Rotimi Akeredolu, the governor of Ondo State, has denounced the persistent calls for a Yoruba nation made by some organisations in the South-West. According to him, such agitation would fail because it would undermine the efforts of those who gave their lives to preserve the country’s unity.
The introduction of an emblem appeal to kick off the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day was conducted at the state Internal Revenue Service Hall in Akure, the state capital, and was addressed by Akeredolu, the chairman of the Southern Governors Forum.
He said, “Those clamouring for Oodua Nation will not succeed. People have not laid down their lives for this country for unscrupulous individuals to scuttle it. This country is very important to some of us. We recognise the right of the people to protest or agitate, but if the police feel your actions are treasonable, they will arrest and prosecute you.
“It is not at this stage in the history of this country that we will repeat IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra – a separatist group in the South-East) in Yorubaland. Opportunity beckons at us. We cannot afford to throw away that opportunity. We must work to ensure that there is power shift. The opportunity for the presidency to come to the south, especially the South-West, is around the corner. We will not sit and support anyone clamouring for Oodua nation. We will not support it. We have fought for this with everything we had. Nigeria will be good.
“The security agencies will checkmate these unscrupulous enemies embarking on such frivolous activities. We have responsibilities now to soberly reflect on the plight of those who have laid down their lives and those who are still laying down their lives for the unity and peace of this country.”
According to the governor, the daring posture of enemies of the country, which has cost the nation the lives of many gallant soldiers, is highly condemnable. He stressed that the sustained efforts of the officers and men of the military had greatly checked the threat.
He added, “Without the sacrifice and commitment of these officers and men of the Armed Forces, it would have been a matter of time before the whole country was overrun. The month-long Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration is therefore a golden opportunity for the government and the society at large to empathise and associate with widows and relations of our fallen heroes, especially those that were cut down in their prime.”
He said there was nothing too good or too much that could replace the precious lives lost or remedy the deprivations and untold hardship suffered by the dependants of such heroes.
While calling on local government councils to donate generously to the cause, he said the major reason for the Emblem Appeal Fund was to provide financial and material support to families of the fallen heroes as well as veterans who survived various military operations with some sustaining varying degrees of injuries that rendered them incapacitated.
Meanwhile, the Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide has said its immediate past leader, Prof Banji Akintoye, remains a lifetime mentor and patron of the organisation and its struggle for the emancipation of the Yoruba Nation.
The Punch reported that Akintoye officially relinquished the chairmanship position to Prof Wale Adeniran. Akintoye resigned as chairman on the basis of principle amidst lingering internal crisis within the organisation.
But in a statement on Friday, the General Secretary of the group, Tunde Amusat, said Akintoye didn’t withdraw from the movement.
The statement partly read, “We have noticed that some mischievous characters and enemies of Yoruba Nation are trying to twist the resignation of Prof Banji Akintoye from the management and leadership of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, the apex body for the Yoruba self-determination struggle to connote that our dear Baba (father) has left the Yoruba Nation struggle.
“We wish to state that the letter of resignation of Prof Banji Akintoye was very explicit and was without ambiguity. Baba never said he was withdrawing from the Yoruba Nation agitation nor resigning his membership of IOOW. He remains our lifetime mentor and one of our patrons.”