By Olasunkanmni Akoni
A Pan Yoruba group, O’odua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC) has called on Yoruba people to prepare for their own sovereign nation, “Oodua” Republic, following the lingering agitation for the breakup of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It will be recalled that a Coalition of Northern Youth Groups, last Tuesday, at a press conference, warned the Igbo to leave the North within three months.
In response to the warning, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB), one of the groups spearheading the agitation for the separation of the South-East from Nigeria, has asked Igbo and other southerners resident in the North to start packing to leave the region
A statement issued by a Yoruba group at the weekend and signed by Oluwole Suleimann, Michael Popoola, and Mrs. Aduke Fadahunsi, and made available to Vanguard, stressed the need for the creation of Yoruba sovereign nation, Oduduwa Republic.
The group stressed that it became necessary in the face of the lingering problems and conflict built around the national question that has stunted the growth of Nigeria for over a century.
“This conflict has again reared its head, 50 years after a civil war that inflicted pain and misery on the Yoruba people apart from distorting the development plan of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo for the South West,” the group stated.
ONAC is made up of 18 Pan Yoruba groups including the Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC), Oodua Liberation Movement, (OLM), Oodua Republic Coalition, (ORC), Yoruba Revolutionary Congress, (YORC), Oodua Muslim-Christian Dialogue Group , (OMDG), Yoruba Students Nationalist Front, (YOSNF), Oodua Hunters Union, (OHUN) and 11 other groups.
The group also called on Yoruba people in the territories of the Hausa-Fulani North to be guided by a strong sense of history and the fact that they would not be spared by those who claim to be their hosts. “We advise them to begin to make alternative plans for the inevitable upheaval being promoted by the Fulani oligarchy.
“The North has always been the aggressor because of the region’s loss of power and the unhidden desire to make Nigeria the irreversible extension of the Fulani emirate.
“What we see is violent conflict of civilisations which can only be resolved when each region go her own way. In the bid to keep Nigeria as one country, millions of people have been killed and the lives of children wasted, the future pauperized and the potentials of Yoruba young men and women bottled or chained with fetters of iron.
“Today, we make the historic declaration that Yoruba people are ready for our own Oduduwa Republic. We have watched events these past days. The cloud is getting thicker. The poisonous rain appear ready to fall. It is time for the Yoruba people to be ready to defend our homeland from being seized by local imperial elements and their collaborators. We assert Yoruba self-determination and sovereignty. We shall work for it. We will actualize it,” ONAC said.
The groups said the Yoruba people have suffered unprecedented hardship in the form of human and material destruction since 1960 when the country attained independence.
“Our leaders beginning from Chief Obafemi Awolowo were jailed on trumped up charges. 28 leaders of Yoruba were imprisoned unjustly. Chief M.K.O Abiola was murdered. The industrial bases built by Awolowo were destroyed by the military rookies appointed to control the South West region, our culture destroyed and the future of our young people put asunder. Today, many Yoruba people have become scavengers across the world fleeing from a hostile, bloodletting and malicious country that hold no promise of good and abundant life for the long suffering and exhausted population.
The group stated further “We call on Yoruba people all over the world to prepare for a sovereign nation for the people of the South West. We are over 50 million and far more than the population of 140 countries in the world. Yoruba will be the third biggest nation in Africa and about the 28th biggest nation in the world. We are big and knowledgeable enough to be a sovereign nation. We assert the Yoruba self-determination without any further delay.”
ONAC maintained that the position of Northern youths asking Igbo to quit the North, the outright demand for Arewa sovereignty by the Northern Elders Forum, (NEF), and the legitimate demand for Biafra by Igbo, the call for a Niger-Delta Republic; “It is time for the Yoruba people to stand for Oodua Republic without any further delay. Yoruba people this time will not support any attack on Self determination. We shall mobilise the masses and prevent Yoruba people from being used for any attack on the long suffering indigenous peoples of the South East and the South- South”
ONAC said the quit notice issued by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, (AYCF) and the Northern Elders Forum, (NEF) was not against the Igbo alone but also against the Yoruba since Igbo is not written on the forehead of residents in the North.
ONAC concluded: “This is not the first time we have called for Oodua Republic. In April 2015, we organized a massive rally demanding for Oodua Republic. But today, this demand has become even more crucial than any other thing.”