Nigeria’s progress tied to regionalism ― Oodua Progressives Union

• Presses for Igboho, Kanu's release from detention

The African Union chapter of Oodua Progressives Union (OPU) on Thursday said Nigeria’s progress is tied to regionalism, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to go into the new year with renewed hope and determination to save the country from possible disintegration.

The Yoruba diaspora group stated this position in a communique at the end of its annual summit themed: “The Struggle for Nation-building,” held via zoom, with 1,000 participants in attendance.

Besides, OPU also pressed for the release of detained Yoruba self-determination agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Igboho and that of the leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and other agitators from detention.

OPU expressed worry that the trajectory of the Nigerian nation since independence had triggered growing concerns from the various ethnic nationalities that make up the nation, but said the new year offered ample chance and opportunities for the president to salvage the country from the looming implosion, even as it maintained that the struggle for nation-building is an enduring process of development.

Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, who is also the global convener of the group, in his speech, said Nigeria progress was tied to regionalism, insisting that the only way to rekindle the hope of the country was to allow the federating units to grow and develop at their own pace.

“Nigeria is creeping badly. For over six decades of its nationhood, the country has never been a nation where peace and justice reign. Today, every ethnic nationality that makes up the country are crying for justice.

“In Nigeria for example, there are some factors that hindered the struggle for nation-building. And some of these factors include a poor justice system, bad leadership, poor legislation and corruption.

“But in order to save Nigeria, we must go back to regionalism where all the federating units grow and develop at their own pace. We must also discourage regional and religious sentiment as it affects the process of nation-building. We must rid the country of corrupt leaders,” he said.

The guest lecturer, Dr Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu, from the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, argued that the British philosophy was not to create a nation but to create a system a cosmetic arrangement that would later trigger ethnic conflicts and agitations.

The university don, in his submission, noted that the agitators would continue unless the Federal Government addressed the salient issues holistically.

“The widespread agitation was directed to an entity called Nigeria. The post-colonial issues that brought Nigeria to its kneels were as a result of injustice, nepotism corruption and abuse of human rights, however, to build a nation, we must go back to the roots of the problem,” Adeyemi-Suenu said.

Meanwhile, Prof. Kolawole Raheem, an environmentalist from the University of Education, Winneba Ghana, in his speech, highlighted the various challenges and struggles of African nations in line with their demand for independence.

Citing the cases of Ghana as the first nation to gain independence under the leadership of the late Kwame Nkrumah, he equally used Nigeria as a case study and what the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo did during his years as premier of the
Western Region.

The university don also reiterated the need to give women enough opportunity to engage in the nation-building process, insisting that women can no longer play a second fiddle on issues that affect their lives and their future.

African Union Coordinator, Otunba Oluwasegun Ogunpitan, restated the urgent need to reinvent the glory of the Yoruba race, saying it was the responsibility of the group to promote the Yoruba language across the world.

“It is our duty to save the Yoruba language from going into extinction. The Yoruba language is one of the most important aspects of our culture and it remains one of the most important legacies that we can hand over to the next generations,” he said.

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