By Ola Ajayi & Henry Umoru
Ibadan—FOLLOWING alleged incessant and unprovoked attacks and invasion of their farmlands by some Fulani herdsmen, notable Yoruba leaders held an emergency summit in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday threatening to review its status in the Nigerian federation.
The summit was entitled, National Insecurity and the Menace of Fulani Herdsmen in Yorubaland.
The meeting, presided over by former Governor of the Western Region, General Adeyinka Adebayo, warned that the Yoruba will no longer tolerate the present structure of the country, which they claim undermine self actualization of the people of the South West.
Reports from 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 some 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.
He added 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.
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.
Fani Kayode hails summit
Meantime, against the backdrop of cases of kidnap and destruction of farms by Fulani herdsmen, former Spokesperson of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode hailed the Yoruba peoples meeting held in Ibadan, warning that the zone cannot be sacrificial lamb to any other zone of the country.
He also warned that the South West may resort to self help if the government fails to protect them.
In a statement yesterday, the former Minister of Aviation said if and when the people of the South West were pushed to the wall, they would then know exactly what to do, adding that the killings, cases of rape and kidnap must stop.