As the residents look forward to a better Ekiti from the incoming government of the victorious Dr. Fayemi, In this interview with Sesan Awobiye,the Ogoga of Ikere Ekiti,Oba Adejimi Alagbado tells about election just concluded in Ekiti State , speaks on some of the people’s expectations, vote-buying practices that allegedly characterized the election, Fulani herdsmen troubles, and promotion of Yoruba culture and tradition.
The Ekiti gubernatorial election
As a traditional ruler, I’m father to everybody. All political persons, politicians, are under the umbrella of the kingdom which I am the representative. There is no way one would not want his own son to win the election. However, in Ikere, we had four candidates from four different political parties, one for the PDP, one for mega-party, one for Labour Party, and the third one, I can’t really remember, whether APC or something like that at the end of it, APC, that is Dr. Fayemi won the election, well, what we do is we pray for peace, we pray for government that would listen and be sympathetic to our people, we pray for government that will bring development and we believe there is no politician that would not want to make a mark, so we are hoping that the government that will come in would also meet that expectation, so the election has come and it has gone. We are just appealing to our people to sink their differences and because God does not make mistake, we are hopeful.
The alleged ceding of Ekiti lands to Fulani herdsmen
Dr. Fayemi is not Fulani, he is an Ekiti son, and I can’t see how he would now cede Ekiti land to Fulani herdsmen, I find it very hard to believe, I think it is just rumour. He is a cultured person, he has been in Ekiti before as a governor. He knows the feelings and the aspirations of our people. Nevertheless, like I said before, Council of Traditional Rulers which stand as advisors to government in respect to tradition, culture and chieftaincies, we are very close to our people who are farmers, mostly. So, I believe the Council would also meet with the governors and advise on the decision that was made before, I think it would be tendered before him. I do believe every government would listen to his people and listen to advice, so I have no fear. I must tell you also that we have people who are indigenous cattle rearers in Ekiti, that have been living with us as against this itinerant herdsmen, our people now referred to as Bororos We’ ve also realized that in the past few months, the reports of kidnapping, raping and destruction of farm steads in Ekiti, you recall the incidents of Iwaraja, Efon-Alaye, up to Ijero axis, they have also come to Ikere my own kingdom, and we have reported that to the government, therefore, I don’t think any sane person would want destruction or ceding our lands to these people. You know, Ekiti, our occupation, primarily is farming, where they continue to continue these farms, means they are inviting famine. Therefore, we can’t take that. Like I said the Council of Obas in Ekiti have taken decisions on that. If not for the election, we would have met the governor and tender our proposal in respect of this people. Ekiti, we don’t have lands, it is a thick-forested area. It is not where you have grass, so if cattle should come there, the only thing they would destroy, is the farm product or the plantations like we have witnessed in the past few months. So I do not believe that any government would want to do that to its own people. We believe the incoming government would want to listen to the voice of reason and advice of these elders who feel the pulse of our people. So I am hoping that would not happen in Ekiti.
Alleged vote-buying by politicians and voting habits of Nigerians
The problem of Nigeria is the common man. In Ekiti or Yoruba land, even if you are not rich, you always think of your own integrity. Where people will go and sell their birthrights, it is very unlike us. So when you talk of vote-buying, is it out of ignorance that people would not know that they want to sell their own birthrights or their conscience. Nigerian has sunk so deep that we have lost our moral values such that because of poverty, because of hunger, now a lot of things happen. Now, we would have to appeal to these politicians, because for me, I believe it is only God that put one in a position of authority.
So If you want to buy people’s votes, I leave that between you and your God. So, as a traditional ruler, we can only talk to our people, that they should think, have the fear of God, search their conscience, what do you want, based on what the candidates put before you. What are your preferences. We would continue to talk to our people, yes it is a terrible thing, that I think, Nigerians generally, all together, we must rise against. I believe a lot of these problem are on the table on the security men.
We have security men who would just fold their arms, watching as crimes are being committed-they do nothing. So what is the essence of the security men.So,it is a collective responsibilities, you can’t blame the politicians that are striving to be in a position one way or the other, by crooked means or whatever, what of the people, what of the security people, there are laws, when these things happen, when people go against a lot of impunity, people do things as they like and they just get away with it. So it is not just about the election. So much has been happening, that really show the decadence in our society. So generally, Nigerians will have to decide, they say the people get the kind of leadership, they deserve.
