Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
By Omololu Ogunmade
The Yoruba race under the aegis of newly-formed Yoruba National Assembly will on Thursday, converge on Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to launch fresh campaign for regional autonomy in Nigeria.
Convener of the meeting and former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Alani Akinriade, told a news conference in Lagos yesterday that prominent Yoruba leaders, including traditional rulers, irrespective of party affiliation among those that will grace the occasion.
According to Akinriade, the meeting will present to the nation, the revised edition of Yoruba Agenda, which he said would contain what the race wants from the federation as well as its clamours for autonomy, adding that other ethnic groups in the country would be expected to take a cue from the idea by evolving their own agendas for autonomy.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-west has cautioned Yoruba leaders against any agenda capable of further causing disunity among the people.
The party described a conference organised by a new group that called itself The Yoruba Assembly, scheduled for Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Thursday as a direct attack on the Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF) meeting convened by respected Yoruba leaders last Thursday at the Ikenne country home of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Zonal Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Kayode Babade, said in a statement issued in Ibadan Monday that “since there was a meeting of the YUF last Thursday at the instance of Yeye O’odua, Chief HID Awolowo, holding another meeting eight days after is suspicious.”
“Although we have a lot of respect for General Alani Akinrinade (rtd), Convener of the next Thursday meeting, we however, hasten to warn that any agenda by shadowy politicians in Yoruba land capable of causing further disunity among the Yoruba people will not be supported by the PDP.
“Our attention has been drawn to newspaper adverts announcing a meeting tagged; ‘The Yoruba Assembly’ at Ibadan on Thursday and we wish to state that we in the PDP are not part of the meeting.
“Our reason is that the only person whose voice was generally respected as that of the Yoruba Nation was the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
“It is therefore questionable that last week, a meeting of the Yoruba Unity Forum was held in Awolowo’s residence in Ikenne with none of the promoters of the next Thursday meeting in attendance. The Yoruba people spoke so clearly at the Ikenne meeting and nothing must be done to diminish the importance of the decisions taken there.
“It is therefore very suspicious that some people who shunned the meeting of Yoruba leaders in the home of Awolowo will be organising another meeting eight days after?
“We in the PDP therefore wish to dissociate ourselves from the so called Yoruba Assembly scheduled for Thursday in Ibadan, and we shall continue to be suspicious of such gatherings until those organising them are able to tell the entire Yoruba people why they have not been attending the Yoruba Unity Forum meetings,” Babade said.