The Yorùbá as an ethnocultural identity has always been invented and reinvented as an adversarial reaction to the pressure of new collective identities. For a forceful, united, unified and purposeful identity, there must be ideals to live by that must never be broken, infringed upon or dishonoured. As of today, we have no such immutable ideal or ideals. We do not have a Yorùbá Spirit, that is inviolable!…To fashion out a unifying core, we must subject the Yorùbá as an idea to critical reflection for it to become normative. Throughout our history, the Yorùbá has been a product of conflict rather than consensus at every turn. There has been no unity in history except when confronted with Ìpónjú (adversity). To counter this adversarial response to internal crisis, we need a soul around which the Yorùbá identity can be crystallised. We need a moral dimension which is capable of articulating an identity and the recreation of our presence as a culture and nationality.

Bí ekòló bá júbà ilè, ilè á la’nu. Bí omodé bá mo’wó wè á bá àgbà jeun. Ìbà Olorun, ìbà ènìyàn. Ìbà eyín tí Elédùmarè gbé ilé ayé lé lówó, ìbà okùnrin, ìbà obìnrin, ìbà omodé, ìbà àgbà. E jé kí ó jú mií se o.


In pre-colonial and colonial times, it was always in “Ìgbà Ìpónjú” (adversity) that we rallied around a Yorùbá identity. My task in this keynote lecture is to determine why the adversity model is not working and recommend the necessity of a transcendental Yorùbá identity that does not rely solely on the stimulus of Ìpónjú (adversity).

Who Are We?

Unknown to many, the mention of the name “Yoruba” in written tradition was first found in Ahmad Bābā’s (d. 1627) Mi’rāj al-su’ūd and in Infāq al-maysūr written by Muhammad Bello (d. 1837). These Arabic writers were the earliest to name us collectively as ‘yarba’ or ‘yaruba’ or ‘Yoruba’ as derived from the Arabic alphabet (ya-ra-ba). This was at a time when we were referring to ourselves by our diverse sub-ethnic identities such as Ife, Ekiti, Ijesa, Ibadan, Ijebu, Akoko and so on. Like other major ethnic groups in Nigeria, we considered ourselves as belonging to city-states or what is referred to as sub-ethnicities today. Each sub-ethnic group was politically independent with its own separate identities.

Yorùbá as a collective began to feel a need to identify themselves as a single ethnic nationality who understand each other’s language with minor dialectal differences after the 19th century wars against the Fulani.

The term Yorùbá originally referred only to the people of Oyo and this thought persists till today as my Àkókó people still describe Oyo traders in places like Ìkàré as that “Yorùbá blacksmith near the African maple tree as distinct from that Iwo butcher in the Oba’s market. “Bàbá Yoruba alágbède tó wà ní abé igi arère yen, yàtò sí okùnrin Ìwó alápàta”.(The story of Liadi alapata).

Yorùbá as a collective began to feel a need to identify themselves as a single ethnic nationality who understand each other’s language with minor dialectal differences after the 19th century wars against the Fulani. This war, forced many people, either into slavery or into refuge with neighbouring groups. Bishop Ajayi Crowther and Rev. Samuel Johnson who became educated in slavery, consulted with Hausa historians, who were literate in Arabic and had books written by Muslim scholars like Ahmed Baba where the name Yorùbá was mentioned. They popularised the word as a description of the whole group in books like History of the Yorubas by Rev. Samuel Johnson.

Pre-colonial Ìpónjú

Before colonialism began, the micro-national identities referred to in this lecture as sub-ethnicities in pre-colonial Yorùbá territory, engaged in invasive economic and territorial competition which eventually led to a century of civil wars. As long as these wars lasted, the truce from the various wars provided no basis nor did it create a catalyst for a pan-Yorùbá identity.

Samuel Johnson in The History of The Yorubas explains that “the nineteenth century Yorubaland was characterised by revolutionary political and economic changes. These changes stemmed from a series of constitutional and other socio-economic disruptions, initially in Oyo and later in other districts. The weakening of Oyo’s central administration after 1800, exacerbated by the spread of Islam and the expansion of legitimate trade generated rapid political changes. The most important of which was the century-long Yorùbá wars.” It is on record that Yorùbá warfare attracted substantial scholarship within Nigerian academia and outside of it. Eminent scholars like Professors Saburi Biobaku, Bolanle Awe, Adebanji Akintoye, Ade Ajayi, Toyin Falola and many more attributed the wars to attempts by various states to fill the vacuum created by the fall of Oyo. To this group, the wars were fallouts of state formation processes in Africa. However, the Anthony Hopkins Economic school linked the wars to global economic movements, especially those associated with falling revenue from trade in slaves, and later palm oil.

This state of flux within Yorùbá sub-ethnicities created the initial onset of Ìpónjú dynamics in the “age of confusion” as it was referred to, in some missionary literature.

Olatunji Ojo in his paper, “Ethnic Identity and Nineteenth-Century Yoruba Warfare”, bridged the two schools and brilliantly identified a third issue: The Identity Crisis. He wrote: “Peoples and communities occupied different strata within the social system. People were also classified based on ethnicity, class, age and even gender. Each of these identities or a combination of two or more dominated the course of the nineteenth century Yorùbá history. Therefore, whether with warfare, slavery, religious observations, and property ownership, there were issues over; who were the combatants? Who could be enslaved or not? Who could be killed at religious functions? The ways in which people identified themselves, and how others identified them were at stake in discussions about political control, religious rituals, property relation and how people fought against the status quo.”

This state of flux within Yorùbá sub-ethnicities created the initial onset of Ìpónjú dynamics in the “age of confusion” as it was referred to, in some missionary literature. J.D.Y Peel, in his book, Religious Encounter and the Making of the Yoruba, wrote that, the Yorùbás, “struggled to hold onto what they could of old identities and patterns of living. As they fled into safety or were driven into slavery, they carried the springs of social identity with them in their names, praise poems, body marks, food taboos, dialects and languages, political and religious practices.” As they settled down, they sought out others who shared or recognised these markers in their new settlements. The age of collective identity began.

These internal conflicts ravaged Yorubaland so much, it prevented no meaningful resistance against European colonial conquest. In 1861, the British established a protectorate over the port of Lagos and forced Ibadan to accept an “Ajélè” – resident administrator in 1893. Thus, colonialism began a process of subsuming ethnic identities under national identities which eventually would integrate Yorubaland into the geographic area that was carved to become Nigeria. This marked the onset of sporadic mega-Ìpónjú in Yoruba polity. Wíwá sínú orílè-èdè Nàíjíríà fa kíkó eran mérò.

Post-colonial Ìpónjú Dynamics

Starting with the establishment of Egbé Omo Odùduwà in London in 1945, under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. We responded to colonial Ìpónjú from whence a modern Yorùbá identity began to emerge within colonial and post-colonial nation-statist dynamics. The Egbé Omo Odùduwà, as an umbrella organisation to unite the Yorùbá, grew in importance in 1948 when heated debates that would decide Nigeria’s political future and nationalism began. Yorùbá politicians led by Chief Bode Thomas worked within the organisation, to chart a specific course for the development of Western Nigeria. This started the process that transformed the group into a political party called the Action Group. The party was to serve as the vehicle for realising its primary objective of mobilising the Yorùbá into one political umbrella and to implement the ideals and objectives of Egbé Omo Odùduwà.

From history, the Yoruba emerged as a contested concept and it was in Ìpónjú (adversity) that it became an evident, self-conscious entity. Yoruba as it is presently constituted, is a pivot and an organising metaphor of a very rich civilisation. The question of Yoruba Unity is often discussed to the exclusion of the fact that the evolution of Yoruba identity has a deep relationship with problems in the political landscape of pre-independence Nigeria.

