Analysis of a Yorùbá Adage in The Midst of Growing Media Sensationalism in The World

By Adejumo David Adebayo

“Tiro ba lo fun Ogun odun, ijokan ni otito a ba” is a Yorùbá proverb that the Elders would use in response to my questions about why they don’t work to disprove lies and propaganda. However, I feel that this proverb is outdated and has no relevance in the age of the internet, media, propaganda, and conflict.

Applying the proverb could result in civil wars, a people being wiped off, being subjugated, receiving no support from outside sources, etc.

Over decades, lies that are repeated and reinforced tend to be believed.

Examples abound in the world on the use of propaganda during conflicts, war and even Political crises between Countries

During WWI & II, Newspapers printed Pro Nazism/Fascism in Mussolini’s Italy and Adolf’s Germany, Communism and Anti Capitalism in Soviet Union and China, even North Korea before and after Korean War and it goes on till date.

In Nigeria, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe mastered the use of propaganda using his newspaper – West Africa Pilot which was instrumental in destruction of first homegrown party in Nigeria – Nigerian Youth Movement ( NYM) before and during Ọba Akinsanya and Ernest Ikoli leadership tussle and subsequent use of this paper later against Formation of Egbe Ọmọ Odùduwà – in the popular “Lagos Press War” tagging it a fascist group that must be crushed even though Zik himself was the President of Ibo State Union that predates Egbe Ọmọ Odùduwà, this and many more propaganda swayed some Yorùbá people who joined NCNC and were against Awolowo and A.G which they perceived to be sectional.

Another use of propaganda using media is event that happened, In 1947, NCNC went on tour of London to protest some obnoxious laws in Nigeria.
On their return, Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Prince Adeleke Adedoyin and Dr A B Olorunnibe, members of the group accused Zik of mismanaging the thirteen thousand pounds raised for the trip. All Zik did to get the sympathy of his people was to claim he was under attack because he was Igbo, forcing Igbo urban workers and their Yorùbá counterparts in Lagos to buy off cutlasses in Lagos market in preparation for war.

By September 22, 1948, Edition of Hausa Newspaper “Gaskiya” reported about heightened tensions in Lagos over allegations of importing and stockpiling machetes by Igbos.
The Yorùbá then called for a general meeting, during which they lamented how Pilot and Comet newspapers incited the Igbos in Lagos to attack the Yorùbá. According to the report, the Igbos said that any criticism against Nnamdi Azikiwe would be dealt with as it’s attack on the entire Igbos.
In Zaria, the authorities summoned the Igbo community leader for questioning, while in Kano, the emir beefed up security around Sabongari. In Jos too, the authorities imposed a 10-year jail term on anyone seen with an arm.

Media Propaganda was also massively deployed before and during the Nigeria Civil war on both sides to win supports of minorities in the defunct Eastern Region/Biafra by the Federal Government of Nigeria and to get international and diplomatic supports by Biafra.

Nonchalance Behavior Towards Deliberate or Unintentional Falsehoods can also affect a people and may cost them Harmful stereotypes, bad image, distortion of history, threat to external forces or colonialism and many more.

Some of this examples are:

  • Odùduwà and Yorùbá Origin myth from Middle East
  • Obafemi Awolowo Involvement in €20 Policy and Starvation after/during Nigeria civil war
  • Ugbo group in Pre Odùduwà Ifè and Igbo Ethnic group in South-East Nigeria

And many more.

It might take 50 years to correct things and set the record straight because they have all become so widely shared.
I’m hoping Yorùbá Inteligencia would alter their viewpoint on this and look forward to swiftly correcting any mis-records.

  • We need thorough documentation because I see the events leading up to the 2023 election being utilised for lies and propaganda in the future.
    Henceforth, misinformation and disinformation mustn’t be permitted to stand.