By Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
Discordance is brewing in the ranks of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS), as the Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), one of the tripods of the group has pulled out of the alliance.
In a statement on Tuesday, signed by IOO founder and renowned Professor of History, Banji Akintoye and 45 leaders of IOO, Akintoye said his group is leaving the alliance as it has become clear that the objectives of some leaders NINAS conflict with the agitation of the IOO for self-determination. He resigned his position as NINAS chairman.
Tony Nnadi is Secretary-General of the Lower Niger Congress (LNC), however said the NINAS alliance is intact and described the Akintoye and his group as a renegade faction of IOO. He said NINAS was on the verge of expelling Akintoye when his group pulled out.
NINAS is the umbrella body of self-determination groups in the South and Middle-Belt Regions of Nigeria. IOO represents the Yoruba bloc, Lower Niger Congress (LNC) represents the South East and South-South, while the Middle-Belt Rennaissance Movement represents the Middle-Belt Region in the alliance.
In September this year protested in front of the United Nations building in New York to among other things, demand for a discontinuance of the 1999 constitution and call the international community’s attention to the need for a referendum to determine the future of Nigeria.
However, Akintoye said IOO is pulling out of NINAS because it has become clear that the objectives of some leaders in the alliance conflict with the agitation of the IOO for self-determination.
He said, “In the light of the current development in the Yoruba self-determination struggle, especially, in Ilana Omo Oodua, it has become very necessary for the Yoruba people to dissociate themselves from the alliance known as NINAS with immediate effect. It is our well-considered opinion that some of those we align within NINAS do not want the kind of self-determination that we the Yoruba people want.”
He further said that a new alliance to be known as the South and Middle-Belt People’s Sovereign Movement (SOMPSOM) will be officially unveiled soon.
“We are, however, pleased to inform you that a more productive Wide-Alliance to be known as the South and Middle-Belt People’s Sovereign Movement (SOMPSOM) will be officially inaugurated after the completion of the ongoing consultations with like-minds across the South and Middle-Belt Regions,” he said.
The statement reads “In the light of the current development in the Yoruba self-determination struggle, especially, in Ilana Omo Oodua, it has become very necessary for the Yoruba people to dissociate themselves from the Alliance known as NINAS with immediate effect. It is our well-considered opinion that some of those we align with in NINAS do not want the kind of self-determination that we the Yoruba people want.
“We thank the Leader of LNC, Mr Tony Nnadi, for his inputs to the NINAS struggle since inception. However, it is now obvious to most people in the Yoruba self-determination struggle that the LNC is not working in tandem with our objective in Ilana Omo Oodua. The implication of this development is that the prestigious leadership that Prof Akintoye, has provided for NINAS as Chairman since inception has now come to an end from today Tuesday 30th November 2021.”
However, LNC Secretary-General, Mr Tony Nnadi said the NINAS alliance is still intact and described Akintoye and his group as a renegade faction.
“It is a faction that has almost gone rogue among IOO, it is their own internal wrangling, it is only the faction led by Akintoye that is going, they are at liberty to go, in NINAS we have our roadmap of where we want to go and all those committed to that roadmap are still with us. We will not get bogged down by what the faction is doing, we already had plans to expel them, perhaps they got wind of it and said they are pulling out,” he said.