WHEN YOU SERVES GOD WHAT HAPPENS TO MEN?

By Adedara S. Oduguwa (1/11/2017)

Compliment of the new season. Yesterday as I was preparing for a business meeting, this topic came to mind “When You Serves God What Happens To Men?” I called my beautiful wife to discuss it. As usual, she gave very intelligent contributions and asked as usual what inspires my interest in going religious rather than my usual political or economical literary direction. Then, I replied “from my personal experience and scientific (observational) approach to life, masses of our people prefer to depend on wealthy men or others more advantaged than God. This partly accounts for why many cannot become whatever they choose to become. Since no man can make a fellow man richer, wealthier, popular, powerful and more respected than himself. Should such happens, it is often a sheer process of mistake and not genuine willingness.”- I said in retaliation to her question.

My wife smiled, chuckled and said “ Poet what you just said is evident in the book of Jeremiah 11:9 ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’ Most people don’t believe in God’s plan. They rather believe in what they can see (since they cannot see God physically) than what they cannot see.” She submitted.

Then, I look at how many people have self-limited themselves from true success for ephemeral success, temporal happiness for lasting peace and little growth for everlasting wealth. Then, it was done on me that this piece when written will help 100s of people who are presently suffering from self-limitation as a result of over dependent on men and not God.

Many years ago, I was only a 200 level Business Administration student in the University. I desired a laptop but couldn’t open my mouth to ask my dad since he has too many responsibilities on his neck. My perception of my dad in those days was a very broke man who have more expenditure than revenue. So I spoke to God silently since it was not in my tradition to share my problem with anyone except my immediate younger brother Gbuyi and my friend Mayowa.  Around that time, I had some N4500 with me in my World Bank account. I have deep faith in God as a child (even more than ever now). I believe sowing a seed into a needy’s life could get me a laptop. But then, the money must be giving to a needy and not someone who is desperately in need of cash for some bottles of beer or probably to buy clothing for his girl friend. Yes, this is a meager amount but that was all in my World Bank account. Few days later (can’t be précised on whether two or three days), someone came to my mum (for financial assistance). One thing must be said about Mama Dara (as mother was fondly called), she could give her eye to anyone so far she has it. We learnt the act of giving from her. She gives without consequence. Unlike my dad, who is more calculative and economizing. This act of my mum has put the family into unwarranted wants many times. Well, story about the duo is for another day.

Back to my story. Mama Dara couldn’t help at this time. She was broke but promised the woman to come back in few days. I eavesdropped their conversation from my room, and saw it as opportunity for me. Immediately the woman left our sitting room, I rushed out to the back gate. Mum already left to see her husband. I called the woman and asked, “How much did you asked her?” “I need 3500 to start slippers hawking business because of my kids. Their father is irresponsible”- She submitted. I was not concerned about what she wanted to use the money for. Rather, I was interested only in meeting her needs and whether what I have would meet her need. So I pushed out my meager N4500 naira and gave to her. And said to her “Please take this, its N4500, don’t see me and thank me for this so that nobody (my mum inclusive) would ask me questions.” She almost wept to tears in appreciation but I told her it’s ok. I had peace within me. Immediately I gave her that money, I became a zeronaire (my word for being broke to nothing). But was happier than before.

Surprisingly, some two days later, a brother of mine brought two new Acer laptops for sale to my dad. The laptop originally worth 120,000 naira each at the time but sold at 150,000 naira. Father called me and transferred ownership. He added this token of words:

 “I know you will need a laptop as a university student. It was your brother that brought it for sale and I have paid him N300,000 for the two laptops. One for Sola and the other for you.  You are a responsible child, keep it up.” I was so elated and thanked him. Of course any child would be happy for such gift especially in a polygamous setting where fingers are not equal. But then, I was more thankful to God than to my biological father. God did it as usual! He made my dad to spend outside his budget. That experience still rings bell and this is not the first time I will be sharing this particular story with friends.

When you serves God, he will work for you same way an employee works for his employer. God is capable of meeting all your needs than the richest man in your town or in the world. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).” Like magic, everything will work. As a young man, I have tested and tasted God more than any and I thank Him for the privileges. The shocking thing is that, He has never failed me even for once. I have never depended on anyone but God. Whenever I need anything, I asked God quietly and He often use any man for me even the most foolish, wicked and irresponsible of all.

Serving God is a process. Which include:

  1. Going to Church and or becoming a worker in church
  2. Preaching to others about salvation and doing good
  3. Giving to the needy
  4. Putting all your faith in Him
  5. Serving God with clean conscience.

However, out of the aforementioned ways of serving God, I have combined 3, 4, and 5 as a tool for serving God. For instance, when I was in SS 2 at Remo Divisional High School Sagamu, I was not anything close to brilliance. I often pray to have 2 Credits and 3Passes in order to pass to the next class. My examination results were nothing to write home about. I was happy the day my dad gave all my primary and secondary school report cards to the woman selling ojojo (Yoruba name for water yam cake).

 So, at this particular year, it was promotion exam term. I was privileged to see my scores before the final broadsheets submission. I must pass 5 courses at Cs and Ps level if I must promote to the next class. I already passed 4 courses with F9 in Math and C6 in English. Then I was hopeful on Yoruba. At this period , students usually assist teachers with marking (don’t know if it is still the same today) , I remember my friends Sanya Akinyemi and Olamide Alonge (both are men today) were parts of the markers. They showed me my script and I got 21. With 14 in the test that is 35. I broke down. And was preparing to repeat that class. When I got home that day, I couldn’t eat. Mama Dara asked what the problem was, but I said I was feeling sick.

Later, in my room, I spoke to God about it “God, I know you are bigger than my problem and capable than anyone including my teachers. I don’t know how you will do it, I must not fail. In Jesus name I prayed (Amen).” That was on Wednesday or so. Friday was the last working day in school, followed by the reports’ card week. I was in school and it was time for collection of our Yoruba script. My friend Taiwo Oloyede (popularly known as TJ Lion) picked mine for me. I was not interested since I have seen the score before. He gave me my script and for the second time I looked at the score. This time, surprisingly, the score was different. I got 38 in that exam not 21. Wow! I was so happy. I later learnt that the teacher discovered some irregularities in marking and decided to re-mark. I smiled and my faith in God became firm and increased.

Also, when I entered the University, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) now Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), this time my faith was greater in God and my determination was bigger than my age. My story changed from worse student performance to the best or one of the top 3 positions in class. I have kept 4points from that time to date. At a time, everyone in my class failed a course in UNAAB, I got 43. Out of about 600 students. It was a GNS course. Then I concluded that faith in God is greater than faith in men.

