When A Nation Has Failed Her People: Tribute To Biodun Kolawole, By Taiwo Otitolaye



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Back in 1994, genuine activists of the Yoruba extraction (the younger generation then) appraised the June 12 struggle vis-a-viz the Nigerian project, it was very obvious that the project was failing; and that our stake as a race (was) further being eroded. With common front and passion for the FATHERLAND, there were broad consultations devoid of primrose agenda, and the elderly conscious and genuine gave their support for collective efforts to bring back to focus the destiny of the single largest homogeneous ethnic group in the black race.

Thus, the first revolutionary and Pan Yoruba platform; The Oodua Youth Movement (OYM) (Ijija gbara… ijija bori) was officially inaugurated on September 14, 1994 at Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife (Ife Oyeelagbo, The cradle of the Yoruba Race). The Charter of Liberation to take the Yoruba people out of slavery came to be. And our Biodun Kolawole was the young conscious, visionary and dynamic son of Oodua that emerged in unison as the first chairman of any self-determination group in Yorubaland. This earned him Arole (Arole Oodua) of our struggle.

It is almost two decades after this and what readily comes to my mind is an extract from my piece published in The National Interest of March 25, 2001, page 9; “Nigeria is a failed project. It is not a nation. What we have is an amalgam of diverse nations coerced into an entity through fraudulent exercise.”  Our best as a race are being lost, in the likes of Biodun, Olaitan and a host of others and not even a glimpse of the promise land. And in reminiscence of C.P Cavity a Greek poet, I remember his poem “Expecting the Barbarians.”  Cavity talked about people whose rulers were unable to do anything, not even pass laws, for they were waiting for the “barbarians”. The emperor, senators, the consuls and praetor, all day, sit and wait, but the “barbarians do not come. Night has fall (sic) and some travelers arrive from the frontier to tell them “There are no longer barbarians” deep in thought, the people returned to their homes. What shall become of us without any barbarians? Asked the poet, because those people seem a kind of solution.

Biodun Kolawole was a foremost player in the struggle to revalidate June 12, also in all platforms that the mass of our people have used to fight oppression during his earthly sojourn. The Yoruba nation has lost another of her best like Olaitan Oyerinde who fell to the insecurity of a failed colony. Biodun, you departed in a manner that we did not envisage; even with your better half. How can fate be so cruel?  , Oh death! how can you be so cruel to the upcoming children, leaving them to face the warring universe. Temitayo you also took along, she was there for you and for the children at the peak of dictatorship even while you were in exile.

During one of our visits to Biodun in exile, he was full of energy on sighting us; eager to know the state of the struggle at home and wished that he return home soon to a free society where all can be useful for nation building.

We are living in a collapsed colony where daily, we lose several hundreds to road accidents, as our roads constitute death traps. Today, our treasures are being looted in trillions no longer in billions by heartless leaders. If you have ever read my poem, “Abuja Pillagers.”  During Abacha dictatorship, you would remember how the pillagers “Like witches on Halloween” “they converged, sucking our blood and looting our treasures. And now, they milk our strength like vampires on rampage” and the crux of our colony, I asked, “where cometh our freedom?

Biodun Kolawole was a rare intellectual activist; meticulous, strong-willed, patient and consistent in any assignment whether as a person or collectively. He will always see reason for understanding and mutual respect with all that come his way. Biodun was a tireless worker not daunted by any task.

For the Nigerian project, we cannot continue in this manner; it is a journey without destination. Our heritage, our potential as a race is being wasted. When the laws, structures and leadership of a country have failed and can no longer protect her citizenry, the great question remains; shall we look for another country?  If the Nigeria project would continue this way without restructuring, we shall prefer to meet with others in in ECOWAS, AU and UN.

Why must fate be so cruel?

(for Biodun & Temitayo)

 

Biodun…

You made yourself a gem at 30

Achieving what other s could not in ten decades

The two of you were always companions

 

When the claws of diktat

Were unleashed by rulers of our colony

And even when you were in exile,

Temitayo stood with you,

She stood for the children

Why must fate be so cruel?

Tis comrade of ours

And Temitayo his better half

Death, you snatched away

 

Leaving the children

Like sheep without shepherd

Oh death! Oh death!!

You must not relive this

For this pain is much to abide

Biodun and Temitayo

You reside in our innermost being

And not even death can erode this

For your memory lingers on

 

COMRADE TAIWO OTITOLAYE

National Coordinator

Oodua Liberation Movement (OLM)

 

Being a tribute to:

Biodun Kolawole (The Arole of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups) and His Wife Temitayo Kolawole


 


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