Nigeria is definitely sitting on a keg of gunpowder in view of the many challenges that beset it which the Federal Government is however unwilling to tackle.
Chief of these is the widespread insecurity which has led to unmitigated killings, kidnappings for ransom, rape, terrorism, banditry etc allegely perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen, who incidentally are the President’s kinsmen.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s pussyfooting in tackling the terrorists headlong has given rise to the insinuation of fulanization agenda and this was the basis for the agitation for self-determination by various nationalities in Nigeria including the Yorubas being championed by the Yorubas in diaspora under the aegis of Egbe Ilana Omo Oodua headed by Professor Banji Akintoye.
The struggle has been on for the actualisation of ‘Yoruba nation’. Rallies were held in Yoruba cities spearheaded by the now incarcerated Chief Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a. Sunday Igboho.
Igboho led many successful, well attended rallies before his arrest and subsequent detention in the Republic of Benin which is working in cahoots with the Nigeria’s government.
Prof Akintoye has also fled Nigeria but on Tuesday he led another protest at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, US.
The protest, which was tagged ‘Million-Man Freedom March’, was streamed live on the Facebook page of Oduduwa TV.
Brandishing placards and chanting protest songs, the self-determination agitators initially camped opposite the UN headquarters and subsequently marched around the area.
As they marched back and forth, they chanted “what do we want? Yoruba nation”, “end Nigeria now, we want our nation”, “Yoruba nation, no going back”.
A female protester called on the UN to “intervene and heed the demands” of the Yoruba nation agitators.
“Every citizen has the right to go away. We are not comfortable. Nigeria is part of the UN where all countries belong. We are calling on the UN to intervene,” she said.
A male protester said the agitators are no longer interested in being a part of Nigeria.
“The amalgamation of Nigeria has expired. Nigeria’s 1999 constitution is a scam. We want a referendum. We want United Nations to act now,” he said.
Another male protester said the actualisation of a Yoruba nation is inevitable and assured that Sunday Adeyemo, the separatist leader better known as Sunday Igboho, will eventually be released from detention.
He said: “By God’s grace, Yoruba nation will be achieved. It is destined to happen. Igboho will be set free.”
The protester also called on Yoruba leaders and stakeholders to “rise up and fight” for secession.
The freedom march was organised by the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS).
NINAS refers to itself as a “multi-ethnic alliance of the indigenous peoples of the Middle Belt (part of the former Northern Region), Ilana Omo Oodua (the former Western Region) and the Lower Niger (Former Eastern & Mid-Western Regions)”.
Banji Akintoye, leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, is the chairman of NINAS while Tony Nnadi is the secretary-general.
According to Akintoye, the freedom march will take place every day outside the UN headquarters until September 24.
However, the rally rattled the Federal Government of Nigeria as the Presidency quickly issued a condemnation through a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
The Presidency said it was stunned to see “Yoruba Nation” advocates throwing their weight behind IPOB.
The statement reads: “For Nigerian diaspora groups to use the world’s largest platform – the United Nations General Assembly – to garner attention to their causes are not unexpected.
“It was, however shocking, to see “Yoruba Nation” advocates yesterday (Tuesday) unequivocally throw their lot in with IPOB.
”IPOB has now publicly revealed a 50,000 strong paramilitary organisation.
“It (IPOB) regularly murders security services and innocent civilians, with a significant uptick of violent attacks this year. And it is currently attempting to hold Nigerian states hostage with orders to stay at home under threat of terror.
“Without doubt, Nigerians and the entire world will judge Yoruba Nation by the company it keeps.
“No one can take seriously this organisation if it continues its IPOB association. When their allies systematically trample human rights, it raises sober questions about their claims to uphold the values of the UN.
“The cooperation is a worrying development, once parsed with Yoruba Nation’s increasingly violent rallies in Nigeria.
”Actions and associations speak louder than words. Yoruba Nation’s talk of human rights promotion must therefore be ignored.”.