When you have faith in God, God will be at peace with you and the glory of God will shine over you always. Your achievements will be permanent and everything will turn out well for good for you. Men will envy, hate and jealous you. In addition, men will start investigative journalism on what make you thick and how you are this great. In fact, they will be so busy monitoring your little achievement thereby ignoring their much needed opportunities. You will be emotionally and physically contented and stable with whatever you have while men will be emotionally barren and physically lackry even in surplus. But never be dismayed. Faith in God comes with many other value added benefits (VABs):

  1. You will eat food prepared by others for others;
  2. You will be more proactive than those who plan the plan;
  3. You will have everything whenever the need arises;
  4. No man will have the power to mock or disgrace you;
  5. You will have power over disappointments;
  6. And you will never be genuinely loved by your wealthy, older and much influential contemporaries, friends, close or extended family members and neighbours.

However, I am sure not many would agree with me on the sixth point. But in truth, human nature is full of ego and deceit. We love to be hailed, respected and served. From my little experience in life, I have not seen such man that wants you to be richer, intelligent and fortunate than himself.  Not even a wish from anyone. Most people prefer to give you plates of meal every day than teaching you how to farm. Since they know that once you can farm there won’t be reason for you coming back to them. Men like you so that you can always depend on them, serve them and remain their errand boy. Yet, the little they have is beyond their control (since only God can determine the next minute). But the irony, only very few people serves God. Many prefer to serve men.

When You Serve Men

Why do men serve men? This is the first question that comes to mind. A simple answer to this is that, men by nature believe in what they can see than what they cannot see. We all know how wealthy Dangote and Otedola are. So why should we serve God who we can’t see His houses or cars. This is foolish reasoning. Arguably, wealthy men have more faith in God than the poorest among us. That is why the poor keep going to the wealthy while they (wealthy men) go to God.

When you serve men, men will like you, feed you and can attempt to make you better than they met you. But not richer than themselves. The best any man can give would be 10-15% of his wealth in the project you. Then you will be happy and satisfy with such. With utterances like “If not for Mr Bell, I can never build a house”. Foolish you! You have just missed God’s promises for you. Because God might have promised to give you 100 houses in order to have more houses than 5 of Mr. Bell , but instead for you to go to God , you went to Mr. Bell. Have we ever wonder why such people are often celebrated by wealthy men? Because wealthy and men of affluence are comfortable that such men can never challenge their authority. Not because they love such men (men that worships men), but because wealthy men like power and authority to controls others’ obedience. From observation, at least 90% of our people fall within this bracket and only some 10% truly believe in God.

About 18years ago, I was then in JSS 2, I was in the car with my dad to the Palace. And one man shouted from nowhere “Lisa Ajua Barego. Kofoworola Omo Oduguwa!” father horned and drove off. I asked my dad what was that for and he said “Dara, Olola ni wa, o n ki wa ni” (meaning: we are wealthy people, he was just greeting us). Then I replied “That is nonsense, because we don’t feed him.” I can’t remember if my dad said anything thereafter. I was down in spirit and it really baffled me that I still keep that memory till date. Then at age 14, I have developed zero tolerance for men of affluence who want to be served than to be respected. I choose it as point of duty that when I am of age, I will serve the poor than to become servant tools in the hand of the oligarchies and aristocrats.

Besides, the wealthiest man in the world today cannot buy good health and do not have control over his own property when natural disaster beseech such (God forbid). But God has control over the waters, seas, lives, the earth and everything thereon it. In addition, a case in reference was when a General in the 1990s was on death row as ordered by the then Nigerian born Adolf Hitler. God in His power took the Generalissimo’s life and the captive General was released. This made him to quit politics and public life till date. God is everything that we need not man. When you go to God, he will speak through the heart of any man to do whatever you have asked of him.

How to know you are worshiping men and not God?

  • When you discover that you are dependent on someone or some people for everything
  • When your faith in God is shaking
  • When you think you are unlucky
  • When you have failed more times than you have excelled.
  • When wealthy men will always say very good things about your loyalty.

The above are few symptoms of serving men not God. And are also symptoms of penury (physical or mental). You need God at this point!

When You Are Serving God?

Wealthy men won’t like you. Even with little pretence of likeness. This is because they are always afraid of anyone who might question their authority. All they know and have is power to control others through poverty. They might start calling you names like “Proud , stupid , useless etc”. More so, the rage of envy, hatred and jealousy they have for you can only be controlled by your failure or death and nothing else. Remember the Yoruba adage “Inu ni bini ko ko aimo iwa wu” (meaning: those who hate you will hate you, no matter how good or not good your behaviour can be).

The Good news is that, never be disturbed, face God and be happy that you are not one of the fools that beg for bread from men rather than going to God for bakery. The irony is that, the oppressors themselves know who their captives are and who will never be a captive. God is all that matters! According to the book of John 15: 7-8‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you …’ Trust Him and for sure you will have many testimonies than mine.

Adedara is a Christian and writer from Sagamu, who is inspired by his personal life experiences.

 

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THE ROLE OF YOUTHS AS AGENT OF PRESERVING, PROMOTING AND DEVELOPING CULTURE & TRADITION IN REMOLAND

TEXT OF A SPEECH  BY POET ADEDARA ODUGUWA, AT THE ESOE REMO YOUTH CANNIVAL ON DEC 15TH, 2013.

daraa

Let me first of all; thank the conveners and organizers of this historic epoch- making event for the rare privilege bestowed on me as active participant in this memorable maiden public outing. The criterion for chosen me was quite not patent. Nonetheless, I am confident that this is not owing to my religion, academic prowess, sex or family background. But an occasion that evolves as a result of my age bracket “Odo or Ewe”   Yoruba words that designates “Youth or young people” which qualifies me to rise as a participant in today’s occasion.   I salute you further because in making this, history is concomitantly being made and I count myself blessed to be part of the pages of history.

Having said that, I want to believe the topic before me cautions the entire “Youth Community” of Remoland (Remo Metaalelogbon) and Nigeria as a whole to consciously sit focused and unanimously reason together toward what are the roles of the Youths in preserving, promoting & developing culture/tradition of Remoland and how over the years these roles have been shaped through the trio agents of political socialization (religion, family & the school) and advent of modern science & technology.  In this fashion, this paper is sub-divided into three themes:

  • What were the roles of young people?
  • What are the roles of young people?
  • How do we seek a balance between what were and what are?

Before I probe into the discourse, let me quickly invigorates our minds with definitions of certain quintessential words (Youth, Culture/tradition and Remoland) that are found in the topic of our interest.

In recent time, the term “Youth”, “adolescent”,teenager”,kid”, and “young person” are interchanged, often meaning the same thing, but occasionally differentiated (Dosumu, 2012). Generally speaking, “Youth” is a period of time that is neither childhood nor adulthood but somewhere in-between.  For reference purposes, the following definitions were extracted and reproduced:

  • Youth “Ewe or Odo” (in Yoruba): Comprises of any person found in the age bracket 15-24 (UN, 2010).
  • Youth: Comprises of those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years (UN General Assembly, 2010).
  • Youth: Comprises persons between the age of 15 and 24 (World Bank, 2009).
  • Youth are young people aged 15-29 (Commonwealth Youth Programme, 2010).
  • Youth is defined as any member of society between the ages of 15 and 34 (WHO, 2012).
  • Youth comprises of people between the age of 15 and 24 (UNDP, 2013).

