From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, and Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, have said the progress of Nigeria is tied to regionalism as handed over to the country by the colonial masters.
They warned that anything short of regionalism would make the country to be stagnant and progress a mirage. The duo spoke at the 50th anniversary of the Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria (YOSAN) at Otunba Subomi Balogun Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.
According to Alaafin, the military incursion in Nigeria’s political space in January 1966 had since remained the country’s albatross, adding that the southwest had,before the coup, enjoyed great and tremendous progress in all sectors, including education, health economy, maintaining that social security was also evident at the time.
The Nigeria’s narratives, according to him, changed drastically with the intervention of the military, and the nation has never remained the same with various security, political, economic, health and social challenges.
Alaafin, however, said regionalism. remains the urgent arrangement that can guarantee the future of the country and save it from imminent collapse.
The Yoruba, he said, remains the first race in Nigeria to have experienced tremendous progress and exposure among all the tribes, adding that such feats were made possible through quality education, and transformation of the southwest region in the 60s. He,however,urged all the governors in southwest to promote the use of Yoruba language during plenaries, as it is done in Lagos and Ondo state respectively.
Adams, in his submission, re-emphasised his call for restructuring of Nigeria into a truly federal system, arguing that Yoruba have all its takes to achieve whatever the race is determined to achieve “Yoruba can re-establish the finest moments in its history, rise to the challenges and explore the beauty of our language, culture and tradition to achieve the positive potentials of the race. The Yoruba history is very rich, our language remains the most potent tool that has kept us far above other races. Our culture, tradition and heritages are next to none. But even at that, there is urgent need for us as promoters of Yoruba culture and tradition to step up the values and champion the cause for the sustainance and rejuvenation of those rich language, culture, tradition, history and values.”
Adams, however, applauded the efforts of YOSAN for spread- ing the gospel of cultural rejuvenation, stating that the roles of Yoruba language lecturers, and intellectuals in promoting the language cannot be over- emphasized.