Nobody can subdue Yoruba nation ― Akintoye
• As 72 Yoruba groups meet in Ibadan
The leaders of no fewer than 72 groups from the Yoruba land on Thursday gathered in Ibadan, Oyo State capital and resolved to work together to defend the interest of the Yorubas in Nigeria.
The body also noted that the country would not witness any meaningful development without the restructuring of the present arrangement.
Meeting under the aegis of the Yoruba World Congress, the groups led by the leader of the Yoruba nation, Professor Banji Akintoye, agreed to pull human and financial resources together to ensure the emancipation of the Yoruba race.
Addressing the meeting held at the Jogor Centre, Ibadan, Akintoye, who traced the history of the struggle to free the people, lamented that race was like a slave in the Nigerian arrangement.
He said it was unfortunate that the people of Yoruba nation were taking the back sit in the country as they had allowed themselves to be dragged down by other ethnic groups in the country.
According to him, the insecurity that is pervading the region had made an average Yoruba person look like an alien in their country.
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He said, “We are no longer free to choose our own steps in the country, we can’t wake up and go where we want to go for fear of being kidnapped or attacked along the road. The Yoruba women cannot wake up early in the morning and go to markets as they used to do and this is greatly affecting the economy of our people.
“We are not a tribe that can be trampled upon, nobody can pull us down, it is not possible, the Yoruba nation is the Blackman greatest nation, we must fight for our race, we are going to get the Yoruba people to revive their ability to develop a workable economy.
“We can still follow the footsteps of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in just six years, he made the Yoruba nation great, between 1952 and 1958 the Yoruba nation was a force to be reckoned with, we can repeat the same feat.
“Our message, loud and clear, to all Yoruba in Nigeria and in the whole world, is that we Yoruba are not a small nation but a great and powerful nation with a population of about 56 million, we are the largest single nation in Nigeria.
“With our people in Benin Republic, Togo Republic and a little part of the Ghana, and Yoruba diaspora in Sierra-Leone and Sudan in Africa, and large Yoruba diaspora in the Americas, Europe and all over the world, we are one of the largest and most influential nations in the world.”
The Yoruba leader said the gathering was to introduce and highlight the Yoruba World Congress and send a clear message to the Yoruba people and others in the country.
Akintoye said, “We are sending notice to those who harbour dangerous and destructive ideas of conquering and subduing other peoples of Nigeria that our Yoruba nation is far beyond their capabilities to subdue.
“While we will continue to honour our tradition of hospitality to foreigners in our land, we will not hold back any effort to force out from our land any foreigners who come with the intent to hurt, to kill, to main and to destroy.
“We do not harbour any ambition to subdue any people or to seize any part of their land, and we will make it absolutely clear to the world that nobody can seize any inch of our land.”
He added that efforts would be made to resist and reverse the trend towards retrogression in the life of the Yoruba nation in Nigeria, adding that it would mount a multi faceted operation to stop Yoruba language from declining.
“We will mount powerful operations and campaigns to revive our agriculture and to revive our industrial development that has been deliberately stopped in Nigeria. We have arisen to energise our people to grow an economy that will provide gainful employment for all our men, women and youths.
“We will resist the Nigerian encroachments and impositions on our businesses and businessmen, the humiliation of our political leaders and the imposed limitations on our growth in Nigeria.”