For any nation that is a melting pot of several cultures, there is always a propensity for a division. This was the case when, over the weekend, a Yoruba coalition group declared the “Oduduwa Republic” and also announced their quest for secession.
The coalition group known as Yoruba Liberation Command (YOLICOM) made this announcement on July 27, 2017, the World Press Conference day held at the International Press Centre Ogba, Lagos state. Mr Opeoluwa Akinola, the spokesperson of the coalition, said Nigeria is slowing down the progress of the Yorubas, killing and maiming the citizenry for selfish interests.
In a press release, he stated that Nigeria has failed to solve the challenges of peaceful coexistence and that politicians are rather in government for their selfish benefits. Further stating that the widely acclaimed restructuring agenda (which was even rejected by the Senate) – though noble – is not sufficient and will not be an all-inclusive package in the long run.
While announcing the need for their own secession, the group said they support the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra’ (IPOB) quest for self-actualization irrespective of the means. It said it wants an end to the marginalization of some regions in the country and seeks a relationship between the Biafra nation and the Oduduwa republic.
Why the recent agitations?
During the course of the conference, Chief Kunle Oshodi, the Aare Agbekoya of Yoruba land told reporters that the decision is long overdue, reiterating that it was well thought out after a thorough assessment of happenings in the country. Chief Oshodi insists that Agbekoya is the last hope of the Yoruba people.
“If you were not born then, at least you must have heard the history of what Agbekoya did. We can still do what was done in the past. We are always ready and we are bitterly prepared anytime. But I can assure you that Agbekoya is the last hope of the Yoruba land. We don’t just come out; we don’t just fight but when it becomes necessary we may be pushed to do it the way our forefathers did it in the past,” he said.
It is the belief of the leaders of the coalition that the Yoruba race has the capacity, knowledge, intellect and resources both human and natural to transform the proposed republic to a super power in the next 20 years.
Explaining further, Mr Victor Taiwo, President, Oodua Redemption Alliance, at Ibadan said he was definite in his claim that the move was not influenced by recent agitations by Biafrans and Arewa Youth, adding that the agitations for the Oduduwa republic have been on for more than two decades.
“This struggle has always been there. It is not an overnight development. We have been generals in the field over 20 years. Yoruba has been silent, they have not spoken. Our people have lost a sense of direction because nobody is giving them direction. They are in disarray. Somebody just has to come up, we have to tell them this is the direction and our direction as far as we know is to be on our own. We have a dream of turning the Yoruba land to another America. We can do it; within the period of 20 years, we can transform to first world country to a super power country. We have the capacity; we have the knowledge.
We have the intellect; we have the resources both human and natural. We have everything to grow but the impediment has been this Nigerian factor. If you don’t get out of this cocoon you will remain in servitude forever and ever to the detriment of generations yet unborn. This is the best time for us to come out and we are assuring you that we are prepared for anything. We want to do as much as possible to avoid war because there is this Chinese proverb which says the best fighter is the one who wins a war without raising a hand. There are a lot of ways you can win without going to a battle war of intellect. We are peaceful; we don’t want war and we can do it. We are just in the struggle for Yoruba liberation and we are going to achieve it by the grace of God.”
The Nigerian government is yet to comment on this recent development. These agitations further shade more light on the fragile state of the nation. One could also argue that the rejection of the restructuring bid by the Senate indicates the strive for unity and one Nigeria by the government.