The Community Under Siege Traditional Rulers Are Culpable

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Unlike Ostriches with their heads in the sands we can do more to deconstruct the nature of the problems facing our people. This is only feasible if we agree that the root causes of insecurity such as involved in kidnappings and extortions is not tribal or religious.

The debilitating poverty amongst our people coupled with a mythical belief in God’s blessings in a society where “wealth” has been deified, elevated to celestial height of being worshipped. People pray daily not only for peace but material blessings.

Hence the man on the street must make money, “God must bless me” has become a mantra.

When I said to some people that many – or most amongst us are not really interested in “work” but just in money, it sounds counterfactual. The reality is lost on us of the ageless saying that “Ise lo’ogun ise” (labour is the antidote of material poverty).

Fulani-herdman won’t have the audacity to come into our communities to kidnap without active collaboration of our people.

I farm in Oyo, and I am surrounded by fulani-herdmen who have inter-married with our people for ages. The Bororos often herd cattle across our maizefields with no-so-good consequences on our otherwise good relationship. I know the greedy ones amongst us try use these local fulani-herdman to achieve nefarious goals.

I am not convinced our forests and communities are so unprotected for distant fulani-herdman to come and snatch a petrol station owner in Oyo North. These are localised jobs of poor Yoruba people with hired-hands.

The cause of our poverty and insecurity, and the consequences as they manifest themselves must be addressed.

Teeming masses of our people in Yoruba land are now shameful beggars, lining up in great numbers close to the mosques in many Yoruba towns, or even as members of our families, harrassing those who are considered blessed for a trickle-down share of the “blessings”. When you invite them to come cut grasses, felling of bushes, digging wells, carrying loads or other menial jobs, one is told to look for a Hausa, Fulani or Togolese to do such. One must be careful not to say we have lazy youth less the lynching mob sees a PMB in one.

However we go – we must realise, accept, address and confront the new mentality of getting rich without so much hardworking. Those who see Yorubas as hardworking lots must explain the seeming joblessness of our people and the drift of a mass of foreign/non-Yoruba workers to our lands. We have so much jobs in our lands that our own people simply refuse to do.

Our ancestors must assist us to unravel the mystery, if not the curse, of incendiary fires that stokes these fires of destruction over Yoruba land.

Sunday Ogunronbi, Admitted and practising Advocate in South Africa, and Barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Practising Member of the Johannesburg Society of Advocates