The leader of Ilana Omo Oodua and frontline agitator for the emergence of an autonomous Yoruba nation, Professor Banji Akintoye, has berated Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State over the latter’s rejection of the creation of a Yoruba nation.
Akeredolu shocked many of his supporters who had earlier hailed his strong stance on dislodging herdsmen from Ondo forest reserves, when he said Ondo State, under his watch, would not be part of any agitation for secession
Reacting to Akeredolu’s position in a statement titled, ‘Our Agitation Shall be Bloodless, Intellectually Rooted, Legally Grounded’ on Tuesday, Akintoye’s Ilana Omo Oodua said Akeredolu spoke for himself, and not the people of Ondo State.
It stated that the agitation for the Yoruba nation “is not that of a plot for secession as erroneously branded by Akeredolu, but a struggle for self-determination”.
The statement added, “We wish to say very clearly that Akeredolu is entitled to his opinion. He has only spoken for himself. If he is sure he speaks for the classical masses of Ondo State, he should ensure that his army of state-induced terrorists allow us to stage our one million march peacefully in Akure, Ondo State capital to prove whether he spoke for Ondo state people or for himself.
“Akeredolu feeds 100 per cent on the commonwealth of Ondo State people. He is a member of the tiny neo-liberal and neo-classical elites who will never support the wishes and aspirations of the masses.
“We saw how he grandstands on the terrorists and murderous herdsmen illegally occupying the forest reserves in his state and we saw how he chickened out to the chagrine of all of us who staked our reputation to defend him.
“Akeredolu has now surrendered the farmlands in Ondo State to the government of Fulani herdsmen while masquerading to be participating in National Livestock Programme.
“We are saying for the sake of clarity that what we declared is the sovereignty of Yoruba Nation from Nigeria, and not a secession from Nigeria. We want an autonomous Yoruba Nation.
“We want to determine how we want to govern our people. We want to control and manage our resources. We want to police and secure the lives and properties of our people.
“We have made our position known. Our agitation for autonomous Yoruba Nation is legally grounded, intellectually rooted and it shall be executed without shedding of blood.
“Akeredolu cannot sit inside the comfort of his office and claimed to be speaking for the people of Ondo State that he has failed to regularly pay their monthly salary, pension and gratuities.”