Category Archives: ARTICLES

Ribadu’s Report End of the Beginning

Adeolu C. Alupogun-Iran

Every committee that emerged after the oil subsidy fiasco has obviously been ridden with controversy. In fact, Farouk Lawan’s report seems to be dwindling; probably it is just a matter of time before those who supplanted it begin mucky toast to victory. Nuhu Ribadu wouldn’t have swallowed the pill that snuffed life out of “Integrity” in the case of Lawan, but Nuhu is a man with a basket full of over-ambition and he has always been exploited.

Considering the drama that trailed the submission of Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force (PRSTF) report recently, an illiterate could rightly guess the end result. It is appalling how serious national issues that threaten our very existence as a nation could be turned into a witch-hunting parade. Could it be that Oronsonya was acting out a script? Or was he the shylock of our time bent on taking his pound of flesh from Ribadu, who dared him as the EFCC Boss? But must he achieve this at the expense of the whole nation?

With this turn, one could not but question the sincerity and willingness of the government to make anything good out of every petite committee that erupted in the course of the subsidy brouhaha. In governance around the world, when government is so pressured, they constitute committees to take the heat off them. Nigerians got the message well, when these committees were coming out here and there that the government is only being mischievous. But where the report of such kangaroo committee reveals more than meet the eye, then a wise government would use the report to ensure sanctity in the system.  Here everything is about rote!

Should Oronsoya’s claim that the report of PRSTF is incomplete be condoned and trashed? Was Dr. Doyin Okupe who trashed the report even before the white paper committee was constituted, aware that Oronsonya became a member of the board of NNPC as at the time he was the Deputy Chairman of the task force and did not at any point think it morally fit to disengage himself from the activities of the task force. Perhaps, Okupe’s job was to forewarn the eventful outcome of a job the white paper committee is yet to do.

The management of Nigeria’s hydrocarbon Assets requires radical transformation. Mr. President confirmed it himself. What is the fear of government should it sanitize the downstream sector? Pundits who read the report argued that the fact some figures were not verified is not enough reason for government to jettison the report. Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, the Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association and member of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force (PRSTF), urged the government to focus on substance and implement the findings in the report.

Criticism trailed Nuhu’s appointment as the chairman of the task force. Action Congress of Nigeria was completely averse to his acceptance of the job, a national duty. Was it that they envisaged nothing good out of the Nazareth of the PDP government? What could have been the reaction of the ACN to the outcome of the Ribadu’s report, despite the robust reaction from the public in this regard, ACN has remained mom.

If eventually, Ribadu’s report goes the way Uwias’, Okupta and many other genuine efforts of patriotic Nigerians had gone; then we have missed it yet again as a nation.

This article is being published by Nigeria SPUR Magazine

Lagos

@deolu_369

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Sanusi’s Cashless Encumbrance

Adeolu C. Alupogun-Iran

Euphoria is part of every process especially those that advent a new era, it spurs the people, however, it could as well be delusive if caution is not applied. Vision 20-2020 was adopted by the federal government of Nigeria, a fanciful economic programme for rapid national development; its approval signaled an ambience, a new dawn! Crucial in the scheme of things is the implementation of the cashless policy of the government, if Nigeria’s dream of joining 20 most industrialized nations is to be achieved. Apparently, many questions beg for answers. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is quite vehement to ensure Nigeria transits to a cashless society.

As practiced in other countries where cashless systems have succeeded, Nigeria built a unique positive penalty clause into its cashless project to ensure full compliance. A feature which penalizes individual and corporate bodies account holders for deposit or withdrawal beyond Central Bank of Nigeria set limit. We live in a society so devoid of tracking system, where there is little or no sense of accountability. How are we sure the penalty clause is not another ruse to enrich financial institutions like it was with previous policies. The time is past when Nigerian government could bamboozle people with new policies without securing all loose ends to forestall people from taking undue advantage of the system.

How the nation’s Automated Teller Machines fare? You asked! Oh it jumps at you; “sorry this machine is currently unable to dispense cash, please visit our nearest branch,” no one can imagine the depth of frustration at this point. Most often users’ cards are stuck in the machine this is worse than not being able to withdraw cash. Nigeria banks grapple with service delivery, with no end in sight. This initiative, which is a pilot programme for cashless system, it is far from perfect. Yet the optimist in Nigerians, hope it will get better someday.

Point of sale service PoS is the nexus of cashless system. The absence of this essential service in most shopping malls and other business outlets in Lagos State, the nursery bed for cashless Nigeria is an indication of the level of unpreparedness on our part as a nation. The CBN is garnering all efforts to ensure a cashless system while ancillary agencies like Nigerian Custom Service through its high import tariff on the importation of PoS Terminal into the country obviously slowdown the effort of the CBN. This evidently brings to bear the lack of unity of purpose in the system- one reason Nigeria remains backward.

Cashless Nigeria signaled a society where all homes are well connected to internet facility; therefore you can place order and pay for services online without involving physical cash, but where is the power supply or the internet facilities that would provide the service? Access to this service is expensive in a country like Nigeria where the minimum wage is a stipend for a school boy. A society where an average salary earner cannot afford a set of computer, additional internet bill would simply be considered a burden. Is the pessimist out for hang, no! But he wants to know why Nigerian economy is continually used as a laboratory rat in the hand of known geniuses, who are in dire need of experiment.

If you are a good observer of government’s magic policy as regard transforming the economy, you would recall that propagation of “education for all by the year 2000” was once a slogan during Babangida’s Military government. As a matter of fact, it was a burning issue on government’s agenda that by year 2000, every Nigeria youth would have basic access to quality education. If this policy has been achieved, illiteracy wouldn’t have been a challenge to Lamido’s cashless policy. How would 67% of Nigerian illiterate population transact business without carrying cash? Where do they belong in this cashless arrangement? If our ATM has ceased to dispense low denominations [#50, #100, #200, #500] and customers cannot pay for goods less than #1000 using PoS at some shopping malls, has the cashless policy not limit itself and out rightly displaced the poor!

The question is can Nigeria transit to a cashless society without those essential features contained in the 20-2020 blueprints? No! There are many indices that signal the actualization of Nigeria Cashless society as a tall dream built on sand which of course, will not stand the test of time. Our problem as a nation is not the absence of brilliant ideas or lack of aspiration to replicate good model from other land but lack of courage to build structures that will serve as foundation for policies that ultimately will drive social, economic, and national growth. The absence of these institutions cast every good policy in bad light.

