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An acclaimed visionary leader, tested and trusted by his people. He had built several people into positions of influence. Has a protegee that he brought to lime light.
The protegee, a teacher, a pastor and a seasoned lawyer. The lawyer protegee had helped the leader in the administration of his tenure. A very capable hand indeed. Also a great orator.
When the leader had an opportunity, he put forward his protegee for the 2nd most important position in his land. The lawyer protegee took up the position.
Politics happened. The leader wants a position, the protegee also wants the position. The leader has one ideology, the protegee has a different ideology. Foot soldiers on both sides egging the leader and his protegee on. Discrediting one another. Forgetting that they are brothers from the same zone. One with federal might, the other, with grassroots support. Both sides being played by external factors.
“After all i have done for my protegee, he ought to accord me respect and listen to me”, the leader thought to himself in his private moments.
“I have been loyal enough, and i deserve to retain this exalted position for myself”, the lawyer protegee soliloquised.
The die is cast. A crack is created.
With the unrelenting supporters of both men, the crack became a schism. With the latching in of people of other ethnicities, the schism became a chasm. Yoruba land becomes the epicenter of a political war between 2 brothers that were once confidants.
No, i write not about those you think. I write about the great leader, Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo, Up Awo, and his protege – the teacher, the pastor, and a cerebral lawyer, Ladoke Samuel Akintola, SLA.
These issues happened exactly sixty years ago in 1962.
That fight, ended the glorious years of Yoruba people being the ones ahead of other ethnicities.
In contemporary Nigeria, the golden years of the Yoruba people was between 1952 and 1959. The years Awo was the Premier of Western Nigeria.
Those were the years of our firsts – First Television station, Rediffusion, First Modern Secretariat, First Housing Estate- Bodija Housing Estate established in 1958, First Stadium- Liberty Stadium, First Dual Carriage Road- Queen Elizabeth-Secretariat Road, First Teaching Hospital (UCH) etc
By the time the brouhaha settled in 1966, Akintola’s daughter had been killed. Awolowo sent to jail. Many houses burnt, and a coup that took the life of Ladoke Akintola happened.
The visionary leader never got there till he died. The cerebral protegee died trying not to leave there.
We lost our regional leadership and even lost the regional governance. All because a visionary leader and a brilliant protegee didn’t sit to reconcile themselves.
The ideological difference? Awolowo wanted an alliance with the Igbos, Akintola wanted an alliance with the hausya Fulanis.
Both sought alliance with others, but couldn’t achieve an alliance between their own selves.
Sixty years later, Another visionary leader, another cerebral protegee who is a teacher, pastor and lawyer. A leader with the strength of the grassroots, a protege with the strength of the Federal government. Foot soldiers on both sides egging both on, in derisive manners.
Would the Southwest lose out again?
May afflictions not rise a 2nd time.
In line with the the music of Hubert Ogunde that he released 60 years ago and was banned, i repeat,…..
YORUBA ROO’NU O.. Reflect, O ye of Yoruba Ancestry.
- Otunba Femi Fadairo