In addition, the Nigerian National Youth Policy (2001) classifies youth as those between the ages of 18 and 35 years.  Going by the literature, there is concord in terms of age brackets, almost all the definitions concurred that “Youth” title begins at age “15” and ends at age “34/35”. Therefore, I will describe   “Youth” as a set of young persons found between age 15 and 40 who are the most energetic, inspiring, educative, innovative and inventive in any organised society. Youth are the most enterprising and productive segment of the economy. They are to cogitate, formulate and implement policies for the community while the aged are to supports them with advices achieved through many years of experience.

What then is Culture/Tradition?

 According to a Yoruba Dictionary, “Asa” (Culture/Tradition) are people’s custom or way of life that is passed from one generation to the other (Fakinlede, 2011). Similarly, a tradition is a belief or behaviour passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past (Green, 1997).  Thus, I see culture/tradition as the beliefs, customs, norms, mores, heritages, principles and values that distinguished a group of people, tribe, religion, society, community, nation, organisation or club from one another as a symbol of uniqueness which are traced from the ancestors to great- grand –father, great-grand-father to the grand-father, the grand-father to the father and father to the children. In other words, this value is passed from one generation to the other. The “Remo people” prided themselves in Cultures such as; taste, traditional dressing and symbols, marriage ceremony rites, burial ceremony and other festivals (Oro, Agemo, Eleku and Agbodu).

Remoland” or “Remo Metaalelogbon” comprises of thirty-three villiages and kings which are headed by a paramount ruler, the Akarigbo of Remoland.  The list of Remo towns includes: Makun,Isara,Ake,Akaka,Ilara,Egudu,Ogunmogbo,Eposo,Are,Emuren,Iraye,Ode-Remo,Ogere,Idena,Idarika,Iperu,Ilishan,Irolu,Idotun,Ikenne,Oko,Ado,Ipoji,Batoro,Ijoku,Latawa,Ijagba,Igbepa,Ipara,Ibido,Soyindo,Epe and Ofin (Ogun State Database,2008). Remo is one of the richest tribe in Nigeria; with a rich annual cultural pageantry commonly display in the market place during any of the attention-grabbing fiesta inter alia: the balufon, the oro, the eluku, the agemo, the yemoja (goddess of the river) and the egungun (masquerade)  (Ayodele,2008). All having their respective Kings ‘obas’ and Chiefs ‘oloyes’. Like every other tribes and nations in the defunct Yoruba empire, Remo or Iremo people find solace in a uniform ‘oriki’ or ‘praise’, which acts as a symbol of unity and togetherness. Additionally, apart from the cultural pageantry and oriki, the Remo Metaalelogbon are known for other cultural values which mold their sedentary way of life. To mention a few, Iremo people are very respective, with different greetings for each season in the day, dedicated traders/farmers, highly intelligent, god-fearing, accommodating and enterprising people. For instance, a Hausa man can secure a plot of land for a house project in Sagamu without being rejected. This may not be possible in some towns, where there is a stringent discrimination against an alien.

Moreover, this paper will further concentrate on answering the three identified questions in previous sections.

What were the roles of young people?

Before the emergence of colonial masters, young people in Remoland and it environ helped to demonstrate the rich culture/tradition, enforcement of laws and orders, facilitate progressive community policies, educate themselves on the norms and mores of their ancestors, perform various ceremonial rites and the protection of their geographical boundary. Through cultural displays/dance, the vigilante, taste, sense of dressing and various age-groups “egbe”. The Remo people were happy with their language, ruler and way of life. The aforementioned were the acceptable morals of our people. More so, any deviance against the norms and mores of the people was labelled a “taboo/ forbidden” “eewo” which attracts penalty.

I will like to share some of these norms with you. It is forbidden for a man to fling his wife’s delicacies from the cooking gas on the platform of angry. If that happens, the King would send the “olumale” (A position reserved for head of oro diety) to such house to perform their rite and certain fine was occasionally levied against the culprit (the man). Similarly, it is forbidden to disobey king’s order, if that occurred, at liberty, the king can order his aides to lock-up the house and clothe the entrance with palm fronds “mariwo-ope” until such time he is appeased. Furthermore, in Remoland, In-laws are kings to the bridegroom. He must prostrate to them at his wedding three times or more with his friends and family (all in their traditional attire-“aso ofi” with cap “fila”). Then, he saw his wife’s family as his while his in-laws were deemed to reciprocate. In addition, prior to his wedding-in courtship, he is not allowed to see his in-laws directly but indirectly through an intermediary called “Alarena”. Moreover, like many other Yoruba quarters, royalty comes with symbols. A royal blood is symbolised through dressing, particularly the use of beads “iyu” both as necklace and hand-chain.

Again, disobedience against the King “Oba” or the throne “Ilu”, youths were at liberty to execute the king’s order (locking of the culprit’s house), perform the “oro” rituals (under supervision of onimale) against the man who flings his wife’s soup, supports the bridegroom at his wedding ceremony and cultural displays; the balufon, Agemo and egungun among others. All these were immediately switched when the colonial masters set the stage with indirect rule (Oduguwa, 2012). Our culture, like bata, was in exchange for modern science & technology, foreign religion, language, education and modern wears. As if these were not enough, we were cunningly deceived to completely reject our taste, fashion, religion and morals. These lines extracted from the poem ‘Lamentation of our brain’ (Oduguwa, 2004) explains further:

“…They came, exploited and went.

Leaving rotten meat with microwave their land

They press homewards with key belonging us

…Blacks, our time rouse!

 What are the roles of young people?

In today’s world, young people position in cultural values and heritages are completely spectatorship. Modern African youths are drowned in the deep-sea of civilization, religion and technology at the detriment of our rich culture. Leaving our culture /tradition to plummet. An example in point is the role to demonstrate and educate others about our cultural heritages. If I may ask, how many member of ESOE Remo group dressed in traditional attire on his/her facebook profile page? How many bother, at least occasionally, to speak and be identified with our ear-friendly Ijebu dialect? How many of us spread the news of cultural festivals like Agemo, Agbodu day, Balufon and Egungun on our facebook page? How many of us call their children with powerful Yoruba names like Adedara, Ibunkunoluwa, Itunuade, Abimbola, Ige and not David, Joseph or Jack? And finally, if we have the whole resources in the world, how many of us are happy to invest a billion naira on our culture and tradition?

Seeking a balance

I am of the opinion that we cannot preserve, develop and or precisely promote any idea if we are not first proud of it.  Let me add this experience of mine, about two years back, I was in a tete-a-tete  with a female friend from Zimbabwe and she said“ Dara, I think you should stop wearing your traditional cap, you can still do with the bead because I think a lot of white people around may take you for a terrorist. You see, many Africans adopt English names in order to have friends and job here.” My response was that “will any Englishman buries his/her culture for mine?” Although, I later realised what she was talking about, nonetheless, I remained firm and proud of what it is to be an African and Remo person in particular.