This article is being published by Nigeria SPUR Magazine

Lagos

@deolu_369

e-WALLET, ANOTHER INITIATIVE MEANT FOR SHREDDING!

ADEOLU C. ALUPOGUN-IRAN

Tales of thrilling moments of the Nigerian nation are hardly a scarce commodity to come by, if you ever had the opportunity to share time with the older men. I can say without fear of contradiction you will be rooted to your seat and perhaps, later left with a headache. This is inevitable because the extent of decadence in the country is beyond comprehension. What you see and are told were two extreme contradictions, though hard to believe, are very true. The foresight of Lugard and the early nationalists were dragged into the mud by unbridled spending and lack of strategic planning by the nation’s succeeding leaders after the discovery of oil at Oloibiri in 1956. Nigeria before the discovery of oil was a state sustained primarily by agriculture, interestingly a major agricultural produce exporter; today agriculture as we have been bullied to believe is a cardinal priority of government but the disparity in output cannot be justified with the government’s blueprint. If agricultural development is as important to the Jonathan government as he claims, how then would he justify the over one trillion naira spent on food importation annually?

The Federal Government on the track of reviving agriculture has introduced e-wallet system, which is an electronic platform introduced by the government to facilitate the distribution of fertilizer and seedlings to farmers and also eradicate the bureaucratic bottleneck to ensure that farmers access these products. From intent e-wallet seems a beautiful system but has the government forgotten that most of the farmers are basically illiterate persons, who can neither read nor write. How does Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina expect a rural farmer to read a text message notifying him of fertilizer allocation, where there are no communication networks?

In adopting the policy, the government failed to give consideration to the fact that most of the farmers who live in rural areas are illiterate and as such could not operate mobile phones. Seventy-five per cent of farmers in Nigeria are rural people and a good number of these people reside in communities that have no communication network. Also, epileptic power supply in the country is another challenge that might impede the use of mobile phones to access farm input. Farmers won’t be able to charge their phones due to lack of electricity. To adopt the use of mobile phones to access farm input means that farmers’ mobile phones must be very effective but in circumstances where there is a prolonged power outage, charging phones for readily receiving the alerts, becomes impossible. This could create a tendency for government officials to take advantage of the farmers and the farm input may not get to the intended destinations.

It is obvious our challenge has never been the lack of brilliant ideas but of what use are they when there are poor mechanisms for implementation. Nigeria has a poor history of successful executions of policies in agriculture; as a matter of fact, many government policies turned out colossal failures. No government in the post-Nigerian civil war ever gave agriculture a prime place in term of annual budgetary allocation, how shameful! Agriculture has suffered from years of mismanagement, inconsistent and poorly conceived government policies, neglect and the lack of basic infrastructure. Governments over the years have been paying lip-service to agricultural development; to them results have been achieved because they have given Nigerians something (or jingle) to talk about; we all know, without any sign of disrespect that Nigerians are also talk-shops.

Overtime, fertilizer distributions by government has been superfluously hyped as if that was everything a Nigerian farmer or agricultural sustainability in the country needs.

In 1976 the whole nation was bamboozled by the military government under Gen. Obasanjo (rtd) to believe Operation Feed the Nation will bring back agriculture to its feet in this country. However, pundits have observed that our leaders initiate brilliant policies but often fail to plant those visions into the minds of people who could ensure that such visions or policies succeed beyond their terms. Sustainability entails persistence and consistence of our focus, energy, resources and most essentially our intellectual prowess towards growth.

At every four years there must be a major policy summersault, partly because the initiator had left and the new man on board must inject something to show he is working. There has not been a government that felt the need to continue the programme of his predecessor for sustainability sake. How can we ever attain sustainable growth and development? Did we at any point ask ourselves why past policies fail? Why is it impossible for Nigerian government to learn from history? Why do we always put the cart before the horse? The best form of learning is the one that has other people’s experiences as its source, but there has been flagrant disregard for precedents by our leaders. Every government policy on agriculture has just one denominator common to them all -failure. The prevailing factors responsible for them all are lack of proper research, utter disregard for genuine advice, perhaps, cancer of vision and deep-seated corruption. Like Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo Obe once said: “…Corruption is just too real! Before you could only read about it in the dailies, but now you can touch it like a person.”

The claim of the Hon. Minister that this system will tame corrupt practices that encumber distribution of fertilizer does not hold water; technology has not been proven free of manipulation by unscrupulous elements in the society. This initiative is elitist in all ramifications; perhaps, only time will tell. Of course, I do know this is 21st Century where technology calls the shot, but how many workshops or seminars did the Federal Ministry of Agriculture organize to sensitize and gather informed opinions before e-Wallet system was introduced to the farmers?

In a society where the government is sane and responsible, no government policy with the direct participation of the people will be introduced without the people actively involved. Unfortunately, we live in a country where masses’ opinions are inconsequential; where people’s hair could be cut without their expressed permissions. A government that could allocate a meager two per cent of the national annual budget as against 10-15 per cent of African Union recommended standard cannot be said to have agriculture as a cardinal point. The e-Wallet contract is nothing but the sheer confirmation of the largesse of the present administration in awarding contracts.

Transportation is very critical to agriculture without which produce from the farm remains at the farm. It is not surprising the paths to most farms are not accessible by vehicles; by implication getting fertilizer and other farm supplements to them should be a near impossibility. Nigerians think it is only refineries that need revamping for optimal productivity. Those feeder roads too beg for attention.

In the past two decades, agricultural production and productivity remain on the decline despite government acclaimed distribution of fertilizer annually. Isn’t it mediocre to celebrate any success the initiative might have recorded in the space of four months? Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, an erudite scholar with his reservoir of knowledge, came to the market place armed with a gong to say e-Wallet is 70 per cent successful, an act appalling in itself. The Hon. Minister should make public the data upon which his submission was predicated.

Apparently, Nigerian government’s lack of probity has given rise to more impunity in the agro-chemical distribution in the country. Agricultural sector is a silent bedrock of deep-seated corruption in this nation. For e-Wallet to be successful there must be a mechanism to ensure the people who subscribe to it are genuine farmers and not profiteering middlemen as it was the case with previous exercises. Contemporary ideas like the e-Wallet must be test run and developed in few states to assess its viability. Adequate awareness and vigorous education of the rural farmers must be ensured with the process devoid of bottlenecks as much as possible. Operation Feed the Nation, Shagari’s Green Revolution had come and gone, probably e-Wallet system is just another agro-chemical initiative soon to be confined to the dustbin of history.

