Prominent traditional rulers in the six states of the South-west geo-political zone have enjoined all Yoruba sons and daughters to embrace peace and eschew acts that can lead to the disintegration of Nigeria.
The royal fathers, who are the custodians of Yoruba culture and tradition, also kicked against violent agitations for the secession of Yorubaland from the rest of Nigeria.
The traditional rulers, including the Olubadan of Ibadanland in Oyo State, Oba Saliu Adetunji; Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oyo State, Oba Jimoh Oyewunmi Ajagungbade III; Olowo of Owo, Ondo State, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin, Ogunoye III; Oluwo of Iwoland in Osun State, Oba AbdulRasheed Adewale Akanbi; Onisan of Isan-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Oba Gabriel Adejuwon Adetila; Olu of Moloko-Asipa, Igbore, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oba Nureni Nasiru Adesina; and the Elemure of Emure-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Oba Emmanuel Adebowale Adebayo, stated this when a delegation of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum [YAF] led by its National Coordinator, Adeshina Animashaun, paid them peace advocacy and courtesy visits in their respective palaces last week.
The royal fathers warned that Yoruba race would gain nothing but only lose out in any violent confrontation with the federal government and the rest of the country in any attempt to dismember Nigeria.
According to them, violence will only end up in worsening the already tense situation in the country.
They stressed that those agitating for a separate Yoruba Nation were not representatives of the entire Yoruba race, warning that such persons and groups were only hiding under a veil to achieve their selfish objectives.
The royal fathers advised Yoruba youths to support all efforts to ensure absolute peace in Nigeria and appealed to the individuals and groups agitating for a separate Yoruba nation to sheathe their swords and rather join hands with other patriots to work the development and growth of Nigeria.
They, however, enjoined all aggrieved Yoruba to register to vote in the 2023 general elections in order to right the perceived wrongs being suffered by the people of the region under the Nigerian Federation.
Olubadan said, “I’m happy over your visit to my palace. I can see the wisdom in what you’re doing. So many things are happening at this point in time.
“I want to assure you that the Yoruba are not sleeping or docile. My prayer is that Yorubaland will not experience any chaos or violence. Before we are all Nigerians, we’re first and foremost Yoruba. We all know our different origins and sources. Nigeria today is divided into six geo-political zones and we’re in the South-west.
We have South-East, South-South, North-Central, North-East and North-West. But if we look very well today, out of all of them, it is the South-West that is most developed. Is it the area of the economy, education, health, road infrastructure and so on? God has been very merciful to us (South-West). God has also blessed Yorubaland with prominent Pastors, Imams and traditional religionists. All these eminent Yoruba sons and daughters are not resting on their oars at all. They hold meetings regularly – the royal fathers, the governors. There is this meeting called South-West Stakeholders Forum.
“We can’t address a crisis with another crisis. We mustn’t allow the situation to degenerate. If some people are planning to cause chaos, we mustn’t allow them to spoil things. We’ll appeal to them with reasons that those bent on destroying the country should be avoided so that they won’t drag you and me as well as all Yoruba into their mischief. Please, remain patient. It shall be well with us all.”
Speaking in the same vein, Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba [Dr] Oladunni Oyewunmi Ajagungbade III, warned those agitating for a separate Yoruba Nation to perish the thought, saying the Yoruba race has nothing to benefit from seceding from a united Nigeria.
Oba Oyewunmi enjoined Yoruba youths to rather prepare to register to vote and participate massively in the 2023 general elections.
The monarch said, “Which ethnic group in Nigeria is the largest? You’re talking about 2023 elections, I think the majority will always carry the vote. This you should not forget. This is one area you should work on.
“Talking about agitations for secession, where will the Yoruba go to? God created us all to live together. I remember when we had three regions, we had been cooperating and doing things together and there was no problem. When you were all voting then, nobody talked about secession, why should we now be talking about division. If we secede, where do we want to go now?
“When I was in Jos, the then Ooni Adesoji Aderemi had a company in Jos and whenever he came around, we’ll all meet him at Hill Station. If there was no cooperation would he have his company there? I’m not in support of any ethnic group seceding from Nigeria. I’ll advise you to pursue programmes that will bring peace to all Nigerians. You, youths should come together and take up this challenge.”
On his part, the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, stated that there was no basis for the current agitations by some persons for the secession of Yorubaland from the rest of the country.
Oba Ogunoye, however, advocated for a return of the country to true Federalism, saying the constitution of Nigeria by different ethnic groups necessitated the adoption of true Federalism at independence.
“If we can return to true Federalism, everything will be fine for Nigeria. For now, there is no basis for agitations for secession. Before independence, the realisation of the fact that we are of different ethnic nationalities necessitated the adoption of true Federalism. May God help us. Yorubaland won’t disintegrate or be destroyed,” he told the YAF delegation at his palace in Owo, Ondo State.
The Oluwo of Iwoland in Osun State, Oba AbdulRasheed Adewale Akanbi, during the visit to his palace by YAF, expressed his opposition to any plan by the Yoruba to break away from the rest of Nigeria.
Oba Akanbi, who was represented by the Aro of Iwo, Chief Ola IyanuOluwa, who received the YAF delegation at the Oluwo’s palace in Iwo, warned those agitating for a separate Yoruba nation not instigate crisis in Yorubaland.
The monarch, however, commended YAF for embarking on the peace advocacy and courtesy visits to royal fathers all over Yorubaland.
