He always called you “the one who sold out the Yorubas to the ‘Gambaris’” – referring to the role you played during the UPN/NPN saga. Daddy held Chief Obafemi Awolowo in high esteem and to a fault. In his opinion, Awo could do no wrong. He refused to discuss you. He, however, grudgingly gave me your address in heaven. I am glad you made it to the right place – in the bosom of Allah’s protection.
Bashorun, my first one on one meeting with you was at the University of Jos. I was then a blazing Secetary General of the student’s union government and led the then more than 13,000 strong vibrant, militant students of the university to oppose the conferment of an honorary doctorate awarded to you by the University of Jos establishment.
On the day of the convocation, I confronted you at the Naraguta convocation ground presenting 10 reasons why we did not want you on our campus. You never lost your composure; you did not wrestle the microphone from my hand (unlike General Olusegun Obasanjo who as president of Nigeria snatched the microphone from Oronto Douglas, then Niger delta environmental activist and threatened to get him locked up). You listened to us as we stated our position and acknowledged some mistakes but you also blamed us for misunderstanding you. We afterwards met with you and we, Unijos students, later saw a different side of you. The philanthropy, the compassion towards indigent students and a will to partner for the progress of Unijos.
I remember the last time I saw you – it was a meeting you had with Yoruba youth leaders shortly before your kidnap by the government. We told you in that meeting we could resist your arrest through civil disobedience. We warned you might not come back alive but you said, “struggle but no blood”. Your loyalists then vowed to bring the world down if you were harmed much less killed! Today, they are elected representatives of June 12, but sadly they have deserted the principles of June.
The man who told the world you are not the messiah is now the Godfather of Nigerian politics. He installed a sick man as president, done with that, and he now decides who becomes what in Nigeria. In fact he’s got the current presidency under his spell. Well, I should also say we managed to get some of your loyalists to the national assembly but not one of them is interested in June 12.
Before your demise, we stood on June 12. Chief, on June 12 we now chop, on June 12 we wine and dine, on June 12 we loot and on June 12 we betray the collective will of our people of having a truly federal Nigeria.
Today, they no longer talk of true federalism or hope for the poor, the poverty level in Nigeria is unimaginable. The poverty you experienced as a child, the tale of poverty you loved to talk about is luxury compared to what Nigerians go through today. Oh, lest I forget, your wonder loaf bakery is gone, Concord airline is dead, and concord newspaper was buried long ago. Abiola bookshop is terminally ill just like a host of every other indigenous business enterprises that are dying by the day. But the South-Africans are smiling to the bank though, to foreign banks that is.
It’s not all bad news! Dele Momodu, your boy, has really achieved a lot. He has got Ovation magazine although it is being used as platform where most of those who looted our national treasury now display their stolen wealth. He even gave us the opportunity to see Abacha’s massive bedroom and swimming pool and now he aspires to be the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
Chief, your dream of eradicating poverty remains that – a dream. Our party, the AD is dead, the only alliance left is that of self-destruct. Well not really we have the AC, not that it is so different from the PDP, but at least it is a little bit to the left. Oh! Did I tell you we also got rid of Ayo Opadokun and that we have no leader – almost, and Pa Adesanya is gone.
I am sure you must have come across Chief Bola Ige and Tunde Idiagbon during one of your walks over yonder. As you would have noticed, the list of Yoruba leaders killed after your demise tripled.
Well chief, let us talk some more about the activities of your “loyalists” after your death.
Thanks to your sacrifice, your “loyalists” captured the southwest “on behalf of June 12 and the Yorubas” (even though you never really cared for a Yoruba struggle).
Chief, all we have is an annual jamboree in your honour on June 12. It is a day commissioners, local government heads and others use as an opportunity to loot the treasury of the Yoruba. We sing, dance and cry for you on the day. Everything ends there.
On 12 June, we make sure we say hello to Hafsat (the one I refer to as the true you -a good fighter) and or Jamiu, or Kola if he is not too busy hobnobbing with the Abachas and the Babangidas.
After the jamboree, it is business as usual. June 12 dies on the day of the celebrations. Many newspapers write previews and reviews and that is where it ends.
Oh Chief! You remember that group that provided security for you when you declared yourself President? We were nameless, but we later transformed to what is called the Oodua Peoples Congress. I must tell you I became the secretary general of the O.P.C and with time moved on.
Well, you must be wondering why things have got so bad. Do not wonder too much chief; things had never really been good to start with. You and our past leaders missed the point when you felt it was okay to mix fire and water : A sovereign National Conference should have been the only option to balance the imbalance in the Nigerian federation and put a stop to the re-emergence of another June 12.
I beg you chief to help tell God to come to the aid of Nigeria as we do not have a messiah and the future looks bleak as the country engages in a macabre dance. People still continue to loot, chop and betray the collective will of all of us every day and on June 12 of every calendar year.
Rest in peace, Bashorun. May your blood and the blood of all those that died as a result of the annulment of June 12 elections by that evil friend of yours Ibrahim Babadamasi Babangida never have been spilt in vain.