Nigeria’s rising unemployment rate -world’s worst impending implosion

By Adeolu C. Alupogun-Iran

Rising from my daily task which has proven more strenuous than I earlier thought, I picked my mobile phone to chat up a buddy. I said to him, what’s on your mind now? He responded, “I need a job, in other words unemployment is tormenting me.” Apparently, there was a sudden detour for me; I spent the entire break ruminating over the bleak report in that short conversation.

Unemployment is just too real in Nigeria; it’s no longer a phenomenon. It’s not limited to Nigeria alone and no country can boast of its absence within its domain; but its pervasive and ever worsening trend in Nigeria makes it more worrisome. In a country where graduates once breasted the tape of their academic finish-line with automatic employments and many enticing emoluments, today the story is tragically different. One is forced to ask, what went wrong?

Job creation in Nigeria remains politicised as it is always ‘created’ in the pipe-line or eventually on the pages of national dailies. No one is even tasking the government to provide statistics of their job creation programme. At the end of the day, everybody -both the deceived and the deceiver- loses, as our country gets more into the pit of despair, even terrorism amidst eternal mirage of employments for our youth.

Recent survey from the National Bureau on Statistics [NBS] revealed that unemployment rate in Nigeria hit 23.9 per cent in 2011; this was a huge increase compared to 19.7 per cent and 21.1 per cent in 2009 and 2010 respectively. This survey further revealed that the rate is higher in rural setting [25.6 per cent] than urban [17.1] area. The statistics on unemployment in the eyes of many analysts is far below the reality. “Fifty per cent of Nigerian graduates every year are unemployed. The rate is above 50 per cent as far as I’m concerned,” John Okezie, told SPUR magazine. The National Gross Domestic Product [GDP] was rated 7.8 per cent last year. This situation is unacceptable, not from a country with abundant resources! Not from a nation that aspires to join the league of 20 most industrialised countries come 2020!

Facts from the Institute of Chartered of Accountants of Nigeria recently suggested 15 per cent GDP growth annually as a major prerequisite to attain the 20-2020 targets. With so much unemployment and poverty in the land, where are we? Despite the economic retrogression, some individuals and corporate bodies still have the audacity to stash billions of dollars and trillions of naira in foreign bank accounts from our common purse. Nigeria remains an incurable jester in the comity of nations as government’s response to monumental fraud abets, rather than deters corruption, which is the fundamental bane of our national development.

A country whose teeming population of youth remains unemployed is gravitating closer to doom. The danger is well spelt out on our national psyche. Every year graduates are being churned out from various higher institutions in the country without corresponding jobs. You find competent graduates armed with good grades roaming the streets of Lagos and major Nigeria cities in near absolute hopelessness. You find graduates earning N10,000 monthly; no thanks to O’YES and Graduate Volunteer programmes of Osun and Ondo state governments. Nigerian graduates sell airtime by the roadsides; sometimes, I wonder if our leaders have an inkling of what it takes to acquire a degree in this country? You toil your way through school only to be embraced by a more devastating peril. A handful of youth that take to varying forms of crime, robbery, cyber scam, kidnapping, frauds even terrorism today do so not because they are bad, but because they are idle, frustrated and must survive. The millions of graduates roaming the streets for jobs that do not exist pose a dark spot on national economic landscape; if this ugly trend is allowed to continue, the dark spot might expand to eclipse the light at the end of the tunnel. That is an absolute state of hopelessness and something unprecedented may spring here – something more than the Arab Spring. May be the Black (or African) Spring. At this time, Boko Haram may have brothers all over the country against mainly the corrupt ruling class.

It is no longer a secret that Nigeria has the highest rate of human capital redundancy. If the kind of human capital wastage in this country is available to countries like Ghana and South Africa, they will be competing in a more forceful manner economically compared to their present status. The implication of this impudent waste is that it adds up to lower economic output which apparently increases poverty and hunger in the country.

Potential is no wealth until it is prudently tapped. Our endowment as a nation amounts to partially nothing because of our leaders’ inability to exploit them for optimal use and national development. We cannot begin to list our endowments here. Take, for instance, tourism, in Nigeria, it is a gold mine if truly invested on by the government. With varying forms of tourist destinations across the country, graduates and non-graduates with requisite skills and knowledge in this regard, can be gainfully engaged. Dubai is an amazing tourism destination and is now probably the most coveted choice for holiday makers around the world. From a report sometimes ago, Dubai is said to have attracted 2.7 million visitors spending $2 billion as vacationers. This is what tourism brought the way of United Arab Emirate kingdom via tourism. Nigeria can take a cue from that. You can imagine how the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will fare with $2 billion just from a sector of the economy!

I know some of our leaders would rather hide under the word of JF Kennedy,  “think of what you can do for your country and not what your country can do for you,” but I usually ask what has my country done for us? We provide our water and generate our power, among other things, which are the basic necessities a responsible government should provide for its citizens. So tell me what moral right has the government to demand a sacrifice when it had not conceded any. I am not ignorant of the fact Small Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) contribute about 75 per cent of a country’s GDP and are the ones who provide more jobs for people. Apparently, SMEs have been crippled in this country by epileptic power supply which has been responsible for the mass exodus of high profile organizations with small ones folding up, thereby littering the street with staff formerly on their pay roll, leaving the nation more stunted economically. Government’s disposition towards SMEs must be that of providing enabling environment for them to thrive. No government can single-handedly provide enough jobs for it citizens; governments these days have no business creating jobs in the world, but they create enabling environments through right policies and budgetary allocations. In many places around the world, SMEs thrive because of good tax regimes, adequate power supply, internal security, good road network, efficient rail system, among others.

A while ago I called the attention of the public and government [in one of the recent SPUR magazines] to the need for an effective rail service and how it could help in creating more jobs in the country. It is on record that Nigerian Railway Corporation [NRC] between 1954 up till 1975 employed about 45,000 staff but currently have 6,516 personnel are on its payroll. The question on my mind is, why didn’t Obasanjo’s administration privatize Nigerian Railway Corporation the same way he did to some government parastatals to create more for jobs for the Nigerian people? Efficient rail system is not only a job creating venture; it is also a veritable infrastructure for enhancing job creation in many other productive sectors, thereby rubbing off on national economy immensely. It is therefore a cogent area any government of the day, poised at making genuine impact, should consider urgently. And this will also make Nigeria a place for foreign investors to put their money. Europe and America grew their economies fundamentally out indispensable and reliable rail systems, even China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and other Asian countries are maximizing the benefits of rail systems to their national economies.