Egbé Omo Odùduwà shaped the contemporary Yorùbá identity and it brought the Yorùbá into focus, first as a sociocultural concept and later as a political construct. From history, the Yoruba emerged as a contested concept and it was in Ìpónjú (adversity) that it became an evident, self-conscious entity. Yoruba as it is presently constituted, is a pivot and an organising metaphor of a very rich civilisation. The question of Yoruba Unity is often discussed to the exclusion of the fact that the evolution of Yoruba identity has a deep relationship with problems in the political landscape of pre-independence Nigeria. Our story cannot be about unity and inclusion without a distinct identity, which is embodied in a great complex of ideas and ideals. The lack of a grounded Yoruba core as the basis for a collective identity is predicated upon a fundamental ambivalence about the normative perspectives of collective identity in modern polity as defined by participation and solidarity. Enìkan kìí jé àwádé. Àjèjì owó kan kò gb’érù d’órí àti pé àgbájo owó la’fi nsò’yà

Yorùbá: An Idea and a Reality

The Yoruba as an idea is an expression of our culture’s struggle with its own contradictions and conflicts. It can be seen as social representation within a set of heterogenous cultural forms. These social representations are reproductions of reality that are prescriptive and they serve as controls for the formation of our collective identity. Can the Yorùbá evolve a collective identity that is not based on ethnoculturalism alone but also on economic and political integration? I don’t think so. The possibility of a transcendental collective identity that is not predicated on Ìpónjú is central to this lecture. My tentative answer to the question I posed, is that the idea of a collective Yorùbá identity that is not called into being by Ìpónjú is possible, if it focuses on a new notion of citizenship, participation and solidarity to a common core.

…the idea of a collective Yorùbá identity that is not called into being by Ìpónjú is possible, if it focuses on a new notion of citizenship, participation and solidarity to a common core.

The Yorùbá as an ethnocultural identity has always been invented and reinvented as an adversarial reaction to the pressure of new collective identities. For a forceful, united, unified and purposeful identity, there must be ideals to live by that must never be broken, infringed upon or dishonoured. As of today, we have no such immutable ideal or ideals. We do not have a Yorùbá Spirit, that is inviolable! It is incontrovertible that the cultural foundation of the Yorùbá is rooted in our common heritage and ancestry from Ile-Ife in addition to our humanist values and liberal outlook. To fashion out a unifying core, we must subject the Yorùbá as an idea to critical reflection for it to become normative. Throughout our history, the Yorùbá has been a product of conflict rather than consensus at every turn. There has been no unity in history except when confronted with Ìpónjú (adversity). To counter this adversarial response to internal crisis, we need a soul around which the Yorùbá identity can be crystallised. We need a moral dimension which is capable of articulating an identity and the recreation of our presence as a culture and nationality.

The history of the Yorùbá people is the history of its unifying culture, ideas, frontiers, as well as its divisions, both internal and external, and how it is enmeshed in the configurations of power and geo-political complexes within post-colonial Nigeria. Without question, the Yorùbá as a geographic group is constituted by history and constitutive of its own history. As narrated earlier, Yorùbá identity did not exist prior to its definition and codification. We also know that, the ethnocultural space was marred in irresolvable conflict of sub-ethnic cultures and oppositional collective identities before its construction. The idea of modern Yorùbá was constructed with strategic cultural and political goals in mind, and the reality that it represents, is also used strategically. From the foregoing, we can visualise the ethnocultural space known as Yorùbá as an idea, an identity and a reality. Which means, the Yorùbá as a nationality, is a structural force in which ideas and identities are formed within existing historical realities.

With all these great philosophical principles, the Yoruba is in want of a governing ideology. We do not have a comprehensive system of thought, a unified programme for the future, and a definitive political doctrine for mass mobilisation. This is what is called an ideology. We will have an ideology when we attach our geographic space with a concrete political interest.

Evidence from pockets of Yorùbá culture in West Africa, South America and some parts of North America bear witness to the Yoruba as the product of a complex civilisation that transcends its current region and polity. The evolution progressed as an idea and an identity that evolved as a cultural frame of reference, a geopolitical reality and later a self-conscious political block. The Yorùbá transformation, and the cultural shifts that happened with it, is conjoined with its ethno-cultural values with real effects on collective identities. With all these great philosophical principles, the Yoruba is in want of a governing ideology. We do not have a comprehensive system of thought, a unified programme for the future, and a definitive political doctrine for mass mobilisation. This is what is called an ideology. We will have an ideology when we attach our geographic space with a concrete political interest.

The task before us, is to use our cultural ideas as part of political-identity building processes for them to become ideologies. This generation, must rise to the occasion and form a cohesive collective identity in which the Yorùbá idea, identity and reality becomes a kind of consciousness. We must adopt what Pius Adesanmi on this platform called the Àtúnbí paradigm. We must be born again!

We cannot borrow this ideology. It must be organic, it must be home grown. Our elders say, Àwínná owó kò ye ‘ni, àgbàbò sòkòtò ko ye omo ènìyàn; bí kò fún un l’ésè á á sò ó; ohun eni ni íbá ‘ni mu. (It is improper for a respectable man with whom a subscription is kept to spend it; it is improper for a respectable man to borrow another man’s trousers. If it is not too big, it will be too small. It is only what is yours that fits perfectly). The task before us, is to use our cultural ideas as part of political-identity building processes for them to become ideologies. This generation, must rise to the occasion and form a cohesive collective identity in which the Yorùbá idea, identity and reality becomes a kind of consciousness. We must adopt what Pius Adesanmi on this platform called the Àtúnbí paradigm. We must be born again! It is an urgent necessity because, it was colonialism and conquest that unified Yorubaland. It was not peace, neither was it solidarity.

June 12: Catalytic Ìpónjú Identity

Ìkòkò to maa j’ata, won n’ìdí rè á kókó gbóná…June 12 remains one of the most remarkable dates in Nigeria’s political history as it has shaped Nigeria’s successive elections and democracy. The June 12, 1993 presidential election, widely acclaimed free and fair and won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola, was annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida led military regime when efforts to stop the election had failed. June 12, became a catalyst for Yoruba Ìpónjú identity as it reminded us of our identity as Yorùbás within Nigeria as a country. As a result of the annulment, we felt cheated and the Ìpónjú (adversity) acted as a catalyst for the reordering of our political priorities.

The June 12 Ìpónjú gave the needed bite to the Afénifére. The Afénifére was formed earlier in 1993 as a socio-cultural organisation for the Yoruba people. It had Abraham Adesanya as its leader and Chief Bola Ige as deputy leader. Other founding members were Pa Onasanya, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Adegbonmire, Okurounmu Femi, Ganiyu Dawodu, Olanihun Ajayi, Olu Falae, Adebayo Adefarati, Alhaji Adeyemo and Ayo Adebanjo. Ìpónjú galvanised the Afénifére and the entire Yoruba such that, when the Alliance for Democracy (AD) political party was formed in 1998, it adopted the Afénifére agenda as its official manifesto. As soon as the AD won in all Yorùbá states, everyone retreated to their sub-ethnic caves until the next Ìpónjú came along. Of course adversity is a constant in life but the ill-prepared are often taken unawares.

Ìpónjú came again! When the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003 made an attempt to create a one party state, it used sophisticated chicanery and garrison politics to win the South West. Only Tinubu in Lagos State stood as the lone survivor of the political onslaught. The loss of Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Edo States in the 2003 elections created the atmosphere for rancour and split within Afénifére. The politics was bitter and the level of treachery within the ranks grew. It became a classic situation of Àdàbà kò fi oúnjé s’òfun òrófó, olúkúlùkù nwa oúnjé s’énu ara rè. (The dove does not put food into the mouth of the green bush pigeon; each bird finds its own food). Some political juggernauts emerged from the ashes of the election loss. The loss reshaped Yorùbá politics and Yorùbá bò, wón ní, àkùko kékeré kò gbodò kò, níbití nla gbé wà. We are still paying the wages of the split today and facing the consequences of it.

In 2008 the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) was formed with the stated intent of reuniting the feuding factions as an alternative to the faction headed by the older generation of leaders. Once again, Yorùbá forgot the age long adage that says, Àgbà ní íje orí àdán, omodé ní je orí eyekéye. It is the elder who must be prepared to undertake the most difficult task while the younger people tackle less difficult problems. After each Ìpónjú, we retreat to our sub-ethnic caves until the next Ìpónjú comes along before we start scampering.

The national festival of Ìpónjú by the Jonathan administration exposed the ugly underbelly of Yorùbá politics. We seem to have forgotten that: A kìí korira atókùn ká dìgbò lu egúngún. You cannot hate the masquerade’s guide and opt to collide with the masquerade. Those who should take charge preferred the collision course. This time with a leprous masquerade. But the Yorùbá does not forget. The reason is not far fetched.

