Renowned historian, Prof. Banji Akintoye, has said that a return to communal life is a step the Yoruba nation must take if the culture is to be rescued from degeneration.
Prof. Akintoye said this on Wednesday while featuring as a guest at the Yoruba Historical Conversations, a project introduced by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
According to the historian, communal economic efforts such as esusu, aaro and oya, before they were eroded by Western civilization, bonded the people together economically, culturally and educationally.
He said that to set the rescue efforts in motion, every Yoruba man and woman must start by doing the right things, including speaking Yoruba language to their children, promoting the concept of omoluabi wherever they are and encouraging communal life with neighbours, co-workers and friends around them.
He also listed the creation of independent non-political, non-governmental institutions as well as
agriculture as ways to revive Yoruba cultural values. He said that though farming was the predominant occupation of the Yoruba, developments in the world have necessitated value addition to whatever Yoruba can produce from their large farms today to be able to earn higher income and relevance in economic terms.
He eulogized the Yoruba system of government and pointed out that the integration of checks and balances in the power equation of the Yoruba traditional governance system predates that of the white people. The concept, he emphasized, prevented traditional rulers from becoming dictators or maximum rulers.
“Balance of power is rooted in our traditional governance system. The Council of Chiefs makes the law though the laws are seen as the king’s laws. The balance gave us a beautiful governance system.
“Yoruba had been practicing balance of power long before the Magna Carter movement. Yoruba are organized, orderly and our chiefs carry themselves with utmost dignity.”
Akintoye said creation of independent groups that have nothing to do with politics and government would help redirect communal efforts to rebuild Yoruba cultural values.
He commended the DAWN Commission for initiating the monthly conversations, saying it was the beginning of the revival of Yoruba culture, language and values.
Earlier, the Director General of the commission, Mr Dipo Famakinwa, explained that the Yoruba Historical Conversations project was introduced to revamp the cultural values of the Yoruba, adding that the younger generations of the Yoruba need to discover who they are as members of the nationality.
Renowned educationist, Prof. Bolanle Awe, was the guest at the first edition of the project.