Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Yoruba community in Delta State has implored the state government to take steps to address the issue of disunity among them so as to forge unity and project the welfare of the people.
The community made the appeal during a meeting with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Asaba, the state capital.
The Yoruba community delegation which was led by Lawal Famous, was received on behalf of the governor by the Senior Political Adviser, Mr. Funkekeme Solomon.
According to the delegates, the Yoruba community has existed in the state for over 45 years, even as they eulogised the administration of Governor Okowa for meeting the yearnings of both indigenes and non-indigenes.
They said the Okowa administration came on board on a popular mandate, pointing out the Yoruba community played vital roles to ensure Okowa was elected in 2015 and 2019.
They said the community openly declared support for Okowa in the build up to the 2015 election, adding that they did everything humanly and politically possible to mobilise for the governor ahead of the 2019 election.
Addressing the governor’s representative, Asiwaju Lawal revealed that at the community’s meeting held at Ughelli recently, they resolved to celebrate with the governor, and also to ratify appointments of the new leadership of Yoruba community.
Those to the lead the community include Chief M. Olaibi, Rev. Ayo Olatubosun and Mr. Victor Olasupo as state leader, secretary and treasurer, respectively. The leadership is also to carry out over sight functions on Yoruba clubs and associations which are over 300 in the state.
He however regretted that core Yoruba tribe in the state, for over five years, are divided within themselves thereby causing problems, alleging that a single group called Yoruba Progressive Union, (YPF), a cooperative society, has been depriving others their rightful place in relation to the state government.
The Asiwaju therefore stated it has been resolved that all matters from the state government henceforth, should be directed to the Yoruba community as a body.
“YPF is not representing any part of the Yoruba in Delta in any form whatsoever. Moreover, the YPF has its own members as cooperative body. It’s membership does not cut across all the clubs and associations that make up the Yoruba community in Delta State. Emphatically speaking, all Yoruba leaders in the state are not members of YPF and therefore the YPF is not in any position to represent the interest of Yoruba people in the state,” he claimed.
Famous used the opportunity to solicit for a bus for constant movement, official recognition of Asiwaju of Yoruba Community in Asaba as the overall head of the Yoruba in Delta State, having in his possession the certificate that conveys such position on him, considerations for some positions in some of the elective posts as that will assure the Yoruba of full recognition.
Responding, on behalf of Governor Okowa, Funkekeme said the contributions of non-indigenes were unprecedented, saying that they are good friends, neighbours.
He said their endorsement during the election informed the chairmanship of non-indigenes as the State Advisory Council, promising to promote the welfare of residents in the state as the body is seen as the good ambassadors of Yoruba people especially with their organizations and participations of Oodua Peoples Conggress (OPC).
The governor assured that the division among the Yoruba community in the state and cornering what does not belong to some has become a thing of the past, saying that government was ready to provide enabling environment for their businesses.
“With your support, Delta can be like Lagos, Abuja and other developed places and produce more eminent people like Obafemi Awolowo, Bola Ige which informed why the government created Asaba, Warri development agencies and others to make sure people live in an environment where justice prevail.
“Our approach is divine. We shall deal with the issue of YPF. Yoruba should be channel of peace, oneness, development, togetherness, harmony while those promoting disharmony should stop. Every patriotic Yoruba should key into them,” he advised.
He assured that government will continue to partner with them to uplift the state and it’s residents.
Highpoint of the visit was a presentation of gift by the leadership of the body to the governor by the Asiwajus of Asaba, Ughelli, Mr. Victor Olasupo (JP), Warri, Agbor, Ibuso, Okpanam, and others, women and youth leaders, OPC, and other well wishers.