I am thankful to the organisers for being able to demonstrate our rich culture, promote our heritage and on their way to preserving it through the formation of this highly welcomed organisation. It is therefore of utmost importance for all of us; young, old, male and female to respect our cultural values, promote, preserve and help in the development of our cultural heritages, at any place and anytime, through our fashion, taste and dealings.

Long live ESOE REMO Group!

Long live Remo Metaalelogbon!

Long live Ogun State!

Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

(YORUBA THINK!)

By Hubert Ogunde

English Translation by Adedara OduguwaOgunde and Chief Awolowo

Once upon a time, during the primordial age, there lived a king in Yoruba land named Fiwajoye. This king was so powerful and popular that the people of his kingdom loved him so much. During his time as king, the Yorubas had wealth and riches. There was money, pedigree, jobs for all and sundry. Crops bear good fruits for harvest and plants’ leafs were green. Pets like goat, ships, hen were in surplus .Traders were making profit. Wealth and power were so much for the Yorubas to the extent that they almost forget God.

There was a Staff in the primordial period called Opa-Ase (Staff of Authority or Staff of Oduduwa). This Staff was a thing of utmost secrecy to the extent that no eyes can see it except Iya-Agba, Yeye-Oloye and few elders. This staff is the secret of power of the Yorubas. Because, it is often used to pray for the king and his subjects (the masses) in Yoruba kingdom for promotion, riches, prosperity, honour and power. Indeed. It was truly a Staff of Authority.

Mass of the people loved Oba Fiwajoye to the extent that Yeye-Oloye brought the Staff of Authority to him so that he can always pray with it.

Then, there was a Chief in the land, who is next in command to Oba Fiwajoye. He is popularly referred to as ‘Ekeji-Oye’ (Second in Command). This Chief was not happy with the peaceful state of affairs enjoyed by the Yorubas. He wants the king to be dethroned and be made his replacement.

According to him “You called me Second in Command! You called me with empty mouth. If they bring yam, it’s the king they will give it to. If they bring Corn, it’s the king they will give it to. If they bring money, it’s the king they will give it to. The king is getting fatter, I am getting thinner! I am not contented with this. I will go and dominate over other land.”

And so, Ekeji-Oye (Second in Command) became an enemy of the Yorubas. He lied and deceived the Yorubas and he succeeded by changing their minds against Oba Fiwajoye. The kingdom turned into disarray and the land was in deep chaos. Not long from this period, Ekeji-Oye trickily took the Staff of Oduduwa from the palace where it was kept.

During the same period, there lived a Queen in a kingdom not far from Yoruba Kingdom. Her name was Yeye-Iloba. This Yeye-Iloba happened to be one of the greatest enemies of the Yorubas. She was so fearless and powerful. She was not happy with the development going on in Yoruba kingdom. Because in Iloba, there was no money, no jobs, no peace and sicknesses and diseases almost reduced the kingdom to nothing.

Yeye-Iloba was looking for means to fight the Yorubas in order to take them captives. But she doesn’t have hint as several efforts were in futility.

Ekeji-Oye went to the kingdom of Yeye-Iloba and told the Queen that if she can give him a huge amount of money, he is going to sell the Yorubas and delivers them to her. This was a great news and deal for Yeye-Iloba.

Consequently, this was how Ekeji-Oye (Second in Command) collected a huge amount of money from her and delivered the Staff of Authority or literarily puts ‘ Staff of Oduduwa’ to Yeye-Iloba, so that she can be using it to pray for her kingdom. Thereby selling the Yorubas into the hands of their enemies. If there is no river behind fish, it’s only a river. Without the Staff of Authority, there is no Yoruba Kingdom.

However, not long from this period, Yeye-Iloba waged war against Yoruba people and she gallantly won them since they have previously lost the Staff of Authority to her.

Oba Fiwajoye and a few of his people were whisked off Yoruba land under captive of Yeye-Iloba. They were used, maltreated and beaten as slaves. They were turned into messengers and gardeners in the palace of Yeye-Iloba. They were handcuffed and ruthlessly dealt with. House chores like sweeping, washing and cleaning of the palace was a daily routine for the Yorubas under their new foreman (Oba Fiwajoye) in the palace of Yeye-Iloba.

Oba Fiwajoye and his people were engulfed with sadness and humiliation. It was so shameful, disgraceful and slave-like that the people of Iloba monger their mockery like hawking pepper.

More so, since the king was taken into captive, the land was in disarray and almost completely destroyed. There was no money, no jobs and the once green leafs were now gray and dark. Corn refused to germinates, traders became debtors and the Yorubas were absolutely in a melancholy state while their prosperity diminishes.

The Yorubas were in the state of sadness and hopelessness. They were on the verge of repentance. They called upon themselves in a united front. They became so united to the extent that they forced Yeye-Iloba to free their king and the other captives. This was successfully achieved. Oba Fiwajoye returned to his stool and things changed completely for good as the Staff of Authority was recouped.

Consequently, Ekeji-Oye (Second in Command) was arrested and banished for the act of betrayal. Yorubas also returned to their joyous and peaceful life. Just like what was experienced in the past. Corn starts to grow, traders start to make profit. Wealth, prosperity and power returned to the land and Oba Fiwajoye became wealthier than before.

YORUBA RONU!

YORUBA THINKS!

MY GRANDFATHER’S HOUSE- AN HAVEN OF VANITY

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By Adedara S. Oduguwa (08/08/2016)

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Painted in gold, tarred in cowries and pillared with diamond.

With mercury bulbs from China to unwind its edifice.

Creating such glare anyone desires to admire.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Built with billions of forbidden funds.

Heavily guarded by 100s of soldiers from Dodan barrack,

Gateman by best brains whose certificates belong only to the gate.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Full of berry & whiskey; cowries & diamond.

With virgin-wives bought to wash grandfather’s feet.

At no cost, our kings agree to work in grandfather’s house,

Just for daily breads, since that is all the state has got.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Charmingly calved with land-mass measuring

100s in hectares. House fanning by hefty men

Who pay allegiance only to generalissimo.

With thousands of horses, camels, peacocks and

Cows house decor in complete state.

Yet, grandfather’s taste-bud remains insatiable!

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Acquired by budget padding and righteous transfers.

Since grandfather’s thumb, sole-signatory to state’s treasury.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Came under uproar. What? Generalissimo is dead!

Whilst our cooks and gardeners wept for their jobs, state-

Illuminates with jubilation. The last tyrant is gone!

