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BODE GEORGE on the state of the nation

The ever outspoken former Deputy Chairman, South-West of PDP, has maintained a very stolid silence, preferring to remain in the background watching things as they unfold in the political firmament of Nigeria, especially in Lagos State where he used to hold sway as the kingmaker. Recently, the ex-military man turned politician came out of his cocoon and spoke extensively on happenings in the polity.  Enjoy it.

In the last few months I had quietly reposed beyond our shores in sweeping sequestered solitude, deep in contemplative withdrawal, firmly absorbed in absolute spiritual and philosophical confinement, probing the twists and turns, the ebb and flow of the troubled Nigerian journey. Even from that distant wilderness of purificational engagement, I have heard the din and the tumult of threats and counter threats to sever the fragile cords of the Nigerian Union.

I have heard the thunder and fire of fervent ethnic jingoists sworn to some deranged derailment of the national continuity. I have heard the inner pangs, the searing tribal tumult, the seeming eternal wailings, the endless lamentations about the ebbing fortunes of the Yoruba nation in the larger stifling and unequal embrace of the Nigerian reality.

There is that grim air of persisting discord everywhere. There is the protestation of unfairness and imbalance stirring in every enclave. Somehow everyone is withdrawn into a provincial mentality, locked down in a blame game, latched to an instinctive transference of guilt, the absolving of oneself from what is perceived to be wrong with the national life. In this tendentious predication, everyone is innocent, whistle-clean, an helpless victim of some monstrous indifferent arbiter!

Alas, this collective distancing from the general distortions, this kneejerk penchant for prowling for scapegoats diminishes our ability to grapple firmly with national challenges and proffer more endurable ideals for our collective development.

In every hearth, in every locale, in the most distant periphery of the Nigerian heartland, there is a need for natural, selfless prompting to abandon the old fixities, to jettison the bogeyman of ethnic irredentism, to embrace the larger, more ennobling vision of the Nigerian truth.

We must be woven in a forward-looking unifying oneness, regardless of ethnic provenance, indifferent to the preachments of faith, contemptuous of personal gains or the narrow counsel of nepotistic swayings.

These are values of high enlightenment. These are the ingredients of enduring society. These are the necessary predications without which a society will merely flounder from base primitive inclinations to hopelessness, to rupture and sunder and final extinction.

Surely, this is not our lot. Every ethnic group from the Apoi on the watery fringes of Ondoland to the Tivs, the ShuwaArabs, the Yoruba, the lbo, the Hausa/Fulani to the most remote aboriginal grouping on the outposts of Borno is invariably defined by the values of sacrifice and selfless accommodation. Ultimately we are all illustrated in that sameness of purpose and reality as observable in our common needs and common pursuits.

With our unifying common cord of humanity, with the sameness of our collective pursuits and confronting realities, the destination of our human journeys should bear a remarkable likeness. The paramount goal of a peaceful, equitable, progressive society should ordinarily be our guiding badge of uniform truth and collective vision.

Alas, the reality is different. The banal promptings of greed, the narrow fixities about self pursuit, the primitive swayings of the ethnic canvass and the base attachment to filial advantages- have all planted distortions and unconscionable latitude to the tone and tenor of the national narrative.

There is no higher purpose anymore. Conscience is now eclipsed in the narrow creed of self-motivations and personal gains. A brazen mercenary largeness is thus ill-disguised as a wretched cover for some group or tribal interest.

Although this crude mercenary inclination is presently the defining pattern across the nation, this abject ideology ironically gains strongest resonance in the South West because of the emergence of the Jagaban, the Emperor of Bourdillon. Whereas the Yoruba represent the primal fount of Nigerian enlightenment and progressive civilization. But behold, there is a cancer now eating deep from within.

The once primal trait of the Yoruba: our dignity, our pride, our decency, our vast sweep of scholarship, our iconic glow of a representative society, the lustrous eminence of our heroes of yore, our sacred defining lineages and all that is true and just are presently being mangled, twisted, torn apart, smashed beyond recognition by impostors and charlatans who even now bestride the palaces of power with incredible wealth and mind-boggling acquisitions stolen brazenly from our common treasury.

