Oodua Republic: To Be Or Not To Be?

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
George Elliot.

“From today onward, Kosovo is proud, independent and free. We never lost faith in the dream that one day we would start among the free nations of the world, and today we do. Our hopes have never been higher. Dreams are infinite, our challenges loom large, but nothing can deter us from moving forward to the greatness that history has reserved for us. Kosovo will never be ruled by Belgrade again…”

Hashim Thaci – Prime Minister of Kosovo. Formerly leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Excerpt of declaration of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in the Parliament on February 17, 2008 in Pristina, capital of Kosovo.

“… Originally, I must admit that I was skeptical about the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference but the farther we go, the more I am convinced that those who are calling for a Sovereign National Conference are right. We have to go back to the drawing board and start right from the scratch. There is something wrong with them and there is also something wrong with the system which allows them to perpetuate those hideous and heinous rascality. So, the individuals running the government have failed, the system too has failed us. Both have failed and both have to go.What killed the First Republic was that Nigeria was a country and not a nation. Don’t forget that Nigeria was created by the British. In fact, I would say that three entities created Nigeria: Royal Niger Company, the Colonial Secretary at the time, Lord Harcourt and also Lord Lugard.Those were the three people who created Nigeria, but the people who got independence for us were Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo, Osadebe, Akintola and others. The founding fathers were the Royal Niger Company, which was really commercialised colonialism, Lugard and Lord Harcourt because there was nothing like Nigeria at that time; the whole of Africa was just blank. It was after the Berlin Conference of 1884 that they drew the various lines which became the nation states. Britain created a country, they didn’t create a nation. That is very important because Britain, in 1914 when we had that amalgamation, said she created a country, not a nation. In other words, amalgamate a country, don’t amalgamate a nation. The north should be different from the south, the reason why Britain did that was because it was in the commercial interest of Britain. Before the amalgamation, the north was paying custom dues to the south, which means in effect the Royal Niger Company was paying custom duties to the south. With the amalgamation, there was no question of custom duties again. The mistake we made was that we thought the structure created by the colonial power was in our interest. Yes, our interest were involved, but they were subsidiary, but the primary cause was for the commercial interest and financial interest of the colonial power. The army given to us was a colonial army, which was structured in a way that, in case of emergency, the north, which belonged originally to the Royal Niger Company, will prevail. You can’t create an army in the way it was created and structured at that time and not have the kind of problem you had and if you had the problem, the north will prevail and that is exactly what happened. That is the second reason. Many people probably knew and maybe they just didn’t know that the structure were created immediately by the British because of the lesson they learnt in India. Britain believed they mishandled the Indian situation and, therefore, enabled Ghandi to emerge as the leader for the whole of India. Lugard’s first job was in India, he was then a captain and was employed by the Royal Niger Company, what I call privatised colonialism, and he saw what happened in India. So he took that lesson to East Africa and it was from there that he came to Nigeria in 1888 as a captain also employed by the Royal Niger Company to implement the treaty of Berlin. What Luggard did was to form the Royal West African Frontier Force of only two thousand soldiers including black and white. Paradoxically, one of the members of that force was the father of Alhaji Babatunde Jose; that is another story, I don’t want to go into that now. When they were structuring Nigeria, Britain knew what she wanted and went for it and what she wanted was that the mistake of India would not be repeated. The military struck because they did not want power to come to the south. They struck because an agreement had been reached in the NPN at that time that the next president must come from the south. But some people were determined that power should not come to the south, that is the reality of the situation. Shagari was in his second term and, after a second term, the power should come to the south but some powerful elements in the army and even out of the army didn’t want power to come to the south at all. They thought if they postponed the coup till near the election, it would be obvious that they didn’t want power to come to the south; so, the earlier they did it, the better. When they removed Shagari, one could say, well, they removed their own man, so, it could not have been tribal for the north or the south. That was a lie, it was only a cover. If it came near the election when the southerner was to take over, the country would break up. Once they struck, I just went back to my law practice.

Nigeria is like a marriage which nobody wants but the marriage nobody dares dissolves…”

Richard Akinjide. Former Attorney-general of the Federation under Shagari.
Excerpt of interview given in December, 2007.

“…How can you thank a man for giving you what’s already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what’s already yours? You haven’t even made progress, if what’s being given to you, you should have had already. That’s not progress. We are fed up with the dillydallying, pussyfooting, compromising approach that we have been using toward getting our freedom. We want freedom now, but we are not going to get it by saying ‘We Shall Overcome.’ We have got to fight until we overcome. Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research. And when you see that you’ve got problems, all you have to do is examine the historic method used all over the world by others who have problems similar to yours. Once you see how they got theirs straight, then you know how to get yours straight…”

Malcom-X.
Excerpt of speech.

