The leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof. Banji Akintoye, has debunked rumours that the body and others demanding Yoruba self-determination are in disarray.
According to the former senator in the Second Republic between 1979 and 1983, the over 200 Yoruba self-determination groups are more than committed to ensuring that the Yoruba people exit the Nigerian nation before the 2023 election.
He spoke at a news conference with a few correspondents at the association’s secretariat at Ayelawaye in Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
He was supported by the body’s deputy leader, Prof. Wale Adeniran.
He said: “We are not in disarray. What is happening is natural. Our people want their country now. We are making progress.”
Prof. Akintoye said though the 2023 elections will not hold in Yoruba land, his body would not hurt the ambition of Yoruba sons and daughters like the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“It is good that Asiwaju Tinubu is contesting. But this will not jeopardise the struggle for Yoruba nation,” the Yoruba leader said.
He said there was no confusion on which organisation is leading the agitation.
Out of the over 200 bodies, he said Ilana Omo Oodua is the largest and it’s the group issuing directions to others.
According to him, realising that a uniform voice would be needed on diplomacy, legal representation, security and defence, the Yoruba Self-Determination Movement was created as a service organisation.
He explained that the association is putting efforts in motion to have Yoruba National Fund like the Jewish National Fund to give support to Yoruba nation agitation.
He said the North see themselves as conquerors of other ethnic groups with a God-given right to govern others.
The elder statesman said no amount of restructuring would allow the North to see other ethnic groups as equal partners.
He said his group would only fight with wisdom to separate from Nigeria.
He added that he and others have counselled Yoruba youths not to attack policemen and soldiers.
“They are not our enemies,” he said.
He urged Yoruba elites to support youths to form security architectures in Yoruba towns and cities against bandits and other invaders.