• Insecurity-: 2023 polls might be threatened – Akeredolu warnsAccuses Akintoye of grandstanding for relevance

  • Sunday Igboho can’t speak for Yoruba—YCE

  • As Yoruba leaders conduct referendum on self-determination, restructuring

By Dayo Johnson & Ola Ajayi, with agency reports

CHAIRMAN of the South West Governors’ Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, yesterday, vowed not to allow agitation for secession in any part of the state, adding that packs of unelected jokers won’t be allowed to declare sovereignty on behalf of the state.

This came on a day Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said that Yoruba youth leader, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, does not represent the Yoruba people in his call for secession.

Similarly, some notable Yoruba leaders have suggested that June 12, 2021, should be chosen as a day to conduct a referendum among people in the South West to decide whether to insist on restructuring or self-determination.

The governor spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties and Strategies, Dr. Doyin Odebowale while reacting to a statement credited to the leader of the Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof Banji Akintoye on his stand on secession.

Akeredolu blasted Akintoye for picking on him for saying that the state would not support the secession plan as canvassed by him and other Yoruba agitators

Akintoye while reacting to Governor Akeredolu on the secession plan by some Yoruba agitators said that the governor was speaking for himself and not the people of the state.

In a statement titled: ‘Grandstanding  for relevance: A historian’s burden’, Akeredolu warned that there will be no agitation for secession in any part of Ondo State adding that Prof Akintoye should submit himself to the people if he is so desirous of representing them.

The statement reads in part: “It is presumptuous, denigrating and condescendingly spiteful for a group of hustlers, living largely in anonymity but struggling for relevance, to keep proclaiming and legislating on issues which affect the destiny of a whole people, without the faintest suggestion of paying even scant regard to their feelings or extending due courtesy to the real representatives of the people whose opinions they discount as unimportant.

“The people are discerning. They know the impostors. They have not forgotten the activities of the suborned agitators, the presumed penitent activists.

“The Ondo people, and indeed Yoruba are the easiest to lead but the most difficult to deceive. With them, sophistry and demagoguery have their limits.

“If the Governor cannot speak for his people, is it a pack of unelected jokers who will declare sovereignty on their behalf?

“If an elected Governor represents himself, on whose behalf are these people agitating? Who appointed Prof Akintoye as the leader of the Yoruba? How many people participated in the sham?

“It is very saddening to note that some of those who pretend to be the custodians of the pristine philosophy of value propounded by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, SAN, fail to see the connection between the Livestock Transformation Programme and the attempts by the current administration in Ondo State to resuscitate the Akunnu and Auga Ranches.

“Those who cannot look beyond the parochial prism of ethnicity and prebendalism cannot appreciate the genuine efforts of the Akeredolu’s administration to make the people of the State the centre of all activities.

“The Governor’s speech was clear; no part of Ondo State will be ceded to any foreigner under whatever guise. Only a mischievous person will twist the fact.

“Responding to a statement such as this one should have been unnecessary but for the mention of the name of the self-styled Yoruba Leader, Prof Banji Akintoye.

“The contents credited to the Professor are typical. His scholarship of the discipline tilts heavily towards rabid irredentism. He seems to have great difficulty in viewing everything beyond ethnicity.

“Prof Akintoye sure knows so much about ancient history. He should tell us of any transitional society whose constitution has been drafted, solely, by the people since the emergence of democracy as a political system.

“He was in the US throughout the military era when patriots fought for the disengagement of the military. It is opportunistic and wicked, now at twilight, to attempt to drag the country into a state of anarchy to assuage vaunting narcissism.

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“Akeredolu has emerged victorious in two referenda conducted in Ondo State. Members of the opposition party still smarting from the crushing defeats at both periods must learn to live with the fact.”

Sunday Igboho can’t speak for Yoruba —YCE

Meanwhile, Dr. Olajide, who spoke with  TheCable, said Nigeria would be stronger if it remained as a unit, added that the Yoruba people had invested so much in Nigeria’s formation and unity, and it would be unwise for them to seek secession.

Olajide said: “It is his (Igboho’s) personal desire but the present circumstances in our nation do not favour and will not make it achievable, and the fact that Yorubas have invested so much in the unity of this country and the making of Nigeria. The tribe cannot choose to opt-out without any adequate plans.

“I am not aware that the Yoruba nation or citizenship has given a mandate to anybody to desire their extinction from this country. So it is not a decision that can be taken by an individual or a group of individuals.

Yoruba leaders on self-determination, restructuring 

Meanwhile, at a meeting of all Yoruba groups held at the Western House, Parliament Buildings, Secretariat in Ibadan, the leaders painted a grim picture of atrocities of Fulani herders in the South West.

The meeting was themed: ‘The Paramountcy of Yoruba Unity in Tackling Insecurity Menace in Yorubaland.’

The meeting, convened by Dr. Victor Taiwo on behalf of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, attracted several associations and groups from the South-West zone.

Those in attendance were former Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Yemi Farounbi; Convener of Yoruba Koya, Mr. Deji Osibogun; Prince Ademola Ayoade, from Igboora; Baale Ekotedo, Yoruba World Assembly, Chief Taiye Ayorinde; Secretary-General of YWA, Dr. Victor Taiwo; leader of Agbekoya, Chief Olalekan Akekaka; National President, Soludero Hunters Association, Oba Wahab Anabi.

In his remarks, Prof. Akintoye restated that the issue of self-determination for the Yoruba nation was not negotiable.

The professor of History, who was represented by Dr. Hamzat said: “The Yoruba nation has been admitted into the United Nations Development and Planning Organisation. Self-determination should not be misconstrued for separation. Our train for self-determination has left the station. Nothing can stop it.

“We must join hands together, we should form alliances. We are already in a promised land. We need to build consensus and mobilise our people for the struggle.”

In his opening address, the chairman of the event, Ambassador Yemi Farounbi, said: “In the past, they used to say Yoruba were lazy, but when they saw the exploits of Agbekoya, they knew that when Yoruba keep quiet, they are not fools.”

Also speaking, the Convener of the meeting, Dr. Taiwo, said: “Àsá is a small town in Yewaland of Ogun-State. A few weeks ago around 7.30 in the evening, there was a sudden invasion of the town by the Fulani bandits who summarily sacked the whole town with heavy gunshots.”

Those who could run for dear lives did so, and those who could not were either gunned down or slaughtered, after which they set fire on their houses. Those who escaped are now refugees in the neighbouring town, falling into Benin Republic, known as Egelu.

“Till today, they are unofficial refugees in the Benin Republic. I doubt if anybody would still be surprised at this movie-like story-line. This is the truth – right in our Ogun State here where we have a government-run by a governor. And yet we are helpless. This is a piece of the odious scenarios happening across Yorubaland today. Yes, it is that bad.”

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