In recent times, the agitation for Yoruba nation otherwise known as Oduduwa Republic, has become very strident among a section of the Yoruba people particularly youths. From north to south, west to east in the geographical space that is Yorubaland, the call has assumed a more deafening dimension with the passing of each day. Things have gone so bad in Nigeria in all aspects especially in the area of security that nobody is safe any longer; bandits, Fulani herdsmen, terrorists generally now have a field day, they belligerently are on the prowl, as if the dogs of war are let loose, perpetrating all manners of heinous acts – raping, farm destructions, displacement of people from their ancestral homes and taking over such homes, killings, kidnappings for ransom etc –with the Federal Government appearing helpless to curb the anomalous situation or perhaps what is happening is a grand design orchestrated by the people in government towards bringing to pass an evil agenda of Fulanization of the whole country as alleged by former President Olusegun Obasanjo few years ago, an allegation various other eminent persons have echoed several times. The happenings very much support the alleged machinations. Or how does one explain terrorists ravaging and plundering the land unmolested by security agents who ironically become trigger happy against natives that attempt to defend their lands and traumatized people. From Zamfara, to Kaduna, to Benue, to Taraba, to Plateau states and southern states, terrorists in the guise of cattle herding now terrorize the people with the sole aim of intimidating them and taking over their lands while security agents stand akimbo, and indeed, arrests are rarely made and if made, how many of the perpetrators were prosecuted or convicted? If this is not tacit support from a Federal Government, controlled by their people, what is it? When there is no deterrence to criminal activities by way of making suspects face the wrath of the law, crimes will only escalate.
It is against this backdrop that the agitation for self-determination or secession sprang in the south. The discontent against the Nigerian nation among its citizens in the south has reached a crescendo; fury has overwhelmed most people especially when the large scale insecurity is considered alongside the extreme nepotism and marginalization against the people of the south, and the general mis-governance that has given rise to high poverty rate with Nigeria now the Poverty Capital of the World ironically amidst abundant natural resources, astronomically high level of unemployment rate of 33%, one of the highest in the world; high inflation rate, about 18%; and the several inconveniences arising from dilapidated roads and transportation system, epileptic electricity supply, unavailability of pipe-borne water, destroyed educational standard and so on. The new thinking among the traumatized people of the south now is that they will fare far better if they move out of the shadow of Nigeria and take their destiny in their own hands. Why would they remain eternally in a country that has no value for human life or development? The elders have for long called for restructuring of the country so a true federal system of government can be adopted that will feature resource control, state police, and greater autonomy for the constituent parts which believably will foster healthy competition and by implication progress and development but the powers that be continually deny this, of course because the present arrangement suits them. Thus, declaring the sovereignty of the Yoruba nation last March, Professor Banji Akintoye and popular Yoruba freedom fighter, Chief Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a. Sunday Igboho, stated; “We have declared that sovereignty now but we must work together. We have just talked about what the Yoruba nation is suffering from in Nigeria. There should be no reason why we cannot all work together to extricate ourselves from the rubble that Nigeria has become…We are ready to challenge a country that has nothing for the Yoruba people, we are taking back our territory.” That first step taken, the agitation is gaining momentum with rallies being held in major cities in the region to sensitize the people on the development.
The agitation by the Yoruba nation to break away from Nigeria is not the first actually in the annals of the country; the north was the pioneer in the adventure with their decision to secede in 1966 after the coup d’état that eliminated the first Military Head of State, Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi. The northern soldiers under the codename “Araba,” and already hoisting their new nation’s flag, were decided on leaving Nigeria before the British allegedly advised them that having taken over the reins of government they could as well mould Nigeria in their image; the content of that advice is no doubt unfolding till date. Then in 1967, the Eastern Region under Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, declared the Biafra Republic, which plunged Nigeria into a thirty-month Civil War before the secessionists were crushed by the Nigerian Army. That calls for dismemberment of Nigeria have remained unabated only unveil that disgruntlement still pervades the land, which only shows that everything is still wrong about the country for only in a state of helplessness do people call for change or freedom. It is high time the leaders took the bull by the horns and do the needful. Pretending that things are normal and are under control is only staving off the evil day. Perhaps it is a strategy by the Federal Government to bait the people of the south to take up arms in desperate efforts to defend themselves so that government’s security forces can unleash mayhem on them. It is hoped this is not part of the alleged grand design of subjugation and domination! However, the slide of the country to perdition is unambiguous now, the wise and patriotic step government ought to take is initiating measures to halt the dangerous sway towards the precipice. Dialogue in an ambience of sincerity and open-mindedness should be the way to tread in the face of the present challenge for genuine reconciliation and rehabilitation to take place and at the same time for government to suppress all terrorists and roaming armed men rather than seeking overzealously to decimate those who seek to defend their people while turning blind eyes to the invaders. Issuing warnings to terrorists every day without taking concrete steps to annihilate them only reveals the connivance of government. But if they think they can use instruments of oppression to intimidate and silence those on the other side they will be making a terrible mistake because the Yoruba people have a history of throwing off yoke of imperialism. Even the British that took over their land by stealth were brought to their knees ultimately. The Federal Government should not overstretch its luck.