Yoruba celebrate 60 years of self-rule, seek Oduduwa republic
Hundreds of Yoruba sons and daughters yesterday celebrated the 60th anniversary of internal self-rule of Western Nigeria and demanded for the establishment of Oduduwa republic.
They lauded the late political sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and pre-independence politicians for their vision which made the region to be self-determined in 1957 and their subsequent roles that led to Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
Former Editor of Daily Times, Chief Adeola Oyebola, delivered a keynote address, which was intermittently disrupted by the agitators demanding for Oduduwa republic.
The event was organised by a renowned Yoruba group, Atayese, being led by Mr. Tokunbo Ajasin, the scion of a former Governor of Ondo State, the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin.
Chairman of Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Wale Oshun, said the dissolution remained the only viable option if ethnic nationalities would not respect each other’s rights.
Oshun, represented by the programme officer of the group, Mr. Segun Balogun, said: “For the Yoruba people, our position is simple, clear and unwavering: we wish to live in a country where every ethnic nationality is respected and given its autonomous space to pilot its development affairs, while we all build a strong and united Nigeria.”
Also, the Guest Speaker, Prof. Bunmi Ayoade, said it bereft of wisdom if one section of the country is agitating for secession and another one is busy issuing quit notice to a section and Yoruba people keep sealed lips and remain docile.
“Some people are clamouring for secession, we cannot say no if they feel that is a way out. Some youths in the North also say they don’t want others in their region. But since, we Yoruba have kept quiet. Whether there is wisdom in our silence or not, that I cannot say.”
He said it was unacceptable for someone to sit in Abuja and be controlling the affairs of people in the South-West.
Ayoade, who discouraged proliferation of groups with divided voice, said if the trend continued, no attention would be paid to the demands of the Yoruba people.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Atayese, Tokunbo Ajasin, said the 60th anniversary was intended to offer those above 50 years an opportunity to remember the golden age of Western Nigeria, which was brought to an abrupt end by the Federal Government declaration of state of emergency in 1962.
He said: “The structure of government has progressively moved from being federal to a unitary system ever since. In our very eyes, it is getting more unitary and I must say that the more unitary it becomes, the greater the level of corruption and bad governance.”