Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Ige Adams has said the future will remain bleak for millions of youths in the South-West unless the Yoruba Nation is actualised.
Adams, who is the National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), gave reasons the agitation would continue in spite of opposition by government and prominent Yoruba leaders. In an interview with LAWRENCE ENYOGHASU, he regretted that OPC members who apprehended the suspected leader of bandits in Oyo State have remained in detention, even though the suspect was handed over to the police after his arrest.
You and some others have continued with the agitation for this Yoruba Nation. Do you sincerely think it’s achievable?
The Yoruba Nation is highly attainable despite some criticisms from the elite because of how Nigeria is currently. The Yoruba people are being imprisoned, and if care is not taken, if we don’t liberate ourselves now, I believe we will lose our pride. We will lose our dignity. Our children are being turned to area boys because of a low standard of education, lack of job opportunities and poverty. An average community has their youth joining secret cults that’s alien to our society. We only had secret cults in the tertiary institutions and not in our streets. They were even enlightened youths who used it to defend their rights, but now, it is a cult for all. They have also extended it and turned it into Yahoo plus. The future of the Yoruba is bleak in Nigeria. The youths are the leaders of tomorrow. At the same time, the issue of insecurity has become rampant, causing bloodbath in the South-West. If we don’t liberate ourselves, Nigeria cannot help us.
How do you hope to sustain this new nation, if it happens? What are your plans?
Government is not about mineral resources only. It is about accountability, building infrastructure, effective security, electricity, small-scale businesses, enabling an environment for investment, and potable water, among others. One of the things that helps a country is the number of small scale businesses which are supported by stable electricity because, by the time you bring in investors and partner with them on any ratio and they run it for 10 years, it will be stable. Within the two years of Yoruba nation with stabilised electricity, commerce will come to your door. Most of the industries that have run away from Nigeria will come. When you work on insecurity, you reduce the crime rate to the minimum, people will have the confidence to build their own businesses, the nightlife will return because Nigeria has killed nightlife with insecurity and unstable power supply. European countries are thriving without mineral resources, they are leveraging on the infrastructure built for their citizens and paying tax. The Yoruba Nation will have its airline. The port will be concentrated. There would be more exports than imports. There would be more investments in water transportation. These are the ways most developed countries operate and make their money. We are not talking about crude oil or solid minerals. If it is oil, there is oil in Ondo State, Offshore of Lagos, Epe, Ijanikin, Yewa, and Ijebu Waterside. When you are talking about minerals, tell me anyone that is not in Yorubaland. Livestock farming is also an advantage till the attack from Fulani herdsmen. The Yoruba land has started feeding itself now. The South-West produces the largest chicken in the country. When we organise ourselves, we will be able to produce one of the largest economies in the world within 15years.
Sunday Igboho has said the Yoruba Nation will be achieved before December…
It is possible if we put our house in order. It can happen even before then. There is nothing impossible in politics. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said that anything is achievable in politics within 24 hours. What he said is possible; especially the way Nigeria is going. The insecurity is making it possible. Don’t forget, the attack in Igangan has created a lot of annoyance in the minds of many Yoruba people. Even those that didn’t believe in self-determination before, the coordinated brutal attacks from the Fulani herdsmen has made them join the struggle. If you want to know the paradigm change, go to the Internet and see how people are agitating for the Yoruba Nation. The agitation showed when they attacked former President Obasanjo. Some people that didn’t believe in the Yoruba nation a year ago have changed. The issue of self-determination has grown beyond expectation. Because of the way Buhari runs Nigeria because of nepotism, tribalism, corruption and dictatorship, a lot of people have changed their minds about Nigeria. If we can’t move forward, we have to go back to the origin.
But Obasanjo can never support the Yoruba Nation because he is one of the beneficiaries of the goodies from Nigeria. He is one of the people that disrupted the system. He is one of the business managers of Nigeria who made a lot of money from the country called Nigeria. He had a lot of opportunities to make things right but he misused them. He didn’t value his people. He has always been a northerner. He has always been an anti-Yoruba person. There was a time when some Yoruba leaders spoke to me about him, but I told them that Obasanjo would never share the same ideology with a Yoruba man. Luckily, when we got to meet, he told us that he is a Nigerian-Yoruba and we are Yoruba-Nigerians. Obasanjo does not even realise that he is fading. He is only being respected by African leaders for what he did in South Africa. He is not respected here in the South-West. The base is very important. It is your people that will glorify you for life, not those in other countries. It is worse that he is not respected even in the community he came from. There is nothing you can do to change him.We don’t count him as part of the people to liberate us.
Some OPC members that arrested Wakili, the suspected Fulani kidnap kingpin and handed him over to the police are being tried for murder. What is OPC doing about it?
Yes, they are still in detention. The trial of those guys is not in the hands of the police again. It is left for Oyo State government to do justice to it. Because the government was reluctant to release them, the Fulani herdsmen dared to strike again, and they killed another 50 people in Igangan. If they had been released, people in the community would have the courage to defend them. But because the government delayed their freedom, the people became weak, and the Fulani struck again. You don’t play politics with the lives of the people. These politicians need to know that they don’t need to play politics with the lives of the people because it will boomerang. Our politicians play games with the lives of our people because they want to ally with their lords in the north. They have forgotten that Yorubas don’t easily forget issues. I don’t know what Makinde is doing with our people. He needs to step up. He has never given us any sign that he’s anti-Yoruba. He is not the problem, but the problem is from his cabinet. His security adviser is the problem.He needs to work on his cabinet. He needs to know how to play politics because these people are taking advantage of his good nature. He needs to clean his security cabinet. It is difficult for a governor for some criminals to operate in a whole community for three and half hours without security interference. There was information about the attack. The security adviser got the information and called the commissioner of police but he didn’t act. It is an element of conspiracy. He needs a good team that will work with him.
What are your thoughts on Sheik Gumi’s romance with the bandits?
The government should probe him very well. They need to hold him very well. They need to know where he is getting his information. An agent of a bandit is part of the bandits. Someone who pleads for a bandit is part of the bandits. How many people will the government negotiate with because they don’t even have structures? They are scattered. They are operating from different flanks; Kaduna, Niger, and others. Does Gumi know all of them? Some have even said these are people who were brought into Nigeria in 2014 for the 2015 election but they didn’t get paid and they have now turned into terrorists. If Gumi is trying to tell us to negotiate, he should bring them all together. (Saturday SUN)