Akintoye: Yoruba believe self-determination agitation will succeed

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More Yoruba are now confident that the agitation for self-determination will succeed, the President, Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof. Banji Akintoye, has said.

Akintoye: Yoruba believe self-determination agitation will succeed

According to him, the number of “fervent supporters” of Yoruba self-determination advocates at home and in the Diaspora is “constantly expanding”.

Akintoye, whose group champions the agitation for Yoruba self-determination, told The Nation that “hundreds” of other organisations have bought into the struggle.

He said: “I think it is obvious to the world today that the agitation for self-determination is the most popular and most powerful movement among the Yoruba people today, at home in Nigeria and in every country where you have the Yoruba Diaspora in the world.

“Whereas every other movement of change among the Yoruba is by one organisation or one dimensional, the Yoruba self-determination movement is advocated by hundreds of different organisations.

“Each such organisation may have its direction but each contributes resolutely and significantly to the movement for Yoruba self-determination.

“In fact, among the advocates for Yoruba self-determination at home and abroad, there is now a feeling of confidence that the Yoruba self-determination struggle cannot be defeated.

“A constantly expanding majority of Yoruba people at home and in the Diaspora are fervently in support of self-determination.”

On the question of whether true federalism is not better than secession, the don said: “We Nigerians started with the spirit of federalism. If that had worked, we might have been able to live together happily as a federation.

“But, unfortunately, certain negative tendencies and directions crept in.

“For a start, it was just that a section of the country wanted to have the lion share or dominant position within the federation.

“That was a purely political phenomenon and the other section of the country could respond to it by civil political means and processes. That’s the meaning of restructuring.

“The objective of restructuring is to restore the federal spirit and structure to Nigeria.

“But, as of today, Nigeria is no longer witnessing a federalist spirit. What Nigeria is witnessing is not merely a politically civil movement toward politically civil dominance.

“It has become meaningless to ask for restructuring. The game is long past that point.

“Every Nigerian nationality that does not want to be destroyed, or subjugated has only two clear options today.

“First; to scramble as best as they can to defend their homeland and, second; to find their way to wriggle out and establish their self-determination as a people in the world.

“That is what most people of the South and the Middle Belt are now doing. Is it going to be easy? Of course not! But it is doable.

“Does it have to be violent and beyond the law? Of course not. It can be done by peaceful and law-abiding means and it is such means that Yoruba self-determination advocates have chosen.

“The Yoruba people are very conscious of their place in the history of the black race.

“They want to establish their self-determination in ways that cause little or no violence and that leave chances for peaceful friendly neighbours afterwards.

“Is any of these illegal? Of course not! The international laws of our time, the constitution and convention of the United Nations, the African Union and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples all affirm that self-determination is an inalienable right of all nationalities in the world.

“So, when the Yoruba people or any other Nigerian people peacefully seek to establish their self-determination they are not breaking any law and are not acting in any criminal manner.”

He advocated a political solution to resolve the situation involving Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu.

Akintoye said: “It’s obvious that political solutions are inevitable in most political conflict cases. But the political solution has to come not from a government that sees itself as all right and dissenting Nigerians as all wrong.

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