First published on 21 August, 2013. My little known response to Femi Fani-Kayode’s incendiary remarks after the much derided Lagos relocation (deportation) episode.
I have a confession to make: I’m really beginning to like Uncle Fani Kayode. Since it’s possible we’re going to be on a nick name basis really soon, I’d just refer to him from now on as FFK. He must like this acronym, after all there’s a JFK, an AVB at Spurs, my dear RVP and Uncle Raji (BRF) of Lagos. Oh my, I almost forgot our dear GEJ! Sorry President Jona, you’re not really trending now; maybe that’s a good thing. Acronyms are endearing, so if you get your name coined in the press as an acronym take it as a show of love.
I also like his look, his sleepy eyes will fool anyone into believing he’s harmless. But he’s a lion like he once said. Our dear ‘attack lion’, Doyin Okupe is only trying to imitate him. Besides, he looks like a black, better looking version of Steve Buscemi. I like Steve, he makes me laugh. Since FFK looks like Steve, I think I like him too.
I know you must wonder where I’m going with this; please be patient. Some angry person recently said FFK is a drug addict and a Yoruba bastard due to his recent comments on the relocation (deportation) of destitute Igbos from Lagos State. I find those comments interesting.
The drug part caught me. I couldn’t place a finger on it before but it’s clear now. You have to be high on something really special to be saying what FFK has been saying lately. I only hope it’s not cocaine or heroine because I want none of that. But if it’s kush, I just might change my mind. I had the misadventure of eating beans laced with kush once and I don’t want a repeat experience. But FFK’s weed has to be really special so I’d like some of it.
I do not know how that person arrived at the conclusion that FFK is a Yoruba bastard. I do not care. But I had the opportunity to speak my mind on a website that published FFK’s article – the one in which he denied being a person with tribal prejudice towards Igbos. I like the way he cited his credentials of being a detribalised Nigerian by saying he’s had intimate relationships with some admirable Igbo women. Like I said, you’d have to be high on some really special stuff to tell the world the way he did.
I however disagreed with his points on who owned Lagos and all that. You see, I’m from Ondo State but I’ve lived in Lagos most of my life. My parents work in Lagos, the same way I do now. Tax is deducted from our salaries to embark on projects in Lagos and fatten the treasury temporarily in Uncle BRF’s custody. In a way, our money is used to run Lagos. Therefore my family owns a small part of Lagos, at least the half-plot of land we have our house on. An Igbo man can also argue like this and he’ll win. That is where FFK went wrong. He’s almost always wrong though – cue his ran’t on Obama being the Anti-Christ and other misguided vitriolic essays.
I wouldn’t even go into what the constitution says. Femi Falana has written extensively on that. I like the way Daddy Falana talks, always smiling when he’s arguing on legal matters on TV. I think he loves his job, I like that. Contrary to what FFK says about Lagos being the patrimony of the Yorubas, the fact that I’m from Ondo and a Yoruba doesn’t give me any right to Lagos. If you’re not an indigene of Lagos, you’re not from Lagos. It’s that simple. So when people say Lagos is ‘No man’s land’ let’s not take it out of context, it’s more on the cosmopolitan outlook of the city than anything else. To have a stake in Lagos, FFK says he’s half Lagosian; I don’t know what that means. FFK is a genius though, taking the concept of sucking up to a new level; small people suck up to big people, big people like FFK suck up to states. Maybe I’ll try it on a smaller scale with a local government should the need arise.
I’m Yoruba. However, I’m more Nigerian than Yoruba and I do not agree with Femi Fani-Kayode. Yes, Lagos is in Western Nigeria and is a Yoruba state but it is part and parcel of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. When the Ibos say Lagos is no man’s land, I agree because as far as you’re Nigerian, you have as much right to Lagos as an Awori does.
Today, we pronounce Oyingbo with a Yoruba accent but Igbos have settled there as far back as the 1500’s. I know Yoruba’s who have been in the North for so long that some of them have chieftaincy titles. FFK and BRF make me wonder if the Mayor of New York can deport an American citizen who is from Chicago. You don’t deport a citizen of your country. I wonder how BRF managed to do what he did while attempting to even justify his position under grounds of resettlement. Maybe all this politics has made him rusty in the law. If this is the case, I think he needs to borrow Daddy Falana’s notes.
Due to my position against FFK’s opinion, some folks on social media said I’m ‘omo ale Yoruba’ – a bastard Yoruba. That’s where I think the similarity with FFK lies: someone called him a Yoruba bastard; some people have called me a bastard Yoruba. They’re two different things but we share a strange kinship in our social media conferred ‘bastardhood’. I’ll take that.
I’m not a bastard Yoruba. But I’d rather be a bastard Yoruba than a tribally prejudiced Nigerian whose actions will be inimical to the progress of this country. I do not have to say Onitsha is no man’s land; I can live there for as long as I want and thrive there too. My mother was raised in Jos. My great-grandparents lived most of their entire lives there and they didn’t have any problems. We all have to wake up, we won’t be here a century from now if Jesus tarries and don’t be shocked in your grave if your great-grandchild has Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo and even Idoma blood mixed in his/her veins.
I refuse to be a contribution to the problems in this country and if I have to be a bastard Yoruba to improve the lot of this nation, so be it. We do not carry Yoruba passports, but Nigerian ones. When a white man calls a Nigerian a monkey, he vexes and froths in the mouth but what we’re doing now is no better.
I’d rather be a disgrace to race than be a disgrace to humanity. So what if the Igbos did it? Do you reciprocate inhumanity for inhumanity or choose to be a beacon of truth, justice and kindness? We’re deporting each other here and northerner’s are killing your brothers over there. Because of what: land and the rights to it? Does it make sense? I proudly wave my Ondo identity in anyone’s face. Being Yoruba doesn’t give you a right to Lagos; being a Nigerian does. Who’s fooling who?
The truth is, at the rate which BRF is going, it won’t matter if you’re from Lagos or not, or if you’re Yoruba or not. It will only matter if you’re rich or poor. Every student at LASU now pays the same exorbitant tuition fee – indigenes and non-indigenes.FFK is rich and can say whatever he likes but we shouldn’t allow those people to set us against each other while they keep looting and scheming. They spark the flames; we grab the bellows and fan the flames of disunity.
Till this country breaks up (if it ever does), I remain a Nigerian and nothing more. That’s all.PS: I’ll give my kids a lesson should they be rebuffed when making advances towards Non-Yoruba ladies for marriage. They should simply say, “You can run from us now, but sooner or latter we’re gonna hump you. So if we’re gonna eventually mix why not start now?!”