Why Adebanjo led-group won’t intervene in Gov Akeredolu, Prof Akintoye face-off
Yoruba sovereignty not negotiable — Yoruba Global Alliance
By Dayo Johnson
The South-West is divided over the call for self-determination by some Yoruba agitators.
Before now, it was some South-East groups that wanted secession but the table has turned: Some Yoruba agitators in the South-West want to opt out of the federation
Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, had said that the Yoruba should leave Nigeria.
Igboho, in a viral video, expressed his determination to defend Yoruba land.
“Starting from now, we don’t want herdsmen in our land to disturb our farms again. If we meet any killer herdsmen, we are going to face and destroy them”, he had said.
“If any police attack us for that, we are ready for them. We don’t want Nigeria again but the Yoruba nation. There is no essence for one Nigeria when the major resources in the country are in the hands of northerners”.
The statement has expectedly generated reactions with some notable leaders in the region joining issues with Igboho.
Some of the leaders spoke in separate interviews with Sunday Vanguard.
What we want is restructuring – Adebanjo, Afenifere leader
93-year-old new national leader of the pan -Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, dismissed the secession agenda.
Adebanjo insisted that what the group is clamouring for is restructuring and not secession.
He said, “There is no 2023 in my own diary. Get that straight. If President Buhari does not restructure (Nigeria), that is the end of the nation.
“He must restructure this country before any election.
“President Muhammadu Buhari can’t keep this country together under this obnoxious Constitution. Who is he deceiving? He controls the court. He controls the tribunal.
“He rigs election and heads to the tribunal and the Supreme Court which he dictates to”.
According to him, Afenifere once supported Buhari because of restructuring.
“I have no personal grudge against Buhari. The military, who gave us the Constitution, have gone back to their barracks.
“I want you to emphasise this: for some of the misguided intelligentsia among them and among our people, I have repeatedly said that this Constitution is a fraudulent document.
“The military made it in 1966. They have not rebutted that. I have said it publicly that if Buhari truly loves this country, why is he opposed to restructuring?
“Why is he hesitant? It is this restructuring our founding fathers, the Sardauna, Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, Aminu, Oyibo Ojigwe, all agreed to at independence in 1960?
“Is he more Fulani than the Sardauna? Is he more intelligent than our founding fathers?
“The confusion in this country today is because the people refused to address the issue we are talking about.
“One of the reasons we supported Buhari in 2007 was because we thought he was going to do restructuring”.
Afenifere Secretary General, Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa, echoed similar sentiment.
“What we have been clamouring for and would continue to clamour for is nothing but the restructuring of this country. We don’t want to secede. Restructuring is all we need to right all the wrongs in this country” Arogbofa said.
“We’re not part of those who want the country to break. We are for restructuring, not secession”.
Why we are not for secession – YCE
On his part, the Secretary-General of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE),
Kunle Olajide, bluntly said Igboho does not represent the Yoruba people in his call for secession.
Olajide said the Yoruba people had invested so much in Nigeria’s formation and unity, and it would be unwise for them to seek secession.
“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 the Yoruba have invested so much in the unity of this country and in the making of Nigeria”, he said.
“This tribe cannot choose to opt out without 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.
“Anybody who is familiar with the history of Nigeria will know that we have been together for over 100 years, even before the British came and we have Yoruba all over the country just as we have other Nigerians everywhere
“It is not something that you can declare by fiat. In any case, our diversity in this country and our population are our strengths. “Fragmentation and dismemberment of this country cannot be in the best interest of anybody.”
Meanwhile the YCE leader said the Yoruba people are angry over the “ethnocentric nature” of the Buhari administration.
“Yes, all of us, especially the Yoruba nation, are angry about the ethnocentric nature of the present administration that appears grossly insensitive to the cries of marginalisation from all parts of this country”, he said.
“Whatever the hidden agenda it is, the agenda is bound to fail”.
Yoruba sovereignty not negotiable — Tola Adeniyi
But the Chairman of Yoruba Global Alliance, one of the groups pushing the secession agenda, Akogun Tola Adeniyi, said “the proposed sovereignty of the Yoruba nation is not negotiable.
Adeniyi said: “Yoruba Global Alliance is working quietly, strategically and tactically, to achieve its aim.
“We won’t indulge in vainglory, attention-seeking and noisemaking.
“Yoruba Global Alliance assures the Yoruba that their goal of Yoruba sovereignty is not negotiable, on course and irreversible.
