By Dapo Akinrefon
Some notable Yoruba Professionals, weekend, declared that the only factor hampering Yoruba land from growing and developing is the Nigerian political structure and fraudulent systems.
This was the submissions of the professionals at the 1st Democracy Lecture Series organised by the Yoruba Professionals Foundation, YPF, with the theme: “The Future of Yoruba Nation within the Nigerian Federation; Birthing Social, Political and Economic Development.
Those who spoke included a renowned Emeritus Professor of History and leader of the Ilana Omo Oodua, Professor Banji Akintoye; a Professor of Romantics and Comparative Literature, Ade Kukoyi; Public Affairs Commentator and member of a Yoruba Intelligentsia Group, Voice of Reason, VOR, Dr. Akin Fapohunda and top International trade and investment legal practitioner, Olaoluwa Adeyeye.
Others were a Professor of International Relations and Strategic Studies, Femi Olufunmilade; former National Coordinator of TMG, Dr. Ola Ogundiwin, and the Founder of Scholarship Cafe/Visiting Lecturer in the University of British Columbia, Canada, Dr. Olumuyiwa Igbalajobi.
The speakers, however, declared that the Yoruba people should take a bold decision now or forever wallow in the web of economic slavery and developmental quagmires.
Describing Yoruba Land as the hidden wealth of the world being hampered from growth and development, the speakers called on the younger generation of the Yoruba people to be more engaged in agriculture to reduce the dominance of other ethnic nationalities in agricultural food chain.
In a goodwill message, Professor Akintoye said the only factor responsible for the slow pace of development in Yoruba Land is the amalgamation of 1914 of Southern and Northern Protectorate. He stressed that neither restructuring nor the ongoing review of the 1999 constitution can solve the problems.
He said: “Restructuring cannot stop the Fulani Herdsmen from invading our farms. It won’t stop the Federal Government from subjugating the states. We have seen how President Buhari is using Executive powers to overrun the National Assembly, Judiciary and the State Governors.
“If restructuring gives room for a state Police, such a policing system will not have an equal status like the central police. By the way, the Fulani will still control the military and armed forces. Virtually all the Military Training Schools in Nigeria are domiciled in the North. Everything was deliberately planned.
“Therefore, our road to redemption in Yoruba Land is to have a country of our own where the intellectuals will preside over our commonwealth, and not the current system that promotes urchins above the philosopher-kings across all Board.”
Kukoyi expressed confidence that the Yoruba Nation’s dream will soon be attained, just as he urged the people never to relent in the pursuit of a sovereign Yoruba Nation.
He said “The seven pillars of wisdom are family, culture, education, commerce, awareness, statesmanship and politics but the Nigerian Leaders have jettisoned Statesmanship, Development of Commerce, Education, Culture, Family for last order, Politics, hence the reign of poverty in the country.”
The keynote speaker, Dr. Akin Fapohunda said it is time for all the Yoruba Intellectuals to come together with ideas and concepts that will birth the new Yoruba Nation. He said it is good to have our nation, but its’s won’t be good to go into the new nation without an economic blueprint that will fast track our growth and development.”
He explained that in spite of the numerous national conferences, meetings and talks on the call for restructuring, nothing has been done to salvage Nigeria.
He said: “We need to have our own standard blueprint that will ensure that there is a viable means of generating IGR using indigenous resources as we cannot solely depend on taxes. In the Yoruba Nation of my dream, security votes, immunity for President and Governors, etc must be eliminated.”
In his position, Adeyeye said: “Nigeria has never had it this bad, however, he asserted that this is not enough reason to leave Nigeria as history has shown that forced secession attempts always end badly. Instead of secession, he called for a complete restructuring of the country via the draft of a new constitution that will unite the people of Nigeria.
“We need to inculcate morals into the lives of the younger generations. We need to seek dialogue in addressing the inadequacies of the present constitution. The current constitution is a fraud. We need a constitution that will unite Nigeria and propel growth.
“There is a need for a uniform number of lawmakers from each region in the house of representatives which shall be the only sole lawmaking body. The Governors shall have 3 deputies, each deputies heading each Senatorial district thereby eliminating commissioners. We need to efficiently make use of councillors to address and manage local areas. Nigeria can still be salvaged if there’s a new people’s constitution”, Adeyeye, posited.