To give honour to whom it is due, the unity of an essentially Yorùbá tradition is a pervasive assumption underlying the visions for the Yorùbá by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Oni Akerele, Chief Akintola Williams, Professor Saburi Biobaku, Chief Abiodun Akinrele, Chief Ayo Rosiji, Chief Bode Thomas, Sir Adeyemo Alakija, Chief H. O. Davies, Dr. Abayomi, Dr. Akinola Maja and others. After the June 12 treachery, Chief Abraham Adesanya, General Alani Aknrinade, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Professor Wole Soyinka and many unsung NADECO chieftains held the torch for us out of the desolate darkness of that era. The words of our elders taught us that: Méjí ni ilèkùn, bí kò sí s’ínú á sí s’òde, bí kò tì s’ínú á tì s’òde. (The door has too ways. If it does not open inwards, it opens outwards, if it does not shut outwards, it will shut inwards). With ever fewer options, a united Yorùbá became tenuous because of the Afénifére split.

As a consequence, the ARG adopted what I call the Igi Àrúwé (Regeneration) philosophy. It is based on the expectations and consolation of Teníbégilójù – where trees can rejuvenate after getting cut and they develop new branches and leaves. On social media, the Igi Àrúwé philosophy is being championed by my brothers, some of whom are here: Prof. Pius Adesanmi, Omoyele Sowore, Dipo Famakiwa, Dapo Rotifa, Ayo Turton and other powerful voices like Mallami Adekunle Kayode, Ayo Ojeniyi, Adekunle Al-Muftau Adeiite, Folashade Oshun, Dotun Oyeniyi and many others who are proudly Yorubas. In furtherance of the Igi Àrúwé philosophy so many young Yorùbás along with young people of other ethnicities fought and stopped the National Iponju of the Jonathan administration of which the Yorùbá got the largest share.

The national festival of Ìpónjú by the Jonathan administration exposed the ugly underbelly of Yorùbá politics. We seem to have forgotten that: A kìí korira atókùn ká dìgbò lu egúngún. You cannot hate the masquerade’s guide and opt to collide with the masquerade. Those who should take charge preferred the collision course. This time with a leprous masquerade. But the Yorùbá does not forget. The reason is not far fetched.

For Yorùbá Renaissance to happen, we must bow to a common inviolable core that must never be touched regardless of our differences in religion, sub-ethnicity, politics, education and social standing. My recommendation is that we must build a collective identity based on unity, character and Integrity as an immutable Yorùbá ideal – a YORÙBÁ SPIRIT. This is based on the notion that the idea of Yorùbá has always been linked to the pursuit of the values of Ìsòkan, Ìwà àti Òtító, which can be summed up as Unity, Character and Integrity.

Ìrì kérékéré ní ídi odò, irì wàwà ní ídi òjò, bí omodé méje bá ko oúnjé alé ní ídi ìjà àgbàlagbà. (Tiny drops of dew can become a stream, heavy dew sometimes turn to rain; whatever circumstance that causes seven children in a household to refuse dinner will ultimately cause a rift between their parents). The fight was open, it was dirty and there was so much filth involved. Again, we don’t forgive treachery in Yorùbá land.

The Way Forward: Beyond Ìpónjú

For Yorùbá Renaissance to happen, we must bow to a common inviolable core that must never be touched regardless of our differences in religion, sub-ethnicity, politics, education and social standing. My recommendation is that we must build a collective identity based on unity, character and Integrity as an immutable Yorùbá ideal – a YORÙBÁ SPIRIT. This is based on the notion that the idea of Yorùbá has always been linked to the pursuit of the values of Ìsòkan, Ìwà àti Òtító, which can be summed up as Unity, Character and Integrity. For a sufficient appreciation of these three values, I will go into the Ifá Corpus. For reasons of time, I will dwell on Ìwà and Òtító. Bí o tilè jé pé omo ìyá kan náà ni orí àti ìwà, ìwà ju orí lo. A sí mò wípé òótó dé ojà ó kùtà, owólówó ni a nra èké. Truth came to the market and could not be sold; yet we buy lies with ready cash.

Òtúrá Ògúndá
Òtúrá ré ‘rá, béèni ò dé ‘rá
Àkòtí r’àjò, béèni ò da ‘jò
Òtító inú yó ‘ni, ó l’ájekù j’oúnje lo
O dífá fún Òrúnmìlà
Tó nsawo lo sí ìlú iró
Òtúrá ré ‘rá, béèni ò dé ‘rá
Àkòtí r’àjò, béèni ò da ‘jò
Òtító inú yó ‘ni, ó l’ájekù j’oúnje lo
O dífá fún Òrúnmìlà
Tó nsawo lo sí ìlú èké
Òtúrá ré ‘rá, béèni ò dé ‘rá
Àkòtí r’àjò, béèni ò da ‘jò
Òtító inú yó ‘ni, ó l’ájekù j’oúnje lo
O dífá fún Òrúnmìlà
Tó nsawo lo sí ìlú òótó
Òtító dé o, omi alè Ifè
Enití ó bùú mu ò wopò!

Ìrosùn Ògúndá
Ajá suwòn títí ó fi d’éyín
Àgbó suwòn ti ròrò
Ajá ò ní ròrò
ká relé ká lo rè m’ágbò wá
A dífá f’órí, a bù fun ‘wà
N’íjó tí wón nbò wá s’ílé ayé
Ìwà nìkàn ló sòro
Orí kan kìí burú tó fi d’álè Ifè
Ìwà nìkàn ló sòro
Ìwà nìkàn ló sòro
Orí ìbá burú tó fi d’álè Ifè
Ìwà nìkàn ló sòro!

From antiquity all Yorùbás have shared belief in a universal God – Olodumare and the Yoruba language which we have in common. In contemporary times, Olodumare has become Jehovah and Allah in Christianity and Islam respectively. I argue that our cultural foundation is predicated on our belief in God and our common language. Even though, we were united by colonialism and conquest, instead of peace and solidarity. Our unity must be based on a framework of shared experiences, common goals and a collective plane. We must appreciate that identity is not only our defining characteristic as a group nor what we have in common but that which separates us from others within the Nigerian nation state. The representation or presentation of others must not matter to us. What should be of concern to us, is the nature of the difference that is being constructed because identities are relational. It is also important to distinguish between personal and collective identities. Being an Omolúàbí is a personal identity. Personally we can all be Omolúàbí and have the Omolúàbí ethos but we must subscribe to the Yoruba Spirit of Ìsòkan, Ìwà àti Òtító.

To my hosts, I will like to say,

My parting words to the Afénifére Renewal Group and the Yoruba nation is that we must shed our Ìpónjú identity and subject ourselves to and inviolable and immutable common core – the Yorùbá spirit of Ìsòkan, Ìwà àti Òtító. Yorùbá Ronu!

kí erú mo ara rè l’érú, kí ìwòfà mo ara rè n’ìwòfà, kí Omolúàbí mo ara rè l’érú òrun. Let the slave realise that he is a slave, let the pawn realise he is a pawn, let the Omolúàbí realise that he a slave of the gods. You are here to serve Yoruba land, do not expect any reward. In the end, I cannot do but galvanise you to the timeless composition and rhythm of a great cultural warrior and genius – the late Hubert Ogunde, who in his exasperation in 1964 wrote and performed the play – Yorùbá Ronu (Yorùbá Think!). In what was the first instance of literary censorship in post independence Nigeria, Ogunde delivered a biting attack on the premier of the Western region and his company was banned from the region. His exhortation is as relevant then as it is now. My parting words to the Afénifére Renewal Group and the Yoruba nation is that we must shed our Ìpónjú identity and subject ourselves to and inviolable and immutable common core – the Yorùbá spirit of Ìsòkan, Ìwà àti Òtító. Yorùbá Ronu!


