From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The apex Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO) under the leadership of an emeritus professor of history and Second Republic Senator, Banji Akintoye, has neither merged with any other group,nor changed its name.
This disclosure was made by the Communications Secretary of IOO, Maxwell Adeleye, in a statement he made available to Daily Sun in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Tuesday.
The statement was issued against the backdrop of an insinuation that the IOO has changed its name based on a merger with another group, that necessitated the name change.
The IOO has organised and held rallies in all the six states of the South West, and the last rally was held in Ojota, Lagos, Nigeria, on Saturday July 3, 2021. It was barely two days after the Department of State Security (DSS) raided Ibadan residence of one of the prominent leaders of the apex self-determination group, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
The statement read in part: “Your renowned, acknowledged, trusted and respected body, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO) under the leadership of Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye, remains the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups worldwide.
“We have not merged with any group nor change our name, and we do not have the intention of doing so.
“Our mission and vision is so clear: We want an independent Yoruba nation from Nigeria that will be accomplished through our uncompromised and sustained peaceful agitation.
“Nevertheless, IOO is not aversed to the formation of other Yoruba self-determination groups, and shall do everything within its power to encourage such.
“Ilana Omo Oodua shall keep getting stronger, and continue to accept all likeminds into its fold for the benefit and liberation of our people. We urge you all to keep hope alive.”
But Daily Sun can authoritatively report that the apex self-determination group now known as Ilana Omo Oodua, was hitherto known as the Yoruba World Congress (YWC), saying the decision was taken to honour the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and other Yoruba leaders. But the group dismissed the recent insinuation over the purported change of name for the second time.
The motion for a change of name from YWC to IOO was moved during a virtual congress held on Saturday, October 24, 2020 under the leadership of its President-General, Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye and unanimously adopted by delegates of the 87 socio-cultural groups within Nigeria and 126 countries of the world.
It said the decision to rename the organisation was taken after extensive consultation with traditional rulers, leaders of thought and opinion shapers of Yoruba origin within and outside the country.
Akintoye and Chairman, Communiqué Drafting Committee, Prof Wale Adeniran, had said in October 2020 that the decision to change its name to Ilana Omo Oodua with ‘Onala’ as salutation, was borne out of the desire to run the organisation in line with the philosophy of the late Awolowo-led Egbe Omo Oduduwa.
The statement read in part: “From the moment we founded the YWC in a meeting at Ibadan on October 11, 2019, we have faced pressure from increasing number of Yoruba patriots and significant leaders that we ought not to have chosen an English name for an organisation with which we intended to revive the Yoruba nation, and with which we vowed to guide the Yoruba nation to greater heights.”