Things had never been this bad for Nigeria. Unemployment had not been bad; it is now headed towards world’s worst explosion. Economic activities in the country were faring well during the post-independence period, perhaps, up till Obasanjo’s first coming when he introduced belt-tightening because, the nascent oil boom was beginning to destroy our potential in other economic activities while tastes for foreign goods (imports) were depleting our foreign reserve. Government of Gowon has its own share of the blame too. Gowon did not lay a foundation for a strong industrial nation; he simply focused on spending or wasting cheap oil revenue generated by foreign labour of transnational oil companies. Spending on imports does not create job and that is still our problem till this moment.

Second Republic also tried to reduce spending with austerity measure. Spending on food imports was getting astronomical and lip-service was merely paid on ‘Green Revolution’ which was another name for Obasanjo’s ‘Operation Feed the Nation.’ Prior to this time textile industries were producing at about 100 per cent with staff capacity of 150,000 which made the sector second largest employer of labour after government. But the government appeared too busy to have noticed that the textile industry was already in a quagmire. The government seemingly looked the other way while a lot of factors against the industry were left unchecked. The closure of some of these textile companies aggravated unemployment crisis in the country. Government needs be sincere about the implementation of the numerous policies targeted at revamping textile industry in the country. Revamping the economy should be done the right way. Do you give a house whose foundation is shaky a face lift and expect it to stand firm? No, until the root cause of the problem is addressed all energies dissipated at face lifting amount to wastage.

Most textile companies depended on cotton production and cotton is needed worldwide; what has government done to revamp cotton production? Before the textile industry can be fully revamped, government must also address the energy issue; high cost of production occasioned by inefficient and inadequate power supply is the bane of Nigeria’s industrialization. Every government seems unprepared or unable to address the problem; corruption, a cankerworm, also remains the root of all evils afflicting our economy and lack of patriotism still stares us in the face.

The problem of unemployment is caused by omissions or commissions of the government, but to start aright in tackling the problem, fighting corruption and eliminating it remains number one. The second problem militating against our industrial development is the one Ghana solved more than 10 years ago –uninterrupted electricity supply. I do not want to go indefinitely to 7-point agenda or even more, but please, permit me to mention the third one: Security! Without it no investor within or without Nigeria, can think of heavy investment. The investor is already scared stiff!

No country of the world can boast of attaining a particular height without the support of its citizenry; the people must be mobilized or re-orientated –not mere jingles or adverts in papers and on billboards, but Nigerians should be carried along by sincere, selfless and patriotic leaders.  I only wish Nigerian government realizes this before it is too late to detonate the impending implosion.

Perhaps, only responsible government steered by patriotic leaders with humane character find that convenient. The only thing that comes to mind now is the word of the Nobel laureate, our own Wole Soyinka, who strongly opined that all Nigerian leaders be taken for psychiatric test before assumption of office. The reason for our current under-development in the mist of plenty is now clearer.  Anything shameful in itself is bad, but it is better than shamelessness, a shameless person makes a show of shame and our leaders relish ceaselessly in show of shame

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION, A CHANGE NO ONE CAN STOP!

By Adeolu C. Alupogun-Iran

I observed with utter amazement how values or moral code were being thrown to the trash bin in the society; sometime this writer is culpable, though only in his unconscious state but he quickly checks himself while expunging every potential seed that erupts in the process. Value system is that which all decent people live by; it is that which is acceptable by the society as the standard by which individual behaviour is considered acceptable or bad. Value is as important to the sanity of human society as air is to mankind. Societies with sound value system over the years have blossomed because of it.

A Chinese Emperor renowned for his enviable stand for societal value once said, “in making judgments, the early kings were perfect, because they made moral principles the starting point of all their undertakings and the root of everything that was beneficial.” This principle, however, is something that persons of mediocre intellect never grasp. Not grasping it, they lack awareness, and lacking awareness, they pursue profit. But while they pursue profit, it is absolutely impossible for them to be certain of attaining it.

It is a common knowledge in this stead that providence bequeaths us all things marvellous except forthright leadership. However, bad leadership has brought us unquantifiable retrogression as a nation since independence. It is so because the crop of leaders that has traversed this terrain since independence was not wholly given to values the society was built on. I was petrified sometimes ago, when I read one of the statements credited to two avowed leaders of Nigeria in ‘The Image of Africa’ by Chinua Achebe, as I research the subject at hand. I couldn’t but ask myself, where then is the place of value in our society? No wonder they were encumbered with such a mountain they didn’t have a clue to unravel them. Corruption is pervasive and increasingly intractable because the dignity of labour has been terribly slapped in the face.

Hard work used to be a virtue when corresponding benefit was merit based. During this time Nigeria
was the darling of nations; this was so because a set of principles were given the utmost precedence; the nation cruised on height only visionary leaders whose supreme focus on values could not be compromised for frivolities, apparently that is not the case among the current league of leaders. It is appalling how societal value has been kicked in the butt all for unruly zeal to amass wealth. It is not unusual to see individual who ordinarily ought to be incarcerated walk the streets free and their praises interrupt our irenic atmosphere. The many evil this has succeeded in achieving is that it brings into disrepute virtue of hard work. The younger generation no longer see hard work as virtue to possess


Apparently, we all know something is wrong with this society; many tongues had wagged in condemnation of the copious vices but how many of those persons have taken determined stand to stem off the presumed evil? Rather, you hear them make a cowardly pass: ‘if you can’t beat them you join them.’ We have lost the chaste sense of social justice. Now I remembered Vaclav Havel, an ardent right activist and former president of Czech Republic, he once wrote, “…without commonly shared and entrenched moral values and obligations, neither law, nor democratic government, not even the market economy will function properly…” But I cannot agree more. Nothing seems to work in this country; it is not because we lack brilliant ideas but because we have muffled up priority in the scheme of things. I was with a friend few days ago brooding on critical issues affecting our society, she told me, ‘intellectual poverty renders all the potentials of our society useless,’ her argument was that, ‘those potentials cannot be put to effective utilization until we mature mentally, until our knowledge vindicates us of musty behaviours; until then we won’t get anything right.’ However, much as I wanted to disagree, Vaclav Havel’s words prevailed on me. No matter how priceless your knowledge could be, it amount to nothing when core values are alienated from your endeavour.

