The Acting Leader of Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has warned that the more those in authority delay restructuring, the more they are encouraging secession.
A statement on by Comrade Jare Ajayi, said Adebanjo gave the warning on Saturday while paying tribute to Yinka Odumakin at the funeral ceremony the late National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, held at Origbo Anglican Grammar School, Moro, Osun State.
Adebanjo and Afenifere have been major proponents of restructuring which they considered as the only way to ensure that Nigeria does not break.
The Afenifere leader alluded to the response of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to the agitation by Mr Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho) for a Yoruba nation.
“When Governor Akeredolu said that Ondo State is not for secession, I am in complete agreement with him because we are also not for secession. What we are advocating, what we stand for presently, is for a total restructuring of the country. Restructuring is to consolidate Nigeria and not to break it,” Adebanjo said.
He,however, added that the country is presently in a critical state, very close to the precipice and the only way to save the situation is to restructure it genuinely and without further delay.
Surrounded by Afenifere chieftains from all the states in Yorubaland, led by the Deputy Leader, Oba Oladipo Olaitan, Adebanjo said that although Odumakin was like a grand son, he decided to come to his funeral against tradition because of how much the late National Publicity Secretary meant to Afenifere.
Adebanjo, a renowned Awoist, declared that those who can, should tell President Muhammadu Buhari that the country is on fire but he can quench the fire by quickly setting the machinery in motion for a genuine restructuring.
The Afenifere Leader also debunked the notion that the Yorubas are asking Fulanis to leave their land.
“We are certainly not asking the Fulanis among us to leave. Those we are asking to leave are those among them who engage in various acts of like banditry,kidnapping, raping of our women, killing, preventing our farmers from cultivating their farms by grazing on their farms and so on,”Adebanjo added.
He further said that not only should bandits be apprehended, they should be made to face justice and pay dearly for their crimes.
Adebanjo assured Odumakin’s family of Afenifere’s support, and commended governors of the South West states for standing firm. He urged them not to relent on what will make Nigeria to survive which for now is restructuring.
Governors of Ekiti, Oyo and Osun States who were present at the ceremony also paid tributes to Odumakin.
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said that he was with Odumakin in activism along with Odumakin’s widow, Joe, among others. He asserted the human rights community will not forget the departed activist.
Engineer Seyi Makinde of Oyo State stated that the late Odumakin and himself were of the same age. He also spoke eloquently of the qualities of the deceased, expressing the hope that people of his generation and those following them will continue to live by ideals for which Odumakin lived and died for.
Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State disclosed that shortly before Odumakin fell sick, he paid him a visit at the Government House.
“Little did I know that it was to be his farewell visit,” the governor said.
Oyetola further spoke glowingly of the late National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, adding that the state will not forget him.
Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, who spoke through his representative, said that Odumakin was a true Yoruba son, a son to be proud of.
Odumakin’s widow, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, recalled how she and Yinka met in detention and some challenges they went through in fighting for the cause of Yoruba land and Nigeria.
After showering encomiums on all those who supported her family, She said that if she is to come to this world again, she will like to marry Odumakin all over again.
The National President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Wale Oke, who prayed at the occasion, eulogised Adebanjo for his steadfastness and manifested devotion to God Almighty. He prayed for more years of service for the old man.