According to him, “War is never predictable, may God save us all. Although we’re not happy, we’re not satisfied with the way things are in Nigeria, we’ve been hearing people talking about secession, Yoruba Nation and all that. We’re praying that God should help rearrange Nigeria. We know the result will be a positive one so long as we all have good intention to make Nigeria better. So, all the actions you’re taking are satisfactory to us and may God grant you success.
“Our father, Oluwo is not in support of any secession plan by the Yoruba or the dismemberment of Nigeria and we as his chiefs align with his views. May God help us to rearrange Nigeria, our country will not disintegrate. Amen.”
While also receiving the YAF team at his palace in Isa-Ekiti in Ekiti State, the Onisan of Isan-Ekiti, Oba Gabriel Ayodele Adejuwon Adetila, Ilufemiloye I, warned that it’s impossible for Yorubaland to secede from Nigeria.
Oba Adetila, who also praised YAF for embarking on such a peace advocacy programme, stressed that rather than going to war or instigating violence, the right things must be done by all to achieve unity and ensure peace.
The monarch noted that the Yoruba nation being agitated for could still exist within a united Nigeria.
He said, “We know your mission is that of peace and that’s what we want. Obasanjo and those who fought the Nigerian Civil War do not have any palatable thing to say about the war. Although there is no war now, people cannot go to their farms because of the kidnappers and killer-herdsmen. No single individual can go to his farm now alone unless they go as a team. That’s under the current situation where we are not at war, then what will happen if there is now war in the country?
“Your group has taken a good step to ensure peace all over Nigeria. This country, Nigeria, belongs to us all and we all are stakeholders and owners of the resources the country is endowed with. And so we can’t just suddenly say now that we want to secede from Nigeria. So, we must follow the right path to ensure unity and peace. What has been militating against unity in Yorubaland is personal interests of the individuals. Everybody is fighting and struggling to achieve his political aim.
“Your visit is commendable and we’ve heard you and we will tell other Obas about it so that they can all join hands to support your cause rather than backing those agitating for secession and division of the country. What you’re doing is very peaceful means devoid of war. Your method is about dialogue and finding out what we as citizens have been denied and what can we do about it? With this, even if they cannot address all our grievances, something substantial can still be done to assuage the feelings of the people and we too will know that we still have some hope in the future of Nigeria.
“If we are talking about Oodua Nation, it’s a good thing but it can still exist within a united Nigeria. If we are all united, there will be development and growth in it. But it’s not that we’ll secede or not be part of Nigeria anymore. No! It will be within a united Nigeria. Nigeria will continue to progress. We know what you’re doing is not for your own personal gains but for the entire Yoruba race. God will continue to protect you all.”
The Elemure of Emure-Ekiti, Oba Emmanuel Adebowale Adebayo, who also hosted the YAF delegation in his palace in Emure-Ekiti, Ekiti State, warned Yoruba youths not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to foment trouble under the guise of agitating for Yoruba nation.
According to Oba Adebayo, “Nobody should be thinking of fighting any war. Whoever wants to fight war should withdraw all his children in America and UK back home to fight. How many of our politicians’ children are part of all these troubles? They should bring their own children back home and make them the captains of the battalions, which they won’t be ready to do.
“Let’s look at what is happening in Afghanistan, and all other war-torn countries of the world, very serious situations. I was watching on TV how, is it Mozambique now, that they say hunger is taking over almost the whole of that country. And the whole world would be thinking everything is useless in Africa. May God help us. So, I encourage you to just carry on, don’t be discouraged.”
Also while welcoming the YAF delegation to his palace in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the Olu of Moloku-Asipa, Igbore, Abeokuta, Oba Nureni Nasiru Adesina, said that the Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, had always insisted on peaceful co-existence throughout his domain and Nigeria at large.
Oba Adesina expressed opposition to acts that can result in any threat to peace in Yorubaland and Nigeria, warning that in the event of any violence or war, the weak and vulnerable have always been the victims and the worst-hit.
He advised parents to warn their children against being used by anyone as political thugs.
The monarch added, “I want to thank you all for embarking on this journey. About three weeks ago, our market leaders went to Alake’s palace and I was there. The Alake told them we should pray there won’t be war in Nigeria. He said we don’t want war in this country. He said we should seek all means to ensure peaceful settlement of whatever grievances people may have.
“Alake, however, enjoined all the traditional rulers in Egbaland to ensure and maintain peace in our respective domains. He said we should strive to settle any differences between our people amicably and peacefully.
“I want to advise all Yoruba that we should reckon with our leaders and take advice. I don’t want us to go to war. Our forefathers did not really fight wars as such. Going to war is not the next thing for us in Yorubaland. If we decide to go to war, it is usually the innocent and the weak that will end up being the casualties. But if we avoid war and be patient and peacefully, peace will be further entrenched.
“But I’ll advise you to also reach out to our elderly traditional rulers to seek their advice becaue they too know Yorubaland belongs to us all. We don’t want war. In my domain here, there is peace. We hold regular meetings here and stress that cooperation is very important.
“For us parents, we all must advise and talk to our children. We should let them know that there is no gain in allowing themselves to be used as political thugs. Those politicians using them as thugs have their own children in schools in the US and UK where they are enjoying themselves. So, why should we now allow them to be using our children as thugs. Let’s talk to all our children. I always tell the youths here that I won’t like anyone to use as thugs, but I’m always ready to help them get jobs. This is what I want all parents to tell their children, we should warn them so that everything will go on smoothly in the country.”