Mo wo Ile Aye o, aye sa malamala;
Mo ma b’oju w’orun okunkun losu bo’le;
Mo ni eri eyi o, kini sele si Yoruba omo Alade, kini sele si Yoruba omo Odua;
Ye, ye, ye, yeye, ye awa mase hun, oro nla nbe;
Yoruba nse r’awon nitori Owó, Yoruba jin r’awon l’ese nitori ipò;
Won gbebi f’alare, won gba’re f’elebi;
Won pe olè ko wa ja, won tun pe oloko wa mu;
Ogbon ti won gbon lo gbe won de Ilé Olà, ogbon na lo tun padawa si tunde won mole;
Awon ti won ti n s’Oga lojo to ti pe, tun pada wa d’eni a n f’owo ti s’eyin.
Yo, yo, yo, Yoruba yo yo yo bi ina ale;
Yoruba ru ru ru bi Omi Òkun;
Yoruba baba nse…Yo yo Yoruba ronu o!
Yoruba so’ra won di boolu f’araye gba;
To n ba gba won soke, won a tun gba’won s’isale o;
Eya ti o ti kere te le ni won ge kuru;
Awon ti ale f’ejo sun, ti di eni ati jo;
Yoruba joko sile regede, won fi owo l’owo;
Bi Agutan ti Abore n bo orisa re o!
Yo yo Yoruba r’onu o!
Ori ki ma i buru titi, ko bu ogun odun;
Leyin okunkun biribiri, Imole a tan;
Ejeka pe Olodumare, ka pe Oba lu Aye;
k’ayewa le dun ni igbehin, igbein lalayo;
Ile mo pe o, Ile dakun gbawa o, Ile o;
Ile ogere, a f’okó yeri…ile!
Alapo Ìkà, o te rere ka ibi…ile!
Ogba ragada bi eni yeye mi omo adaru pale Oge…Ile, dakun gba wa o…Ile!
Ibi ti n pa Ika l’enu mo…ile!
Aate i ka, o ko ti a pe Ile…Ile!
Ogbamu, gbamu oju Eledumare ko mase gbamu lowo aye…Ile…dakungba wa o…Ile
Ehen, ehen awa gbe ori ile yi pe o;Eni
ba dale, a ba ile lo…peregede o…ehen ehen awa gbe ori ile yi pe o;
Oduduwa bawa tun ile yi se o…to’wo, t’omo o…ehen…awa gbe ori ile yi pe o;
Oduduwa da wa l’are o, kaa si maa r’ere je o…ehen awa gbe ori ile yi pe o!
yo yo yo Yoruba ronu o!

English Translation!

I look down upon the Earth and it looks faded and jaded;
I look up to the skies and see darkness descending;
Oh! What a great pity!
What has become of the Yoruba?
What has befallen the children Odua?
Hey, hey hey hey, hey hey…We appear helpless and the situation ominous;
The Yoruba inflict rain on themselves for the sake of wealth;
The Yoruba under-mine one another in pursuit of position;
They declare the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent;
They induce thieves to invade a farm and invite the farmers to apprehend them;
The same cleverness that was responsible for their past successes;
Has now turned out to be their albatross;
Impactful leaders of the past have now been rendered irrelevant;
Yo, yo, yo Yoruba yo, yo, bright as light on a dark night;
Yoruba ru, ru, ru as the rumblings of the Sea;Yoruba baba deserves to be baba;
Yo, yo, yo. Yoruba reflect.
The Yoruba have turned themselves into a football for the world to kick about;
They are lobbed up into the sky and trapped down to the Earth;
A region that was already small, has its size further reduced;
And those through whom we could have sought redress;
Have been rendered men of yester years;
Yet the yoruba sits down helpless, like a sacrificial lamb;
Yo, yo, yo, Yoruba reflect;
But misfortune, I say, does not last for a lifetime;
For after darkness comes light;
So let us cry unto Edumare, the makers of heaven and earth to grant us recovery;
For he who last, laughs best;
Oh mother earth! I call upon you;
Mother earth, oh! Mother earth;
Please come to our aid, mother earth;
Slippery earth, whose head is shaved with a hard worker’s Hoe;
Whose wicked container spread out to contain evil;
Flung out as is mat, in the manner of my mother scion of those who spread ash to heal the earth;
Mother earth please come to our aid, mother earth!
Fame that confounds the wicked…mother earth please come to our aid, mother earth;
Spread out and cannot be folded…mother earth please come to our aid, mother earth!
The sheer expanse of Edumare’s view cannot be contained within human arms…oh mother earth, come to our aid!
Yes, yes, yes, yes, so we may live long on this earth;
Those who renege on oath will pay the price, yes yes yes, so we may live long;
Oduduwa, please aid us to replenish the earth for our success and fecundity…yes, yes, so we may live long on this earth;
Oduduwa vindicate us so that we can succeed;
Yes, yes, yes, so we may live long on this earth.
Yo, yo, yo. Yoruba reflect.

Thank you!

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú, who maintains a weekly column on Politics and Socioeconomic issues every Tuesday, is a member of the Premium Times‘ Editorial Board. Follow her: @olufunmilayo

This is the Keynote address delivered at the 2015 Afenifere Renewal Group (USA Chapter) Conference delivered on October 17, 2015 at the Cobo Convention Centre, Detroit, Michigan.
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Afenifere Renewal Group-USA
Afenifere Renewal Group-USA
April 12 ·

Now That Elections Are Over

Detroit, Michigan, April 12, 2015-The events of the last two weeks will go down as turning point in the history of our country’s democracy. We condemn the barbaric acts of violence unleashed by political supporters in some areas across the country in no uncertain terms. We also think that more work has to be done to fix problems encountered by voters due to card readers and other logistic challenges. However we believe that Nigeria’s’ democratic process has significantly improved.
Afenifere Renewal Group USA sends our congratulations to the President Elect General Mohammodu Buhari, Governors, Senators, members of the Federal House of Representatives, State house of Assemblies elected- most especially those from the Southwestern region of the country on their victories. We also congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan for his show of sportsmanship, and for setting precedence that democracy can live and survive in Nigeria despite all her challenges.

Now that the campaign season is over, our nation must heal. In the weeks leading to the inauguration of a new government, our expectation is that the incoming administration will take steps that will heal the divisiveness and bitterness triggered by politics/elections and will continue to take steps to ensure that they hit the ground running come MaY, 29 2015. The elections are over and the task of governing must now begin. In the months ahead, we will release a more detailed list of programs that we believe should be of priority to the government. For now we want to remind the incoming administration at the state and Federal level to focus: on education, security, and corruption.

We congratulate Nigerians for coming out in unprecedented numbers to participate in both the March 28th, and April 11th elections. With this they have demonstrated that whenever the status quo fails, change will come. We must however remember that the quest for a better, and more prosperous Nigeria must not end with the use of PVCs; we all must keep the incoming government on its feet by determining what we want, reminding the government of their promises, and take steps to ensure that our demands are implemented. Never again should we allow the government to negotiate on our behalf; we must be part of the negotiation. This time around we must be major participants in the rebuilding process.

We enjoin all Yoruba sons and daughters to remain vigilant, shun violence, and continue to pray for the success of the incoming government. We are optimistic that the good days are coming.

M.O Balogun
Publicity Secretary
Afenifere Renewal Group USA

August 9, 2014
Contact: Lanre Balogun
Afenifere Renewal Group USA Chapter

Our Election: Let’s Protect Our Democracy


Detroit, Michigan –Our Good people of Osun, as you cast your votes in today’s governorship election, we members of Afenifere Renewal Group USA Chapter; congratulate you for another opportunity to exercise your civil responsibilities. As you go out to vote, we ask:

– That you remain law abiding throughout the entire process.
– That you shun money bags and cast your votes for your conscience.
– That you remain unfrighten by the huge presence of security and law enforcement agents; we believe that their responsibilities are to ensure peace and order but not to be used as tools for intimidation.
– That you not only vote, but also protect your votes and ensure that your votes count.

We ask that Security Agents:

– Remain neutral.
– Ensure that the election and its’ process is peaceful and fair.
– Refuse to be used by any individual, group, or political party to disrupt, or manipulate the election and its results.
– Protect the lives and properties of the electorates.

We ask that INEC:

– Deliver on its promise of improving on the elections in Ekiti State.
– Ensure one man one vote.
– Remain transparent in the entire process.

We ask that the candidates

– Promote the spirit of sportsmanship during and after the elections.
– Protest any grievance through the appropriate channel but not through crisis or violence.

We wish you the best, and we hope that the candidate with the best agenda to transform the State of Osun and take it to greater height wins.

