Lagos has itself to blame

Now that “governotorial” elections are over, and a winner has emerged as Governor-elect of Lagos State, it’s time for some home truths for indigenes of Lagos, who sold “even” their heritage lands to people they regard as “atohunrinwa,” and now go about bellyaching when the so-called aliens now insult them.

Of course, it is insensitive, disrespectful and discourteous for anyone to insult his hosts or describe the real estate they inherited from their forebears as no-man’s land. But you must agree that the Lagos State indigenes didn’t protect their heritage.

Though Lagos is a cosmopolitan megalopolis, a melting-pot with mixed demographics, there is no doubt that the vestiges of traditional tendencies, practices and government still exist. That is why traditional institutions are allowed by law to impose “Eluku” and “Oro” curfews against aliens in Ikorodu and Ikate, even if it will compromise the integrity of democratic elections.

But the (mostly) ne’er do well, “akotileta,” or prodigal “omo onile” descendants of the original Lagos settlers have behaved in the most irresponsible manner. Some traditional leaders, who live recklessly off proceeds from reckless sale of lands, have a share in the blame.

Also, rich Lagos parents, who, sing that wealth will appreciate with more hard work and perseverance, eventually failed to educate or get their children to learn useful trades substantially share in the blame.

Juju musician Sunny Ade, once eulogised a certain Lagos cash madam, Jarinatu, whom he said inherited a lot of wealth, but worked to increase the wealth, could spend anyway she liked. But unlike Jarinatu, the omo onile sold their inherited wealth, and now fetch up as motor touts, thugs, enforcers and foot soldiers for gang warlords and politicians.

Maybe the officials of the ministry of lands, with statutory responsibility for documentation of sales of lands, must share in the blame. One of the more successful of these officers became a senator and a respected member of Nigeria’s political elite.

Whereas the likes of Obafemi Awolowo and Ladoke Akintola, respective first and second Premiers of Western Nigeria, came up with progressive and people-oriented policies, current political leadership in most of South-West are on a spending spree like the prodigals they are.

For the love of money, they sold away their lands without any form of restraints and now turn around to blame the so-called aliens who bought their lands and now (justifiably) poke fingers into their eyes.

Those who came out to make sacrifices to their deities, because of the recently concluded governorship and state assemblies elections, should be asked why they sold or rented part of the shrines to aliens.

Near Ojuelegba flyover, you will discover that a substantial portion of the Elegbara shrine has been converted into shops for aliens to use for commercial purposes. If you go to Oregun, you notice that a bank has taken a substantial portion of the grove of the “egungun” masquerade.

In the opinion of purists, who worship traditional deities, those who sold “sacred lands,” not only displayed strong disrespect for their own culture, they also committed deicide, the killing or destroying of a god.

When the people of Umuaro in Chinua Achebe’s novel, “Arrow of God,” rejected the “Ulu” deity for another god, and Ezeulu, the chief priest of Ulu, lost his son, Obika, and the people turned their coats and became Christians, the old landmarks of Umuaro traditions collapsed.

That was how the god, religion and way of life of Umuaro collapsed and gave way to the intense preachings and subterfuge of “onye ocha,” John Goodcountry, the white missionary who crossed over from the Niger Delta mission field.

Imagine King Charles III selling a portion of Buckingham Palace or even Crown lands that have been held in perpetuity in faraway Germany! That would amount to regicide, the killing of the king that represents everything of value to a people.

And the English would have no one, but themselves to blame. A people who have no respect for themselves and their traditions, but collapse all their values at the sight of filthy lucre must suffer the consequences sooner or later.

Imagine some foolish people selling off a portion of the Osun Osogbo Grove that has become a heritage site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation that has designated some sites as heritage zones that cannot be sold even to indigenes: They must be preserved and kept in perpetuity because they tell a huge part of the story of the communities.

The irresponsible Lagos omo onile, who sold their birthrights for a mess of pottage,  remind one of King Hezekiah of the Bible days, who obviously got overwhelmed by a letter written to him by the King of Babylon and did a foolish thing.

King Hezekiah listened to the letter and “(foolishly showed the Kings emissaries) all his treasure house– the silver (ware) and gold and spices and precious oil and his armoury and everything that was found in his treasures. There was nothing in his house (palace) that Hezekiah did not show them.”

His irresponsible behaviour prompted Prophet Isaiah to rebuke him in the following words: “The time is coming when everything that is in your house, and that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried to Babylon; nothing will be left!”

For the Lagos omo onile, the chickens have come home to roost, and they will have to stew in the broth they cooked. Now is the season for weeping, moaning, wailing and gnashing of teeth, as the so-called aliens, who bought their precious lands, poke fingers into their eyes.

This is not to encourage the aliens to be insulting or anything like, it is to remind the omo onile that as you lay your bed, so you will lie on it. As an old teacher used to say, “It is too late to cry when the head is off!” Those who bought land have a right to them.

The lazy bones Yoruba omo onile must be reminded that the great Greek civilisation fell into decline and was conquered by the Romans, partly because the spoilt descendants of the Greeks left agriculture (the mainstay of the Greek economy), crafts and trades in the hands of slaves, most of whom were non-Greeks.

If the indigenous Yoruba who own landed property in Lagos fail to train their descendants to be productive, the descendants will become hewers of woods and drawers of water for the aliens, who will also become their landlords.

So the defenders of the Yoruba had better gird their loins, or “san sokoto nwon,” as the olden days Yoruba would say it, and ensure that they leave behind them children who will rather enhance the wealth that they will bequeath than squander everything on frivolities.

Beyond that, the Yoruba must teach their descendants financial wisdom that will enable them cope with the vagaries of life after their benefactor parents would have returned to their maker. The Bible says that people perish for lack of wisdom.

This is for those Yoruba who called to complain that the submission of this column last week did not fully (or fooly) support the Yoruba cause. This should put their noses to the grind of reality.

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