Scornfully, grandfather was wrapped in N450 white linen &

Thrown underworld by his best friend –The Chief Imam.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

The fleet-of-cars, helicopters, private-jets, horses, camels, cows

Wives, diamonds, cowries and looted fund were stolen by

Angry assailants, who claimed ownership of –

Grandfather’s Wealth.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Nought was entombed with generalissimo, even his much-adored

Italian handkerchief was seized by his suitcase.

In case you admire my grandfather, first howl his end!

About the Poem

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity was written to lampoon greed of the heart. After all, we came empty and would someday leave emptier. The poem is dedicated to all Nigerians. Most importantly, public office holders and wealthy men/women in high places who are carefree about sufferings of the masses.

In addition, the poem is a social satire on how everything we laboured for would be taken from us by death without our permission, especially when we achieve so much through unholy means. Illustrating this, where are yesterday’s billionaires? What memories can we remember of them? Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity! But a good name truly is better than gold and cowries!

HUBERT OGUNDE: Nationalism and Retrospect

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                                                        By Adedara S. Oduguwa (July 10, 2016)

Struggle to free Nigerians and Africans from the hands of foreign profiteers, the gruesome imperialists and suckling economic bourgeoisies left no one out in the colonial regime. The quest for self-government and independence became a common priority for the rich in the West who traded in Cocoa; the Hausa/Fulani herdsmen in the North and Aba women in the East, who believed their husband, must not be taxed. It further became a goal later to be pursued by the well-to-do; poor, illiterates, politicians, artists, writers, lawyers, educationists and clergies. In fact, the area called Nigeria was at its best in terms of unity as a colony than after October 1st, 1960.

Those factors that unified us were unequivocally more than those that divide us. The degree of unity to rise against a common enemy found in the colonial masters cannot but be respected. Moreover, before 1897, there was no country or area called Nigeria until it came into being as a result of an article sponsored by Flora Shaw (later Mrs Lugard) in The Times of January 8, 1897. Who argued that since all the towns and villages or protectorates in this area consists of many ethnic nationalities; the area therefore should be called ‘Nigeria’ (Ajayi, 2009).

Of course, this argument might not represent view of many, but then, that was what was said by Mrs. Luggard, wife of Nigeria’s Chief Administrator in the colonial Nigeria.

“By May 1906, Sire Lugard had become high commissioner in Northern Nigeria. Before this period, Britain had been ruling the three groups or countries (Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo) separately, independently and indirectly through the use of the existing local chiefs who were responsible to the queen of England. However, because of difficulties in administration and the cost of maintaining these protectorates, his wife named the three conglomerates territories ‘Nigeria’… _ (Culled from the book Chief Obafemi Awolowo: The Political Moses by Adedara Oduguwa; 144-145).

But shortly after the amalgam procedures were concluded, Nigeria witnessed massive exploitation in terms of raw-material and manpower under the colonial regime which was only an attempt to milk-Nigeria-dry-alive.   Abuse on Nigerians by foreigners made many Nigerian families to adopt English names like- Johnson, Jones, Anthony, Simpson, George, Thompson, Macaulay, Ebenezer, Clark, Ransome, Thomas, the list is endless. The purpose of adopting these foreign names was to give themselves face in a country owned by their forebears in the hand of ruthless but diplomatic business negotiators.

Crusade for independence became heightened in the mid forties through activities of the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), an offshoot of Lagos Youth Movement (LYM). Apart from the Trade Union, Market Women Association, traditional institutions, politicians, and the Student Unions that added their voices in fighting against this mordant and mercenary regime. There was this man, out of his devotion and commitment to seeing a free Nigeria, echoed ‘freedom’ through the fearless and adroit acts of art. He was Chief (Dr.) Hubert Adedeji Ogunde.

IMG_0056Ogunde was born on Monday, 10th of July, 1916 in a small town of Ososa (Ogun State) to Elder Jeremiah Dehinbo Ogunde and Mrs. Eunice Owotunsan Ogunde. Elder Jeremiah Ogunde was a convert of Baptist church, Ijebu Ife and a strict disciplinarian. At the age of nine, young Ogunde entered Saint John’s Primary School, Ososa for his elementary education and left the school in 1928 for Saint Peter’s Faji School, Lagos State where he was until 1930. Between 1931 and 1932, Ogunde was at Wasimi African School, Ijebu-Ode. His graduation from Wasimi African School actually marked end of his entire formal education. He altogether spent approximately seven years.

Despite few years spent acquiring formal education, Ogunde’s command of English was not only superlative but much better than many university graduates of his time. More so, in Ogunde’s personal submission, his limited formal education might have contributed to his successes as a playwright. According to him: “I thank God today that I didn’t go to that college or University at all. Because, possibly, I could have been exposed to some classical way of life or some classical way of doing drama that I could not have been able to do what I am doing today.”

Ogunde grandfather’s influence was great on him throughout his life time. As a young man, he adopted him by providence as his early mentor. His forebears were committed Ifa worshippers and founders of Ososa Township. According to Chief Ogunde: “My grandfather was an Ifa Priest. My grandmother too was an Idol worshipper and in our house, we have several Idols – the Ifa, Sango and all these. And so, as a result there were ritual ceremonies taken place at every day. So being born into all these, drumming, dancing, incantations and then these rituals ceremonies, I think might have had some influence on me. My father was a Baptist missionary. In fact, he became a pastor. He was a pastor, an organist and a disciplinarian. And so, I think I might have been influenced by both.” (Culled from the manuscript, Hubert Ogunde: Odyssey of Renowned Nationalist by Adedara Oduguwa).

Between the ages of 17 and 25 (1933-1941) young Ogunde was a school teacher at Saint John’s Primary School, Ososa and a dedicated church organist. However, in December 1941, Ogunde joined the Nigeria Police Force in a bid to better serve his mother land.   By March 1945, approximately four years in the Force, Ogunde resigned in order to pay full attention to his passion- acting, since his passion for opera was mind-boggling. His resignation was spurred by reckless and gross misconduct of the colonial regime, which was demonstrated by Ogunde in his much talk about 1945 opera entitled ‘Worse Than Crime.’ The opera was a political satire on the colonial masters which set to establish that ‘Colonialism in any shape or form is worse than crime.’ This earned Ogunde and Mr. G.B. Kuyinu (His co-director) two days in the Police custody.

According to Oxford Dictionary, nationalism can be defined as “patriotic feelings, principles, or efforts; policy of national independence.” Similarly, James Coleman in Nigeria: Background to Nationalism describes nationalism as:

“Broadly, a consciousness of belonging to a nation (existent or in the realm of aspiration) or a nationality and a desire, as manifest in sentiment and activity, to secure or maintain its welfare, prosperity, and integrity and to maximise its political autonomy. Nationalism is directed towards the attainment, maintenance or restoration of its political independence as a nation-state in the international state system.”

