HomeNewsNigeria unsafe for Yoruba – Banji Akintoye

Nigeria unsafe for Yoruba – Banji Akintoye

Prof Banji Akintoye, leader of the Yoruba World Congress, the umbrella body of over 300 Yoruba groups worldwide, has said the Nigerian environment has been consistently harsh to the Yoruba people who dominate the South-West part of the country.

The elder statesman lamented that though his association is committed to peaceful activities, and peaceful purposes, the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has already begun to take action against it by removing the Yoruba World Congress from the list of state-registered organisations.

He also hinted that security forces are preparing to clamp down on members of his organisation whose aims are to promote and achieve the growth, prosperity, and sustenance of the Yoruba people and culture.

Akintoye spoke on Saturday on the occasion of this year’s General Assembly of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation which was held virtually due to travel restrictions imposed to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Founded in 1991, the UNPO is an international membership-based organisation established to empower the voices of unrepresented and marginalised peoples worldwide and to protect their fundamental human rights.

At the General Assembly on Saturday, the Yoruba World Congress was inducted as a member of the UNPO alongside four others including the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra represented by Chief Ralph Uwazuruike.

“From 1962 to 1972, under a limited self-government arrangement and federal constitution which the British granted to Nigeria, the Yoruba Nation proceeded to make mostly the Western region of Nigeria, the pacesetter in Nigeria, and even in Africa, in virtually all aspects of development and modernisation.

“But the Nigerian environment has consistently been hazardous to the Yoruba Nation. From the beginning, the British colonial rulers feared the considerably educated and professionally sophisticated Yoruba and proceeded to do everything to limit their influence in Nigeria. From the British, the tradition passed on to the non-Yoruba people of Nigeria that the Yoruba Nation needed to be stopped and to stop the Yoruba Nation became the constant purpose of Nigeria,” Akintoye told the Assembly.

He narrated, “At Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the British manipulated everything to impose the Hausa people and the Northern people of Nigeria and to have dominance over other arms and to exclude the Yoruba group from governance.

“All the military coups from 1966 July to 1999 were led by military dictators from Northern Nigeria. This was so because the northern political elites whom the British had manipulated into political dominance over Nigeria at independence had used their control of federal powers to ensure the enrolment of Northern officers into military ranks.

 “Inevitably, the Yoruba Nation was sucked into this deepening disaster. The military dictatorship seized important Yoruba assets that have been created in 1959. Most such assets were then poorly managed and or deliberately allowed to decline or even perished.

“Deepening poverty became the lot of the Yoruba Nation in Nigeria. Also, Yoruba leadership increasing fell for most of the mess like corruption characteristics of most public offices in Nigeria.

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