Indeed the despairing story of the South West is a cautionary moral to the rest of the nation about the abandonment of the political space to little men in mercenary garb without the faintest coherence of probable origins, without the least illustration of ancestral beginning; without the least identification of a family root.

And yet the Yoruba elders are not concerned even as this mercenary leadership defiles our ancestral temple, purloins our collective coffers, desecrates our heritage with cold, brutal calculations.

There is a bizarre painful theater being played out in the Yoruba nation. The proud inheritors of the legendary Herbert Heelas Macaulay, my great grand Uncle, the wizard of Kirsten Hall, whose combative intelligence and relentless penetrating wit tormented the colonial overlords are now shackled, harassed, savaged by the court-appointed tin-pot rulers who owe no allegiance to no one save their own blind ambition and incredible greed.

The legitimate claimants to the resonate pioneering audacity of Sapara Williams, the dauntless fortitude of Otunba Payne Jackson and the trail-blazing giantism of Obafemi Awolowo are now stunned, muted in unbelievable servitude, frozen, unspoken in some thoughtless inanimity, brutalized and cowed by a rampant renegade power which has seized the land of Oduduwa from the shores of Lagos to the forests of Ekiti.

The discordant hollering of the distortions of the Nigerian State can only be comprehended through the appropriate plumbing and understanding of the malady of Bourdillon. The virus of this malady has gained root in much more sophisticated cover in the virulent agenda of the leading lights of the Action Congress of Nigeria.

Let there be no doubt about it: these raving characters whose mockery of our race have distorted and scandalized the well-known identifiable badge of the Yoruba heritage are still rioting in dark depravity: Here power is no longer questioned, no longer challenged in assertive probing. There is a sinister silence everywhere.

There is an inexplicable ‘comfort’ amid this presiding lunacy: elections were blatantly rigged in a desperate, unusual roguery where victory was allocated without the vote tally by a former Chief Judge of Lagos State and yet we carryon as if all is smooth and well!

A cruel and unfeeling government in Lagos state that has rigged itself into power continues to inflict a reckless, vindictive tax burden on a cowed electorate as if they are some conquered subjects and yet we shrug our shoulders!

Long acquired Lagos state government assets are brazenly frittered, expropriated, looted in dizzying unbelievability by vain little men who blindly scoff at the finitude of life! And yet we carryon as if this primitive aberration is normal!

In Ekiti, the pseudo intellectual Chief of State abandons governance and crisscrosses the world like some obsessed marathoner, frittering the meager resources of the state. Yet we say nothing!

Flouting decency and civility, the failed air-condition technician in Osun plucks, Olubunmi Oyewole from the Lagos Judiciary and arbitrarily seeks to anoint him as the Chief Judge in contempt of fairness, in contempt of seniority list, in contempt of tradition, in contempt of all that is fair and just. But what does it matter! Oyewole must be compensated at all costs for railroading Bode George into jail. It all fits perfectly now.

But let me acknowledge immediately the prompt halting of the malady in Osun by the National Judicial Council which asserted its independence and sense of fair play and decency by jettisoning the reckless attempt to subvert the rule of law and traditional appropriateness by dumping Aregbesola’s hair­brained importation of Oyewole to the topmost hierarchy of the Osun State judiciary.

The NJC rejection of the brazen, ill-advised, offensively partisan maneuver in Osun is a significant demonstration of the role of the Judiciary in a democracy. Without a strong, independent, fair­minded and brave judiciary the cause of democracy is lost, susceptible to retrogression and final extinction. I salute the courage of the NJC. I salute their wisdom and firm judgment

Alas, the same characters that complain most vociferously about the marginalization of the Yoruba are the worst culprit in the brutal savaging of their own people at home. Their style of governance is not about the enhancement of the lives of the people. It is simpiy a predatorial fixation, a vehement determined recourse to ruin the people and destroy all vestiges of a civilized state.

How else can one fathom the benighted flurries of punitive laws and governmental actions that seek to destroy and not to build, that seek to dehumanize and not to elevate existence, that seek to impoverish and reduce us all to abject chattels of the state?

In bewildering thoughtlessness, the one in Lagos rolled out a draconian traffic law better suited for the dark ages with the sole motivation of extorting the ordinary motorist. Barely before the ink dried on that piece of atavistic legislation, he yet mandated Lagosians like some capricious overlord to start planting flowers on their ~ frootages. What virulent idiocy! What mockery of democratic usages! What visionless imbecility!