As part of the reconstruction modules for a better Nigeria, we must as a matter of urgency go back to our core values. Did you ask how? The family is the smallest unit of every society; if any meaningful value reorientation must succeed in this nation, it must begin from the home front. Parents must gird their loins to instil core values into their wards. Parents were heavily indicted for the erosion in value system in this society; an elderly man who opted for anonymity held them culpable for most of the maladies experienced today; ‘…I remembered when we were growing up in the late ‘40s, if anyone of us mistakenly brought home materials that were not ours, the penalty for that was grave. Apart from that, my mother would sit us down to explain why it was bad to bring other children’s materials home without permission; that’s if it was essentially important. However, she would emphasise contentment as a great virtue for all. From childhood, children should be taught that alliance and adherence to values and ethics that define us are the ultimate keys to a successful life.

You cannot give what you don’t have, likewise you cannot teach what you don’t know or do not believe to be right. School curriculum should be upgraded and regularly appraised to make sure it meets the dynamic nature of our society and the world at large. Furthermore, our teachers have more work to do. They are the second role models of the younger ones aside their parents; they must inspire, uphold values in high esteem and most important walk the talk.

How opprobrious could it have been, to see debilitating corruption in full thrust of our national policy? What message is the government passing to its citizenry? The smallest child in the society, no longer sees corruption as abnormal, because they could read from the news, Internet and social media how their leaders loot the government treasury, yet they are at large without swimming in the cob web of law. Corruption and corrupt tendencies must be stamped out of our national psyche. We must enthrone zero tolerance for corruption. ‘It is a change no one can stop,’ according to another friend of mine. This will restore masses’ confidence and reduce the endemic virus to the barest minimum. Once this is done, people will automatically and subconsciously return to the values we hold dear. Our reward process must be reappraised, excellence should be well rewarded; merit in place of mediocrity, appreciating good deeds. We must be aware that performance-based society will engender the spirit of patriotism among Nigerians.

Dear readers, have you for once queried yourself about what is wrong with Nigeria? Perhaps, you even took some steps further by asking your contemporaries and a brainstorming section was soon convened, I recommend you stand for your resolve for change to see a better Nigeria. “For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent,” says Tony Robbin

EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP: A CASE FOR NIGERIAN LEADERS

By Adeolu C. Alupogun-Iran

In this article I will be tilting more to the academic work than a journalistic stance. Reason being that it will avail me the ample opportunity to be casual and simple for better comprehension. It is an aspect of Nigeria that has been adjudged to be reason for the occurrence of most if not all anomalies that have been perpetuated in this country. It has been globally known that ineptitude leadership is one of the deadly evil that has befallen this nation. It is usually said that a problem known is half solved but not in this country.

Before I move any further, I would like to make bare what leadership really entails. In the word of Alan Keith, a British actor and radio presenter ‘‘Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.’’ Leadership is the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. According to Ken ‘SKC’ Ogbonnia ‘‘effective leadership is the ability to successfully integrate and maximise available resources within internal and external environment for the attainment of organisational or societal goals.’’ Please take into cognisance in all of the three definitions above one recurrent word evident in them. The fact that, leaders do not only lead but he must do so, that is, lead to achieve goals and those goals must be a common one. Common in this sense denote a feast that all and sundry must benefit from.

In other words, before a set of people could be rallied round there must be a vision which translates to a goal for the people to accomplish. As such, leaders ought to be the custodian of vision, if he must be effective. In the light of these definitions, it is evident that Nigerian leaders are bereaved of visions, capable of transforming this nation to a world giant. Therefore, our government is without set goals. It is pathetic to note here that, the absence of a common goal has given birth to individual goals. It is not surprising that a handful of Nigerian leaders no matter how lowly placed only set goals for their purse, relatives and people with affinity. Just like the biblical oil upon Aaron that flows from his head through his beard down to the tip of his skirt.

A leader is a person who rally people towards a specific result. Leaders are recognised by their capacity for caring for others, clear communication and commitment to persist. This for about three decades or more have been obviously absent and when noticeable it comes under serious persecution. The recent axing of Sen. Bola Tinubu the former Governor of Lagos State and National leader of Action Congress of Nigeria is a perfect instance in this regard. A government that frown at criticism set sails to damnation. The Nigeria government and her pilots must understand that criticism only comes when symptom of delusion is noticeable. And opposition is to keep the government healthy and on their toes. It is to be embraced and not attacked. That is why the principle of checks and balances is well entrenched in our constitution.

Sun Tzu a Chinese General and renowned author once painted vividly major attribute of leadership like this ‘‘leadership is a matter of intelligent, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage and discipline…Reliance on intelligence alone results in rebelliousness. Exercise of humaneness alone results in weakness. Fixation on trust results in folly. Dependence on the strength of courage results in violence. Excessive discipline and sternness in command result in cruelty. When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a leader.’’

In this present day Nigeria, where the fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom. President Jonathan has not appropriated these five virtues as a whole, but he has single them out, therefore not achieving the desired result. Since his assumption of office we have seen rebelliousness, we have seen weakness and folly as result of his failure to harness all of them as a whole. Bisi Olawunmi in The Nation newspaper publication on 25th Sept, 2011 drives home the point more, she wrote; ‘‘President Goodluck Jonathan is an enigma of sorts. When the populace expect him to show purposeful anger and let the hammer fall on official wanting in their assignments, he engages in equivocation. Some other times his agility to act by treating rule of law as an ass and giving it a butt confounds an opposition that literally goes gaga in its reaction.’’

At 51, we could have truly been the giant of Africa; we could have truly been an enviable economy. We could have been among the first world countries, if we ever dreamt of it. Sadly enough, if we ever did, then we never woke up from that dream.

Leaders are constant and accomplished dreamer. The force of vision is the wheel that drives the heart towards success. Unfortunately, decades after this country was conceived we remain lurked in dreamland. However, our leaders have another opportunity to dream again and this time translate it into reality. Perhaps, this poser will jolt them out of their deep slumber. What would posterity say about us who lead today? Perhaps, being a history student has made me so alive to posterity that I can ever imagine!

