By Ibiyemi Ibiyo
City People Magazine, a gossip rag known for yellow journalism went to town recently with a screaming headline in its latest edition, “Why the Yoruba Can’t Forgive VP Osinbajo in a Hurry”. The headline was laughable to say the least.
As a rag that engages in sensationalized, over-hyped, exaggerated and grotesquely dramatized form of reporting playing up people’s emotions and when not doing that generally engaging in praise singing or ass kissing of anyone who will pay their bill one would not have bothered to respond to the story they posted on their cover.
Also, although there is nothing too significant in the report other than mere speculations, suppositions, and an attempt to paint an innocent man with dark colours but then I have learnt over the years that when people keep quiet in the face of cheap propaganda concocted to distort reality it endangers society as many may now take deliberate errors and lies for truth. It is on this note I find it necessary to write this piece.
For a start, Prof. Osinbajo has done nothing wrong to the Yoruba to require forgiveness. If anything, Osinbajo has all through the years made the Yoruba nation proud both by his enviable pedigree, outstanding career path both in the private as well as the public sector and especially by his sterling performance as Nigeria’s vice president.
Maybe the writer of the article is not talking about the Yoruba of the South West region of Nigeria. But if the writer meant the Yoruba people of the South West, the writer got it all wrong.
The people of the South West are people with values and to my mind Professor Yemi Osinbajo is the quintessential Omoluabi. It was for this reason that Yoruba leaders of thought knowing the value of Osinbajo to Yorubaland even as far back as 2019 reportedly spoke in one voice that, “whatever negative that happens to Osinbajo politically is an affront to the Yoruba race regardless of his political affiliation.”
They did this because they hold him in high esteem. Nothing whatsoever has arisen to change this reality. Even during his recent campaigns for the 2023 presidential elections, he was celebrated by Yoruba masses as well as the high and mighty everywhere he went across the South West. Evidence abounds to prove this assertion.
To understand the true position of the Yorubas on the person of the vice president, one must understand the Yoruba concept of Omoluabi. It is a philosophical and cultural concept at the heart of the Yoruba. It is used to describe a person of good character. The omoluabi concept signifies courage, humility and respect.
An Omoluabi is a person of honour who believes in hard work, respects the rights of others, and gives to the community in deeds and in action. Above all, an Omoluabi is a person of integrity and is thought of as a paragon of excellence in character.
In Yoruba cultural norms, an Omoluabi demonstrates and exhibits the inherent virtue and value of Iwapele – a gentle character. Iwapele is ultimately the basis of moral conduct in Yoruba culture and a core defining attribute of an Omoluabi. The most significant of these virtues demonstrated by an Omoluabi are; Oro Siso (the spoken word, the Yoruba accord great respect for intelligent and expert use of language), Iteriba (Respect), Inu Rere (Good will towards others), Otito (Truth), Iwa (Character), Igboya (Bravery) , Ise (Hardwork), and Opolo Pipe (Intelligence). Professor Yemi Osinbajo all through his career in the private and public sectors has demonstrated these virtues in good measure that most people in the South West and even other persons outside Yorubaland appreciate him so much. Even his enemies and traducers cannot in all honesty deny this.
True Yoruba culture does not celebrate the opposite of the above named virtues and to my mind the sad fact is that Osinbajo’s traducers have these negative traits in full measure. So we have seen such characters and bodies celebrate persons with unfettered individualism, those who have toxic ambitions, thieves, rogues, mafia bosses, thugs, and other such criminal elements and their activities to the detriment of the image and well being of the Yoruba race and to our nation.
Twisted minds have been postulating that by aspiring to be Nigeria’s next President and contesting with Bola Tinubu, a fellow Yoruba chieftain, Osinbajo has committed a great and unpardonable offence. But this is a lie from the pit of hell. Yoruba elders of the All Progressive Congress, the party Osinbajo and Tinubu belong to met sometime in Lagos during the APC primary election processes and came to a conclusion that stories of “betrayals” were red herrings and that all aspirants from the South West in the APC were free to contest for the APC presidential primaries. What then becomes the basis for Osinbajo to require forgiveness from the Yoruba as parroted by the cheap propaganda headline of City People magazine?
But then one is not surprised. It is the way of hypocritical Nigerians. What better thing to do now than for some persons to cozy up and line up to take their own share of the largesse from the infamous bullion van? After all there were reports of reports of a “Dollar Tsunami” from a particular candidate that created undue influence that determined the outcome of APC presidential primaries at the last minute. Had Osinbajo won the APC presidential Primary some rags would have come out with screaming and flattering headlines such as “How Osinbajo Won Despite a Dollar Tsunami” and such likes.
The APC presidential primaries may have come and gone. One thing is sure attempts to shame Osinbajo by cheap propaganda will not work. This is because almost everyone knows that Osinbajo did not lose to a better candidate. Actually, it would have been in Tinubu’s best interest and that of the Yoruba nation for him to have supported Osinbajo to victory. Time will tell.
Besides a cursory look at the Nigerian landscape reveals that it is confronted with a plethora of challenges and these problems are legion, interwoven, and intricate. Professor Yemi Osinbajo will still play a significant role in unraveling our problems as the New Nigeria emerges after this sorry pass.
To my mind, throughout history now and in the years to come, many Yoruba and indeed most Nigerians will continue to thank God for Osinbajo. As it is, many Nigerians today believe in the dream for a new Nigeria, as represented by vice president Yemi Osinbajo and visionary Nigerians who believe in Nigeria’s manifest destiny in Africa and the world know that a new Nigeria has begun. Rags like City People Magazine casting cheap headlines for obvious reasons of propaganda are just wasting their time. The Yoruba and Nigerians know better.