Monday 25 April 2022


In the year 2013, our older sister Teju Alakija, the Oni Aderemi’s oldest daughter was in Philadelphia where I was living and invited me to do the naming ceremony for her grandchild. 

And when we were having dinner, Mama said, Banji, there is a story that I have needed to tell somebody since my youth that I have never told anybody but I must tell you now. She was already very old. She couldn't walk anymore.

Here is the story she told me. The war came to an end in 1945 September. In January 1946 I was offered admission into a girl’s college in London. My father was able to pay the fees, but there was no way for me to get to London. In those days there were no aero planes yet. Every journey to London had to go by boat. But all the boats leaving Nigeria and Ghana, the British colonies were filled with British officials who had been stranded in Nigeria since the beginning of the war in 1939, and who are now returning home with their wives and their children. So, there was no place for anybody at all on any on any ship. And as I sat home weeping, my father decided to go and ask for the help of the Governor General. So, he went to Lagos appealed to the Governor General on behalf of his little daughter who was crying at home. And the Governor General said “okay, I will see how I can help.

A few days later the Governor General called for her father and told him your daughter has a place on a boat now to go to London. And so, she found herself on a boat going to London. She said the entire ship was filled with white people, British civil servants who are returning home with families. There was no room for any other person but she then discovered after a few days that there was some other Nigerians on the boat! Five of them!!!!! And that all of them were Northerners. Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Tafawa Balewa, Alhaji Ribadu, Alhaji Inua Wada and Dipcha Rima.

And so, she became curious. And so, she began to find out what are they going to do in London that other people from other parts of Nigeria are not entitled to go.

And she found that those people were being taken to London, where they were going to be briefed and educated and mentored about how to rule Nigeria, how to hold Nigeria in their hands after independence. So that's our story. The story of a country that was started deliberately with the intention of enthroning some people on it and it was the least educated the least capable to run the affairs of a modern country that the British chose. And They chose them because they were the easiest to manipulate.

Then came the events of the 1950s and the British became more and more convinced when they saw the stunning achievements of Chief Awolowo in the West Region. That they will never let this man and his people rule Nigeria. Whatever has to be done will be done to prevent them from ever tasting power in Nigeria.  

That in the future of the of the country called Nigeria, it was determined that a people called the Fulani will rule Nigeria, that a people call the Yoruba would never taste power in Nigeria because they were too well educated.

By Professor Banji Akintoye

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