By Bayo Oluwasanmi
At an event in Awka, Anambra State, marking one year in office of the governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, the leader of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, was reported to have described Yorubas as “political rascals.” Iwuanyanwu later apologized to Yoruba people.
“I want to make it abundantly clear that at no time did I make the statement credited to me by blackmail circulating on social media that the Yoruba are political rascals as this was fraudulently manipulated,” said Iwuanyanwu.
We Yorubas are proud to be described as progressive political rascals – PPR for short. Following is who we are as PPR. We are true to our name, because we are always moving forward and improving on how we can make Nigeria a better country. We have proved we are the embodiment of the true concept of diversity, equity and inclusion, as demonstrated by the warmth and love shown to all ethnicities living in Yoruba land. We believe Nigeria is strongest when everyone has a voice and a vote, and when we are all treated fairly and equally under the law. Yorubas are known for standing against efforts to prevent any person from fully and truly participating in our democracy.
We have the highest levels of engagement with political, and socio-economic issues more than any other ethnic groups in Nigeria. We devote more attention to larger issues of social justice in our society. We have persistently addressed inequality and political disempowerment. Yorubas are committed to the socio-economic and political change in Nigeria.
Yorubas have played and continue to play an outsized role in public debates concerning the future of our country. We have consistently and doggedly condemned unjust power, tyranny, oppression, dictatorship, and all forms of political brutality and economic repression. We are a very tolerant, accommodating, accepting, and warm people. We have strong humanitarian values. There is no ethnic group that has sacrificed and suffered so much to liberate Nigeria from the dark forces of feudalism, nepotism, barbarism, backwardness, and tyranny.
In the long walk to bring Nigeria into the comity of civilized countries, we recall with great indebtedness and gratitude to Yorubas, who set the pace for political and socio-economic strides for other ethnicities to follow.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo gave us the first TV station in Africa, even before France had a TV station. Awolowo was the first to introduce free universal primary education in the country. Other firsts by Awo, as he was fondly called, included a housing corporation, Liberty Stadium, sky scrapper – Cocoa House, Asejire Dam that provided pipe-borne water, road networks, first-class education system, to mention but few among many infrastructural and economic developments.
Yorubas produced the first African Nobel laureate in English literature, in the person of Wole Soyinka. Lateef Jakande was the first African to be elected unopposed for two terms as the President of the influential Geneva-based International Press Institute, IPI. Tai Solarin, Nigeria’s moral powerhouse, was a social crusader extraordinarily unmatched by anyone in the country. Alhaji Babatunde Jose, as chairman successfully managed the defunct Daily Times as the newspaper with the largest circulation in Africa.
Olabisi Ajala was the first African to travel the world on a motorbike. In entertainment, music, and movies, Yorubas are trailblazers and continue to dominate the field. Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, the erstwhile military governor of the defunct Western region offered himself as a sacrificial lamb. Fajuyi had insisted that the former military Head of State, Aguiyi Ironsi, as his guest, must not be killed alone by military coup plotters. The names of Yoruba political progressive rascals, whose names are burned into our national consciousness as a country are inexhaustible.
Nature, culture, tradition, civilization, progressivism and liberalism draw indelible lines of distinction between Yoruba progressive political rascals and the rest of other ethnic groups. With the few parades of stars mentioned among so many of our successful impactful giants, we take exceptional delight and boundless joy in being called progressive political rascals.
•Oluwasanmi writes from the United States of America, USA, and can reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.