By Tunde Akinsola, Ibadan
Some leaders today in Ibadan warned that the Yoruba will reconsider her membership of the Nigerian federation if the cultural and political marginalization continues unabated. The summit is not impressed by the slogan of renaissance renting the air, saying that the country has merely slid into the firm grip of another self-serving ethnic cabal intent on pinning the country down in her historic state of control my vested interests.
Presided over by former Governor of the Western Region, General Adeyinka Adebayo the summit warn that the Yoruba will no longer tolerate the sustenance of the country’s garrison structure which they claim undermine self actualization of the people of the South West.
Irohinodua correspondent reports that the summit said failure to restructure Nigeria using the 2014 confab report might force the Yoruba people to review her place in a political arrangement that cannot guarantee the protection of her citizens. Factional leaders of the Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC), Dr Fredrick Faseun and Otunba Gani Adams were unanimous in saying that the time to “leave Nigeria” and assert the sovereignty of the Yoruba people is now.
The summit strongly condemned what it described as the “invasion and killing of people in Yoruba territories” by the Fulani herdsmen. The summit held in the House of Chiefs Section of the Parliament Building of the Oyo State Secretariat with the theme “National Insecurity and the Menace of Fulani Herdsmen in Yorubaland.” The participants also decried the continued oppression of the Yoruba in their homeland by armed Fulani herdsmen.
The summit cite incessant cases of rape, destruction of economic plants that form the bedrock of the livelihood of locals, the armed violence unleashed by the nomads coupled with the consequent cultural disequilibrium the displacement of people from crisis-ridden Northern Nigeria have brought to communities in Yorubaland adding that subsequent governments in Nigeria have come into power waving slogans that end up leaving the country worse than they met it.
They demanded an immediate end to lawless nomadic activities in the South West warning that any community who cannot establish ranches for their flock should retreat from Yoruba territories. “The Yoruba people are no longer ready to tolerate mindless encroachment on their means of livelihood by any ungrateful tenants”, the gathering stated as part of its resolutions. The summit appear to be a mixture of Yoruba nationalists who have remained steadfast for ages and a sizeable flavour of people who worked for the ousted former President Goodluck Jonathan, leaving the possible impression that the summit has an iota of the usual sharp ideological and sometimes raucous divisions that have characterized Yoruba internal politics since independence.
Some observers think the Yoruba supporters of the ousted President Jonathan are anxious to seek relevance in a new environment that appears to have pushed them into the back bench of anomie. But the Afenifere spokesperson, Mr Yinka Odumakin said his group will always defend the objective interests of the Yoruba people. An official of the Oodua Liberation Movement, (OLM) Mr Popoola Ajayi said though the supporters of the ousted President Jonathan were prominent at the summit, the “reality is that many Yoruba people are disillusioned about the state of affairs in Nigeria and patience is running out.” He said after working for the emergence of President Mohammadu Buhari, the Yoruba people are “desperate to know if the alignment with the Fulani would lead to the restructuring of Nigeria and create political and economic freedom for the Yoruba” adding that the recent appointments by the President undermines the regime’s integrity.
He said “we the Yoruba people want to control our economy, security and natural resources including the sea ports.”
At the event were prominent Yoruba sons and daughters from the academia, politics and the Diaspora. The sponsors of the summit were Yoruba Council of Elders, (YCE), Oodua Foundation, Afenifere and the Yoruba Unity Forum, (YUF). Some of the participants included the Oyo State Deputy Governor, Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo, who represented the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; Sola Ebiseni, who represented the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, Pa Olanihun Ajayi, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Pa Supo Sonibare, Prof Banji Akintoye, Prof Toun Ogunseye, the first woman Professor in Nigeria. Others were Dr Fredrick Faseun, Otunba Gani Adams, Dr Kunle Olajide, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun and the former Military governor of Lagos State, Brig-Gen Raji Rasaki among many others. The Afenifere Renewal Group, (ARG) and many other Pan-Yoruba groups were however absent at the summit.