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No going back on self-determination, Akintoye restates

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Banji Akintoye

Says anyone saying Nigeria better together wants Yoruba to perish
A foremost Yoruba leader, Prof. Banji Akintoye, has said that anyone who says Nigeria is better together wants the Yoruba people to perish.

Akintoye said people who did not understand fully the enormity of the danger that faced the Yoruba nation and those who want to benefit from Nigeria at all costs and detriment of their people, are those against self-determination but instead pushing for restructuring.

Akintoye, who is also the chairman of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS), stated this during an interview with The Guardian in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

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He said: “We are insisting on self-determination because it is the only solution now that is meaningful. Any other solution is not meaningful. We are facing an existential situation and the answer is not just to protect ourselves now but also take the measure that will lead to perpetual protection. The only way to achieve that is to have a separate country of our own.

“There will always be some Yoruba leaders that believe in restructuring instead of secession. One, people who do not understand fully the enormity of the danger facing the Yoruba nation. Two, people who understand but are wondering what will happen to them to replace the benefits they are enjoying. People who have high ambitions and they have contributed high to Nigeria and they want to benefit from it at all costs. Even if their people perish, such people will oppose it.

“They are opposing, but we don’t blame them. They are human beings. What is important is that those of us who believe in our objectives will be strong in the struggle.

“Anybody who says Nigeria is better together is saying that some people must perish.”

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On the statement by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, that there would be need to obtain a visa to Kano if Nigeria is dismembered, Akintoye said: “If we want to go to the Benin Republic, won’t we take a visa? There is no problem. Anywhere outside Yorubaland, we will take visa. That is natural.”

The professor, who also faulted the insinuations that if Yoruba get independence, sub-units in the region might also demand independence and what happened in Sudan might repeat itself here, said: “Sudan has the problem we don’t have. Sudan is made up of small ethnic groups. They were fighting as different ethnic groups. When independence came, despite the assurance that they were going to hold together, the leaders could not do it. Therefore, they were fighting among themselves. And they have been killing one another since then.”

“That cannot happen in Yorubaland. We are one people, one culture and one language. That is a deliberate distortion. Ethnic factors have never played a part in our history.”

“We can get out of this Nigeria without violence. We don’t have to insult any people. We don’t have to insult other ethnic groups. We don’t have to be hostile towards other people. We don’t have to disobey the government or disrespect the laws of Nigeria. We can achieve our purposes by being ourselves. We are civilized people. That is my message to the Yoruba people. We are sophisticated people.”

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