December 27, 2022

I’m still leader of Yoruba self determination struggle – Akintoye

Nigeria not working for anyone, let's retrace our steps ― Akintoye

Prof Banji Akintoye

By Rita Okoye

Contrary to reports making rounds in the media about Prof Banji Akintoye allegedly stepping down from his role as the leader of the Yorùbá Nation, the respected Yoruba statesman has debunked the reports as mischievous.

He only stepped down from the role of chairman for Ilana Omo Oodua, one of the biggest self-determination groups.

At a recent virtual meeting with seasoned journalists, Prof. Banji explained that, “what happened was very simple, which is to withdraw from the day to day involvement in the affairs of the large and prestigious organisation Ilana Omo Odudua, because involvement in that mighty organisation, is becoming disruptive, adding too much weight on my load in the general self-determination struggle and YSDM activities around the world, where everybody abroad believes the person they can call is Prof. Akintoye”.

He went on to explain that, “so at that time, on a very high level of the self-determination struggle, I am perpetually busy. Then, side by side with that, has been the fact that I am also the leader of Ilana, founder of Ilana, the Alana and the patron, which meant that nobody in Ilana with any problem has felt confident that their problem can be solved without Prof. Akintoye being the person in charge, that just became too much.

I have asked people to look at it for me, but what everybody kept saying is that “You are the father of Ilana, nobody can do that for you, you are also on the higher level. You are the face that the world knows, and therefore, how do we do it without you?”

So finally in a meeting of leaders from various parts of the world, which was held about a month ago, it was decided, if you want this man (Prof. Akintoye) to continue with this work for a long time to come, we have to relieve him of Ilana responsibilities, and that was music to my ears because everybody said yes, we now agree. I have written a letter to Ilana in the past one week, saying that I am withdrawing my services in the regular day to day management of Ilana, but I am still the patron’.

‘A number of things then happened, first is that many people cannot think of Ilana without me and a newspaper in Nigeria decided to make mischief out of the situation. I’m Banji Akintoye, I have a duty to respect every Yoruba institution and the Punch is one of our most prestigious institutions in Yoruba land so I must be very respectful to whatever I say about them but they played a pity game of attention peddling by distorting the obvious message on the letter that I wrote to Ilana Omo Odudua, saying I have resigned from Yoruba self-determination struggle. They are allowing themselves to be used by people known to me, to intentionally put the wrong narratives out there.

Simply, the situation is this, I am still father, patron and mentor to Ilana, but I have withdrawn personal participation in the day to day management and activities in Ilana, I have handed over to my deputy whom I believe would do the job’ he said.

When asked, what he thinks of prominent members in the senate and house of representative not speaking in favour of Yoruba nation and what he thinks YSDM needs to do to change this, he responded saying, “it is key to ensure participation of the political elite in a very important movement of their own nation, 80% to 90% of Yoruba people are saying we want our own nation and the ones representing them in the national assembly are not participating at all, but we are hoping to see a change in Yoruba land, some members of the elite are beginning to show up, we did an important internal diplomacy action, which is to let a close and traditional nation that is not Yoruba to become informed. When people start to hear about such things, the chance is that the members of the elite will start to come forward to offer their services’.

He went on to say “My full attention is now given to my higher calling at the YORÙBÁ SELF-DETERMINATION MOVEMENT (YSDM), as I am the chairman and I’m needed by all the member groups which Ilana also happens to be one of YSDM’s member groups”