At 85, Akintoye Calls for Sober Reflection on Nigeria

Banji Akintoye

Yoruba Leader and a Historian, Prof Banji Akintoye, has called for a sober reflection on Nigeria.

Akintoye made this call during a reception held to mark his 85th birthday at the Secretariat of the Yoruba World Congress in Lagos.

Though ebullient and pleased to see leaders of various Yoruba groups affiliated with his Yoruba World Congress, Akintoye was quick to clarify that he had no intention to celebrate or throw party for his 85th birthday.

He declared: “I was at home receiving some family members and friends when our Secretary General, Prof Anthony Kila, summoned me to a meeting at the secretariat and I came to meet all this. Well, all I can say is thank you very much.”

When asked why he did not want to hold a party? Prof Akintoye answered: “There is an ongoing tradition that started close three decades ago in which I celebrate my birthday only every Ten years and the Yoruba communities in the United States have a sort of exclusive rights over that celebration the next one will be in five years’ time if God spears me. So, there is no big celebration today.”

He added that he was not in a very festive mood because of the conditions of the country even though there were more than enough reasons to thank God for a being hale and healthy after seeing over eighty-five years in this world.

The celebrated historian is worried and unhappy about the Nigeria of today: “When I think of what we had in mind for this country, our lofty ideas and the great steps we took at least in the western region under the leadership and of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and we compare the country to where we are today then you will see why I am not happy.

“I look at the state of security or rather insecurity. I consider prospect of our youths. I look at our education and health facilities and other infrastructure. I see too many of our people in abject poverty and I want us to have a sober reflection on what is going on the country. People are sad and unsafe; the future is not looking bright for too many of young our people.”

He also stated the need to rethink this Nigeria because “the way it is so far does not seem to be fit for purpose. We need to change things. We need to review how we want to live together as a people in order to come up with a clear, fair and effective country.

“I want everyone in Nigeria to have a sober reflection on the country, to ask real and questions about our security, health, education and standing in world.”

The historian urged the Yoruba race to rediscover the Omoluabi principles that defined a Yoruba person and to be their brother’s keepers anywhere in the world.