Yorubas have once again reiterated their determination to pursue Yoruba nation should the Federal Government delay in restructuring Nigeria.
At a summit organised by the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) on Thursday July 15, 2021 at the University of Ibadan, stakeholders agreed that it was time for Yoruba to assert their choice in Nigeria.m which is true federalism or a separate nation. They said either of the options would best serve their interest.
The summit themed ‘Rekindling the Yoruba Nationalism: Whither Yoruba Nation?’ held at the Otunba Subomi Balogun Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, had Professor Derin Ologbenla while Prof. Olurode corroborated his position that restructuring was better than having a separate Yoruba nation.
Ologbenla, who is the Head, Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, said the constitution forbids secession, pointing out that the major problem of Nigeria is the system which only needs to be restructured. He noted that the 1999 Constitution does not empower anybody to change the structure because it is rigid.
Ologbenla said Yoruba should have a rethink about secession because it comes with its own problems.
“If we will become Oodua State, what is the plan? How many people are on board? We need to think deep on how we should go,” he said.
In his own submission, Prof. Olurode said there was no guarantee that the Yoruba nation “we are craving for will be a peaceful country or the realities will be far different from what we have today.”
He added: “I will prefer that, looking at the historical antecedent, what we have done to make Nigeria what it is today won’t make it easy for Yoruba to take their exit. So, we should create and package restructuring in the way it will be acceptable and there should be serious strategic thinking.”
Contributing, the Secretary-General of Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr. Kunle Olajide, noted that there are Yorubas who have been in the North and East for 100 years.
He said with the state of the economy, there are a lot of people who can’t wake up in the morning with N1000 in their pocket.
“How do you want to bring them back to Yoruba land? How do you want to settle them? What plans do you have for them? Where are the resources?” Olajide queried.
He added: “I believe we are endowed with human beings with a lot of mental capacity not to take irrational decisions.
“The younger element are our children and we feel for them but they will be commiting mass suicide if they keep agitating for Yoruba nation. We know that the future appears bleak for them but it is better to have a fairly bleak future because you can always have other options in future than to get crushed with bombs and life does not have a duplicate. In other words, we need to examine all options and see the one with the least damage.”
But other speakers including the Iyaloja of Ibadan, Chief Mrs Abiola Ameringun, differed with them. She said the constitution is not working. She posited that Yoruba should their different way since President Muhammadu Buhari is not positive to restructuring.
“Yorubas are very intelligent people and we should use the right way,” she added.
Representatives of self-determination groups corroborated her position, saying that it has become worthless pushing for restructuring because northerners are not interested in it.
Welcoming participants, ARG chairman, Hon. Wale Oshun, said the country was at a crossroad, adding that the purpose of the summit was to listen to the voice of the Yoruba people on what they want.
He noted that the summit was to feel the pulse of the Yoruba people if they still want to be part of the country and the changes they will like to see.
“We realized that people have been advocating for restructuring since 1992, so people are saying 29 years down the line, what is the sense in keeping and asking for the same thing that nobody is even listening to? We want to find out from ourselves the way forward which is the purpose of this meeting” he said.