Yoruba Group Decries Marginalisation in FCT

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The President of the foremost Yoruba association in Abuja, Club Twelve 88 Abuja,   Emmanuel  Odebode  has expressed regret that the representation of the Yoruba in the politics of the FCT had been abysmally low, lamenting that only one councilor of Yoruba origin, Chief BO Taiwo, had served in any of the area councils in Abuja since its inception.

He blamed this situation on the nonchalance of the Yoruba people who have held top positions in the various arms of the government in the territory.

According to him, the Yoruba were pivotal to the founding and development of the FCT and must strive to remain relevant to the social-economic and political developments in the territory.

Odebode gave the advice at the inauguration of club’s new executive council and the launch of a N10 million appeal fund for the provision of special equipment for the training and education of the deaf, dumb and blind in the territory.

Founded in 1988 by 12 friends, all indigenes of the old Oyo State and resident in the FCT, the club was to foster genuine friendship among members, promote the political advancement of the Yoruba in the territory as well as embark on humanitarian and community development projects.

Over the past 31 years, the club has made donations to some hospitals in Abuja, presented cash and materials to orphanages, reactivated boreholes in the Durumi Internally Displace Persons Camp as well as funded the surgical facial reconstruction of three cleft palate children patients in November 2017.

The club has since grown to 30 members drawn from the diplomatic corps, the military, bureaucracy, business sector and the professions.

Odebode, who spoke to reporters at the event recalled that the late Justice Akinola Aguda was the chairman of the committee that recommended the movement of the nation’s capital to Abuja from Lagos while the late Mr. Mobolaji Ajose-Adeogun, another Yoruba man was the pioneer FCT Minister from 1976-79.

Also, the renowned geographer, Professor Akin Mabogunje, he added, was on the frontline of the experts who did the spadework for the setting out of the city.

Other prominent Yoruba men such as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Lt. Gen Oladipo Diya (rtd) and many others including the sitting Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo hold or have held prime political offices in the city.

Besides, the Club President added that a large number of Yoruba professionals and middle-level manpower worked on the development of critical infrastructure in the territory.

He therefore expressed regret that the representation of the Yoruba in the politics of the territory had been abysmally low such that only one councilor of Yoruba origin, Chief B. O. Taiwo had served in any of the area councils in Abuja since its inception.

He blamed this situation on the nonchalance of the Yoruba people who have held top positions in the various arms of the government in the territory.

In his address on the occasion, Mr. Odebode said the group,  had since

its founding, embarked on various humanitarian services.

He said the Club was this year  floating a N10 million fund to provide critical equipment for the School of the Blind, Jabi and the School for the Deaf and Dumb, Kuje, both in the Federal Capital Territory.

Delivering the key note address on the occasion, the National President, Guild of Medical Directors, Professor Olufemi Emmanuel Dokun-Babalola , in his paper titled “Yoruba Vision of Nigeria: Perspectives on the Federal Capital Territory”, expressed concern at the apparent marginalisation of the Yoruba in the FCT power structure. He however called for great caution on the part of the nation’s leaders in the management of Nigeria’s diversity to as to avoid the bitter experiences of countries like Sudan and the former Yugoslavia.

He also advised the Yoruba in their determination to enjoy the best of Nigeria to de-escalate the calls for secession but rather to champion the restructuring of the federation.

The foremost ophthalmologist also called for regional integration in the South West and urged the Yoruba to be more strategic and calculating in their planning while downplaying sentiments and emotions in political decision enjoined parents to imbibe and teach their children the virtues of moderation in spoken words, respect for others, humility, thinking good of others, good character and speaking the truth at all times.

Other virtues he suggested for inculcation in the younger generation are bravery, hard work and intelligence.

With such virtues among the younger generation, he said Yoruba land would be on the way to producing eminent front runners in every field in the mould of  Sapara Williams, Nigeria’s first lawyer who was called to the bar in 1879; Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the slave boy who became the first Nigerian Bishop of the Anglican Church and Herbert Macaulay, the father of Nigerian nationalism.