Fairness is justice

Beyond the obvious cash remittance to Nigeria is the diaspora’s contribution to enlightening and encouraging families and friends back home. This, I believe is not because being in diaspora automatically gives anyone smart pills, rather because many have seeing how doing things differently can benefit us all so we share ‘recipe’ to improve.

Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi’s visit to the USA with several meetings with diaspora is something that I have pondered on. His visit was largely on cultural ground, presenting himself as the new mouthpiece of Yoruba culture and tradition – tried to encourage diaspora to get more involved with home affairs.

Reaching out to others and mending fractured relationships amongst the Obas within the country is important, no doubt. However, interesting is the way people especially Yorubas see the role of Ooni Ogunwusi as the custodian of tradition and culture – the role that essentially undermines his primary role of being an Ife king.

One of the reasons the late Ooni Sijuade was humiliated both alive and in death was because he failed miserably in his primary role. During all (on and off) of Modakeke and Ife crisis from 1981 to 2000, Ooni Sijuade was a frequent flyer around the globe, more to the United Kingdom where he had a house – one would ask, what did diaspora do to stop Ooni Sijuade raising funds for the purpose of evicting his neighbours? Whatever that was did not hit the right note and as he got away with it all.

Are diaspora always work in the best interest of the people back home?

Giving my online experience, I would say not all the time partly due to misinformation and self-importance.

Around this time last year, I had a long conversation with a few guys who are from Ife. What was clear from the conversation was that though these guys have lived and worked in other people’s land: South Africa, USA and UK respectively, they are still adamant that Modakeke people do not deserve to be allowed back to the land their great grand parents farmed on because the land belonged to the Ifes – this is the case for those evicted from Ogudu and surrounding villages today.

Transaction is as old as humankind, there must have been an agreement in the beginning before they consent to working on the land, and if that relationships broke down, this generation that inherited the ‘mess’ can and should do better than chasing innocent people out of the land they only knew as source of livelihood.

Now imagine this, that tomorrow the Her Majesty showed up at one of these guy’s door to say she decided to change the term of the property he rightly owned and pays mortgage on from ‘Freehold’ to ‘Leasehold’ and before he could think, the Queen demanded he leaves the property just because she was mad at all Nigerian corrupt leaders…

That will be outrageous, right? And you’ll probably see it all over the news the next day with question demanding for explanation because we all know how it is to start our lives from scratch in new land.

Now, think about the folks in Ogudu, who inherited the land of Ogudu and surrounding farms from parents – they were chased out during the brutal crisis in 1997/98. Still not allowed to go back to the farm.

We recently hear of federal government project of cashew farming plans for these areas. I am presuming this is the effort to drown the ‘little voices’ once and for all. Knowing the way things are in Nigeria, this is likely to be ‘hush, hush’ until systematically all hopes on ever returning to the farms fades out.

While the rest of the Yoruba pick on Ooni Ogunwusi’s choice of religion and his very important role in Yorubaland, I know for sure that his defining efforts will be based on resolving this land dispute once and for all since Nigeria is still in denial about dealing with this at the federal level.

Which reminds me, now that we have a vice president who is a Yoruba man, a lawyer and someone who seems quite smart. I wondered what Professor Yemi Osinbajo thinks about this cashew farm as federal project?

If we were going to take peoples’ land in the name of ‘federal project’, at least they deserve another land (not flimsy cash) compensation so they too have a fair shot at life and something to cater for their family – it is only fair. Land is what we have plenty, all it needed is opening up so people can use.


Here is a poem by Portia Nelson that might help us see that if we ever want this to end we must do things differently not merely shutting little people up.

There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost….I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the side walk.
I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I fall in….it’s a habit…but my eyes are open.
I know where I am. It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down a different street.

12 thoughts on “Fairness is justice

  1. You know I love poems, so I’ll just deal with the poetry, why didn’t she just fill the hole or call the appropriate authorities to do so or put a danger sign there. How many times must one fall into a hole to have CS?

    As for stolen lands and re-converted lands….hmmmm, the owners of the land always suffer their loss. Heritage shouldn’t be taken blatantly from people just like that with the snap of fingers. I will always appreciate you for being the voice of those that cannot speak and those that choose not to!
    *CS = common sense

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Queen. I think ‘hole in the sidewalk’ is a metaphor as it can be applied to individual and society at large – a call for self awareness.

      See me o, land ownership is a big wahala in our land, big bullies always get away with their act for a short time, soon we’re back to square one.
      And now with digital age, they are basically doing the same thing with ‘Federal Project’ tag. Sad really, as goats will always fight back when pushed too close to the wall.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Folakemi,

    Thanks,first of all for sharing that beautiful poem.Very apt.

    On the matter of Ife and Modakeke, I can understand your pain, and this thing, this age-old feud must end. The efforts you are making is commendable but I think beyond this public forum where most of us are not really in your situation, you must get a list serve that includes many Ife and Modakeke indigenes so that you can all contribute towards finding a lasting solution by working through the Ooni and the Monarch at Modakeke..

    As for “federal”” project for cashew, I would be wary that it does not become a back door to appropriating land for grazing – the skeptic in me warns. Why can’t the government encourage the people as they’ve been planting the nuts before by way of guaranteeing small loans for farmers so that they can plant more. It can also send aid in form of agric extension workers through the state to assist farmers in planting and other necessary areas such as supplying seedlings that would make planting and tending to the cashew trees easier and lead to good harvests.

    Of course nothing stops government from stepping in to aid in organizing marketing like the cocoa and cotton marketing boards of old but I am suspicious of governments in Nigeria taking over land from the owners, especially at this time that southern land has become attractive to herdsmen from the North.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mrs Adenle for your interest, very much appreciated.
      As for the need for a private forum, the conversation I referred to took place at a forum that has 50,000+ people, mostly Nigerians (majority of Nigerians are Yoruba) – NNP Facebook. The conversation started with a photo of Ooni Adesoji and my people later started glorifying Ooni Sijuade before I joined with what I know of Ooni Sijuade.

      In the middle of the conversation, Ooni Sijuade went to his ancestors.

      I see what you mean though, but my people don’t care for any little people, the first question they’d ask is if my father’s farm was there which is not but my role is never to keep any of this injustice under wrap – maybe someone will find it useful as I found Rev. Samuel Johnson’s.

      The news about cashew farm was posted online (Punch), I know this will sound selfish, but I really hope the ‘federal project’ is a ploy for grazing – maybe for once Yoruba will cooperate to fight tyrant.

      Grazing in neighbourhood should never have happened if the welfare of citizens is ever of importance.

      Liked by 2 people

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