Creating a peaceful world must start from everyone’s backyard.
A few years ago, I received yet another fatality news about Modakeke farmers at Ogudu Village. This is because the villagers believed the superficial instructions given by our ex president General Obasanjo that there will be no more killings or farm grabbing so everyone should go about their normal business peacefully. Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade also openly agreed to this. Given our history, people were sceptical but after a few months, they have to go back as their livelihoods depended on tending the farms.
The farmers, upon getting to their village were met with machetes and guns – those who escaped were lucky, a few others, not so much. Farmers at Ogudu Village were predominantly Modakekes (>50%) the rest were people from all over Osun state i.e Iree, Gbongan, Ode-Omu etc.
As I went through my inbox that day, in came another email from Adeoye with the same prayer request for the war-torn nations of the world:
” Please let us remember the nations of Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Israel, the US, DR Congo, the Palestine, the rest of the Middle East region and other troubled spots of the world in our prayers. Let us pray for the peace, justice and protection of GOD over all HIS children and their possessions in those countries. GOD Bless you as you do so.”
For at least a decade now, I received daily inspirational messages mostly along religious line with bible quotes from the same person. The quote above is the signature to all of Adeoye’s messages – I used to read them all religiously. So I called him up to have a chat about his campaign for world peace when he is oblivious to the fire burning in his backyard.
As it turned out although Adeoye has lived in Yorubaland all his life between Abeokuta and Lagos – about 200 km from Modakeke and Ife, still he was not aware of the recent crisis in Modakeke and Ife. ‘You must be joking’ I exclaimed. Adeoye was aware of 1980 crisis just after the new Ooni was crowned however, he had no idea that the 1997 to 2000 one was very serious.
Well, tens of houses were burnt in both towns and village houses razed down, hundreds of lives wasted and even today more than a decade later, some neighbourhoods remained deserted and wreckage of burnt houses visible.
After all these wasted lives and properties, are we close to resolving the problem. Not close. For one, Ogudu farmers are still roaming the town and not able to return to their farms and secondly, Yoruba elders would rather beat about the bush than call a spade its name with Oba Okunade Sijuade.
Nigeria newspapers do not carry news of event under their noses, and when they did the news would read more like fights between foxes and chickens.