Yoruba leaders across states where there are indigenous Yoruba in Nigeria are sharply divided over the appropriateness of the agitation for Oduduwa Republic.
According to Vanguard, they were mainly on different pages with promoters of the self-determination plan, insisting that what the ethnic group needs is restructuring and not an independent country.
Drawn from the six South-West states, including Kwara and Kogi states where a sizable number of indigenous Yoruba are found, the leaders said the agitation for secession affirms that Nigeria is long due for restructuring.
Prof Banji Akintoye-led Yoruba World Congress, Dr.Shina Okanlomo’s Yoruba One Voice, and other affiliate Yoruba groups are spearheading the move, which seems to be gaining traction lately.
The consensus among the pro-secessionists bodies is that Nigeria has failed the Yoruba nation, hence the calls for autonomy.
“We only want Oduduwa Republic, and that is all. To everyone accusing other tribes, please, stop it, that may bring a crisis in the cause of our struggle,” Akintoye said recently.
Specifically, a rally has been scheduled by YOV to hold on October 1, 2020, which incidentally, is Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary. ‘
According to YOV, which described itself as the umbrella group of 300 associations of Yoruba descendants in the world, the rally was designed to draw global attention to the need to “liberate Yoruba race.”
Already, the proposed event has attracted the sympathy of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB. Kanu had asked IPoB members to sit at home on October 1, in solidarity with the Yoruba self-determination rally.
However, speaking to Vanguard on the development, Secretary-General, Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide, said there is no consensus among the Yoruba on secession.
His words, “I have not seen any Yoruba Oba who supports self-determination. Olubadan was the only one at the Ibadan conference, and High Chief Lekan Balogun represented him.
“And Lekan Balogun only pleaded for unity and peace among the Yoruba. He did not preach self-determination.
“Akintoye believes he can achieve self-determination peacefully, but I don’t know how he wants to go about it. He has yet to seek the consensus of the Yoruba nation. He must seek their consent.
“For example, Lagos State indigenes believe they are not Oduduwa. The same thing applies to Awujale of Ijebuland, who claimed they, Ijebu, come from Wadai.
“I think the best thing he needs to do is to seek consensus of the Yoruba nation. And there are quite a significant number of Yoruba leaders who believe we can still achieve a restructured Nigeria.
“I do not know what they mean by autonomy. What we need as a country is genuinely a restructured Nigeria.
“Yoruba leaders have made tremendous sacrifices for the unity of this country. We do not feel the country should disintegrate even if it is through peaceful means.
“We need a larger forum involving all our Obas to seek their opinion if at all we consider it very necessary. The Yoruba are justifiably angry about the price they have paid for Nigeria and what we have faced unjustly.
“To the best of my knowledge, there are many Yoruba leaders who still believe this country can be rescued because of the benefits that will accrue to all parts. There is no part of the country that is happy with the state of the nation today.
“Even the North appears to be most unsafe in the country today. Unfortunately, the federal government has done more harm to the mutual bond that existed among Nigerians.”