From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
There was a standstill in Ibadan metropolis in Oyo State yesterday as more than one hundred self-determination groups stormed the city and staged a peaceful rally for the creation of Oduduwa Republic from the current Nigeria.
Participants in the rally converged on the frontage of the popular Mapo Hall, Ibadan, sang, spoke and distributed fliers on the proposed Yoruba nation.
Heavy presence of the personnel of various security agencies, including the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, was observed around Mapo Hall. But they did not stop the participants under the coordination of Ilana Omo Oodua, presided over Senator Banji Akintoye, an emeritus professor of History.
Also yesterday, the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) declared a 120-day period of consultations with the people of the three alliance territories for various segments of the Nigerian society as well as the diplomatic and international communities towards achieving self-determination for the blocs.
Chairman of NINAS, Prof Banji Akintoye, made the declaration at a press conference which the group addressed at the expiration of the 30-day period of consultations with elected officials from the alliance territories, following expiration of a 90-day period of notice of Grave Constitutional Grievances issued the Federal Government by NINAS on December 16, 2020.
Akintoye, whose address was read by the Chairperson of the Steering Committee of NINAS, Otunba Sade Olukoya, explained that NINAS is a self-determination movement birthed as Alliance of the Self-Determination Initiatives across the three alliance territory blocs of the Lower Niger, the Middle-Belt and Yorubaland. He added that the group has a mandate to dismantle the purported ‘fraudulent 1999 Constitution’ and end the ‘unworkable’ unitary union that the constitution foists and to champion the processes for self-determination by which sovereignty would be restored to the constituent regions of the alliance.
At the rally, some of the policemen at the Mapo Hall told Sunday Sun that they were sent to the venue to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order, affirming that they were not sent to arrest anybody. The rally, however, led to a traffic logjam in different parts of Ibadan, such as Mapo, Oja’ba, Idi-Arere, Beere, Labiran, Isale-Alfa, Ita-Merin and so on.
The participants unanimously demanded the creation of Yoruba nation. They decried the spate of killings, maiming, kidnapping and other social vices going on unchecked in Yorubaland, stressing that the people of the region could no longer tolerate the level of injustice.
Some leaders of the group who spoke at the rally said the movement remained unstoppable, adding that the agitation for the creation of Yoruba nation is on course and is achievable.
The participants, however, staged a walk from Mapo Hall to the international headquarters of Ilana Omo Oodua at New Bodija, Ibadan. One of the placards carried on the occasion read: ‘Constitutional Force Majure, Activate it Now.’
The Secretary, Youth Initiative, Ilana Omo Oodua, Dr. Akin Adejuwon; Chairman, Itsekiri Forum in Edo State, Omagbalowaje Ajatiton; Secretary, Itsekiri National Youth Council, Warri South, Ajemijeroma Mene-Ejegi; Secretary, Ilana Omo Oodua, George Akinola; and Homeland Secretary, Ilana Omo Oodua, Kunle Adesokan, were among people that participated in the rally.
Speaking on the occasion, the Secretary, Ilana Omo Oodua, George Akinola, said: “We are not fighting. We are only staging peaceful rally to ask for our right. We will stage the rally across the Yorubaland. Our right that we are asking for is Yoruba nation, the Oduduwa Republic. No retreat, no surrender.”
In the same vein, Homeland Secretary, Ilana Omo Oodua, Kunle Adesokan, said the time had come for Oduduwa Republic to come into existence.
The Secretary, Youth Initiative of Ilana Omo Oodua, Dr. Akin Adejuwon, former Director General of National Troupe of Nigeria, said about 168 self-determination groups have registered under the Ilana Omo Oodua, with mandate to coordinate them based on the like minds. He explained that the rally was not the programme of Ilana Omo Oodua alone, but of all the 168 self-determination groups, adding that Prof Akintoye stands for a critical fact, which is self-determination.
Chairman, Itsekiri Forum in Edo State, Omagbalowaje Ajatiton, said: “We are living as slaves on our land. We are no longer going to tolerate that. So, we believe in Oduduwa Republic. Itsekiri people have their root in Yorubaland. So, we need freedom. We are going with the self-determination for Yoruba nation.”
Secretary, Itsekiri National Youth Council, Warri South, Ajemijeroma Mene-Ejegi, also noted: “As the second largest producer of oil in Nigeria, what is our gain? So, we are supporting Oduduwa Republic.”