National Security: Presidency & APC Have Failed Our Country
There is no doubt that this is by far one of the most challenging phase in the pre and post amalgamation history of our Nation. Never had we been faced by such enormous security conundrum that impend our national security. However for every nation, when tragedy strikes, all citizens irrespective of their bias, ethnicity, or political alliance are expected to come together not only to denounce such abysmal act in no uncertain terms but also to demonstrate a unison allegiance that sends a vivid message to victims and their families that they are not alone in such difficult time; also to the perpetrators of such heinous crimes that no extent of attacks is capable of constraining our individual liberties and our spirit as a nation. A tragic period in the life of a nation requires national reflection thereby demanding everyone most especially politician to shove aside all political activities – a sign of respect for those affected. Finally, a time like this requires something that our country is unfortunately immensely missing, LEADERSHIP.
The response to the recent Nyanya bombing by the president once again reiterate what we have already said many times- that the government of President GoodLuck Jonathan is weak, incapable, insensitive and unserious about fighting Boko Haram insurgency. If not, how does one explain his puerile decision to partake in the recent political show in Kano barely 24 hours after one of the most deadly attacks recorded till date ? Not that we wish, but had the president lost an ally, or a member of his family, would he had responded by singing and dancing in Kano? What sort of message did the man whose responsibility was to be the chief consoler in a time of tragedy passed to the victims and the entire country? At a time when world leaders whose support we desperately need to end this carnage watched and expected our President to show leadership, he failed once again. President Jonathan has travelled the world but failed to learn single lesson on how to respond in times of crises. With this president, and his attitude the world will never take us serious.
Save that, if the president is truly serious about fighting Boko Haram, how then is Olisa Metuh,the spokesperson for his party who claimed publicly to have evidence that there is a strong link between APC and Boko Haram not been interrogated to divulge what he knows to our intelligent forces; for the sponsors of the insurgent group to face maximum punishment and by extension helping our president to defeat terrorist .; if Metuh was just making statements to heat up debate, and score cheap political points why is he still walking freely ? The president and his advisers are failing to understand that they are putting our military men and women who have been answering the calls to keep our country safe in more harm with their actions and inactions.
It is even more disastrous that despite all the hopes Nigerians had, thus far the main opposition party APC has failed to perform its’ duties as a credible alternative to what we currently have. Opposition partys’ main role in every country is to constructively criticize the policies of government that may not be working and provide alternative to those policies where needed. Sadly, the crave for power and desperate attempts to frustrate the presidency has made the APC to lose focus, therefore making the opposition a dog that has only been trained to bark but not bite. Nigerians are tired of rhetorical ideas without any blue print. Nigerians are tired of unnecessary political jabs, bogus promises, unrealistic ideas, and childish political fights; If as claimed, the APC can truly end insurgency in Nigeria within 100 days, what then is keeping them from suggesting this ideas to the current administration or must all Nigerians blood flow on the streets before they display their magic?
We believe that Nigeria is bigger and more important than any political party. If APC refuses to provide a better alternative that would help strengthen our national security, it does not deserve to be voted into power.
The leadership of a country is a reflection of the people that is being led, but the current leadership of our country does not represent who we are in anyway. We in ARG believe that Nigerians still have the ability to produce better leadership; we know that all Nigerians do too- Those good days will come
– Lanre Balogun
Pub Secretary, ARG, USA


Emergency rule is not a panacea for peace, ARG warns

By a stroke of presidential proclamation, President Goodluck Jonathan, a few days ago, declared a state of emergency in some parts of the country, namely Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno States. Indeed, the country has been held by the jugular by unprecedented violence and blood-letting, which has left in its wake massive destruction of lives and property, especially in many parts of Northern Nigeria.

We of the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) would like to believe that this declaration of a state of emergency is a sign that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration is finally waking up from its deep slumber, and is now ready to grapple with the security challenges plaguing this country. However we are convinced that this is merely a temporary solution that once again falls short of the determined course of action that should finally put this country on the part of progress.

Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) would like to reinforce our position that the insurgency in the Northern parts of Nigeria is only a deep manifestation of the crises of nationhood bedeviling the country, which we have continually refused to fully address. There is no doubt that every part of this country is seething in anger for one reason or the other. The Yoruba people for instance, do not only feel insecure within Nigeria, we do not feel that Nigeria, as it is presently structured can allow the component nationalities and groups to find full expression for their aspirations. We the Yoruba are concerned and miffed that the present structure of the country is a hindrance to our developmental destination. We are constantly being constrained to move at the developmental pace envisioned since the advent of self-rule in the 1950s, therefore to project to a great future for our unborn generation is fast becoming a mirage.

Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) would therefore like to admonish President Goodluck Jonathan not to rely on emergency rule as a means to achieving peace. It may bring temporary succor, but it cannot guarantee long-lasting peace and security. His administration should rather expend resources on lasting peace, and not just rely on a parochial focus on security. The present situation in Nigeria is a watershed, which presents an opportunity to seek a lasting resolution to how we want to live and co-exist as a country of distinct nationalities, interests and priorities, within this beleaguered contraption called Nigeria. To this end, we hereby call on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately declare a State of National Emergency, and proceed to the National Assembly with an executive bill, with a view to preparing the grounds for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, which would bring all the peoples and ethnicities of Nigeria together at a roundtable to dialogue on the future of the country.

We are fully convinced that this action will save this country before its current chapter ends with ….there was a country

Kunle Famoriyo
Media/Publicity Secretary(ARG)

Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) First Quarter Media Chat

Delivered by Honourable Olawale Oshun, National Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) at Zen Garden Restaurant, Isaac John Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday, 25th March, 2013
Let me welcome you, friends, compatriots and distinguished gentlemen of the press to Afenifere Renewal Group’s (ARG) maiden Media Chat. As it connotes, this forum is proposed as a periodic interaction between us and your good selves in the fourth estate of the realm.
Without any doubt, ARG and the Media have become important partners in projecting the issues that affect and concern our people, especially those that are in line with our avowed commitment to ensure that the development aspirations of the Yoruba people within the Nigerian space are not limited, trampled upon or constrained in any way.
This periodic Media Chat will therefore become a no-holds-barred forum of and for a meeting of minds. It would serve as a space for ARG to bring important issues to the fore, and provide information and clarification on matters relating to our strategy and positions, the Yoruba nation and the country in general. In turn, we would also expect you, our friends in the Media, to raise important issues and where necessary challenge us on areas where you feel we can become stronger agents of change in projecting and actualizing our people’s development aspirations. We are prepared to subject the ARG to regular dialogues and evidence-based discussions that engage our people and address issues that are pertinent to their well being. We assure you that this will be meaningful discourses, where we proffer strategic solutions, as we emulate the sage-approach of our Avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
In our view, this is important, in cognizance of the current unpredictable and unstable dynamics of Nigeria’s social and political temperament, alongside the nation’s daily co-existence with demonstrable leadership-devoid, in a midst of uncertainties and insecurity.
Let us use this opportunity to re-iterate ARG’s mission to promote, protect and accelerate Yoruba development in all spheres of human endeavours and civilisation. ARG’s commitment to this cause is unwavering and unapologetic in their pursuit. ARG is decidedly progressive in inclinations and practical in actions. We are crystal clear about our sense of purpose and direction, irrespective of what segments of our people may be parroting in recent times.
We focus our politics and political activities on the pathway of development, as we consciously re-direct and channel those in charge of our affairs in the Region to initiatives that ensure the greatest good to the greatest number of our people. ARG is acutely committed to the centrality of man in all development programmes and actions. We would continue to work with like minds, in the political and non-political arenas, and in all other spheres of developmental endeavours, to ensure that this paradigm remains the starting point and the benchmark for governance in our Region.
Dear friends and compatriots, you will recall that in our End-of-Year State of the Nation Press Conference in 2012, we confronted the nation with information regarding the mind-boggling issues of corruption, profligacy and the scared-cow syndrome, including the unprecedented marginalization of the Yoruba by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, focusing on the issue of lopsided recuitment and promotion in the public service. Sadly and unfortunately, this situation has not abated. Current reality also paints the picture of an underestimation of the scale of impunity and flagrant disregard for the laws of the land and every sense of propriety and good order. These have been exhibited, most notably by the recent pardon granted to the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diprieye Alamieyeseigha. This blatant display of deficit in ethical-based governance, has received widespread and worldwide condemnation, which ARG also reacted to via a press statement.
This is an interactive media parley. As such, we would like to engage with you, respond to your questions, and provide clarifications where necessary. We would welcome your ideas, opinions, and exposure to facts that may not be available to us.
As we proceed, we would like to provide some clarification around recent events where ARG’s name was cited, precisely about a meeting that took place in Akure, where it was reported that some factions of Afenifere “re-united”.
We would like to state, and for the avoidance of any doubts, that our Group, the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) was neither involved nor represented at that meeting. None of those who attended that meeting could claim to be representing Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG). Whoever attended and/or participated at that meeting did so entirely on their own volition. ARG is a group that recognises the independent mindedness of individuals, therefore we concede to individuals, their right and choice of association.
ARG is a group with explicit and untainted moral values and stance. We affirm therefore that anybody who purports to be an ARG member, and sits in a meeting with Iyiola Omisore, and some of the other personalities mentioned at that meeting, is on his or her own and cannot and will not be a member nor an associate of ARG. We need to emphasise that ARG does not and will not quarrel or contend with the old Afenifere. We have met with them and consulted with them on Pan-Yoruba issues where and when necessary. We also affirm that there is no question of a re-union between Afenifere of old and Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG). ARG has and does projects a uniquely vibrant identity, a clearly distinctly defined mission and philosophical stance that are carved in progressive and developmental independence of thoughts and actions, that are informed by engrained Omoluabi values.
We also make clear that we are tied to no strings – individual or institutional. ARG is an independent Group of Yoruba patriots, an ethos we hold in high esteem and guard with principles. ARG is not controlled from anywhere, by anyone, by any group or by any political party. In our midst are professionals, businessmen, academics, intellectuals, technocrats and people across the length and breadth of Yorubaland and in the Diaspora. We have made no secret of the fact that we are a political organisation. However, many of our members are not partisan and they view the socio-economic and political development of Yorubaland as a major goal. Only the mischievious would continue to make unsubstantiated claims about any juggernaut behind ARG or any money-bag funding the activities of the Group – in the past or even now. We reject these claims completely, they are totally baseless. ARG is self-funded, and we are supported by the generosity of many Yoruba people, some of whom are neither members of the Group nor are even politicians. These decent individuals believe in ARG’s vision and aspirations, and they willingly support us in whatever way and form they deem fit – we use this opportunity to acknowledge these valuable support.
It has become evident, in the history of Nigeria, that whenever Yorubaland is poised for development, or is seen to be on the path of development, all forms of threats and conspiracies begin to rear their heads. These threats are usually from within and outside the Region. We do not fail at any time to recognise them. Our progenitors in the distant past and of course, in the not-too-distant-past, have had to contend with these scenarios, and they have done their best to either mitigate them or fight them off. This time around, the Yoruba people are prepared for them. ARG will stand in constant watch and will sensitise and mobilise Yoruba people everywhere against the threats that have started to emerge, apparently to truncate our march to development. Of course, internal collaborators from within, foisting all kinds of pernicious and suspicious agenda are never in short supply. Yoruba people are never confused, neither are we ever in doubt about our collective interests. Yoruba people do not succumb to negative propaganda, regardless of where it is coming from, or who is peddling such. In the fullness of time, and in our own way, Yoruba people shall put political jobbers and opportunists where they belong.
Without any doubt, the Yoruba have always been specifically targetted either for development decimation or at best arrested progress. The trajectory is all too familiar. Awolowo’s travails, just as colonialism was winding down in the country, and of course with active collaborators from within Yorubaland, led to the end of the First Republic. When another opening emerged for development in the UPN days after 13 years of military rule, the internal colonialists, through the military, struck in 1983 to truncate the advancement of the progressive Southwest governments. Moshood Abiola emerged on the political scene. Nigerians voted for him out of their free will, but his victory at the polls was viciously scuttled. Those who have continued to arrogate to themselves the decision of who would rule and reign over the rest of us, crafted an arrangement that imposed former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the country. The eight (8) subsequent years of a PDP led government in the Southwest imposed a reign of terror and violent dispossession of our value system, foisted on us strange people and strange policies and took away the development agenda of the progressive Yoruba people. We are still smarting from the fallout. Although we can say that we have now begun to see some semblance of purposeful governance, with obvious development strides across the Region, the Philistines are once again ganging up against the Yoruba people.
Of course, we are mindful of the recent thoughtless and insulting statement made by the thoroughly discredited former PDP Chairman, Ahmadu Alli against Yoruba people and our collective sensibilities. Some of our people have adequately responded to his tirades and we are sure he will continue to suffer the opprobrium of the majority. We would however like to say that we would not further dignify this man, who in the course of his odious public engagements within the Nigerian space, has had no credible record of performance, but has constantly acted against the interests of Nigerians, including of course his own Igala people. He is so thoroughly bad, discredited and evil that the PDP, as bad as they are, could not risk him being the Chairman of their Board of Trustees, against his wishes and those of his master.
Specifically, the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) hereby wishes to make it clear that we are aware of the plans by the PDP-led Federal Government to take advantage of our historical sensibilities, by promoting certain individuals to form political associations and political parties in our Region, and providing funding to them through spurious and dubious contracts in order to use them as agents of destabilisation, in fulfilment of a sinister 2015 agenda. We are putting this in the public space, so that our people would be informed about the threats that are being massed against them. However, this is Yorubaland. We are veterans in this kind of struggles, and we dare say that we are not battle-weary. We will as usual, fend this off.
We are hereby placing our people on high alert, and asking them to be on guard against the enemy within and the enemy outside. This time around, we must not allow them to succeed, as this is in our interest and that of generations unborn. ARG would like to warn those who are involved in any invidious project or plot against the Yoruba people to desist, or they would inevitably face the wrath of the people.
At this point, we would like to express our Group’s serious concern regarding the current spate of bloodshed in the country, mainly as a result of the activities of the so-called Boko Haram and another group that calls itself Ansaru. We are deeply touched and we sympathise with the victims of these unfortunate occurences, and like most Nigerians, we call on the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibilities and put a final stop to this frequent bloodshed. This is squarely within the scope of their responsibilities, and there should be no beating about the bush. Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) would like to warn that this type of tendency is alien to us in Yorubaland, and so it would not be permitted, it would be resisted by our people, and it would never be allowed to have a foothold. However, while we appreciate the concerns of those who have canvassed amnesty as a response strategy to this menace, we would however like to say that the Boko Haram menace is a persistent indication and manifestation of a deeper malaise beleaguering the country. Amnesty will therefore be another attempt not only to create an opportunity for anarchists, but to further postpone the evil days. Considering the structural deficiency of the country, it is not likely that we would see an end to the use of Amnesty. Therefore, in line with our constant agitation for the imperative of restructuring this multi-ethnic, multi-religion and multi-faceted country, it is our view that there is no better time than now to convene a National Conference that would finally resolve the Nationality Question that constantly and continuously pushes this country to the precipice. We demand a convocation of this Conference without any further delay.
For ARG and the entire Yoruba people, at home and in the Diaspora, it is forward ever, backward never. With the realization that the struggle continues, ARG is assured that victory, development and progress will be ours.
Thank you for your attention and God bless.
Honourable Olawale Oshun




Our  Chairman, Chief Olawale Oshun, and members of his delegate,The Asiwaju of Yoruba in Michigan, Chief Ayodela Owe, Mr President ,Yoruba American community Hon.Sunday Omoyele , distinguished  speakers, Dr Wumi Akintide,Dr PiusAdesanmi and my senior comrade Mr Omoyele Sowore,honorable guests. It is honor and my pleasure  on  behalf of members of Afenifere Renewal Group USA Chapter  to welcome you to participate and share in our 2nd annual independence lecture and conference. That many of you find time out of your extremely busy schedule to travel long distances to join us today serves to remind us all just how patriotic and committed you are to the course for a prospering Yoruba land and Nigeria as a whole. It also reminds us of our own responsibilities as members of this honorable group and as humbled sons and daughters of Yoruba land.

As we all know, within the last week, we were shocked by the sudden deaths of some of our past  leaders, former Governor Lam Adeshina of Oyo State and most recently Justice Kayode Eso. Let us remember the departed in our prayers as we mourn their transition to higher glory.

Just over a year ago, we gathered here to discuss how we can best tackle the continued bareness of our cultural landscape, and the festival of corruption that has remained perpetual among our representatives.,I need not remind you that our country is in a critical period, and a critical period requires bold and intelligent solution.Our been part of the nation called Nigeria needs to be rethink. We should ask ourselves, what is at stake, and the way forward for the people that were known to j

We are honored to have Mr.  DipoFamakinwa who is  one of the  architect of The Developmental Agenda for Western Nigeria ( Dawn)  which was launched earlier this year with the support of almost all the governors in our region. Mr. Famakinwa is  here today to share the importance of this economic blueprint with us. Dr Akintide will delve into Nigerian history as it affects, the Yoruba Nation. We are also honored to have  Omoyele Sowore, who has been at the fore front of anti-corruption crusade physically and through his media website, Mr. Sowore will  be discussing the challenges that can hinder the realization of the Dawn, and what impact corruption can have on it. For those of us who were here last year, we can still recall the powerful address of Dr. Pius Adesanmi, he therefore needs no further introduction. However for those of you who are joining us for the first time, I promise, you will not regret spending your time here with us today.