However, with my terms of reference, Ogunde is more qualifies to be called a nationalist, having fought rigorously alongside others to secure independence for Nigeria. Ogunde, unlike many other nationalists was a determined dramatist who believed in freedom for all and life more abundance (Awolowo, 1959).  His nationalism struggle originally started in 1944, when Ogunde added his voice to the agitation for Western Nigeria’s self-rule by writing operas that are thought provoking and colonial masters anger infuriating, such as Israel in Egypt (1944), Strike and Hunger (1945), Nebuchadnezzar’s Reign and Belshazzar’s Feast (1945), Worse than Crime (1945), Tigre’s Empire (1945), Bread and Bullet (1950) among many other similar titles (Clark, 1979).

Scan 11However, for these titles, Ogunde was not only arrested, jailed, humiliated or intimidated; he earned himself series of bans for standing for truth and what is right. An act which is extremely rare in modern day Nigeria. A point in reference was in September 24th, 1978 when the veteran Television Presenter, Mr. Mike Akiode asked Chief Ogunde to comment on Strike and Hunger (1945), an opera that led to1945 Workers’ Strike. On this, Ogunde enunciated:

“…Yes, I wrote the Play on the strike of the Workers of 1945. The play was very successful in Lagos here. But then, it was trouble for me in the North. Not only ‘Strike and Hunger.’ I was detained in the Police Cell for one week for writing ‘Worse than Crime.’ And then, another three days again for writing my play ‘the Tigre’s Empire.’ Because I likened the colonial government to a Tigre’s government-the government of Tigers.” _(Culled from the manuscript, Hubert Ogunde: Odyssey of a Renowned Nationalist, by Adedara Oduguwa). 

Moreover, Ogunde was culture and tradition enthusiast, who was ready to die for the preservation of African beliefs. Between 1968 and 1969, he took his group on tour of Europe and Britain for a full year. Then, his group was chosen to perform at the International Musical Architecture they called it ‘Wales 1969’, so after the performance, he had an interview with the world Press. A Briton BBC interviewer asked him questions on polygamy, the extract is below:

“… ‘Chief you have six of your wives in this group performing on this tour and then, I understand you still have another six, making twelve in all. May be you still have more, why is that so? How can you even cope with twelve wives? Do you think it is good for one man to have twelve wives?’ _A BBC Interviewer opined.

Ogunde n wives In response, Chief Ogunde said: ‘In Africa, we don’t pretend to be what we are not. We are faithful people. We are truthful people. When we marry one wife, we say it is one. When it is ten, we say it is ten. When it is twenty, we say it is twenty and people know. But here, you marry one officially for everyone to see and you have ten, probably twenty outside. So, you are hypocrites! We are sincere’.”

While many artists ,musicians, writers, clergies, journalists and social commentators of today are working as mouthpieces of government in power and the economic profiteers, artists of old were majorly into the ‘complementary institution.’ By complementary institution, we refer to the totality of institutions established by God and man to augment efforts and activities of government and the poor masses of any given institution or country (Gagliardi, 2014). These institutions are saddled with singular responsibility of speaking for people and check-balancing abuse of the rule of laws.

 Sadly, that role is today bedevilled by evil of corruption and monetization of the political economy, which has seen complementary institution compromised and forcefully whisked into dungeon of falsification and shadowy of self-induced greed. Thereby becoming a tool of torture for the poor, who themselves look up to be saved by the complementary institution.

Modern complementary institutions do not see when politicians do not want them to see. They do not say when they are not heavily paid to say and they do not write when brown envelop is yet to be given to them. ‘Everything is now for sale’ Said one journalist.  Disappointedly, we do not read the truth any longer than voices and opinions of the ruling class.

On Stage - As Oba FiwajoyeOgunde was an outspoken Hercules and contemporary political commentator, like Caesar, was ready to risk the possible destruction of his Theatre in order to fight for the freedom of his people from alien rule. According to an Editorial in Zik’s West African Pilot Newspaper (1947):

“Ogunde’s preoccupation with projection of the cultural as well as the political identity of his people were enough for the nationalist movement to call him ‘a genius’ who did not seek ‘wealth or fortune’ …nor self inflation or any other artifice of fame, a genius who was once a poor police officer, perhaps one who shared with three others ‘ten by eight’!! A day came when he sat down, racked his brain, composed nature airs and dramatized them and by 1947, had become ‘Nigeria Theatre King’ … It is courage to take risks and determination to forge ahead in spite of manmade handicaps…”

 More so, Ogunde was one of the few African dramatists that worked tirelessly against the colonial dictator in the 40s and 50s. By 1960, he was joined by other radical and prominent political writers and musicians to help stabilised Nigeria’s baby independence. Among which included: Prof. Wole Soyinka, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Chinua Achebe etc.  Let’s not forget that, Ogunde complemented the Nigeria’s fathers of nationalism found in Sir Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Sir Tafawa Balewa, Oba Samuel Akinsanya, Chief S.L Akintola, Ernest Ikoli, Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti, Sir Anthony Enahoro, Tai Solarin and Chief Adeleke Adedoyin.

2In 1964, there was a political tumult in the then Western Nigeria. Chief Awolowo was incarcerated on treason accusation and Chief Ogunde, wrote the highly controversial account for his indictment entitled it ‘Yoruba Ronu (Yoruba Think!).’ This account put him at loggerhead with Chief S.L Akintola who was at the time Premier of Western Region since the play directly attacked him and his government. For this, Ogunde Theatre was banned for two years (1964-1966). This ban had grave financial effect on him since majority of his audience were in the Yoruba speaking Western Region.

In the words of revered Historian Prof. (Mrs) Ebun Clark, describing Ogunde:

“…for all the Nigerian Playwrights in Yoruba Nigerian Theatre and indeed in English, Ogunde was the most consummate social commentator and satirist, who easily make his views on people and events known through his sketches and characters (Clark, 1979).”

Ironically, Yoruba Ronu was presage of days to come. By January 15 1966, the presage came alive and Akintola’s government was not only ousted out of power, but many had paid with their lives. The military had taken over and on request; the ban on Mr. Ogunde and his company was lifted by Lt. Col. F.A Fajuyi, the newly appointed governor of the Region. Hence, to say that message ‘Yoruba Ronu’ is still valid for present crop of politicians in Yoruba land today is not out of point.

That sincerity, patriotism and sense of obligation as a citizen of this great once united nation is continually lost to greed and ignorance. Somebody says our artists, journalists, musicians, writers, clergies and social commentators are now ‘Pocket pickers’ like Judas, had derailed from the righteous path, dived  into roads once trekked by tyrants. They make hypocritical noises just to get carrot or national honours.

 Today, the name Ogunde is only synonymous with that popular Nigerian Musician and Dramatist of all time. July 10th, 2016 marked 100 years of his posthumous birthday and 26 years in death, tomorrow, what do we say about you?

Adedara S. Oduguwa is social commentator, who writes from Sagamu.