Indeed, posterity hunts, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida staged a come back but posterity shattered that stage upon which he stood. This is why leaders at all time must have foresight. Till tomorrow Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nelson Mandela and all forthright African nationalists would continually be remembered, celebrated and studied not only because they dare to dream but because they translate them into reality to affect lives even if you were at the remotest part of the nation.

Today, Lagos State is indeed the centre of excellence. It is the unbelievable demonstration of what Nigeria should be. Purposeful leadership by Gov. Babatunde Fashola is a crucial key to what the entire nation needs. Please take a moment to imagine if all the 36 States of the federation has such a visionary leader. You can’t possibly capture the extent of geometric progress that will be recorded in Nigeria. I bet you; if this has been the case, there would have been little for federal government to do. Good and purposeful leadership is quite germane to sustainable development

20-2020 WITHOUT LOCOMOTIVES!

By Adeolu C. Alupogun-Iran

I have taken considerable time to ponder on the many issues that grossly affect my beloved nation. This self-sojourn has been a very traumatic experience laced with bloated mental burden and unthinkable depression. Though depressive, it offered a profound insight into many areas of anomaly and equally proffered appealing solutions to them. After considering the many facets of the Nigerian system infected with the ineptitude virus causing dysfunction and unfathomable damage to the nation’s economy, I chose to break my long silence with the transport sector.

Long before the advent of civilised society, we have heard tales from history of how man moved from one end of the earth to the other on foot without the mechanical aid of cars, buses, trains, aeroplanes, even bicycles! This is a pointer to how crucial mobility is to mankind. Listening to those tales would make you feel that there is a modicum of hyperbole in them because you cannot reconcile then and now, but the bitter part of it is that, it is all true! They embarked on such journeys and returned with few hazards. However, it usually took months before they could undertake the next trip.

A great relief came with Blaise Pascal’s invention of the first horse-drawn public bus in 1662 and with this breakthrough, other better inventions followed. The post-world war II era changed the face and lot of transportation in history, consequent upon the height of technological advancement displayed during the war. A lot of effort was now diverted to making transportation of people, goods and materials easier and faster during the industrial revolution period.

This diminutive history lesson is pertinent to providing an understanding of the points to be raised here. It is crystal clear that the compelling drive for all inventions championed by man is to bring ease, convenience, improvement and efficiency in doing things. The colonial period is an important phase in the life of Nigeria; apart from the many evils perpetrated by the task masters, they were also responsible for quite a number of astute achievements, which we will see as we proceed.

Prior to Nigeria’s independence in 1960, there were many options readily available to commuters, air, road or rail; the choice was yours to make. But today, the questions agitating the mind of several Nigerians are; what happened to Nigeria’s rail service? Why is our road too congested today? Why is the air flight too costly for average Nigerians? What is the effect of this on Nigeria as an emerging world economy? These questions beg for answers.

It is on record that Nigeria is one of the first African countries to use rail system as a means of transportation in Africa. Way back in 1895, considerate effort and resources were committed to building the rail system in Nigeria. This effort paid off in 1901 when the first railway line was commissioned to connect Lagos with Ibadan. Bauchi Light Railway had its own route: Zaria-Jos-Bukuru which opened in sections between 1912 to 1914; Jos-Bukuru in 1927, and Wushishi Tramway, Zungeru-Wushishi-Bari Juko, in 1902. It is quite shameful to note here that more than a century after this superlative feat was achieved in Nigeria, what we have left are the remains of several locomotives and coaches preserved close to the zoo at Jos for school children during excursion and tourists to behold.

The absence of a functional rail system in Nigeria as available in most African countries has spelt doom on the country’s economy and quite opprobrious is the recent World Health Organisation statistics on traffic-related death rate which placed Nigeria 13th in the world. The moribund rail system in the country has put too much burden on the poorly maintained road networks available. This unnecessary burden has resulted in a huge carnage on our roads as many families’ bread winners have either met with sudden death or the entire families have lost their lives. This is absolutely unacceptable for a country with such great potentials and enormous wealth. The passive state of Nigerian rail system spurred the need to transport goods and services by road. The presence of heavy duty trucks on the nation’s highway brought numerous hazards to lives and the poorly constructed roads; most painfully, it is an utter wastage of tax payers’ money on renovations that are mere respite.

It is a known fact in Nigeria today that an average Nigerian family cannot conveniently afford a flight ticket if they choose not to travel by road. The absence of more alternative options to road or air transportation in Nigeria removes healthy competition which is one of the intrinsic factors that drives a nation’s economy towards quantifiable growth and development.

Half a century after freedom from the task masters, no phenomenal achievements have been scored, in fact, we have failed to sustain what they left behind as a footprint for posterity to judge them appropriately. The dearth of rail system in Nigeria saw many jobless because of outright laxity and high levels of corruption that took place in Nigerian Railway Corporation [NRC]. There is an endless list of what Nigeria has failed to do as a nation but that is not the crux of this work. There have been conscientious efforts channelled towards the nation’s transition from emerging economy to one of the leading world economies, Vision 2020-20 if you care. The reckless act of lip servicing and public propaganda will not take us anywhere. Our leaders have been chasing shadows leaving unattended more critical aspects of the economy which need salvaging.

There is gross unemployment rate in a land with many potential areas for creating more gainful employments than imagined. According to a UN statistics more than 75 per cent of Nigeria’s population is unemployed and out of this about 51 per cent are youth. Nigeria is the only country world over with the highest percentage of man-power redundancy. You can hardly imagine the impact this has on the economy. A functional rail system will engage the service of so many Nigerians, apart from the employment opportunities, it will reduce to a great extent the rate of accident on highways as goods and services that ordinarily could have been moved by road will be transported by rail in a cost effective manner.

An effective rail system possesses a high tendency of luring potential investors into the economy. The benefit of functional and effective rail service on the economy is beyond imagination. We cannot be projecting to be one of the 20 leading world national economies without this essential part of economic development being resuscitated. Besides, the government seems to have forgotten that an improved standard of living of its citizenry is also a yardstick for transition into the world industrialized economies’ club, and a nation whose citizens live below $2 per day is certainly not a candidate to be considered. A virile rail service is one of the many fields capable of achieving that for the government.

