Fani leads ‘em to Kigali
Femi Fani-Kayode is strutting to Kigali. Yet, the Yoruba nation — at least its media-savvy denizens — barge along, too angry, it appears, to remember their essence.
When did the cherished Omoluabi credo (in-born nobility, founded on honour, equity and justice) start endorsing criminality, simply because the alleged perpetrator is Yoruba?
Or what else do you call this rabid atavism over the Ile-Ife crisis, except giving tribal cover to heinous crime and brazen criminality?
What is this — some early-day hubris, of a people set to fall upon their proud heritage of uncompromising fairness, as a diminished Roman great would fall on his own sword?
Or a more sinister end-stage decadence, of a people that boast nothing now but once-upon-a-time fairness?
These are troubling questions. But they demand rigorous answers, in the hysteria of the moment.
It started with Fani’s usually tendentious pieces (this one, a two-piece grenade) that gave the Ife crisis the stark colouration of ethnic saints and sinners. Yet, the miscreants involved, Yoruba or Hausa-Fulani, are suspected criminals.
Why, good old Femo, flush with emotive lather, even branded himself the Hitler of the moment! That ought to have exposed his sinister motive.
But no! Other Yoruba leaders and pressure groups have jumped into the fray, each and everyone rippling with a rather explosive dose of Yoruba ultra-nationalism!
Without risking an ad hominem fallacy, you could see through the early launchers of this emotive war, fired from tribal missiles.
Femi Fani-Kayode has gained unfettered notoriety for cunning emotional claptrap, disguised as some reasoned real deal. Though only the obtuse get hooked, that tribe boasts great numbers in today’s Nigeria.
Between the old Afenifere and the Buhari Presidency, there appears no love lost; since the grandees so spectacularly backed the wrong horse at the 2015 elections.
With disturbing Yoruba ultra-nationalism issuing from the Afenifere camp, “Hausa-Fulani”, to that frazzled assembly, sounds like throwing the red flag at a snorting bull. Add downtown rage from the Odua People’s Congress (OPC) and allied clans, and you may well see, in full emotive gargoyle, howlers from 2015, seeking some rogue closure to their pain.
But the real surprise, in the trending Yoruba ultra-nationalism, using the Yoruba cradle as launch pad, would appear the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG). That is the real tragedy, for though ARG is proudly Yoruba — and correctly and unapologetically so — its reasoned mien, since it broke away, tended to shun the supremacist gait of its pristine elder cousin. All that seemed melted with the ARG response to the Ife crisis.
The problem with ultra-nationalism, in a delicate federation, is that it is good for no one. Not a few believe “Hausa-Fulani” ultra-nationalism is expressed in the notorious “Fulani herdsmen”, that kill with murderous bravura and satanic flourish. That has set the whole of the southern media in a tailspin of rage.
But that scalding rage, which belches visceral hatred across regional and ethnic lines, is counter-media terrorism, which erects an intriguing match-up between physical and psychological siege.
The Fulani herdsman slits the throat. The hate-belching media rips the soul. The situation is lose-lose, for the innocents, on both sides, are tarred and cooked.
The herdsman libels his race as free-wheeling, conscienceless killers. The howling media damns a whole people as murderous monsters, beyond redemption; and those it defends as primeval bigots.
That can only point to the blood-soaked road to Kigali, on which hate-filled Rwandans killed first, reasoned later — when it was too late! A shocked globe reclined from that horror!
The Fulani antipathy, which shaped much of the reaction to the Ife crisis, and the role of the state in it all, lead the discourse right back to the subject.
There is a strong case to be made against the alleged lop-sided arrests in the Ife communal dispute. It takes two to tango; and apparent one-sided arrests are bound to set the alarm bells clanging for fairness.
The Police had better issue a convincing explanation, or they risk being charged with odious partisanship; and perceived as aiding and abetting ethnic crimes, thus actively undermining the state. That is tragic — and treasonable.
Frankly, President Muhammadu Buhari and his security apparatus have earned fair blame over the rampaging killer herdsmen. These guys are felons, who the state should bring to heel and fast. The more the Federal Government tarries over these heinous criminals, the more the president gets gravely de-marketed, along ethnic lines.
But it is sheer fallacy to hang, on the president’s neck, the crime of a few “Hausa-Fulani”; and go ahead to hint, as many of these media reports do, at culpable presidential enabling for this gory criminality.
For all the president’s faults, he is no devious fellow. Besides, such supposition is illiterate and wilful. No self-respecting media pushes such a line.
Unfortunately, that is the line Fani is wilfully pushing on the Ife crisis, with the other so-called Yoruba leaders in tow. But really — Yoruba leaders? Or just soulless dealers, in willy-nilly relevance, mortally scared of creeping but sure oblivion?
Let every felon — Hausa, Fulani or Yoruba — be arrested for their ignoble role, in the Ife fracas. But let no one, pleading alleged lop-sided arrests, push to spring genuine criminals, under the cover of ethnic solidarity. Failure to do justice to all leads to two fatal passes.
One junction leads to Kigali. Perceived government cover for crimes, under ethnic sympathy, arouses the explosive ghost of Hutu-Tutsi antipathy, that brought Rwanda to its knees, after its security agencies had been thoroughly demarketed and devalued, incidentally, by its hurting media. It is baiting avoidable anarchy.
The other, no less suicidal, is the road to Mogadishu. That should be of riveting interest to the Yoruba nation. Somalia fell upon itself, despite being of essentially one ethnic stock, because it harboured wilful criminality among its own.
After the Kiriji War of the 19th century, is the Yoruba breeding certified felons to plague its future, whether inside or outside Nigeria?
That is what you do when you rationalize criminality in the Yoruba cradle, simply because the victims are “other people”.
This article was written by Olakunle Abimbola