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RENO OMOKRI..* responding to some Igbos who said Yorubas are cowards..

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*RENO OMOKRI..* responding to some Igbos who said Yorubas are cowards..

If you read Major Ademoyega’s book, Why We Struck, you will understand that he displayed typical Omoluabi nature in that he abhorred killings and preferred the politicians to be arrested.

And let me correct this stereotype of Yorubas as cowards. Historically, the Yorubas have been the bravest soldiers and leaders in Nigeria.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, for instance, would never have done what Nnamdi Azikiwe and Colonel Emeka Ojukwu did. Azikiwe snuck out of Biafra in 1969 and turned up in Lagos, sitting beside Gowon, and condemned Biafra and Ojukwu. Colonel Ojukwu himself fled Biafra on January 11, 1970.

Awolowo would never do that? Chief Awolowo had the opportunity to leave Nigeria and go into exile when he was accused of treason in 1962. Kwame Nkrumah offered him that option. But he stayed. He fought the case. He was convicted in 1963, went to prison and never begged to be released. He continued to control the Action Group from Calabar prison.

Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi was a guest of Col. Adekunle Fajuyi on July 29, 1966. When Northern troops, led by then Major Theophilus Danjuma, came to arrest Ironsi, he refused to release him. He was told he could replace Ironsi, but he would not budge. He chose to die with his guest! Today, his sacrifice is not appreciated by some of the people who should appreciate it. Instead, some people accuse the Yoruba of betrayal.

Also, when the then US Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, told General Obasanjo not to return to Nigeria from Copenhagen because Abacha would arrest him on charges of coup plotting, General Obasanjo instead brought forward his return date. When asked why he returned to Nigeria, he posited that if he returned, Abacha would be less likely to kill those already arrested, especially his friend, Shehu Musa Yar’adua.

How many Nigerians do you know who can behave so honourably?

Major General Tunde Idiagbon was abroad in Mecca when Babangida and Sani Abacha overthrew him and Major General Buhari. But he returned.

Finally, there is the case of MKO Abiola, who returned to reclaim his mandate from Nigeria’s most brutal military dictator ever. He was arrested in 1994. He was offered bail, but refused freedom in exchange for abandoning his mandate. This was a multimillionaire in US Dollars. Yet, Bashorun chose prison over freedom. He did not run away and abandon his people.

The Yoruba are a very tactful and diplomatic people. They tend to be contemplative, rather than impulsive. These are attributes that some people mistake for cowardice or sycophancy. They are people who understand how to stoop to conquer.

No Yoruba leader would abandon his people and side with their opponents during a war or flee and leave them to their fate. Others may behave like that, but not Omo Oduduwa!

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