Secession: Yoruba Nation will negotiate with FG – Akintoye

By Innocent Raphael

Leader of the Yoruba self-determination Movement, Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof. Banji Akintoye, has shared insights into the group’s recent letter to the government of President Bola Tinubu, stating that the establishment of a negotiation committee for the Yoruba nation is being explored.

Akintoye, in a recent interview with The Punch, highlighted the group’s peaceful approach, emphasizing that historical analysis indicates peaceful movements tend to be more successful.

“We have studied the world situation concerning breaking away and so on, and we have found that the ones who approach their struggle peacefully and in a law-abiding manner are more likely to succeed.

“The others who fought and threatened their government and said nasty things about other people and the government are unlikely to succeed. So, we decided to follow the line that promises success.

“When they invite us to negotiate, we will negotiate the things that will make it possible for us to leave (Nigeria) without any encumbrance. For instance, Nigeria has some debt. If we leave Nigeria, then some decision will have to be taken about how much of the debt would be allocated to the Yoruba. It has to be negotiated carefully.

“Also, since there are assets, we will negotiate how much of those assets will go with us. There has to be an agreement to create friendly relations in the new Nigerian space. We pledged in our letter that we would make sure that our new country helped other people.

“We have looked very carefully, and we are ready to do it. Those are the kinds of things that we will have to settle with the negotiation committee,” he stated.

Regarding the requested negotiation committee, he outlined key areas of discussion, including debt allocation and asset distribution in the event of Yoruba secession from Nigeria.

In response to concerns about potential government resistance, Akintoye asserted the group’s determination to pursue alternative avenues if initial negotiations fail.

“If they say we should not leave, they have a right to say that. But we will tell them that their statement is not final. We will continue to seek other ways to leave,” said Akintoye.

He also addressed recent controversial events, including the alleged invasion of the Oyo State Secretariat, distancing the movement from such actions and stressing their commitment to lawful advocacy.

When questioned about potential discord among Yoruba leaders, particularly with Afenifere advocating for restructuring, Akintoye clarified that while both movements share goals of Yoruba prosperity, his group prioritizes self-determination as a solution to ongoing challenges, citing historical and contemporary grievances.

Despite skepticism and opposition, Akintoye expressed confidence in the Yoruba people’s desire for self-determination, citing widespread support and activism within the community.

He also reiterated the movement’s commitment to peaceful advocacy and dialogue, underscoring the importance of international recognition and support for their cause.

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