The lecturer lambasted the current crop of Southwest politicians.
The continued unity of Nigeria rests on the immense contributions and sacrifices of the Yoruba people, a university professor, Alade Fawole, has said.
Mr. Fawole, a Professor at the Obafemi Awolowo University’s Department of International Relations, stated this in Lagos at the maiden edition of the Abraham Adesanya Memorial Lecture, organized by the National Association of Ogun State Students, University of Lagos Chapter.
Speaking on the topic, The Place of the Yoruba in Nigerian Politics and Development, Mr. Fawole said that Nigeria has always progressed whenever the southwest region is experiencing peace and development, which automatically rubs off on other regions.
He added that the region’s principle is largely responsible for the country’s existence.
“Let me assert very authoritatively and without any apologies that the Nigerian state remains united today because of the principled stand, steadfastness and immense sacrifices of Yoruba to retain Nigeria as a single country,” he said.
He then lashed out at the current political leaders from the region, accusing them of hobnobbing with “enemies” of the Yoruba tribe.
“It is obvious to me that the present crop of so-called political leaders who got the Yoruba mandate by hook or crook to govern us in this Fourth Republic lack the intellectual depth, political sagacity and the finesse that their First and Second Republic predecessors brought into politics and governance,” he said.
“Not only is their political performance profoundly pedestrian and disappointing, judging by the standards the Yoruba people are already used to, some of the governors sought unholy alliance with the enemies of Yoruba all in the name of political mainstreaming. If only they can summon half the commonsense of their esteemed predecessors, it wouldn’t have been difficult for them to perceive that such opportunistic dalliance was bound to miscarry for the entire Yoruba people who have been made a laughing stock.”
The event drew some prominent Yoruba politicians from different party affiliations, including Olusegun Osoba, who chaired the occasion; former Lagos governorship candiadate, Jimi Agbaje; ex-Osun senator, Iyiola Omisore; and activist, Yinka Odumakin.
Mr. Fawole said there is still hope for the Yoruba race and by extension Nigeria, to regain its honourable position, if leaders, irrespective of political affiliation, can rally for a “pan-Yoruba political and development agenda.”
“For the avoidance of partisanship, which may vitiate any collective developmental effort, the leading lights of the Yoruba nation will have to come up with a blueprint,” he said. “I am aware that such a blueprint already exists in what is known as Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, which was developed by the Afenifere Renewal Group. Regrettably, it has yet to receive the requisite popular acclaim among the Yoruba that will make it a living document. This is perhaps because some prefer to see it as the product of a splinter group of the main Afenifere, or even by some as an Action Congress of Nigeria document for the capture and domination of the Southwest.”
A discussant, Modupe Fashina, former Eti-Osa local government area chairperson, said Yoruba nation currently lacks a leader because of “politics of money” and bitterness, which she advised the youth to avoid.
Another discussant, Shehu Sanni, represented by Ahmed Suleiman, in his paper, also aligned with the guest lecturer that the country will only get it right when the southwest politics return to its vibrant good old days, adding that current Yoruba politicians have lost their moral values.
Mr. Sanni urged the region to return to its place in national development, which is to serve as “check and balance and demanding accountability.”
The last discussant, Frederick Fasehun, founder of Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, said that behind the current demand for Sovereign National Conference, SNC, in the southwest lies a deception.
“If it has been impossible to have SNC at the national level, what stops them from organising it at the regional level? I will not associate with anyone who has denigrated Awolowo,” he proclaimed.