NIGERIA: INSTITUTIONAL COMPLEMENTARITIES THE BAD SAMARITANS

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By Adedara Oduguwa (26/05/2016)

Good morning country people, how is the economy treating you and how are you coping with the new price of tomatoes? Price still stands constant here at #100 for a fresh tomato. Well, that is by the way. This paper attempts to look into actions or inactions of the institutional complementarities (IC) over the years. Although, government remains a significant part of our existence; role(s) of IC is almost if not completely undermined.

What are institutional complementarities?

These are the totality of institutions established by God and man to complement or augment efforts and activities of government and the poor masses of any given institution or country. Similarly, the act connotes interdependence among institutions (Gagliardi, 2014). The IC includes:

  • Religion houses
  • Art/ entertainment sector
  • Trade unions /journalists
  • Political parties
  • Armed forces
  • Human rights bodies

However, when government is on track, it is role of the IC to commend her activities and when it is the other way round; it is still role of the IC to react proportionately in order to get her back on track. The IC act completely as checks and balances for government and just like the judiciary, persistently interprets the laws of the land through seasonal town criers and situational campaigns against abuse of the rule of law. Hence, it is right to say the IC represents the voice of the masses or a watchdog!

Over the years, Nigeria’s institutional complementarities have not only failed to live up to expectations but deliberately exhibit ‘I don’t care attitude’, what I simply refer to as ‘hypocritical tendencies’ which are capable of taking us aback to Egypt.  More so, it is not naysay that our churches, mosques, artists, trade unions, political parties, armed forces and the human rights bodies only parade themselves for personal earnings. They talk only when the Aristocrats ask them to talk, who wear diadem like the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh with the title ‘Never to die never.’

Logically or perhaps reasonably, government cannot do it all alone with arms fold-up by the IC. We cannot continue to blame governments at all levels (local, state and federal) for this messy economic show-of-shame. To do this is not only unjust but acrolein capable of wiping away our institutional existence.

For instance, average offerings and tithes of churches in Nigeria is over 11trillion annually. Enough to assist government in offsetting many if not all of her annual expenditures i.e Power, Housing, Education, Agriculture, health and works etc. Even mosques, with their meagre contributions are capable of generating 30% of the annual revenue of the churches. This looks resounding and unreasonably right?

Evidently and statistically for example, there are over 15million members of the Redeemed Christian Church alone. Let us assume that only 13million of them pay offerings on average of #500 * 13million = 6,500,000,000 every Sundays. This figure * 52 (since there are 52 weeks in a year) =338,000,000,000. This is the minimum that can be realised in offerings yearly by one of the five mega churches (i.e Redeemed, Winners, Christ Embassy, Synagogue and Mountain of Fire). In addition, let us assume that only 12million members are faithful with tithing, and let us put average tithe at 1800 (since minimum wage is 18000* 10% of this figure equals 1800) i.e 1800*12million members =21,600,000,000 * 52 (since there are 52 weeks in a year)=1,123,200,000,000 as total revenue in tithe for a year. Tithe + offering = 1,461,200,000,000 in other words, the minimum amount any of the mega churches makes per year is approximately 1.5 trillion naira.

You will agree with me that this tentative figure is lower than the actual amount since many gives more than 1million as tithe and average offering is also more than #500. Nonetheless, let us continue to work with this figure. Since we know how much one of the five mega churches makes per annum, to arrive at a tentative figure for the five, let’s say 5* 1.5trillion = 7.5trillion all figures in naira. This figure is staggering, more staggering it becomes when we consider that special donations, special services (i.e Holy Ghost Service or Shiloh) or weekly programmes were already excluded from the calculations.

Moreover, we cannot completely ignore smaller and conventional churches (i.e Methodist, Catholic, Deeper Life , The Adventist, Celestial etc) , let us assume the totality of these forms of churches only generated about 50% of this 5 mega churches revenue i.e 50% * 7.5trillion naira = 3.75trillion naira. Summing this up gives 3.75+ 7.5=11.25.

This is the minimum all the churches in Nigeria can generate yearly from offering and tithing. In addition, since we agree that mosques are capable of making at least 30% of this figure through donations i.e 30% * 11.25=3.375trillion, all figure in naira. Therefore, grand total of revenue of churches and mosques per year i.e 11.25+3.375 =14.627 trillion, approximately 15trillion naira annually. Sad! We never look into this direction.

What is this money for? How much is giving back to the church/mosque (people) from this huge amount? How much is spent annually on the most vulnerable members of our society i.e needy, widows, widowers, orphans, unemployed, aged and women in general? What standard are they following? Where do they learn this ‘take away all doctrine’? Was Jesus building earthily empire in His time? These are just few questions that run to mind.

Arguably, assuming the Nigerian religion houses (churches and mosques) come together and contribute only 40% of 15trillion generated annually to offset one or more of government expenditure i.e lets say unemployment, through creating soft loans for SMEs, that is 15*0.40= 6 trillion naira. Wow! This huge amount is capable of creating more jobs than people can do. Nonetheless, do you think everything will still remain at status quo?

Apart from the financial contributions; our religion houses continually refrain from speaking the truth. According to the Old and New Testament of the Bible, not once or twice were preachers seen delivering doom messages to kings and emperors for leading the people astray. How many of such have we seen in Nigeria? None! And if there is any, someone must have paid the bills. Are pastors cautioned by God never to touch the anointed maximum rulers in government? Or are modern clergies not interested in people or what the economy is turning many into? These are just few lines of worries.

Unfortunately, average donors in the mosque or church are men and women whose total capital or earnings are not more than #20,000 per month. Gloomier it becomes when we God opens your eyes to see what these clergies are using our money to buy. Nay wonder the book of Proverbs 22:16 put it thus:

“He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.”

Moreover, many faith universities or institutions were built with the poor masses wealth. It is ridiculous that only children whose parent once worked with Obasanjo, Atiku or Dasuki directly can afford to attend such faith institutions. As if God created the poor for penury and give birth to children that should follow suit. Ah! Without mincing words, this is a wicked world for the poor; probably they will be first to see Jesus!

However, it baffles some of us that religion centres; most especially churches are built almost every week at about 2kilometres, with no funding from the headquarters. Young pastors are laboured to scout for donors who will help to build new offering & tithe bank. It is the same poor masses, who often put in their full energy and their meagre financial resources together to save the lost souls. The new church is built and offering and tithe transferred immediately they are realised to the headquarters.

At the headquarter, most senior pastor announces the church intention toward any project and ask for volunteers to contribute cheerfully towards it. The richest among men would bounce out, to torment and oppress the poor through ill-gotten wealth. Yet, the poor will cheerfully and worriedly drop the little in his/her possession and if pastor peeps from the altar, he/she will joyfully drop his/her children’s school fees with hope and faith in Almighty God for miracle. Wow! It is as if all these sacrifices were only in vain when church’s schools are no- go-area for the same faithful servants!