If it is selling of our votes that we deserve, when that person gets there, whatever falls back to us, we have to bear it. By and large I think people will get to know how to use their senses. You collect N1000 today, for next four years, you will be spending that N1,000, money that is supposed to be used for your children to have scholarship for hospital to grow, you will be spending that. I think, by and large, they say experience is the best teacher, so, let see if our people can reason because when somebody is buying votes, he is spending money, when he gets there, he is going to recoup that money and it is your entitlement that you are using to go and buy garri now. I hope our people can reason and in our own position, we would continue to talk to our people, advise them that it is a sin, when you lose your culture and your tradition, you lose your identity.
Promotion of Yoruba culture and tradition
We are different from the Caucasians, because of our uniqueness and our uniqueness comes from our culture and tradition. Every tribe, every race that God has created, he gave them their culture. It is unfortunate that for one reason or the other, we’ve lost our ways, we have taken the culture of other people, but there is a re-awakening as you can see. The Ooni, Arole Oodua, is traveling all over the world, to propagate a revival, a renaissance of our culture, the Yoruba culture in particular. We have the best culture all over the world, you go to Brazil. You go to the Caribbeans, you see people of Yoruba descents, practicing these things. All the governors, ministers, the commissioners, they are Yoruba. We should appreciate our culture. I can’t go about wearing suits claiming to be a White man,I am not. God did not make mistake in creating me and putting me in Yoruba land. These things that came out from our ways of life, which was given to us by God , we should not allow it to perish. So for me, ever since I came on the throne, I, within my own limit , I have been trying revive our culture, our tradition which is encapsulated in Isese.
Before Christianity came and Islam, we had our ways of worship God. There is only one God, and if you go through Yoruba mythology, even the equivalent of Jesus Christ, that is, Orisa Nla, you will see all these things. So we have our way, we should not bury it. Every religion has bad people, good people. So,our own culture, which is Isese should be promoted. I am one of the advocates of this thing, because I don’t want our culture to die. We are unique, we must continue to propagate that to see that it does not die. A lot of countries in the world are speaking English. Today, in Yorubaland, some parents forbid their children from speaking Yoruba, it is arrant nonsense, God did not make mistake for creating you a Yoruba man, so for me, I will continue to support any effort to revive our culture. We are different, we are unique, we are Yoruba, created by God almighty, the Olodumare, so, in my own little way, in Ikere, we have been doing that through the Odun Oba festival, and I believe so many obas in Ekiti are doing that. As you know, in most Yoruba town, the new yam, the harvesting of the new yam, is the beginning of a new season and that is what we have been celebrating. Under our Odun Oba, we have so many other festival like Iduge, the Ogunoye, Ogun proper, so many.
We are promoting it in Ikere and we hope by the grace of God next year, we are going to invite you for our Odun Oba, so that you can see parts of our culture and in doing this, let me also mention that we have what we call the Hall of Fame, it is a mini museum at our palace, where we are gathering artifacts, that represents our culture, so we are doing much as we can to make sure our culture is sustained. Every university in Yoruba land, admission in such university, a Pass in Yoruba Language must be a condition for any child that want to enter any university in Yoruba land, we are not English.
The Japanese, they study, and do science through their own language and you see the advancement, the progress in technology, imagine, if our Physics, Chemistry are taught in Yoruba, which is our own tongue, that God has created us with. Imaging how easy it would be for our children to take these things. So, for me it is not just a course, for any child to enter and university in Yoruba land he or she must have at least a pass in Yoruba Language.So it is something that we need to sustain. Today, I don’t know how many people are studying Yoruba Language as a course in the university. Those are the things that we need to sit down and look at. The population of the English people is less than that of Yoruba. If they can propagate and spread their language all over the world and by last count , I think Yoruba people all over the world were about 600 million.
So we have a platform which we can build, so I would support any policy that can make it compulsory for would-be candidates for admission to pass Yoruba Language.