Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye, a renowned historian and leader of the umbrella body of Yoruba self-Determination groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, has said that ‘Yoruba Nation’ was registered with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation to ensure that agitators were not accused of offences they do not commit.
He explained that Yoruba nation agitators have learnt from their counterparts in other countries who were charged for criminal offences contrary to their agitation.
He made this known in a 37-page manual for Yoruba Nation agitators obtained by The PUNCH.
Akintoye also explained that the agitators also needed the support of world powers such as the United Kingdom.
The manual was released while one of the frontline Yoruba nation agitators, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, is being detained in Benin Republic on the instruction of the Nigerian government.
After declaring Igboho wanted, the Department of State Services accused the Yoruba rights activists of “trafficking in arms and inciting violence that could result in the social disturbance”.
Part of the manual read, “We also need to devise countless ways to reach, inform and persuade the wider world. For this purpose, it is crucially important that the Yoruba Diaspora in each country should guide our efforts in their country of residence. In each country, the questions are: whom should we reach for the best effect; how do we reach them; are there any Yoruba persons who are close to these important persons and institutions or who have special access to them; are there any important persons or groups who exhibit some sympathy for the Yoruba nation or for nations struggling for liberation?
“Moreover, how do we work for sympathy for our cause in such important bodies as the United Nations, European Union and African Union, and such important countries as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, China, Israel, France, Germany, Japan?
“How do we move the civilized world to action in the face of relentless efforts to destroy democracy, religious freedom and ethnic and cultural diversity in Nigeria, in the face of vicious ethnic cleansing and even attempts at genocide, in the face of concentration of terrorism that threatens to expand from Nigeria to engulf all of West Africa – all of which are being supported and aided by the federal government of Nigeria?
“We have obtained for our Yoruba nation the membership of the UNPO. We have thereby taken a very significant step forward – a step that opens for our Yoruba nation very important support and help in our quest for self-determination. We must now go on and use the support available through UNPO to pursue the further steps to our nation’s ultimate success and victory.
“In the special case of the United Kingdom, we need to design very special ways and means. It is true that official Britain was generally apathetic to our Yoruba nation in colonial Nigeria – and that it still tends to support Fulani control of Nigeria. The original reason was that British colonial officials feared that the Yoruba, being much more educated from the beginning than other Nigerian and African nationalities, could wield influence that could hurt British colonial and post-colonial interests in Nigeria.
“But in our present struggle, we must exploit other, and positive, realities and possibilities. For instance, in Britain and Canada, plus even in the Yoruba homeland in Nigeria, there are as many as eight millions of Yoruba people who were born as British citizens or who have otherwise acquired British citizenship – Yoruba people who travel in the world on British passports.
“That makes Britain very close to the Yoruba nation in the world. How do we take advantage of the special position of these millions and this closeness? What are the possibilities for both sides, and the advantages for the UK, of a Yoruba nation-state that is naturally close to the UK and that grows prosperous and powerful in the world?
“How do we take advantage of the sympathies of some British churchmen, intellectuals and politicians who admire the character and qualities of our Yoruba nation? Our Yoruba people who are resident in Britain and Canada, especially those who are citizens in these countries, have a big task of maturely guiding and leading us in these matters.”
he, however, warned that while the agitators seek global help for self-determination struggle, “we Yoruba must never make the mistake of letting our nation appear as a weak nation begging on its knees. We are a strong nation – and that is the image we must resolutely put forth. We were a strong nation long before British colonialism.”