From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Chairman, Steering Committee for Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) and Treasurer of Ilana Omo Oodua, Otunba Folashade Olukoya, has said nothing and no one could stop self-determination for a sovereign Yoruba nation.
“We are already talking to the United Nations on referendum and plebiscite. The UN will do the referendum for us.
“What we are working on is not secession but self-determination. Self-determination is a right under the law. It has been approved by the UN since the time Kofi Annan was the Secretary-General about 20 years ago. Secession is about violence to carve a country out of an existing sovereign nation,” she said.
In an interview with Saturday Sun, she stated: “Those that are against self-determination for Yoruba nation are in the minority and they are elite. We are not fighting them. We have over 200 self-determination groups under Ilana Omo Oodua. The groups that are against us are not up to five.”
But the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) has told more than 100 groups agitating for self-determination for a sovereign Yoruba nation, under the leadership of Ilana Omo Oodua that the idea is not realistic for now, based on obvious reasons. Besides, the council also told the South West governors that if they subscribed to cattle ranching in their respective states, the ranches must be established for indigenes of their respective states, and not foreigners from any part of the country, or outside the country.
In an interview with SATURDAY SUN, Secretary-General of the council, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said the YCE is not on the same page with the Ilana Omo Oodua, under the leadership of an emeritus Professor of History, Banji Akintoye, for a sovereign Yoruba nation.
His words: “We are not on the same page with the Ilana Omo Oodua for Yoruba to become a sovereign nation for a number of obvious reasons. What we believe in is that Nigeria has been in existence for well over 100 years. Before the advent of the colonialists, there had been inter-ethnic trades among different parts of this country before amalgamation. So, that is quite a time. There have been intermarriages. Yoruba have settled in the North, East, Middle Belt, and South South Regions, just as Northerners have also settled in Yorubaland and all over Nigeria.
“So, as far as we are concerned, the self-determination to form a sovereign nation is not what is likely to solve our problems now. Any disintegration of this country now, is not likely to benefit any part of Nigeria. There will be complete dislocation of human lives. How do you tell someone that has been in the North for over 60 years suddenly to come down to the Yoruba nation? Are you going to give him money for transportation? Are you providing houses for him in the South West? Are you giving him a job here? Are you going to give him capital?
“So, anybody who is commanding all the Yoruba in every part of Nigeria to come home and so on is not realistic. But it is a call borne out of frustration, and perhaps justifiable anger.
On ranching for cows in the South West, especially as it has been introduced in Ekiti and Ondo States, Olajide said: “Well, our position in the Yoruba Council of Elders is that, yes the states can decide to create ranches in their states for indigenes of the respective states to do ranching in their respective states. Then, anybody that wants to deal with us will be dealing directly with the indigenes of the various vocations.
“I have said it earlier that our position is that the traditional rulers and the stakeholders, the elites of the respective local governments, where these ranches will be established must be involved in the conception and execution of the projects. The ranches are not to be built for foreigners, from whatever part of the country or probably outside the country. They are to be built for indigenes of those respective areas. That is our position on ranching.”