“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” –Edmund Burke.
Intimidation has become a potent weapon wielded by “the bad guys” to discourage, overawe and overwhelm good people and frustrate efforts to checkmate, apprehend, and bring them to common sense and reason. And because the good guys usually also have their own underbellies, the bad guys are everywhere getting away with their errant behaviour. One recent high-brow example is that of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao. Eight-time world boxing champion Pacquiao had rightly described homosexuals as “worse than animals.” He said: “If men mate with men and women mate with women, they are worse than animals. It is commonsense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female.”
For the sins of sodomy, God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; sodomy (same sex relationship) must have taken its name from Sodom. The Philippines is a predominantly Christian country, with 80 percent of the 100 million population being Catholics; as a result, same-sex is outlawed. Pacquiao should, then, naturally, stand on solid grounds with his anti-gay sentiments; unfortunately, this is not the case. The gay community in the Philippines is well organised, led by very popular personalities commanding millions of followers. As hugely popular as Pacquiao himself is because of his cult-hero image as an international boxer that has brought fame and honour to country and people; he is vulnerable because he is standing for election into the Senate in May; and the gays and lesbians are telling their millions of supporters to punish Pacquiao with their votes.
The boxer has had to recant! He said: “I am sorry for everyone who got hurt due to my comparison of gay people to animals. It was a mistake. Please forgive me for those I have hurt. But this does not change my position against same sex marriage. That is what I believe. My only mistake is comparing gay people to animals.” I dare to say that his mistake is recanting! His comparisons between homosexuals and beasts are perfect but “enlightened self-interest” or “crass opportunism” is what has brought Pacquiao on his knees before despicable intimidation. Or take the case of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who had been taken to court for alleged obstruction of the course of justice; 34 fellow SANs were said to have announced their appearance for the senior lawyer! Although restrained in her comments, as their Lordships are wont to be, the trial judge still made her point when she said: “I find no need for this magnitude of support. It is to harass and intimidate us on this side.” Boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Mangu, shot straight from the hips when he said, “The other day, 34 Senior Advocates of Nigeria fought against only one small EFCC lawyer in court and he defeated all of them…One of the big challenges we have in the effective prosecution of the war on corruption is that of very senior lawyers… when we have all these cases of wicked people who have stolen Nigeria’s money, they run to these lawyers, give them part of the stolen money and mobilise them to fight us; to delay us in court and to deny Nigerians of justice. These are the people who do not want justice for the common man.”
There is no denying the fact that Magu’s aircraft overshot the runway the way he spoke like a politician; short of that, however, his point is made. In the case of fiery and outspoken Catholic priest, Rev. Father Ejike Camilius Mbaka, who was recently transferred from his Enugu GRA base to the suburb, it is as clear as daylight that intimidation was involved on both sides. On the side of Mbaka’s superiors who demoted him from full pastor to an assistant pastor; moved him from the city to rural area; from a whole building to a dingy room; it was clearly a posting to Siberia, as it were. For Mbaka who went public with his complaints, spurning the usual Church channels and causing disaffection for the authorities, he, too, was leveraging on his towering personality and immense popularity to intimidate.
In all those who allow intimidation, the man dies (Soyinka) and when good men fail to speak out, evil holds sway (Edmund Burke). John Stuart Mill (1867) said: “Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing”. Burke (1770) added this: No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united Cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
All around us we find the combinations of the “Cabals”; but where are the associations of “the good”. Has this not been our scourge?
RE: Alake and the five Yoruba principal Obas
I have been following all the articles written on the supremacy battle amongst Yoruba monarchs. To my surprise, Olowo is not recognised as one of the leading Obas in Yoruba land. It is because history is being distorted daily by these writers to suit their Principals. To my dismay, the Alake listed five Obas in Yoruba land as the five leading Obas in Yoruba land. I think that is an affront on Owo. In my father’s days (Sir Olateru-Olagbegi KBE), I dare any of these Obas to say the things they are saying now, like relegating Olowo’s position. My father used to convene annual meetings in his palace for the paramount rulers in the Western state and the old Mid-Western state in the 50’s. He was the last President of the Western Region House of Chiefs. As a matter of fact, the Action Group party led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo that metamorphosed into Action Congress of Nigeria today was founded in the Olowo’s Palace during Sir Olateru-Olagbegi’s reign. My question now is “If Olowo is not a leading Oba, how would he have done all these and gained the respect of his fellow Obas?” Some of the respected Obas are still alive today to buttress what I am saying. In those days, major decisions about paramount rulers in Western region were made by Sir Olateru-Olagbegi and Oba Adesoji Aderemi. Oba Aderemi had a permanent apartment in Olowo’s Palace where he stayed whenever he was in Owo for meetings. An adage says “Birds of the same feather flock together.” If Olowo was not a leading Oba, a highly respected and revered Ooni Adesoji Aderemi would not be holding meetings and spending time there. I’m surprised now that when they mention leading Obas in Yoruba land, the Olowo is not recognised. I want to implore you to do a write-up on this to educate and shed more light on these for the people that have been confused by the write-ups that distort history. – Prince Goke Olateru-Olagbegi.
I had written and put my last week’s column to bed before encountering the above in my box. It speaks for itself!
An adage says, “no matter how long a rope is, it has a beginning.” Historically, Lamurudu, the father of Oduduwa, came from Mecca and landed in Ile-Ife. Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba, gave birth to seven children; and they are: Olowu of Owu, Alaketu of Ketu, Onisabe of Sabe, Orangun of Ila, Onipopo of Popo, Oranmiyan of Oyo, and, lastly, the Oba of Benin. Despite the fact that the trio of Alaafin of Oyo, Alake of Abeokuta, and the Awujale of Ijebu-Ode are not among the seven, they are traditional rulers of note in Yorubaland. Talking about supremacy amongst these traditional rulers is like we want to empower feud or chaos amongst them, which will hinder the unity and development of Yorubaland. – Taiwo Sangotikun, Iseyin, Oyo state.
Thanks. Oonirisa’s itinerary was planned in line with the Yoruba tradition of “eni o ki’ni ku’le, o padanu e kaabo” (meaning, literarily speaking, “he who fails to say ‘hi’, will not receive ‘you are welcome’). I do not think there is any other string attached. – 08062849876.
I just want to appreciate your wonderful article; I pray that the contents germinate and bear fruits in the minds of all true Yorubas. But, alas! You did not remember to stress the importance of History as a subject in our schools, which Nigeria has now removed from her secondary school’s curriculum. We are the only country in the world to do this! Please do something about this before we all forget who we are and where from. – Barrister Adeniyi, Gbongan, Osun state.
No doubt about the fact that your well-researched article on the supremacy controversy amongst Yoruba Obas makes good reading. The noble project of the Ooni in forging unity in Yourubaland faces lesser threats from within than from outside. This is why Kabiyesi should be wary of unsolicited for praise singers so that the good project is not truncated. After all, as you rightly pointed out, every Oba is supreme in his domain. I would also like the South-west axis of the nation’s media to be circumspect in reporting stories concerning our Obas by not arrogating uncalled for powers to any of them. Yoruba nation has gained nothing from supremacy tussles; but we have a lot to gain from peace and unity. – Yekini Oluokun (JP), Oyo.
Alake’s politics of ranking is playing to the gallery. Knowing that the Oba of Benin will excuse himself, he possibly wants the vice-chairmanship of Yoruba Obas’ council to rotate between the Alaafin, himself, and the Awujale! But where does he leave the Alara, the Ajero, and the Orangun? – 08062086471.