To worsen the case, clergy’s children are not on a par with average member of the congregation. They live large and enjoy sweat of their parent’s labour. Nonetheless, with this high level of irresponsibility exhibited by our religion houses, it leaves no one in doubt that they should be taxed as declared by the radical governor of Kaduna state (Mallam Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai). For instance, average income of churches and mosques are more than profits made by Dangote Group of companies annually. In 2015, Dangote Group made $3 billion, about 900billion naira (Dangote Group Financial Statement, 2015) this is below the average 1.5 trillion naira annually made by the five mega churches. Yet, the company is heavily taxed.

Most clergies have turned politicians, whose interest is to preach prosperity and not salvation. Well, since we have been greatly cautioned or warned against speaking the truth. Perhaps, ironically, through the teachings of the missionaries. Nevertheless, we must give cheerfully even if we don’t have. ‘It is only wise to give all you have to God’ says one Believer. As if some of us are non-Christians. The bible remains a guide and standard, not pastor or preacher. I can’t fathom this is what true Christianity or Islam is all about. No!!! It is not. I challenged this sentiment. How did we get here? Whose script are we reading? Who brought Christianity to Africa? What were the lessons from them? The Missionaries? Yes!

Historically, the Missionaries came into Nigeria first in the 15th century (1472) and between 1515 and 1842 had established several institutions of learning in Badagry, Benin and Abeokuta (Fafunwa,1975), which were free for everyone. They don’t even have 10% of what is available today to our churches. The education was free and impactful. Many of the great generation (1900-1940) enjoyed this system. Yet, they are great today. What then happened along the way? Where is the conscience of our pastors? Or is there a new standard for salvation apart from truthfulness? It is sad and more sadden it becomes that we cannot but continue to follow blindly. Let me pulse here, I will come back to this later.

In the 40s, 50s and early eve of 1960s, you will hardly find an entertainer that is pro-government, this is not to say they hate government but because they were for the truth. Before independence, works of Chief Adedeji Hubert Ogunde speaks volume. In that primitive eon, Ogunde staged dramas that were thought provoking such as Israelites in Egypt, Kini a o fi kobo Ojumo Se?, The Tigre’s Empire, Nebuchadnezzar and King Solomon and Yoruba Ronu in the wake of 1960s, just to mention a few. The titles and tone of these stage dramas hard-earned him jail and ban on several occasions but he remained resolute.

In addition, activities of early journalists and writers like Herbert Macaulay, Oba Samuel Akinsanya (from Isara Remo), Ernest Ikoli (An Ijaw man), Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (his West African Pilot), Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Daily Times and later The Nigerian Tribune Newspaper), Prof. Wole Soyinka (in his early career), Prof. Chinua Achebe and several others, whose writing prowess shaped and helped our existence immeasurably. Then, those market women and women activists like the powerful Efusetan Aniwura, Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransom Kuti and several women who belong to that generation.

 In the 70s, musicians such as Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Chief Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi and Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, added their voices. Fela’s contribution was second to none, which earned him death of his mother and demolition of Kalakuta Republic (his Estate).

Looking through my feeble diary, one will not forget in jiffy contributions of late Chief Gani Faweyimi whose replica is found in Chief Femi Falana of this world. Today, what happen to our mindsets?

Modern journalists do not see when politicians do not want them to see. They do not say when they are not heavily paid to say and they do not write and publish when brown envelop have not been given to them. ‘Everything is for sale’ Said one journalist.  Disappointedly, we do not read the truth any longer than voices and opinions of the ruling class. Today, a writer writes for Mr. A, tomorrow another writes for Mr. B, all creating confusionist serenity for the vulnerable populace to follow carelessly with rapt attention and inquisitiveness. Little do they wonder why the two opposing parties still dine together at last-night dinners? We have been robbed and fooled.

What about our freedom fighters? Somebody says they are ‘Pocket pickers’ like Judas, they derailed from the righteous cause into roads once trekked by tyrants. They speak only against poor or no payment of suborn. They make hypocritical noises just to get carrot or national honours. Nobody seems to care about the suffering masses whose voices are so faint to make a word.  Today, they are in Oshodi tomorrow at Abuja discussing modalities of how the loots are to be shared. Yet, many still follow them impetuously as if they are the only rope to our hope. Human right activists are now a mockery of our human sense. Until we become wise to know we are wise, our senses will continue live in their prison of deceit.

Modern armed forces can easily be equated to what my friend suffered in India. He was harassed for given a bribe. To say our armed forces are corrupt is litotes. If you walk carelessly with briefcase full of notebooks, the Nigerian Police can mistaken it for money. My dear, should this happen, you are on your own. My personal experience is a confirmation from many others’ story. It is even better to be duped and let go, than to report such case to the police, you might end up spending more, yet, even if the culprits are later found, the Nigerian Police might take the case through Open Market Operation (OMO), where the highest bidder becomes winner of the case. It is disappointing that appointed thief-catchers are themselves thief-savers. Our forces are now law breakers and looted money bankers. The other time, a million dollars was found in a force’s man toilet. Shameful!

I vividly remember the great labour leader, Michael Aikhamen Omnibus Imoudu, who led the 1945 first ever nationwide strike against the colonial regime. He did it with utmost good faith, and earned respect of his colleagues and the people. He was not paid to do this; he felt it was right. What about the gallant Aba women, who led the popular Aba Women Riot of 1922. They demonstrated the strength of mothers by fighting nakedly against a compulsory tax regime levelled against their husband. These were real moments of patriotism.

The political caste had successfully turned us against ourselves; through monies they throw at us during moments of campaigns. This money politics bereft us of speaking the truth. Our logic of reasoning is being polluted as money collected yesterday is capable of buying us 5litres of petrol at 145 naira per litre and our wives can cook stew without tomatoes.

Conversely, The ruling-class our confused propagandists, who come together through unholy amalgams. The opposition today was yesterday dashing out billions just to remain in power, subjective now with the only intention of winning next elections. Empty contributions as running helter-skelter only to be saved from Dasuki’s jail. Yet, the masses with heavy burden and hopeless hearts. Change!!! Everything is changing even what was good yesteryears must be changed except the same heads, who migrated from the prodigal-camp during eve of transition. Where is the role of checks and balances, which the opposition is saddled with? It is a pity that none of these parties shared true ideological politics!

 During last election, the left and right looted the treasury from both directions and meet at a confluence, present economy realities. The convergence of these spending pushed the economy into disarray and emptiness, now that a thief is dealing with another thief, who will deal with the leading thief?

I urge you all not to touch the Lord’s anointed servant. I am carrying God’s anointing, ordained by God and not man, with the mission of speaking the truth always. Enough is enough, now that the country is heading towards famine and a recession greater than that experienced in 1930s, I plead with all the institutional complementarities, most especially the Churches to bail us out! I know by so doing, God will reward you mightily and heaven will rejoice with us. Above all, we will all make heaven. The Holy Bible still remains our standard. Because, I believe there is one Supreme Being called God that sees us all from above.

God bless Nigeria.

Adedara is a born-again Christian & social commentator, who writes from Sagamu.