By Femi Fani-Kayode
There are two events that are of major significance this week. The first is the birthday of a man of immense integrity and a great son of the Yoruba by the name of Olusegun Rahman Mimiko who was 62 years old on October 3rd.
Much has been said about him over the last few years and encomiums have been deservedly showered on him from all quarters for his birthday. I will only add this: ever since I have known Mimiko when he was a senior colleague in President Obasanjo’s cabinet he has been kind, forthright, courageous, honest, consistent, clear-thinking, hard-working and God-fearing.
His tenure as Minister of Housing under Obasanjo was successful and he went on, against all odds, to be elected governor of Ondo state where his work and legacy, particularly in the health sector, is simply outstanding.
Anyone that doubts that should simply pay a visit to Ondo state and see for themselves. What he has done in the last 8 years is simply unprecedented and I am very proud of him.
He has proved to be a loyal friend through thick and thin and he possesses an uncanny foresight into matters that only the Holy Spirit can give.
A devout and committed evangelical Christian, who like many of us, is not ashamed of proclaiming his faith and carrying it into all that he does, Mimiko undoubtedly still has a major role to play in the affairs of our nation.
I am proud to be not just one of his political associates and friends but also his brother and I stand shoulder to shoulder with him in whatever his ambitions or aspirations may be for the future.
The other significant event is the rapproachement and blooming friendship that exists between two sons of the Yoruba both of whom I have immense respect and affection for. Like Mimiko I have a special place in my heart for them both and this has been so for many years.
The first is my brother Ayo Fayose whose courage is second to none and the second is Rauf Aregbesola who is a yoruba nationalist to the core and who is, in my view, the brightest and the best within the ranks of the APC.
I got to know Fayose well when he was Governor of Ekiti in his first coming and only a fool will not acknowledge the fact that his return to power a number of years later after suffering the most terrible and wicked form of persecution from his enemies was clearly prophetic.
Fayose was accused of corruption and prosecuted by the EFCC. He was also accused of murder and so many other things by those who wanted him dead and destroyed.
Yet in spite of it all he defeated his traducers and adversaries in court, he rose again and he has not only become one of the most potent voices and forces in our politics today but he has also metamorphosised into something of a whirlwind and destructive hurricane against the Buhari administration.
He is a man that is destined for greatness despite his humble beginnings and he has broken all the norms and crossed all the red lines and boundries of Yoruba politics by proudly and openly defying the powers that be in the west, capturing the imagination of the people and bulldozing his way to the top by popular will. That takes guts and it could only have been done by the finger of God.
Then comes Rauf Aregbesola who I got to know well in 2013. What I found the most attractive and most extraordinary about him was his loyalty to any cause that he commits himself to coupled with his total and complete faithfullness and fidelity to his political associates and friends and particularly to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu under whom he served as Commisioner for Works.
Apart from that few know that he is an expert and authority on Yoruba ancient history and this informs and feeds his very rare and distinct sense of Yoruba nationalism.
I have written about him on several occasions over the years and despite the fact that I disagree fundamentally with him on a number of issues and we do not belong to the same party my admiration and respect for him remains intact and unshakeable.
We may all have our differences in terms of political party affiliation but one thing is clear: as he rightly told Fayose during thier recent meeting in Ado Ekiti a few days ago, there will be a realignment of political forces both in and outside of the south west very soon. There is no question about the fact that he is right about that.
And when that time comes we all need to wise up, smell the coffee and accept the fact that we must stand together as one in order to defend the interest of our people.
When the lion and the tiger stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of the castle it makes it very difficult for the jackals and the bandits to mount the walls and take the gates.
For those that are still asleep and that refuse to recognise the fact that there is a problem in this country kindly consider the following.
30 per cent of the oil reserves and 40 per cent of the gas reserves in our country are in Bayelsa state.
Nigeria has become relatively rich as a consequence of this and up until one year four months ago our economy was booming.
The oil of the people of the Niger Delta appears to be good enough for Nigeria yet the people of the Niger Delta do not appear to be worthy of anything as far as Nigeria is concerned.
After railroading the only Niger Deltan President in our history out of power in a rigged election after just one term and then coming after his family, friends and political associates with everything that they have got, the new powers that be refused to stop there.
They went further by doing their best to rig the governorship election in his state but they failed as a consequence of the sheer doggedness and fortitude of Seriake Dickson, the Governor of the state and the defiant and gallant fighting spirit of the people.
Yet in an attempt to pay them back for their stubborn streak the President decided to prove to the whole world that Bayelsa, the state that lays the golden egg for the whole nation, was not worthy of even one member of the Board of Directors of NNPC or even one out of the 44 Ambassadors that were recently appointed by him. On all counts Bayelsa was left out.
