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    Pa Ikhide Ihkeloa Replies Wole Soyinka On His Peter Obi Outburst

    I can categorically say that the #PeterObi movement led by distraught and disenchanted Nigerian youths is a thousand times more national than the pro democracy of the 90s was.

    I am referring to the pro democracy struggle that had Tinubu, Soyinka and other Southwest politicians and intellectuals as its leaders. To be honest, it was a Yoruba led affair, the narrative was that they were upset because Babangida and Abacha truncated their turn at the trough.

    The 90s prodemocracy movement led by Yoruba intellectuals like Soyinka was in reality not a national initiative. I would know, I was one of the very few young Turks that did not have a Yoruba name. It did not matter to those of us non-Yoruba, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. This was our struggle as Nigerians, and no matter how flawed MKO Abiola was (he sure was, read up on him) fair was fair, he deserved the seat he had won in perhaps the freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s history. M

    But from the beginning, it was a tribal war. A flawed Yoruba chieftain had won the elections and he had been denied his victory by military thugs. That did not matter to us. I was the scribe of several organizations that were hurriedly set up to fight this injustice. Many people saw Soyinka and Abiola as flawed proxies for democracy – and they spoke up. It was definitely complicated but we stood by the pro democracy movement to the end.

    Within that context, it is rich and incredibly disrespectful for Soyinka to dismiss the youth movement that rallied around Peter Obi as a tribal outfit.

    Our Southwest intellectuals may be dishonest but they are right about one thing. We will need to devolve power to the regions or satellites. I was in the room when the late great Beko Kuti pulled out a map of Nigeria that had been divvied up into regions. It was a wake up call to me, a One Nigeria advocate.

    Let me repeat myself: I have said this before: Southwest intellectuals are right about the need to devolve power to the regions. They are simply being dishonest about it. If Soyinka believes that merely allowing Tinubu at the trough is a win for the Yoruba, then he’s not that bright.

    Soyinka is brilliant. If you have studied him, his first allegiance is to the Yoruba nation. Everything else is performative. It just that he and his army of Yoruba intellectuals have been too lazy to put in place structures that define and implement their vision. When Tinubu went to the Yoruba and said, E mi lokan, he was talking about himself, not the Yoruba people. When Soyinka used the term “gbajue” to refer to Peter Obi He knew exactly what he was doing. It was a tribal dog whistle to rubbish Peter Obi and put him and his millions of young Nigerians in their place. Shame on him and his fellow South West intellectuals. Nigeria will not end well, thanks to her intellectuals.

    Let me repeat what i said years ago: GEJ was not ousted just because of his minority status. The Southwest intellectual elite traditionally have a lock on political agitation, when they turn on you, it’s relentless. They made a political calculation about a Yoruba presidency; GEJ wasn’t part of the equation.🤷🏾‍♀️

    Most Southwest intellectuals loathe Nigeria as currently structured, preferring regions. They really don’t want to fight for it, instead looking for short cuts like hopping into bed with clueless cardboard cut-outs like Buhari, at the expense of the country. They won’t say it, preferring to gaslight you when you call them out on their intellectual dishonesty. This is the only analysis I can muster to explain their self-subjugation to the creatures in Aso Rock. Which is funny, many of us also believe in devolution of power away from the center. Restructuring is hard work, this democracy that Obasanjo started in 1999 is taking us away from their dream of Oduduwaland. They just don’t see it. Person wen dey chop nor dey see road.


    By Ikhide Ihkeloa

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