Once again I welcome you all.

Thank you.

Taiwo Ogunleye








Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is indeed a huge honour and pleasure, for me to participate in this year’s programme. I see this event as epochal, with ARG United States chapter, taking a strategic stride to cast a Diaspora focus on the integration project embarked upon by the governments and people of the respective states of the Western region in Nigeria.

I was not opportune to attend the 2011 programme, which I heard was also a great success. My preference this year would have been to be a passive but learning observer rather than a participant. This, in my view, would have afforded me the opportunity of not muddling up water with my oiled-prejudices. I have to say that these prejudices are informed particularly by the diatribes that some malicious elements had calculatingly been inflicting on the subject, with a view to denigrating the strategic and altruistic intentions of the people associated with the integration agenda.

However, the Chairman of ARG, US chapter – Taiwo Ogunleye – conveyed your insistence to me, that I would have to deliver a key note address to kick start the programme. Let me thank him and his colleagues, for this honour and privilege. The health warning is that I am not particularly good at speaking, so you have to take me as you find me.

Please allow me to mimic one of our foremost musicians, who a while ago, sang thus;

“kile ni a se o, te fi nbinu [2x]

A o binu eru, a o binu omo,

Kile ni a se o, te fi nbinu”



Put more succinctly to reflect our present circumstance and context;

“kile ni awa omo Yoruba se o, te fi nbinu [2x]

Awa o binu eru, a o binu omo,

Kile ni a se o, te fi nbinu”


The subject under consideration is the planned integration of the economic activities and developmental considerations of all Yoruba speaking states in Nigeria. This carries with it, the intent to fasten our rate of growth, by deepening our infrastructural facility and capacity and re-awakening the healthy and positive competitive spirit that hitherto characterised the relationship of the federating regions in the country prior to the military usurpation of 1966.

The Western region under Obafemi Awolowo, the Eastern region under Nnamdi Azikiwe and the Northern region under Ahmadu Bello competed favourably. In relative terms, this brought about development to their people, which could have effectively been built upon. Please note my emphasis – could have been built upon…

There is a need, therefore, to start from the beginning. Why were they angry and why are they still angry with us Yoruba people? Or put in another way – what did we do that they got angry about or are still angry about?

Let us indulge briefly on a reflection on the British role in the pre-independence handling of our nation, people and leadership. No matter how controverted late Harold Smith’s account on Nigeria’s pre-independence history is, his assertion that “the West led in the fight for the independence, and was punished for asking for freedom” rings true till today. According to him, the punishment for that role was that “They will not rule Nigeria”. Our other offence – as Yoruba people – according to Harold Smith’s account, was that “…the west is good in administration and commerce, law and medicine”  and that was perhaps why the British planned their “…agenda to give power at all cost…” to another nationality in the emerging Nigeria.

Interested academics who tried to debunk Harold Smith, would to my mind, have had no reasons to reject Harold’s assertion that he “was very sorry for the Action Group – a great party, too much for African standard. We planned to destroy Awolowo…and the West and East, and sowed a seed of discord among them.”

Formally, the British left Nigeria fifty two years ago, and it should be of a diminished consequence if they are still angry at us. If that is true, who did we offend that once again, the genuine leadership of the Yoruba led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo was rail-roaded into prison, and their Western region politically sheared off through an elaborate rigging scheme that those who implemented it could only have learnt at the foot of the British! Harold Smith must have this at the back of his mind when he said in his unpublished memoir that, “…when I suggest that the British government meddled with the democratic elections in Nigeria, I write as an authority.” Let us at this stage leave out Harold Smith and the British out of our woes.

If we may ask again, what did we do to warrant the anger of others? Let us note that Obafemi Awolowo indeed believed in Nigeria – he left his power base to become a leader of the opposition, so that its democracy might thrive, and he built the leading if not only national political party in Nigeria as can be gleaned from the election results of 1959. To cite some data, of the 62 seats in Western region, Awolowo’s Action Group and its allies had 33 seats – 14 of the 73 seats in the East, 26 of the 174 seats in the North and 1 of the 3 seats in Lagos territory. Even in analysing this statistics, the Yoruba sophistication and large heartedness would obviously be one of its offences against the North and East whose aim was to dominate the Yoruba completely. Listen to this – for how can you interpret the fact that while the Yoruba gave space to other parties (or its opponents) to hold about 47 percent of seats in its territory, the Igbos under Nnamdi Azikiwe allowed opponents a paltry 19% while the Hausa/Fulani under Ahmadu Bello conceded to opposition parties  under 15% of seats in his territory.

What could we have done that they would not be angry at us? Allow others to completely dominate our space? Remembering that one of the most ambitious and scheming of them all – Nnamdi Azikiwe – tried it on in 1951, aiming to become a premier in Western region. This would have been an Igbo domination over a predominantly Yoruba people, whilst at the same time retaining his hold on his Igbo people by putting a surrogate to rule over them. Was he going to send one of his many followers – the Bensons, the Ogunsanyas etc – to become the premier in the East?

The Biafra war came on all of us in 1967. What did the Yoruba do wrong to now be heaped with almost all the blame by Chinua Achebe. Those who massively rigged the 1965 Western region election seeking to dominate the Yoruba through their (Yoruba) surrogates might have prepared the ground for the military coup that erupted in January 1966. If the coup and it’s trapping, which were largely inherited by the Igbos, had not been abused by the inheritors, particularly in the Northern territory which they sought to dominate like colossus, the July 1966 pogrom would not have erupted so ferociously as it did, and the path to the civil war could have been averted.

The hunting North became the hunted in January 1966, while the hunting East became the hunted in July 1966. In all of this, the Yoruba who had almost been brought to its knees until its revolt against the massive rigging of the 1965 Western region elections, had no direct role in these. Even our request, as Yoruba people, that our ground should not be a partisan zone and that troops of other regions should be withdrawn from it was rebuffed by the Gowon and Murtala Mohammed led military. I doubt, in retrospect, whether Gowon and Ojukwu really wanted the reconciliation move led by Obafemi Awolowo to succeed. This move, as laudable as it was, was derided respectively by the Hausa leadership and the Igbo leadership. This was a reconciliation move that have now been recently repainted in disjointed and gory literary colours by Chinua Achebe.

If you doubt this assertion, how come in recent times, Alhaji Yakassai – claiming to be speaking for the political North – would argue that it was the threat of the North to dip the Quran in the sea in Lagos that stopped the ‘cowardly’ Yoruba from not cooperating with the Biafra war efforts of the North; or what of the unreasonable war push of Odumegwu Ojukwu to occupy Lagos inflicting a pincer movement through Benin and Ore in the early days of the war?

To our neighbours, cooperation is not the word. We Yoruba sought pre independence for a federal constitution, in which the federating units could determine their needs and level of growth. Nnamdi  Azikiwe’s Igbo sought for unitary form of government, believing they were more politically advanced and could dominate the rest of the country. Late Ahmadu Bello sought for federation when it suited the North as in the case of rebuffing relations with Israel even when the Federal Government sought accommodation, or for unitary status when it came to dominating the politics of the country. The students of this political philosophy – Murtala Mohammed, Mohammed Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida -completely ‘unitarised’ the countryand brought the whole country under the oligarchic domination of the North.

Is it because the Yoruba did anything wrong again, or because of the determination of our neighbours to dominate us that Moshood Abiola’s presidential victory in 1993 was annulled? If anyone tried to be a good Nigerian, Moshood Abiola was. He invested and had assets across the landscape, married from across the country and a philanthropy that was totally non-discriminatory. What did he do wrong that they were angry at him and with him? His agricultural land holdings and investments in a part of the country other than Yoruba land were revoked immediately he challenged the annulment of his election. I could recollect vividly the role of His Excellency, Okwesilieze Nwodo, then Governor of Enugu state and of late Shehu Musa Ya Aradua in ensuring that the annulment took root. That was when it became an issue that Moshood Abiola is a Yoruba man and that his victory was tribalised. Would it have been an offence for the Yoruba to contest the injustice done to one of them when fighting injustice of any mode is second nature to them?