Is that fair? Is it justice? Is it equity? I must acknowledge the fact that I was furnished with these interesting facts by the Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government, His Royal Highness Barrister David Serena-Dokubo Spiff, and having cross-checked them they have proved to be accurate and true.
This sort of treatment that has been meted to Bayelsa state goes across the board in all the states of both the south-south and the south-eastern zones of our country.
The story is the same in both regions: it is one of marginalisation and humiliation. And for some of my Yoruba kinsmen to believe that it will not eventually be applied to them too is the height of naivety.
With the attempted demystification of Tinubu the process has already started and we better sit up and learn fast.
When your neighbours house is being set on fire by the marauding barbarians and invaders do not gloat because it is only a matter of time before they set their sights on yours as well.
Yet let me be clear. I do not talk about a realignment of forces with cowards and quislings and neither am I proposing joining forces or closing ranks with those who have sold their souls to the devil, who have traded their heritage for a mess of pottage and who have decided to be perpetual slaves to the ultra-conservative feudalist hegemonist forces of the core north.
I do not refer to those who have decided to sell their erstwhile mentors, elders, betters and political leaders in the south-west down the river in return for being made a “super-Minister”.
I do not refer to those that have consistently rejected the idea of restructuring our country or redefining the composition and nature of our union and who believe that all is well with the structure of our so-called federation.
I do not refer to those who believe that the entire south is simply a conquered territory or an enclave and appendage of the north.
I do not refer to those who have consistently rejected the concept of a handshake across the River Niger from the west with our Igbo and Niger Deltan brothers.
I do not refer to those that have consistently derided the idea of southern unity even if we may have had our differences in the past.
I do not refer to those who would rather go and pay homage to the powers that be in the core north than pay their respects to their southern brothers and sisters.
I do not refer to those who see nothing wrong with the activities of the Fulani herdsmen, who express joy whenever IPOB members are killed, who take pleasure in the military occupation of the Niger Delta and who refuse to acknowledge the challenges and horrific plight that the people of the Middle Belt and the northern minorities are facing.
I do not refer to those who align and identify with the Muslim north purely for religious and political reasons forgetting that Islam came to the south west through the Turkish traders 200 years before the 1804 jihad of Usman Dan Fodio and well before the establishment of the Fulani Caliphate.
I do not refer to those who are comfortable with the fact that they are looked down upon as Yoruba Muslims by their northern counterparts and who are pleased with the fact that they are not allowed to lead any northern Muslim in prayer in the mosques.
I do not refer to those who are posessed by the spirit of Absalom, who have decided to kill their fathers, who are committed to betraying the south west and who have offered themselves out as the “new alternative” of yoruba leaders that will become ever-ready puppets of an all-powerful core north. I need mention no names but they know who they are.
They include those that enjoy to watch and hear about the shaming, suffering and humiliation of their own southern kinsmen and brothers.
They include the unconscionable bastards, the house-niggers, the Uncle Toms, the lowest of the low and the scum of the earth. Men that have no dignity and no self-respect. Men that have no knowledge of history and that have lost their self-esteem. Men that are suffering from an acute sense of self-hatred and that wish they had not been born into their families or tribes.
Men that have lost their souls and that have submitted themselves and future generations of their families to perpetual servitude and slavery.
Quislings that are ready to trade in their daughters and wives for political favours and consideration from their new-found ethnic masters.
Animals that are ready to destroy the future of their own children and turn them into serfs and second-class citizens in return for a few crumbs from the masters table.
Such creatures are not welcome to the table of rapprochement or reconciliation. There can be no realignment with such beasts because there is no fellowship between light and darkness.
Such a table is reserved only for the omuoluabi’s of the west. The civilised, the well-educated, the humble, the enlightened, the contrite and the well-to-do.
The earlier that men like Rauf Aregebesola, Ayo Fayose, Olusegun Mimiko and a number of others put their differences aside and join forces to protect and further the interests of the Yoruba people in a wider Nigeria the better.
Given what is slowly unfolding in our respective political parties and our country it is obvious that we have little choice.
Whether you are in the PDP or the APC the paramount interest must be how to further the Yoruba interest, how to restore the dignity of our people and how to ensure that our country is redefined or restructured before it is too late. Anything less than that will lead to our collective doom.
Whether they like it or not those that betrayed our cause and that stuck the dagger into our hearts will pay a heavy price. A political re-alignment is coming in the south west. At every crirical point in our history the north has always realigned in order to protect or further their interests.
As a matter of fact that is the secret of their success. It is about time that we in the south west in particular and in the south generally did the same. May God grant us the fortitude and the wisdom to do so.