Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
A Yoruba leader, Prof. Banji Akintoye, yesterday raised an alarm of how a group of cabals are turning Yoruba to slaves in apparent reference to the current travails of its son in the presidency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Akintoye while speaking at the House of Chiefs, Ibadan, venue of the event marking the 126th anniversary of the Kiriji War; the civil war that engulfed Yoruba land from 1877 to 1893, said the smoke from the fire on Osinbajo was visible to every discerning Yoruba sons and daughters.
His statement also coincided with the reports from another meeting of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), which expressed concerns over the adoption of Ruga settlement for Fulani herders by some states in the northern parts of the country and wared that it may eventually spread to the South-West zone.
Akintoye who was fielding questions from journalists after the event with a special public lecture on “Yoruba : Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow,” said: “There cannot be a smoke without fire, although we don’t know where the fire is but we can see the smoke all around.
“Yoruba are in a terrible situation in Nigeria because all the travail Osinbajo is going through shows that we Yoruba are now like slaves in this country, so we need to dig ourselves out of it.
“We have been hearing a lot of negative things about the Vice President in the presidency, but the important thing is for us to find out exactly what is happening.
“All we are hearing is just like a smoke, but we don’t know where the fire came from so whatever that might be happening to him now demonstrated that whoever that is not part of the people who control the Federal Government of Nigeria, is only allowed in the Federal Government on surveillance, so, the person can be kicked out whenever they like.
“There are people among those controlling the Federal Government of Nigeria who have a lot of heavy questions to answer but they are protected by the power that be.”
The event was chaired by renowned historian, Prof. Bolanle Awe, while the keynote lecture was delivered by Prof. Akintoye.
Also present at the event include the General Secretary of the committee, Prof. Anthony Kila; Oloye Lekan Alabi and Chief Segun Odegbami, among others.
Meanwhile, chieftains of the YCE yesterday expressed the fear over adoption of Ruga programme by the northern states.
The Yoruba elders, who spoke through Col. Ade Dansaaki at a meeting held at the Bodija residence of Prof. Adetoun Ogunseye, said: “We are worried about the Ruga settlement which is taking root in some Northern states. We are worried that it may be surreptitiously moved to some states in the Southern parts of the country.”
“Farmers are complaining about the antics of the herdsmen. We appeal to the government to revert to the old farm settlements across the zone. If animal husbandry is established, it should be manned by our people and not the Fulani. Any cattle trade must be undertaken by our people.”
The Yoruba elders commended the courageous efforts of six governors of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Ogun States to improve security in the South west zone and check the menace of kidnapping, banditry and other atrocities perpetrated by the herders, adding that it is not yet over because of pockets of incidents that still happen from time to time.
The elders gave their support to the collaboration of the local hunters, Agbekoya and the Odua Progressive Congress (OPC) with conventional security agencies but suggested that the arrangement would be more effective if the local security groups had been working with a formal community police instead of the federal police force.
They also called on governors to accelerate the infrastructural development of the zone, especially highways within the zone that could be described as death traps for motorists.
The YCE noted that the only antidote to the allegations of marginalisation in the country was for the federal government to revisit the issue of restructuring, which majority of Nigerians are clamouring for.