The people are poor and overburdened. The state is virtually decadent and indifferent. The people generate their own electricity. They provide their own water. They arrange their own security. They maintain their own community roads. And yet the absentee state is now asking them to plant flowers! It is as absurd as a literary sketch from the pen of the immortal Franz Kafka.

Now the streets of Lagos are now smouldering with fear, anger, and anguish. The ill-advised mechanical governor has suddenly threw out hundreds of thousands of Okada riders out of jobs. They are being harassed, hounded, hunted out of the roads. Fashola has taken their livelihoods away from them. The man who ought to be creating jobs is now killing jobs. He will be creating more robbers, more bandits, and more criminals. Let the Okada riders come back on the roads. They are performing an essential social service that is very valuable and critical to a metropolitan environment like Lagos. The draconian Traffic Law should be scrapped immediately. A PDP government will never ban Okada riders. Never! And most importantly, the roads Fashola is restricting Okada riders from using are Federal roads. The, Lagos state government has no legislative control on such Federal government Freeways. Fashola’s restriction then on Okada riders is a pure legislative anomaly.  It is a piece of unconscionable fancy. It will not stand!


Sometimes I wonder if these people are real at an! They behave as if they just landed from another planet. Do they really believe there is no other life after power? “These false men of the moment, these ephemeral time-servers should know that there is nothing on earth that is latched to eternal relevance. There is nothing that is woven in perpetual articulation save the Grace of the A\mighty God.

The fount of the present malady in the South West, the very rallying symbol of the aberrant largeness ought to know by now that all the wealth of the world does not gain anyone respectability. It must be earned. It comes through pedigree and hardwork. It comes through decency and honesty of purpose. The recent twisted fable about being invited to the Democratic Party National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina should be a chastening experience!

But do they ever learn at all until they are ruined, until they are destroyed, until they are mirrored in the twin despicable follies of Muamar Gadaffi arid Saddam Hussein? If there is no rectification to the destined destruction of the leadership of the Action Congress of Nigeria, the enlightened Yoruba people cannot and must not be part of their self-ruination. We must chart a new course. We must look within and reassert the nobility of our illustrious past. We must seize the moment and confront this persisting malady of muddled usurpers who think themselves in the likeness of the Almighty God. We must chase the hooligans out of town! We must speak out with passionate fervor. We must denounce and reject outright all that conflict with our beliefs. We must reject the mercenary values of Bola Tinubu and his addled lieutenants. We must re-evaluate our goal and mission in the Lagos firmament. We must vote out these charlatans. We must start anew! We must return to the First Principle of the authentic OMOLUABI.

I want to quickly digress here and point out an instance of the ills of obduracy in any society. There is that cautionary illustration in the leadership of the Central Bank. The so-called cashless economy is practically killing the good old valid traditional economic practices in Lagos. The Central Bank should have put in place six pilot programs in Kano, Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Bauchi, Onitsha and Lagos to give a natural representative sampling at six commercial nerve centers of the nation. And without this comprehensive universal sampling, without infrastructural emplacements, without legitimate technical reinforcements, The unscientific economics seeks to eliminate cash transaction with mere decree! The point of sales machines are often riddled with breakdowns thereby frustrating commercial transactions. Confronted with these glitches, many Lagosians merely opted to keep their cash at home. The result of all this is the sudden growth in armed robberies and sundry crimes.

Again, the sustainability of an obdurate Central bank vision or the wanton indifferent mercenary recklessness of the Action Congress of Nigeria’s leading lights often gain force in our collective surrender, in our dodgy selective action towards the observable ills of society. We keep quiet when it suits us ,when we feel unthreatened even while others are being savaged. And yet we raise the greatest din when our personal interest is at risk.

The nation loses the advantage of collective problem-solving once there is a tendency to ignore the desperate challenges others are contending with within the disparate constituencies of the Nigerian Union.

For the nation to move forward, for the nation to be matured in fundamental distinctions and excellence, we must all put our hands selflessly at the plow. We must eschew the blame game. We must reassert our values and sense of appreciation of the finest principles of governance. We must reject the primitive fetters of ethnic irredentism. We must not rewrite history to suit our literary fancies no matter how big our literary fame. We must widen the pool of our vision to embrace the greater glory of the Nigerian Union.