KOSOVO: SERBIA’S LAST FORTRESS FALLS AT LAST

With the joint signing of Independence declaration document scripted on parchment on Feruary 17, 2008 in the Parliament, the Speaker, Prime Minister and President of the Balkan province, Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi, Hashim Thaci and Fatmir Sejdiu respectively, Kosovo was formerly unilaterally declared a sovereign country, which will never again be under the jurisdiction of Serbia. Kosovo’s parliament had barely risen from this historical session when 17 European countries headed by Europe’s power house, Germany, France and Britain, and the United States announced their unanimous support and recognition of Pristina. This swift reaction or support from these countries was not a surprise. After all, the event was far from being spontaneous. The place, date, time, contents, wordings had been determined before hand. The whole world awaited it. The whole event was orchestrated right from the onset by the United States aand his major European NATO partners. Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia was the culmination of/in its decades-long and often bloody-drive to gain independence from Serbia which dated back to 11968 when most of the first pro-independence demonstrations by ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, when it was part of Yugoslavia; were arrested.

By sidestepping the UN and appealing directly to the United States and other nations for recognition, Kosovo’s independence set up a showdown with Serbia – outraged at the imminent loss of its territory. Kosovo cited injustice, discrimination, oppression, ethnic cleansing for declaring independence. All efforts by Serbia to keep Kosovo have yielded no result. .

The United States has not only thrown its full weight behind Kosovo but quickly called the unilateral declaration of independence “an exception” that should be backed by the United Nations. The United States together with its major European allies, Britain, France and Germany are already lobbying other European countries, who are yet to make up their mind, to recognize Kosovo.

The unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo has divided the 27-member European Union into 2 opposition groups. Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the biggest country in Europe and the world respectively by territory; and the largest population in Europe is leading the opposition group, which includes Spain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and others against Kosovo. The strongest opposition from western Europe are from Spain, Cyprus and Greece. Moscow is claiming that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence represented “multiple violations” of international law, including breaches of Serbia’s sovereignty and the UN charter , especially resolution 44. Russia has vowed to veto Pristina’s unilateral independence declaration whenever it comes up for hearing at the United Nation’s Security Council. Canada is among the few western countries that are still sitting on the fence.

On the same day, Serbia President Boris Tadic, voiced his anger at Kosovo’s declaration by saying that “Serbia will never accept Kosovo’s unilateral independence declaration.” In response, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, who was formerly the leader of Kosovo Liberation Army, which battled Serbian troops in a 1998-1999 separation war that claimed 10,000 lives, fired back immediately and said “Kosovo will never be ruled by Belgrade again.

If Pristina eventually succeeds in its unilateral independence declaration, it will be the culmination in the complete, final and irreversible division of Joseph Tito’s former Yugoslavia. It will be joining Croatia, Slovenia, Monte-Negro, Macedonia and Bosnia, all former republics in the former Yugoslavia, which are now fully fledged sovereign nations with diplomatic status. Undoubtedly, Joseph Tito must be rolling in his grave now.

Though it legally remains a province of Serbia, Kosovo has been run by the UN and NATO since 1999, when Slobodan Milosovic’s (the late Serbia President)forces were ousted after a NATO air war launched to end his crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists. Kosovo covers about 10,900 square kilometers, roughly the size of Belgium, and borders Albania and Macedonia – also a breakaway republic from the former Yugoslavia. The population of Kosovo is about 2 million. Ninety percent are ethnic Albanian; most are Muslims – unlike Serbians who are Orthodox Christians, like the Russians; and the rest are Catholics.

DRAWING A PARALLEL BETWEEN KOSOVO AND THE YORUBAS.

A lot of parallels could be drawn between Kosovo and the Yorubas. Without any exaggeration, the Yorubas, like the Kosovorians have had their own share of political and economic oppression, suppression, injustice, e.t.c. from the north. For 50 or 100 years, depending on where you start counting, a lot of water has passed under the bridge in the history of Nigeria. This period is more than enough for us to take full stock or conduct an audit of how the Yorubas as a nation and ethnic group has faired so far in Nigeria.

ARGUMENTS IN DEFENSE OF OODUA REPUBLIC

Nigeria was the creation of the British. Even the name, Nigeria was coined by the British. A name that is associated with river Niger, which was also given to the river by the British; and the mouth, as we were told, and still being taught in our geography and history classes and text-books respectively, was discovered by Mungo Park.

Nigeria, as a country emerged in 1914 after the forceful amalgamation of the Yorubas, and the south in general with the north, without the consent of the former, by Luggard, the representative of the Queen of England. Nigeria was a marriage that the Yorubas, and the south in general were forced into by the British solely in order to serve their (i.e. the British’s) selfish economic and political interests at the detriment of the Yorubas. Nigeria was a “loopsided marriage” in all sense of the word. It was a forced marriage of two economically unequal partners. It was a marriage between two partners who have “absolutely” nothing in common in terms of culture, tradition, language, values, e.t.c.

Yorubas make up about 22% of Nigeria’s estimated 140 million population. The population of the Yorubas should be at least 40 million, if the population of Yorubas that reside outside Nigeria are taken into consideration.

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