“The statement, endorsed by the founding fathers of the YGA, assures the entire Yoruba race that efforts by YG, our allies and other several self-determination groups were on to ward off every threat to the corporate existence of the Yoruba.
“We are not a nation of cowards. And even though our civilization and enlightened worldview have imbued us with unique Omoluwabi tenets which accord love and accommodation to all human beings, we nonetheless believe that it’s only human beings who should be treated as human beings, while animals are animals.
“Our programmes for the eventual realization of our set objectives, achievable through peaceful and diplomatic means, are being pursued vigorously.
“Our overall goal is to make every Yoruba person gainfully employed, prosperous, secure and happy in robust health.
“The Yoruba country is poised to build a nation of equal opportunities, a nation of freedom, responsibility and accountability in the mould of past heroes led by the honourable Chief Obafemi Awolowo”.
The Akeredolu, Akintoye clash
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had joined the secession debate last week, ruling out his state queuing behind the agitators.
“The noises generated by seeming inaction or passive indifference on the part of elected and appointed representatives of the government at all levels appears to be responsible for the growing disaffection in the land”, he said.
“There must be a general consensus, articulated and presented after rigorous engagements on the level of intellection as the agendum for action.
“The reasons for the declaration of hostilities must not be fleeting fancies of disaffection engendered by perceived politics of exclusion for personal benefits. Self-determination must be a collective programme of action”.
Akintoye fires back
Akeredolu’s submission instantly drew the ire of one of the Yoruba pro-secession groups, Ilana Omo Oodua group, Professor Banji Akintoye.
Akintoye said, “Akeredolu spoke for himself, and not for the people of Ondo State.
In a statement titled, ‘Our Agitation Shall be Bloodless, Intellectually Rooted, Legally Grounded’, the group said “this is not that of a plot for secession as erroneously branded by Akeredolu, but a struggle for self-determination.
“Akeredolu feeds 100 per cent on the commonwealth of Ondo people. He is a member of the tiny neo-liberal and neo-classical elites who will never support the wishes and aspirations of the masses.
“We saw how he grandstands on the terrorists and murderous herdsmen illegally occupying the forest reserves in his state and we saw how he chickened out to the chagrins of all of us who staked our reputation to defend him.
“We are saying for the sake of clarity that what we declared is the sovereignty of Yoruba nation from Nigeria, and not secession from Nigeria. We want an autonomous Yoruba nation.
“We want to determine how we want to govern our people. We want to control and manage our resources. We want to police and secure the lives and properties of our people.
“We have made our position known. Our agitation for autonomous Yoruba Nation is legally grounded, intellectually rooted and it shall be executed without shedding of blood”.
‘Grandstanding for relevance’
In a reaction to Akintoye, the governor said “some packs of unelected jokers wouldn’t be allowed to declare ‘sovereignty’ on our behalf”.
Akeredolu, speaking through his Senior Special Assistant SSA on Special Duties and Strategies, Dr Doyin Odebowale, in a statement, insisted that there would not be any agitation for secession in any part of Ondo.
“lf the governor cannot speak for his people, is it a pack of unelected jokers who will declare ‘sovereignty’ on their behalf?”, the statement said.
Why we won’t intervene in cross fire – Afenifere
The Secretary General of Afenifere, Arogbofa, distanced his group from the brickbats between Akintoye and Akeredolu.
Arogbofa told Sunday Vanguard: “Afenifere is not on the same page with the agitators for secession. So we can’t intervene in their discussions in whatever form”.
He insisted, “We don’t want Nigeria to break. We are for restructuring of Nigeria, not its balkanisation.
June 12 proposed as day of referendum
In a related development, a group, Assembly of all Yoruba Groups Worldwide, has set aside June 12 for referendum for the Yoruba on self-determination.
In a communique read by Otunba Deji Osibogun, the group leader, it was resolved that Yoruba self-determination is non-negotiable.
The meeting charged Yoruba, especially the elite, to return to protect their land.
Another Yoruba leader, Ambassador Yemi Farounbi, in his contribution, said that Yoruba should be ready to defend themselves against threats to their lives.
Oluwo says Yoruba want presidency, not secession
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, who is the first traditional ruler in the region to openly speak on the self-determination plan, declared secessionist agitation is not the right way to go about the myriad of problems confronting the country.
Akanbi was quoted to have said that producing Nigeria’s next president in 2023 should the priority for the Yoruba people.
“Calling for the formation of the Oodua nation is just a dream, the project is dead on arrival”, he said.