For many decades in the history of this nation, statistical records of massive rural to urban migration is appalling, of course every man want the best for himself! Why should I stay in a place where my dreams and aspirations cannot be met? The rural pasture could be made greener, if government implement policy geared at providing better living condition at this place. Government generated revenue from agriculture will greatly increase. Research has shown that rail service lure more people to the rural community, therefore increased their productivity. Functional rail sectors has been recognised to bringing a huge turn around in the economic life of the rural community and also curb the rate at which labour required in agriculture moves out. This will in return, boost the entire nation’s economy significantly. If a farmer could get the same value for his product at the point of production what is the need transporting!

A definite alternative to road and air transportation has been argued by pundit to be an essential factor for an improved way of life. The fact that rail service afford travellers additional options on how to get to their destination, notwithstanding, it is most cost effective, it will also reduce the cost of transportation by road drastically. The presence of functional rail system as more options to pick from in Nigeria will remove unnecessary burden placed on the economic might of individuals through the cost of transportation. With this facility in place, you may live in Osun State and work at the Lagos Island without necessarily residing in Lagos State; this is what an active and effective rail service can do. One of the reasons traffic gridlock has become intractable in Nigeria apart from the ones caused by accident and bad road is basically for the non-availability of affordable and effective means of mobility apart from road and air.

Taking a cue from Prof. Bamiro during the recent University of Lagos convocation lecture where he said that “…in the last two decades, higher education worldwide has moved from the periphery to the centre of governmental agenda in most countries. Universities are now seen as crucial national asset in addressing many policy priorities…, sources of knowledge and innovative thinking; provider of skilled personnel and credible credentials; contributors to innovation…’’ Nigeria government must change his lackadaisical attitude toward university funding in the country and this sector to come out with novel innovations and ideas geared at transformation as prescribed by the distinguished professor.

As essential as mobility is to the survival of mankind, the re-introduction of rail transportation is long overdue in this country. Countries like United Kingdom, United States of America have benefitted immensely from this critical infrastructure. Through this, a proper planning can be engineered not only with people of great skills in this area; the rail development will certainly be sustainable. The 21st economy works better through synergy. Our civil engineers collaborating with transport experts in rail system development, the nation’s roads will have a respite and be better for it. The benefit of this is better experienced than imagined.

In this tumultuous phase of economic hardship no country will solely survive its hazardous impact without synergizing with its ivory towers, this fact, the western countries had learned earlier. Just at our back yard here, South Africa, tasked all her tertiary institutions and also gave all the necessary support, this worthy sacrifice is being reaped now; South African economy is just like the proverbial beautiful bride for foreign investors. This feat, I am optimistic, is achievable here in Nigeria if we align with transformation necessities and deviate from quick fix approach.

Chronicling Our History: Yoruba Mythology

Adeolu C Alupogun-Iran

Africa is a continent endowed with a rich cultural heritage with diverse ethnic groups. However, with the current generational trend of wholesale adoption of western and even eastern cultural norms and values, the average Nigerian youth could care less about what’s not being aired on MTV or Movie Magic.

And particular things one would be hard pressed to find on DSTV include an accurate record of African history. This could be hinged on the lack of preservative measures we as a nation take towards our rich history, particularly that which addresses the origin of the various tribes. History is a veritable tool for both national and capital development but unfortunately most African countries particular Nigeria have failed woefully to take advantage of her rich culture.

One major factor that catapulted the growth and development of China, Malaysia and the oriental nations is the unusual awakening of the nations to their cultural heritage and uniqueness. Like a contraction that came suddenly upon a women heavy with child, our cultural terrain was besieged by a western whirlwind of civilisation. No wonder a government like ours will formulate her policy without culture being accorded its rightful place.

As a nation it behoves on us to halt this decline as fast as possible. Let’s take a tribe and make a case study: in order to educate virile and brilliant Yorubas that are daily bombarded with a barrage of contorted views about African tribes, it is important to put the origin of the old Oyo Empire in perspective as presented by notable historians in the mould of Prof. S.O. Biobaku, Prof. Ade Ajayi and Prof. S Banji Akintoye.

The history of the Yoruba speaking people is such that has come under heated scholarly debates. The weakness of oral tradition, upon which most of the accounts relied, came under taut scrutiny. That notwithstanding, historians do not agreed on any account as authentic and original. There are different accounts on the origin of Yoruba people; however, S.O. Biobaku’s account has enjoyed widespread acceptance by scholars overtime. According to him: the Yoruba people is said to have originated from Mecca. In the course of a monotheistic uprising the king Lamurudu is said to have been slain by the people of Braima. However, the crown-Prince Oduduwa was able to flee with numerous followers and to find his way to the region of Lake Tchad, to Gobir and then to a spot further south where he founded the city of Ile-Ife. Nearly all Yoruba speaking people refer to Ile-Ife as their cradle and claim ascendency from it, although it is some times clear that these claims are made to derive from Ile-Ife political power, recognition and favour.

The Old Oyo Empire was one of the earliest and probably, the greatest independent race in West Africa, South of the equator. Old Oyo Empire was located on the Northern fringes of Yorubaland in the savannah plains between the forests of present Southwest Nigeria and the Niger River. Its territory covered a substantial part of yorubaland and extended to Dahomey [the present day Republic of Benin] and part of Togo and the present day Ghana. The legendary origin of the Oyo Empire lie with Oranmiyan, the second Prince of the Yoruba Kingdom of Ile-Ife.

Oranmiyan made an agreement with his brother to launch a punitive raid on their northern neighbours for insulting their father Oduduwa, the first Ooni of Ife. On the way to the battle, the brothers quarrelled and the army split up. Oranmiyan’s force was too small to make a successful attack, so he wandered the southern shore until he got to Bussa. There the local chief entertained him and provided a large snake with a magic charm attached to its throat. The chief instructed Oranmiyan to follow the snake until it stopped somewhere for seven days and disappeared into the ground. Oranmiyan followed the advice and founded Oyo where the serpent stopped. The site is remembered as Akaja. Oranmiyan made Oyo his new kingdom and became the first Oba with the title of “Alaafin of Oyo”.

The reign of Oranmiyan marked a new phase in Yoruba history as it witnessed the executive transfer of political power from Ile-Ife to Oyo at the time, thereafter, Oyo became the political headquarters of the Yoruba race, and that is where the Alaafin presides from. The heart of metropolitan Oyo was its capital at Oyo-Ile, [also known as Katunga]. The two most important structures in Oyo-Ile were the ‘Afin’ of the Oba and his market. The Palace was at the centre of the city close to the Oba’s market called ‘Oja-oba’. Around the capital was a tall earthen wall for defence with seventeen [17] gates. The importance of the two large structures (the Palace and the Oja Oba) signified the importance of the king in Oyo.

