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Blinded By Ethnic Nationalism, Bayo Oluwasanmi Goofed By Churchill Okonkwo

August 31, 2017

Nigeria is not working, but to think and believe that the solution to the challenges we are facing is in championing of ethnic or religious sentiment is ridiculous to say the least.

It is clear that Chief Bayo Oluwasanmi was wearing an ethnic lens when he read the satire “Ndigbo Will Conquer And Rule In Oduduwa Republic” published in SaharaReporters on August 7th, 2017. If not, there is no explanation why a “renowned” writer like Mr. Oluwasanmi should pen the gibberish “Churchill Okonkwo: A Contemptuous Ingrate Don't Take Yoruba Kindness For Weakness, We're Not Weak!” as a rejoinder to a satire.

In case Mr. Oluwasanmi does not know, satire, as described on, is “a technique employed by writers to expose and criticize foolishness and corruption of an individual or a society by using humor, irony, exaggeration or ridicule.” Mr. Oluwasanmi should have learned this in Journalism 101. The fact that he did not tells a wretched state of the culture of reading and writing in Nigeria.

In “Ndigbo Will Conquer And Rule In Oduduwa Republic,” I set out to expose and ridicule Mr. Oluwasanmi, Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayo Fayose and Remi Oyeyemi. Using Nnamdi Kanu as the joker, I exaggerated the dominance of Ndigbo in the hypothetical Oduduwa Republic. Mr. Oluwasanmi’s rejoinder shows that I achieved the aim of exposing his foolishness in persistently seeking for the breakup of Nigeria, as if that is the magic wand that will transform all Nigerian ethnic nationalities to heavens on earth.

I am therefore not surprised that the satire had a devastating effect on an ethnic jingoist like Mr. Oluwasanmi. I am only shocked that he failed to see the satire that a good WAEC literature student would spot with his or her eyes closed. I will thus ask Mr. Oluwasanmi to look for a good literature student who can show him, line by line, that I was poking fun at him, FFK, Nnanmdi Kanu, Ayo Fayose and Remi Oyeyemi.

So, Oga Bayo goofed by associating Churchill Okonkwo to “bragging about Ndigbo's taking over in the Oduduwa Republic.” On the contrary, anyone who has been following my writings could have told him otherwise. For the rest of ethnic jingoists that failed to read through the lines, the intent of the satire was not to brag about the superiority of Ndigbo, but rather to mock the condescending hypocrisy of the likes of Mr. Oluwasanmi.

Blinded by ethnic nationalism, Mr. Oluwasanmi failed to see the satire in the depiction of Nnamdi Kanu as “my Supreme Leader.” This reference to Nnamdi Kanu as “my Supreme Leader” is enough for anyone that has read any of my pieces on Biafra and Ndigbo to see the satire in the said article. The fact that Mr. Oluwasanmi failed to get that is an indication that he does not know anything about Churchill Okonkwo. I can therefore only pity and forgive him.

Going forward, however, I will ask him to remove his ethnic lens and “shine” his eyes before reading my piece. I will also advise him to de-cloud his brain of ethnic sentiments in analyzing every political development in Nigeria.

Blinded by ethnic Nationalism, Mr. Oluwasanmi goes to sleep every night, thinking of the Nigerian state as only “deeply and bitterly divided by mistrust, misunderstanding, prejudice, bias, rivalry, and rancor.” So, once he saw a write-up on Oduduwa by an Okonkwo, he saw rivalry and started itching for rancor. As a result, he failed to see the satire when I wrote that Ndigbo will join Afenifere or that Ndigbo will “marry the daughters of Oduduwa, build mansions in their towns and villages and only visit our country home in the Land of the Rising Sun once a year, as usual.”

After reading Mr. Oluwasanmi’s childish rejoinder in an attempt to prove that he is a strong man, I can only express a sincere sympathy for him. Yes, Nigeria is not working, but to think and believe that the solution to the challenges we are facing is in championing of ethnic or religious sentiment is ridiculous to say the least.

The type of ethnic nationalism Mr. Oluwasanmi and his likes are promoting tends to produce intolerance and division. Like it or not Mr. Oluwasanmi, the very idea of ethnic or demographic homogeneity in Nigeria is a myth. Oga Bayo, putting on a religious thinking hat and using ethnic lens when looking at Nigeria will always result in an act of lazy political analysis.

It is not too late for Mr. Oluwasanmi and his likes to abandon their dark vision of ethnic homogeneity in Nigeria. As I stated in the satire that exposed Mr. Oluwasanmi’s folly, “ethnic nationalism is obsolete and will surely fail to hold up when superimposed on a territory like Nigeria shared by different peoples and cultures.” Mr. Oluwasanmi should, therefore, stop making a fool of himself (like my Supreme Leader Chief Nnamdi Kanu), by shouting about the imminent catastrophic division of Nigeria along ethnic lines. There are no clear ethnic lines in Nigeria.

Ethnicity in Nigeria is complex, interwoven with Nigerians of different tribes starving together; drinking unclean water together; fornicating together, risking their lives on bad roads together; paying electricity bills without power together; struggling to make a living in the streets and markets together; sickening and dying together.

What will improve the conditions of these Nigerians are analysts and commentators on national issues that have chosen not to walk away from challenges, but rather, are addressing the serious conflicts arising from multiculturalism and bad governance. These Nigerians do not need Mr. Oluwasanmi’s ethnic nationalism that is nostalgic, drawing on tribal sentiments to divide them further. It is an impoverished politics that have trapped Nigerians in a vicious circle of reprisals and hostility.  

Oga Bayo, free yourself from the trap of ethnocentrism. Stop insisting on the destruction of the temple. That’s not what citizenship calls for. Just in case you have not realized, I have been promoting Nigeria’s multicultural character at a great personal risk and will remain fully committed to this cause based on the conviction that the politics of hope and unity will prevail over the politics of fear and division.

Like Winston Churchill said, I will only give up on the “conviction of honor and good sense.” Presently, it’s all vulgarity and foolishness exemplified in Mr. Oluwasanmi’s goofed rejoinder, blinded by ethnic nationalism.

I rest my case.


You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi.