Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, has distanced himself from the agitation for secession by Yoruba nation agitators who held a rally in the state on Saturday, saying he has never gave his blessings for the rally and would not support the secession plans being promoted by some Yoruba leaders.
In a statement issued in Akure by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Richard Olatunde, on Sunday, Akeredolu maintained that he neither believes nor supports the quest for a Yoruba nation out the present Nigeria.
Olatunde, who said the statement became necessary to correct the erroneous impression created by the secessionist that the governor was in support of the agitation for a Yoruba nation and had the governor’s blessing on the rally, said although the governor acknowledged the right of individuals and groups to organise rally but it must not be misunderstood to be support, stressing that the promoters of the rally are on their own.
Recall that Yoruba nation agitators under the auspices of Ilana Omo Oodua, on Saturday, organised a rally in Akure, the Ondo State capital, saying no going back on the demand for Yoruba nation.
Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho, had during the rally said the people and group received the blessings of Akeredolu and other South West Governors for the rally.
“We have the support of our governors in the South West, and I want to assure them that this rally across the South West region will not lead to violence,” Igboho said.
But Akeredolu in the statement said his acknowledgement of the right of individuals and groups to hold peaceful rallies must not be misconstrued to mean support for secessionist agenda or balkanization of the nation.
The statement read: “It has come to the knowledge of the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, that some group of persons who held a rally under the cover of what they term ‘secessionist agitations’ in Akure, on Saturday, May 22, 2021, erroneously claimed to have had his support for the rally.
“Governor Akeredolu wishes to state clearly that while he acknowledges the right of individuals and groups to hold peaceful rallies, it must not be misconstrued to mean support for secessionist agenda and or balkanization of the nation. Far from it.
“Unequivocally, the Governor’s opinion on the Akure rally or any other of its ilk, is only to the effect that he is not opposed to any civil protest which is not in breach of the extant laws of the Nation.
“He neither believes, nor supports the quest for the Yoruba Nation outside of Nigeria in the manner canvassed. Governor Akeredolu stands by a virile, united and indivisible Nigeria as demanded by the Southern Governors’ Forum.
“Therefore, the vigour, zeal, leadership and candour displayed by Governor Akeredolu for a just and fair Nigeria is altruistic, and borne out of patriotism for the Nation as well as love for his people, the Yoruba ethnic nationality.
“It is important, therefore, to state without any equivocation that the Yoruba Nation secessionist promoters do not enjoy any lending hand in Governor Akeredolu.”