By the 14th century Oyo had grown into a formidable inland power. For over a century, the Yoruba state had expanded at the expense of its neighbours. The Aare Ona Kankanfo as the generalissimo of the military led the Oyo warlords successfully to many battles between the 13th and 16th century that preserved the territorial integrity of the Yoruba race, and during this time, Oyo extended its territorial limits to Nupe, Dahomey, Abome, Weme, and other parts of Togo and Ghana, and today, these people are off-shots of the great Yoruba kingdom.

The old Yoruba Empire distinguished itself in the world, with three very distinctive and unique models. First, it evolved a wonderfully developed constitution, though unwritten. The average Yoruba man is governed by strong convention. Secondly, the Yorubas evolved a military system that allows them to develop weaponry. The Yorubas are the first to smith iron and thus, they built foundries from where they also produced agricultural implements to boost food production. Thirdly, the Yoruba race, evolved a very practical method of administration, by adopting the cabinet system of governance if you are a good student of the evolution of British Constitution, you’d know that the cabinet system came about in Britain only as a matter of temporal expedience, it was not by design, So, as far back as the 16th Century, the old Oyo Empire developed the cabinet system of government. And from the Prime Minister, to the Alaafin, and the various divisional heads, all tiers have their roles and responsibilities clearly spelt out and adhered to with separation of powers, and inputs for checks and balances.

 

While the Alaafin of Oyo was supreme overlord of the people, he was not without checks on his power. The Oyo ‘Mesi’ and the Yoruba Earth cult known as ‘Ogboni’ kept the Oba’s power in check. The Oyo ‘Mesi’ spoke for the politicians while The ‘Ogboni’ spoke for the people backed by the power of religion. The power of the Alaafin of Oyo in relation to the Oyo ‘Mesi’ and ‘Ogboni’ depended on his personal character and political shrewdness. It is worthy of note here that, Alaafin of Oyo is not an Absolute monarchy as was the case in Europe during this era, the throne is not hereditary either; however, whosoever ascends must be a direct descends of Oranmiyan.

The Oyo Mesi were seven principal councillors of the state. They constitute the Electoral Council and possess legislative powers. The Bashorun, Agbaakin, Samu, Alapini, Laguna, Akiniku and Ashipa are the seven members of this council. They represent the voice of the nation and on them rest the chief responsibility of protecting the interest of the Empire. The Alaafin must take counsel with them whenever any important matter affecting the state occurs. The Oyo Mesi is also saddled with the sacred duty of electing an Alaafin. Each of them has a state duty to perform at court every morning and afternoon, and a special deputy attached to them whom they send to the Alafin at the other times when their absence is unavoidable.

The Oyo Mesi does not enjoy absolute power or influence, and while the Oyo Mesi may wield political influence, the Ogboni represented the popular opinion backed by the authority of religion, and therefore the view of the Oyo Mesi could be moderated by the Ogboni. And most interestingly, there are checks and balances on the power of the Alaafin and the Oyo Mesi and thus no one is arrogated absolute power. The Ogboni was a very powerful secret society composed of freemen noted for their age, wisdom and importance in religious and political affairs. Its members enjoyed immense power over the common people due to their religious status. A testament to how widespread the institution was is the fact that there were Ogboni councils at nearly all sub-courts within Yorubaland. Aside from their duties in respect to the worship of the earth, they were responsible for judging any case dealing with the spilling of blood. The leader of the Ogboni, the Oluwo, had the unqualified right of direct access to the Alaafin of Oyo on any matter.

Oyo Empire operated one of the most complicated constitutions history has ever known. Removing a seating Alaafin is usually a very cumbersome process carried out only during the period of ‘Orun’ festival. Chief among the responsibilities of the Bashorun was the all important Orun Festival. This religious divination, held every year, was to determine if the Alafin still held favour with the members of the Oyo Mesi. If the council decided on the disapproval of the Alaafin, the Bashorun presented the Alaafin with an empty calabash, or parrot’s egg as a sign that he must commit suicide. This was the only way to remove the Alaafin because he could not be legally deposed. Once given the parrot’s egg, the Bashorun would proclaim, “the gods reject you, the people reject you, the earth rejects you.” The Alafin, his eldest son, and the Samu, his personal counsellor and a member of the Oyo Mesi all had to commit suicide in order to renew the government all together. The process and suicide ceremony took place during the Orun festival.

Oyo became the southern emporium of the Trans-Saharan trade. Exchanges were made in salt, leather, horses, kola nuts, ivory, cloth and slaves.  The Yoruba of metropolitan Oyo were also highly skilled in craft making and iron work. Aside from taxes on trade products coming in and out of the Empire, Oyo also became wealthy off the taxes imposed on its tributaries. Taxes on the kingdom of Dahomey alone brought in an amount estimated at 638 thousand dollars a year. Toward the end of the 18th century, Oyo directed more effort towards trading and acted as middleman for both the Trans-Saharan and Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Tribute from other small towns within the Empire also added a great deal of wealth to Oyo Kingdom.

By 1680, the Oyo Empire spanned over 150,000 square kilometres. It reached the summit of its power in the 18th century.  And despite its violent creation, it was held together by mutual self-interest. The end of the 18th century marked the beginning of the Oyo Empire’s downfall. At about 1789, Oba Abiodun is believed to have been killed by his son and successor, Awole. A series of constitutional upheavals, dynastic intrigues and local particularism weakened the empire. In 1796, Oba Awole was ousted by the government in an Ilorin-centred revolt initiated by Afonja, the Are Ona Kakanfo. The revolt led to the secession of Ilorin, a Yoruba state that would play a crucial role in the destruction of Oyo. At his rejection by the council, he is said to have cursed the empire as he prepared to commit suicide. After firing arrows in all directions he proclaimed:

“My curse be on you and your disloyalty and your disobedience, so let your children disobey you. If you send them on an errand, let them never return to bring you word again. To all points I shot my arrows, you will be carried as slaves. My curse will carry to the sea and beyond the seas. Slaves will rule over you, and you their masters will become slaves. Broken calabash can be mended but not a broken dish; so let my words be irrevocable”

By 1888, Oyo Empire had crumbled to piece and never regained prominence. Ibadan, a settlement of war commanders later became the seat of Yoruba political power.