Yoruba historian and arrowhead of the struggle for the independence of the Oodua nation, Prof. Banji Akintoye says even if the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, becomes Nigeria’s President in 2023, it will not deter agitations for the independence of the Yoruba nation.
In a recent interview with Vanguard, Akintoye explained that neither Tinubu nor former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, despite being Yoruba men, could change the system the agitators are striving to escape from.
He said, “We are an intellectually well-informed group, at least, at the top. We know that one Yoruba person becoming the president of Nigeria for four or eight years will add nothing.
“No Tinubu or Olusegun Obasanjo can change the system because the system has been entrenched.”
Akintoye noted that after the residence of Sunday Igboho, another agitator for a separate state for Yoruba people, was attacked in 2021, there were reports that operatives of the Department of the State Services (DSS) wanted to also raid his house and that of his colleague, Professor Adeniran. He said that was what prompted him to move to the Benin Republic which is an extension of Yoruba land but under a different government.
He said, “What we were told is that officials and non-official elements were ready to come to my house, kill me, and my wife in my bed, cut us to pieces and do the same to Professor Adeniran, my deputy.
“The persons who brought the categorical and specific information told us that we were okay on that night but that if we tried to sleep in our house the following day we will not wake up in it the day after.
“My wife is 86, while I am 87. So, we decided that the best thing is to leave. It took us a few hours to pack and leave; the next morning, we were on our way to the Benin Republic.
“It is part of Yoruba land but it is protected from the fact that it is ruled by another government. That is all.”
Akintoye also refuted claims that the agitations for Yoruba nation are gradually subsiding as he noted that the agitations were speeding up and had reached the point of popular mobilisation.
“We have moved beyond that point. We have moved to the point of getting the world interested in what we are doing. In the modern world, you cannot take your country out of another country on your own. It is not going to happen.
“There are international conventions and relationships set up in modern times, which make it necessary for you to have the support of a wider world. That is what we have been spending most of our time on in recent times and it is succeeding. Thank God for whom we are. The Yoruba Nation is famous and so, fighting for the Yoruba Nation is considerably easy.
“We were famous before the British came, we were the foremost civilisation and urban civilisation. We are an intellectually agile nation.”