By Lukman Olabiyi
The coalition of over 174 Yoruba groups in diaspora,Yoruba One Voice (YOV) has restated its avowed commitment to the actualisation of the O’odua Republic, saying the call for self determination remains the last option for the Yoruba nation.
The group insisted also that long years of misrule,nepotism and failure to embrace true federalism and also tackle the protracted spate of insecurity across the country have been the bane of the nation, adding that the southwest region can no longer play a second fiddle in Nigeria.
YOV made its position known during the International Webinar conference held over the weekend,
where over 1000 participants from all over the world expressed their readiness to seek justice and liberty for the southwest region.
The conference, held for over four hours, was also has an interactive session, where the Guest speaker, Prof. Akin Alao;Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, who is also the Grand patron of YOV, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams; General Secretary, Dr. Sina Okanlomo;Prof.Olufemi Oluyeju, Prof.Kolawole Raheem,Prof. Kehinde Yusuf,Prof.Seun Kolade, Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo, Basorun Akin Osuntokun,Prince Adedapo Adesanmi,Olori Oluwakemi Adedipe,Mrs.Omoladun Orolugbagbe,Tokunbo Soyinka, Bamidele Seteolu,and other prominent discussants,raised issues on the topic titled: “Dealing With Critical Fault-Lines of a Failed Federation:Is it to Unbundle or Restructure the Leviathan ”
In his remarks, Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Adams, said the voice of the people is the voice of God, adding that the call for self determination was a true reflection of the present mindset of all Yoruba sons and daughters in the diaspora.
He said attendance of participants at the International conference was encouraging, insisting that the clamour for Oodua Republic is long overdue.
“YOV is a coalition of all Yoruba groups and socio-cultural organisations in the diaspora that came together to rescue the Yoruba race from a rudderless nation called Nigeria. We decided to raise our voices against the unjust system that had for a very long time become the nemesis of our race.
“A race of about 200 million people spreading across the world cannot continue to play a second fiddle in a country called ours. We cannot continue to live in self- denial and complete hopelessness,” he said.
The Yoruba generalissimo restated his beliefs in the ability of the Yoruba nation to recreate a better nation, stressing that the destiny of the Yoruba people has always been in their own hands.
While giving an historical insights into Nigeria’s present situation, Prof. Alao, described the nation as a fractured federation, arguing that the British imperialist did more damage to the unity and sanctity of Nigeria than any other country in the world, even as he noted that failures of leadership remains the reason for continued agitations for a new Yoruba nation.
Alao, while urging all stakeholders and leaders to embrace credible electoral process in the country, maintained that Nigeria had long before independence been sharply divided along ethic line.
He said elections conducted during the military era tended to be more credible than those conducted by the civilians.
“Nigeria is at a crossroads. The concept of our amalgamation was rooted in fraud, selfishness and distrust. And sadly too, the process of achieving independence and choosing our leaders have been so deficient. There has always been a deliberate attempt by the North to frustrate the economic activities of the Southwest”.
“For instance, when insecurity persists, there will be famine when farmers could no longer go to their farms, educational system will be paralysed when students could no longer go to schools, so how do we secure the future when there is no food and education?” he queried.
Alao lamented that the British colonialists did more damage to the sanctity and unity of Nigeria more than any other country, adding that the prolonged spate of unrests and insecurity, including killings, kidnappings and banditry, became more pronounced when a particular section of the country determines the fate and destiny of other regions.
Earlier in his welcome address, Dr. Okanlomo gave reasons for the parley, saying Nigerians of Yoruba descent in the diaspora are worried about the growing trends of insecurity in the country.
The YOV scribe said the group is determined to recreate a nation that allows justice, fairness, equity and transparency.
Okanlomo, while admitting that the Yoruba race remains the most progressive and forward- looking race, lamented that the Southwest was always at the receiving end, despite the obvious fact.
“In the past, the progressives ideas and philosophies of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as premier of the Western Region became the focus and templates for regional growth and development, especially, for other regions. The glory of those years were noticeable in education, economy, infrastructure and other sectors, but today, the Southwest has been zoomed out, through a systemic political intrigues that tend to destroy our values for a just society,” he said.
He added that the group will work out workable and intellectual solutions that will take into account all areas that had since affected the development of Yoruba nation.
Meanwhile, in his submission, Prof. Femi Obayori noted that different nationalities that were forced together had always been the bane of regional rivalries, political instability,and social crisis,noting that the Yoruba have the right to determine whether to be part of Nigeria or not.
Moderator of the conference, Mr. Bamidele Seteolu, said with the turnout and contributions of participants at the meeting, it is no doubt that the conference had really achieved its objectives.