Yoruba Convene Unity Summit to Decide Status in Nigeria


• Governors, lawmakers endorse summit

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

The quest for political restructuring gained momentum yesterday as a coalition of all socio-cultural organisations in South-west and Diasporas plan come together next month to decide status of Yoruba in Nigeria.

The coalition, which will come together under the aegis of Yoruba Summit, will take advantage of the conference to perfect the region’s demand for Yoruba autonomy within a united, peaceful and equitable federation.

The Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, disclosed the plan to THISDAY yesterday, thereby citing the imperatives of the meeting where the position of Yoruba nation would be officially made public.

The Yoruba Assembly, an umbrella platform for all socio-political groups in the South-west, had in a recent communiqué asked the federal government to consider a referendum to enable nationalities constituting Nigeria to decide if they still want to remain together.

The assembly under the leadership of Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd) had then faulted the claim by the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) that some political usurpers “are hiding under the guise of the legitimate agitation for restructuring and self-determination to destabilise the polity is totally untenable.”

In its five-page communiqué signed by all its chartered members, the assembly had then said it was compelled by the rising tension in the Nigerian political space to convene a consultative meeting, which was held in Lagos at the heart of the current agitation for political restructuring and self-determination.

After two months, the Yoruba Assembly issued the communiqué, Odumakin said all socio-cultural organisations in the region would converge on Ibadan next month to decide the position of Yoruba in Nigeria, which was said to the largest gathering of Yoruba people in history.

Exchanging message with THISDAY yesterday, Odumakin disclosed that a summit of Yoruba people in the South-west, Kogi, Kwara States and the Diaspora “is coming up in the next few weeks in Ibadan.”

He said the summit would attract Yoruba leaders across board including governors, topmost traditional rulers, members of National Assembly, opinion leaders, youth, artisans, professional bodies among others.

Odumakin said the summit “will look at the place of Yoruba within Nigeria and articulate the positions of the Yoruba nation for a united, peaceful and equitable federation. It promises to be the biggest gathering of Yoruba in this millennium. All leading Yoruba organisations without exception are on board.

“The planning committee under the leadership of Dr. Kunle Olajide will soon unveil details of the biggest event coming for the Yoruba soon. The need to get verb for Yoruba noun in the syntax of the Nigerian experience necessitated the summit.”

He added that the summit would also deliberate on all issues relating “to a working Nigeria and Yoruba autonomy within it. We have passed through different stages of Nigerian metamorphosis from a federal to a unitary state.

“We need to take a decision on which phase best suits the advancement of Yoruba civilisation. It is being organised under Yoruba Summit. It will hold in Ibadan in a matter of weeks but the planning committe will unveil the exact day soonest,” he explained.

 He therefore, noted that all leading Yoruba organisations without exception “are on board. The planning committee under Dr. Kunle Olajide will soon unveil details of the biggest event coming for the Yoruba soon.”