Renowned historian and the convener of Yoruba World Congress, Professor Banji Akintoye, on Friday called on Yoruba speaking people to rally round the six South West governors as they launched a new security outfit for the region.
The octogenarian stated this during a courtesy visit to the office of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria(DAWN) in Ibadan.
Akintoye said the governors have done a good job by setting up a security outfit for the region, adding that the people owe them the duty of standing up to speak with one voice.
He stated that DAWN commission, being the body in charge of championing the development of the region, should coordinate the implementation of the security network.
He said: You are the coordinating agency for Amotekun, don’t leave the governors for those people that have personal agendas to tear at them. Our governors are doing a good job now, we owe them the duty of standing up to tell the Yoruba people.
“Playing politics and making sniffling little comments at them is unpatriotic at this point. You are a powerful organisation, so you will find your own way to do it but we need to do it. Our governors have come together, let us help to build the unity stronger rather than leaving the governors to be defending themselves. We should not leave the governors to have to speak up for themselves, the Yoruba nation should speak up for them now because they have done a good thing for us.
“The governors are the solid pillar behind Amotekun and we must make sure they aren’t disoriented and broken up by all these people who have political agenda.”
The historian further said the people in the South West region do not have the luxury of fighting or criticising anybody as things are now, but rather support the governors who he said are the pillars.
“I am totally convinced that our governors have led us to something that is capable of turning around that history of yoruba nation, we are on that beginning to something huge now and our governors may not know it but they have led us unto a big and beautiful part
“Please let us join hands together. Yoruba World Congress will never attack any Yoruba group or person, we are non partisan but we must defend what need to be defended and we must have the right strategy for doing so, so that nobody will feel that we are attacking or abusing them.
“The people who want to see to it that DAWN will not work are not giving up and they are going by anything and everything they can lay their hand upon to intimidate our governors and get them to begin to lower their tempo but some of them are standing up. I have seen some of them in the past few days and I am encouraged by what I saw and heard from them ,” Akintoye stated.
He disclosed that there will be a rally in support of Amotekun and the governors in the capitals of all the South West states and Kwara on Tuesday, January 21.
“We the Yoruba nation, we are going to speak up. By Tuesday, there will be masses of people in the street in the seven capital towns of Yoruba people. We think we should let you know this and there is no other thing, we have people who are going to speak at the venues and it is going to be a show of massive solidarity with the governors,” he said.
Akintoye urged the commission to see to the proper involvement of Yoruba youths in the operation of Amotekun and all other developmental programmes being carried out by the commission.He said the launching of Amotekun is the turning of the Yoruba’s history tide and the people must be strong to take it.
His words:” I have never seen this much excitement amongst Yoruba youths, people are talking from all over the world.
“An old man like myself can do nothing more than I am doing to you now but when it comes to tasks that needs to be done, it is the youths who must do it, I can’t do it. My spirit is strong but by the design of God-the maker of it all, the body is no longer there, that’s how God designed it.
“We must look at how we will put them in this structure , they want to be good and useful. Every group that is coming forward to be a part of this, let them be a part of it because a good thing will always have brothers and sisters but don’t let it become an argument. We know our history, we know how to handle ourselves.”
He added that they Yoruba World Congress will hold a press conference on Amotekun soon.
Responding, the Director General of DAWN Commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye, thanked him and his team for the work they are doing.
He said Akintoye is the voice of the v Yoruba nation, noting that when he speaks nobody attach any partisan colouration to what he says.
“How this region will go forward is what we are doing here, if there is no security, there can be no development. Once your house is secure, you can grow,” he said.
Speaking on Amotekun and federal government’s opposition to the setting up of the security outfit, Oyeleye said:”We are not protecting Nigeria, we only said let’s protect the people living here, whether you are Ibibio or Efik or Igala.”
He disclosed that the commission is already planning to engage the youths in the region on politics and governance.
He said: “When you talked about the youth, it aligns with our programmes. We must engage the youths; we will even use the instruments of the federal government like BOI to engage our own youths. Let’s make sure that our own youths have access because the moment they have that capital, they will be interested in the political or governance side. Whatever is in our capacity, we will do it. A times it might look slow because we want to get it right, there is no point doing a shoddy job.'”
He assured Akintoye that the commission will always be alive to its responsibilities, adding that the message would be passed to the governors.
Some of the dignitaries who accompanied Akintoye include Dr. Amos Akingba; Evangelist Kunle Adesokan; Otunba Deji Osibogun, convener, Yoruba Koya and Mr. Ago Afolabi, Secretary, Afenifere Renewal group.