There is a refreshing beginning in the stunning historic victory of Governor Olusegun Rahman Ifamimikomi over the ACN primitives during the October 20th gubernatorial election in Ondo state. Mimiko’s clear and coherent triumph over the forces of plunder and retrogression is a significant indication of the rejection of the forces of evil by the Yoruba people. Yes, the inevitable unravelling of the despicable forces of darkness has started in Ondo. The reckless swagger and vaunting of Bola Tinubu are now tamed. They have reached far beyond the hills. Now they must come down to their own valleys of despair. We must now all join the forces of good in reclaiming the whole of the South West from the present impostors now stealing all of us blind. My appeal to Govemor Mirniko is not to rest on his oars but to’ help lead the charge to drive out these charlatans from the shores of Lagos to the forest of Ekiti. This is the only way his own victory can be total and complete.

It is only fitting and proper that the liberation of the Yoruba people should start in the roaring agitated expanses of Ondoland. Alas, it was in the ancient town of Owo that Papa Michael Adekunle Ajasin hosted the great men of conscionable excellence and exemplary populist identification on April 28 1951. The roll call of giants and immortals: Chief Obafeml Awolowo, undisputed leader ‘and, paladin of progressive crusade; Chief Adekunle Ajasiri presiding host; Honourable Arthur Prest, vice leader; Chief Bode Thomas, general secretary; Chief Anthony Enahoro, assistant secretary; Chief S.O’. Shonibare, assistant secretary; Chief Abiodun Akerele, Chief Taiwo Oredein, Chief Tunji Dosunmu, Chief J.O. Adigun, Chief Ayo Akinsanya, and Chief Adeyiga Adesanya. It was here in Owo that these men who defined the finest purity .of progressive articulation gave birth to the Action Group. It was here that the great party was first initiated, deliberated upon, given fruition and full blossom amid the early campaign to throw off the dark yoke of British imperialism. And now today, our ancestors have woken up, the spirit of old is born again, the liberty­ loving people of Ondo are yet again the very first vanguard of the Yoruba democratic defence force to reject, to annihilate and smash the terrible, insidious yoke of JAGABANISM. What an awful name! What an idiotic appelation which only the deluded would parade! The dark bondage of Godfatherism that Bola Tinubu would want to impose on the Yoruba race has fittingly met its waterloo in the democratic expanses of Ondoland.

In the defeat of the primitivism of Bola Tinubu and his lieutenants, we can glimpse the victory of the righteous forces in the epic battle of 2015. Now, the ancestors are angry! They are now aligned with the forces of the light. The cruel creed of JAGABONDAGE must now give way to the free, unfettered democratic expression of the Yoruba people. The crass celebration of banditry, the audacious recourse to pillage and plunder, the sweeping, offensive roguery, the vast infectious depravity must now move over! We are starting anew. The truth has come to reign.

Let us now reassert our voices in the collective good of our nation. Let us speak truthfully to power. Let us reject the creed of greed. Let us say No to JAGABANDIT.

But we must not intimidate and harass a well­meaning, hyperchallenged national leadership simply because it is the fanciful thing to do. As a good patriot, I stand firmly with President Goodluck Jonathan as he grapples with the difficult challenges of governing a highly complex society like our own. He is daily confronted with all the twists and turns of managing the affairs of a nation with a very tasking balancing act. He cannot satisfy everyone. Every patriot must stand with him in this difficult period of our national life. I wish him God’s guidance and the sherpherding presence of Heaven as he struggles with ensuring equity and fairness in our land. It is a formidable assignment. He cannot be perfect. Voices would still be raised in disagreement. But I am convinced that he means well for this nation. I am strengthened by the words of the Holy Bible – the letter of Paul, the Apostle to the Romans (Romans 13: 1-5)

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience”

Finally, Our judgment must be right. Our vision must be appropriate. Our goal must be selfless. This is the only narrow road between perdition and national salvation. The choice is ours. The challenge is before us. Pray, let us choose wisely. Let us go forth to serve with sacrifice and dignity the nation we love. Thank you for listening and God Bless you all.



Atona Oodua.

Lagos. November 3,2012.

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