Summit to Address Yoruba Unity Approaches


Raheem Akingbolu

Worried by lack of unity among the Yorubas, a pressure group, Egbe Omo Yoruba in the North America, has concluded arrangement to hold The World Yoruba Summit in Ibadan to sensitise the Yoruba nation on the need to have a united force. The group has also identified the need for economic empowerment of the youths as the leaders of tomorrow and a vital component of the repositioning plan. The summit is slated for University of Ibadan between October 17 and 22 with the theme, ‘Yoruba Renaissance: Understanding Our Past For A Better Future’.

President of the organisation, Agbaakin Bolu Omodele during a press briefing in Lagos said the association, founded as a result of the unexpected annulment of the June 12 election in 1993, decided to organise the summit to promote Yoruba unity and empower the youths.

Omodele, who expressed concern over the lackadaisical attitude of Yoruba leaders toward issues of general interest and their unbridled concern for financial gain, however pointed out that there are some Yoruba leaders, who are equally concerned about lack of unity among the Yorubas and have strived very well to arrest the situation. The president pointed out that Egbe Omo Yoruba is convinced that a big platform like the proposed Ibadan summit will help leaders of thoughts in Yoruba land to reason together and identify challenges facing the people and how to chart a new path for the development of the nation.

“Twenty-three years after we established the association with record of involvements in some national discourse, we have decided to move in at this critical period of our country to address issues related to unity. We have not had any meeting in Nigeria since then, that is why we are convening a world summit of all Yorubas in October in Ibadan. I stand to be corrected but the truth is that we have discovered over time that the Yorubas are not as united as our counterpart from the Northern part of the country. It appears that our leaders are more concerned about personal gain in the power game. We members of Egbe Omo Yoruba in North America now think there is urgent need for us to bring our people together to talk about our unity; our culture and those inherent values deposited in us by almighty God that will help us speak with one voice. We believe the best thing to do is to allow our collective interest to override our individual interest,” he said.

Earlier, a former president of the association, Agbaakin Adeola Odusanya, had appreciated the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, who he said has been campaigning for unity since he assumed office. He also appreciated former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who during a visit to the U.S. advised members of the association to come to the country and galvanise their people on the need to have a united force.

To make the impact of the summit to cut across, Agbaakin Adeola stated that the group had reached out to the Yorubas in Cuba, Brazil, Republic of Benin and other places to join hands with them and assemble for the summit. He also added that the leadership of the association has been moving round to meet traditional rulers, leaders of thought and top government functionaries in the South-west to impress them on the importance of buying into the summit.

Speaking on measures being put in place to make sure the summit is not hijacked by any politician or political party for selfish interest, the Publicity Secretary of the association, Mrs. Sola Yusuf-Aiwinnilomo, said the funding of the summit is restricted to members’ donation and support from individuals, who share their dream. The Publicity Secretary said the summit would also create a forum for workshop on empowerment, adding, “We want to use the workshop to galvanise the youths to be agents of change. We want our people to support federal government move on job creation and economic diversification.” She also disclosed further that the World Yoruba Summit has received the royal blessings of Ooni of Ife and other traditional rulers in Yoruba land, including the monarch of Ile-Oluji, in Ondo State, who has given the organisation some hectares of land for agricultural purposes.