns that his employer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and himself are now biting their fingers on Buhari, gave him no restraint in attacking an elderly person who read the currents better than them.
Omatseye, in a gratuitous intellectual peccadillo, called Pa Adebanjo a “turncoat.” He reveled unashamedly in hypocrisy. In his intellectual treachery imbued with deliberate amnesia, had forgotten that his employer Bola Ahmed Tinubu had a deal with President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 to betray his own party’s candidate Mr. Nuhu Ribadu. In that election, Tinubu used his political machine to betray his own party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), across the Southwest, except in Osun State where people voted solidly for Mr. Ribadu. To double-cheeked and perfidious Omatseye, Tinubu, always pursuing his morbid personal ambition to the detriment of the Yorùbá Nation’s interest, is his own type of “progressive” for such traitorous act.
How could anyone with any scintilla of decency ascribe to a Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was a Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) that was closed for several months running into a year a tag of “progressivism”? His party controlled the States of Osun and Oyo, the owners of the institution. He did not deem it fit to intervene for the sake of the future of the students in that school. He didn’t care. He was not worried a bit. He was not concerned in any manner. May be because there is no money to be looted from the unfortunate institution!
Pa Adebanjo, whose integrity, Omatseye’s perfidious employer himself publicly acknowledged, was in 2015, advancing the course of the Yorùbá interest to rearrange a system that was and still is unjust, unfair, unbalanced and inequitable. If Pa Adebanjo was in bed with the man from Otuoke, it was not for his personal interest compared to the selfish, egoistic, scallywagish antics of Bourdillon in supporting a disaster called Muhammadu Buhari that has driven the Yorùbá Nation into a murderous ditch along with other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
With all the monies that Omatseye was or has been paid by Tinubu, it is possible that the body of his intellectual honesty has been panel beaten. Panel beating could be to fix a dent or to cause a dent. To that extent, Omatseye might have been encumbered in his perception of what a truly “progressive” person is. This is because in any gathering that a Bola Ahmed Tinubu is referred to as “progressive,” such must be viewed with disgust, distaste, detestation and nausea.
This is why, for Omatseye, to now project the mercantilist politics of his master, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the true “progressive politics” is like calling a wolf a dog because of some identical physiognomics. The way and manner all the politicians of Tinubu School have mismanaged the fortunes of the Southwest States, the fortunes of the States of the Yorùbá Nation, has been agonizing and devastating to our people.
Depleting the Yorùbá Commonwealth for next to nothing, Tinubu and his crowd threw the Yorùbá States into unprecedented debts. They planted flowers that never grew; tarred roads at four times the actual cost, destroying our schools and education, destroying our hospitals, destroying our industries, contaminating our morality with their odious and noxious values, povertizing and squalorizing our people, destroying our heritage, our History.
Acting out their true nature as rapacious locusts, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his cronies with their mercantilist politics have turned Yorùbá land into waste land. Our people are gnashing their teeth, their tears cascading down their cheeks unrestrained and unacknowledged by the merchants of politics of hunger and deprivation. With their control of means of communication, they believe they could always misinform, miseducate and mislead without any consequences. In the book of Sam Omatseye, these are the true “progressives.”
What a travesty!
If Omatseye is suffering from terminal amnesia, albeit a deliberate and conscious one, the rest of us are not. Omatseye’s rendition of History is a bunch of half truths and perforating pejoratives. His efforts fall into the kind of Goebbelian propaganda he and his fellow employees of Bourdillon appropriated to drive the Yorùbá Nation into political subjugation and enslavement by the FULANI that Pa Adebanjo had foreseen and was trying to prevent. Yorùbá wanted RESTRUCTURING. GEJ was offering it. And Pa Adebanjo and other Yorùbá leaders pitched their tent with him.
Pa Adebanjo is a hero of Yoruba Nation. He paid his dues and has been very consistent all through the years. His valiance is unalloyed. His commitment is exemplary. His determination is contagious. His integrity is stable, strong and sturdy. His moral compass is as effective as daylight. His patriotism, translucently rock-like. His dignity untainted. He is an implacable purveyor of progressivism in its truest definition. He has been there for the Yorùbá Nation at all times of need.
The attempt by Sam Omatseye to stain Pa Adebanjo’s white garment, one must reiterate, is dubious and informed by the same kind of treacherous motives that allow Tinubu and his crowd to drive the Yorùbá Nation into the present ditch. It is part of an agenda to destroy the house built by Obafemi Awolowo. Remember the concerted attacks by Omatseye on the Awolowo family, with Chief (Mrs.) H. I. D. Awolowo as focus sometime ago? He was and still is, his master’s voice.
The agenda is to make Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a morally derailed political leader, the sole hero of the Yorùbá Nation. They want Bola Tinubu and his kleptomaniac cronies to replace the authentic, tested, trusted, reliable, dependable and truly patriotic leaders of the Yorùbá Nation. This is the reason they have turned their media and political machine against the Afenifere leaders of which Pa Adebanjo is one. And these are the people on whose back Tinubu rode to eminence.
It is an irony that in my discussion with Pa Olanihun Ajayi, in the weeks leading to his departure to greater glory and in my further conversation with Pa Adebanjo, they had appealed that we all rally round this same Bola Tinubu to save him from being devoured by the lion on which back he has been riding. They had insisted that “Olómo burúkú kò fi f’ékùn pa je,” and that “Omo burúkú l’ójó ti è.”
It is amazing that it is this same Tinubu, driven by an unchecked ambition with high value morbidity, who is relentlessly trying to destroy their legacy, and the legacy of the greatest Yorùbá man since Odùduwà, Obafemi Awolowo, by letting loose his hungry goons like Sam Omatseye, on the heroes of the Yorùbá Nation.
Sam Omatseye and his fellow goons have failed. His master and his gang have failed. This is because as I have always contended in my famous refrain, lies never last, History never dies and the truth is always constant.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
– John F. Kennedy.