A Pan-Yoruba social-cultural group, Yoruba Mandate Group (YMG), has cautioned railway workers under the aegis Nigeria Union of Railwaymen (NUR) over their demand that the railway station named after the All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu be reversed.
The group described as an insult to the Yorubas the call for the removal Tinubu’s name from the list of prominent Nigerians that some railway stations were recently renamed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari had recently renamed some railway stations after some prominent Nigerians in recognition of their contributions to the development of the country.
The Apapa railway station was renamed after Tinubu; Ebute-Metta Railway Station renamed after the late Mobalji Johnson; Agege Station was renamed after Babatunde Raji Fashola; Ibadan station was renamed after Obafemi Awolowo while Omi-Adio was renamed Ladoke Akintola Railway Station.
Others were Kajola station which named after Vice President, Yemi Osibajo; Papalanto station was renamed after Funmilayo Ransom Kuti and Abeokuta station was renamed after Prof. Wole Sotinka while Olodo station and NRC Operations Control Cente were renamed after Segun Osoba and Alex Ekwueme respectively.
But workers and union in the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) have, however, agitated for the removal of Bola Tinubu from the list.
The NUR, in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Segun Esan,on Wednesday demanded that the Apapa Railway Station which was renamed after Tinubu be reversed to its original name Waziri Mohammed Railway Station.
However, a statement by YMG’s Director of Communication, Otunba Sayo Akintola, said the group’s convener, Akogun Banji Ojo, described the call as ”uncharitable, provocative and totally in bad faith.”
He alleged that the union was being used by some elements in the northern part of the country to malign one of the Yoruba leaders, stressing that his group would use every legitimate means to resist the move which he said was politically motivated.
The statement noted that the YMG would no longer stand and watch any individual or group of persons tarnish the image of Yoruba leaders, irrespective of party affiliation, religion or creed.
He said: ”No one would be allowed to ridicule our traditional institutions like the obas, including our past public office holders with unblemished records and go unpunished”, stressing, ‘‘enough is enough.”
”Anybody who tries to disgrace Yoruba leaders will henceforth face the wrath of the group and our ancestors,”he warned.
He, however, added that this did not exclude any Yoruba son and daughter who delights in dragging the reputation of Yoruba leaders in the mud for pecuniary gain.
”You can’t see any Hausa man abuse any of his leaders on the pages of newspapers no matter the area of political difference,” Ojo noted.
He added: ”It’s high time we fostered unity amongst ourselves and stop attacking one another.”
The group commended President Buhari for the initiative to immortalise prominent Yoruba leaders while they are still alive rather than singing their praise after their demise.
Admonishing the president to ignore those calling for the expunging of Tinubu’s name from the list, he pointed out that the president’s action would serve as an incentive for others to excel in their respective areas of human endeavour to earn such recognition in future.