Olufunmilade, a Professor of International Relations and Strategic Studies from Igbinedon University, Okada, Edo State, in his address, highlighted the various challenges militating against the progress of the Yoruba nation, and posited that with the natural and mineral resources available within the Yoruba territory, it is obvious that the “Nigerian factors and structures” are the causes hampering the growth of the region.
He also stated that there is a wide gap between the political class and the masses which is counter-productive. He emphasized the need for the Yoruba race to be adequately prepared for Self-governance and he gave some recommendations on how this can be achieved.
According to Olufunmilade, the Yoruba race must push itself to work in line with global standards. It must also use the various indigenous heritage at its disposal to sell itself, commercializing it to generate revenues.
Describing the Yoruba Nation as the hidden wealth of the world, he advised the younger generation of the Yoruba people to be more engaged in Agriculture to reduce the dominance of other ethnic nationalities in Agricultural food chain.
“My personal research on the mineral and natural resources in Yoruba Land made me to conclude that if we have our own Nation, embedded with true philosophers, we shall be one of the top 10 most prosperous countries in the world within 10 years.
“In Yoruba Nation, we have human and natural resources than any country in the continent of Africa. We are the hidden wealth of the world. The only thing hampering our growth is Nigeria.
“We must unite. We can feed ourselves. We can engage in Smart Agriculture. We can even grow our food without the use of soil. We have the power in Yoruba Land”, Olufunmilade, stated.
On his part, a medical Biology at the University of British Columbia, Canada, said there’s a need to completely overhaul Nigeria systems and put in place new systems that are devoid of corruption, impunity and insincerity.
Igbalajobi said: “I graduated with a second class upper from the University of Ado-Ekiti. But when I got to South Korea for my Masters Degree, I realised that my upper credit is a total rubbish in terms of skills and expertise.
“We need to overhaul the entire systems in Nigeria. And let me say that no one should scare the Yoruba Nation with war. I am a Yoruba Man and I identify with the Yoruba Nation. The Yoruba Nation should act and not be scared.
“We can achieve our Liberation without war but let me say very expressly that the Korean war in the 1950s killed over 1million people, today, South Korea is the second-largest Manufacturer of Electronics and the number one manufacturer of Automobiles in the world”, he said
He stated the need for the Yoruba race to come together as a united entity to advance its course as this can only be done via the majority voice.
But the former National Coordinator, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), reiterated the need for the current Yoruba leaders to revisit and learn from the approach of governance of the late Obafemi Awolowo.
He said: “If the current political class fail to heed the demands of the people, then the people can resort to social pressure. We need an improved educational structure as the existing one does not meet the needs of the 21st century.
“I am using this opportunity to call on all well-meaning Yoruba people to start calling those they sent to Abuja to represent them for questioning and demand better and effective representations. We should hold them accountable.”00
Earlier, the Founder and President of Yoruba Professionals Foundation (YPF), Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, said the organisation was put together to promote wealth and prosperity in Yoruba Land
He said the objectives of the Organisation is to promote Knowledge-based Entrepreneurship, Digital Innovations, Agriculture and Food Security, Culture and Traditions, Investment Potentials, Sports and Civic Education in Yoruba Land.
Also, he noted that since its inception seven months ago, YPF, through its Enterprenural Development Training Series, supported by Ilana Omo Oodua and well-meaning Yoruba people, has trained and produced over 300 Entrepreneurs on Solar Technology, Smart Homes Technology, Digital Marketing, Accounting Technologies and Paints Production.
He announced to the gathering that the 5th Entrepreneurial Development Training Series of the Foundation centred on Cinematography, Drone Piloting and Mobile Application Development will kick off in the first week of July.
He also announced that the organisation will unveil a Yoruba Fashion Hub in July.
The Chairman of the Planning Committee of the lecture, Mr. Sola Fayemi, in his speech, said the lecture was put together to engage intellectuals and harness ideals on how to develop Yoruba Land for the emerging Yoruba Nation.
Others who attended the lecture included a Professor of Biochemistry, Jide Elemo, a renowned Pyschometrican, Dr. Samuel Fasanmi, a Retired Varsity Don, Dr. Adewale Banjo, Matron of YPF, Mrs Folake Ademiluyi, a member of YPF Investment Promotion Council, Mrs Bosede Thomas, the diaspora wing of YPF led by a Member of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Olamide Olasupo, Prince Adetayo Johnson, Dr. Lawrence Longe, amongst others.