Permit me to seek your indulgence, skip other issues and come quickly to the issue of the worthy pursuit of integration by the Yoruba people in Nigeria and in Diaspora. The issue of economic and political integration has a history. In 2006, Afenifere Renewal Group held what is now known as the IITA reconciliation retreat in Ibadan. After a stirring paper by Wale Adebanwi and contributions by a host of other Yoruba eggheads, it was recommended that for sustainable economic and political development, it would be necessary for the Yoruba governments to make deliberate efforts towards integrating their policies for maximum efficiency in the use of human, social, cultural and monetary capital.

Although Afenifere Renewal Group failed to achieve, to its satisfaction, the issue of reconciliation which was originally the motive for the IITA retreat, it took to heart all the other recommendations. This included nurturing the proposed integration project until such a time that progressive governments would return to claim their stolen mandate from the locust governments that then infested our territories in Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Ogun states.

That moment came with the expulsion of all retrogressive politics and governance that led to the return of five Action Congress of Nigeria and one Labour led governments into the six South West states. Afenifere Renewal Group silently worked behind the scenes, got tens of Yoruba professionals to work relentlessly, free of charge, to come up with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (herein after called DAWN). Under fairly difficult but somewhat testy diplomatic foray, ARG succeeded in getting our Governors to adopt the scheme.

There are one or two ignorant but equally malicious Yoruba elements who sought to trivialise the efforts of Afenifere Renewal Group on the integration project. We have noticed how they sought to subvert the strategy by playing on what ordinarily would have passed as the fundamental right of two of the Yoruba governors in contending whether or not integration as it affects the Western region should be only economic or both economic and political.

That was a contention that would have been resolved amicably, as we are bound by the desire to attain the well being of our people in the long run. That contention will ultimately be resolved and these very few elements will at that stage bury their heads in shame, as had always been the case with those who subverted the common good of Yoruba people in the past.

It is on this integration project however that I rue the unhealthy interference of none Yoruba people who are meddling again in our affairs. In what way if I may ask again, have we offended non Yoruba people in planning to integrate our policies for maximum efficiency and sustainable development, that they are already dubbing the integration project secessionist? Why should the development of any group become a pain to another well meaning group or neighbour? What did Yoruba do wrong as a people to have had the Mohammed Buhari led military government abort the Lagos metro line project in 1984, and or the Olusegun Obasanjo government to have subverted the Independent Power Project of Bola Tinubu in 2001? Why the unreasonable insistence that investing in the rail transportation project is an exclusive preserve of the Unitary Government of Nigeria that lacks the goodwill and possesses in large quantum the malice to abridge any development scheme of our people?

I will need to say no more at this stage, but to commend the organisers of this one day conference for accepting the baton and flying the flag for integration. If you permit me, I will call on this audience and state with humility, on behalf of all of you and our people that “we bear no malice to anyone, slaves or freeborn” as philosophised in that song.

Let me commence my summation, by reverting to our central theme and focus – regional integration. For Western Nigeria and Yoruba people, integration is a philosophy, system and structure that reflect and shape the strategies of our governments. Integration acts as a spur to greater efficiency, productivity gain and competitiveness. I need to emphasise though, that integration is not an end in itself, rather, it is a process to support developmental growth strategies, greater social equality and democratization.

As a people, we will integrate regionally so that we can facilitate similar and equitable level of development across the participating states, to the benefit of the indigenes and citizens. We will integrate to create opportunities and platform for shared resources and expertise across our domains, with an enabling environment for common purpose and shared vision. We will integrate to allow for the maximisation of resources – noting the limiting nature of this at national and international arenas – with the joint exploration of new and innovative solutions to structural, human and infrastructural development across our states. We will integrate to ensure good governance as the leadership of the states will be expected to be more effective, more competitive and better equipped. We will integrate to allow for the establishment of common sets of development indicators.

Let me warn however, that unity is not a condition for development, especially our economic, infrastructural and human attainment. Development, especially among the Yoruba people is a must, not negotiable and is an irreducible minimum. Why would we compromise on a good road network from Oyo to Akure? Why would we even debate the need for a child in Ado to be guaranteed the same quality and standard of education when his/her parents relocate to Osogbo? Why would there be an issue if I need to be assured that if I am ill in Ijebu-Igbo, I am assured of good primary and secondary care I would have accessed if I stop over in Epe? Why can’t I be comfortable in the knowledge that my older relatives in Abeokuta have a good welfare and social care packages, same that I would access if I retire in Lagos? These are the spirit of integration, these are its heart and soul.

We charge, that you leave us – the Yoruba people across the world, at home and abroad – to chart our path to our development. Chart yours as well, and Nigeria will remain and will still be large enough for us all to cohabit within it. We warn however, should this undeserved attacks continue, and our development is stifled through internal subversion and continued pursuit of a domination vision, that will never be allowed to come to pass, Nigeria may be too big to accommodate us all.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Thank you for listening

God bless you all.

Hon Olawale Oshun

Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group

Detroit, 17/11/2012


Text of the communique from the Yoruba Assembly held at the Oyo State House of Assembly, Ibadan, Oyo State — 30 August 2012

Representatives of various political parties, sub-ethnic groups of the Yoruba of Nigeria, professional and vocational groups, at a PAN-YORUBA CONFERENCE to which the following categories of eminent Yoruba personalities were invited:All former Heads of state of Yoruba stock, All former Vice Presidents of the military era, Chiefs of General Staff or Chiefs of Staff (Supreme Headquarters), All former and current state governors of South West states and Kwara, and Itsekiri who are Yoruba, All Yoruba former Presidents of the Senate and Speakers of the House of Representatives, all former Chief Justices of Nigeria, (CJN) former Justices of the Supreme Court and other retired judges, all Yoruba former and serving members of the House of Representatives, all former and serving Speakers of the various Yoruba states Houses of Assembly. They also include leaders of all political parties from Yoruba land, Top Yoruba professionals, Chairmen and secretaries of all Self-determination Groupsat the state levels in Yoruba land; Yoruba Trade Groups Chairmen and Secretaries at state levels, Chairmen and Secretaries of Diaspora Groups, Women and Youth Leaders of Yoruba land at state levels, Yoruba Academics, Religious Leaders and other Yoruba leaders from across the States of Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Kogi and out Itsekiri kith and kin of Delta state,met in Ibadan on the 30 August 2012 and discussed the general state of affairs of the so-called Nigerian federation.

At the end of robust deliberations on pertinent issues, the following decisions were adopted as resolutions:

1. Noted that Nigeria is, once again, at a critical crossroad. After more than 50 years of Independence and less than 2 years shot of 100 years after the 1914 amalgamation, deep structural issues and Nationality Questions, such as Federalism, Fair and Equitable Revenue Allocation, Security, Free and Fair Elections, State Police and inter-relationship amongst the different Nationalities remain unresolved! Indeed, the need for a National Dialogue to resolve the issues has never been more pressing. The general state of the Nigerian federation is disturbingly unhealthy. There is general insecurity in the land, there is growing decay of infrastructure, and there is increasing tension in the polity, exacerbated by mounting unemployment all over the country.

2. Observed further that the failure of the Nigerian Federation to meet the challenge of building a modern multi-ethnic democratic state can be traced to several factors that include: absence of a negotiated constitution by citizens, existence of a constitution that erodes the pre-military federal character of the Nigerian State, political and bureaucratic corruption that seems to arise from a sense of alienation from the state on the part of those expected to provide a sense of belonging and direction for the citizenry, and the menace of religious and cultural intolerance.

3. Noted in particular, the 1999 Constitution, on the basis of which the country is governed today, is seen as a source of tension between federating units. The constitution imposes a unitary model of government on a country with diverse cultural and religious orientations and values, thereby putting most of the powers and resources to develop the federation in the hands of the government at the center, the farthest government from the citizenry.

4. Noted that the growth of the Yoruba region, referred to as the Southwest in the 1999 Constitution, has been stalled by the imposition of a unitary form of government that denies states the right and benefit of fiscal federalism, a corner stone of federalism worldwide. In this respect, all aspects of modern life in the Southwest:education, health, transportation, and social welfare of citizens have declined so sharply that the quality of life of the average citizen in the region today is lower than what it was in 1970.

5. Expressed alarm towards the commencement of the cashless policy in Lagos state while living out equally vibrant commercial centers such as Kano, Onitsha and Port Harcourt. The Assembly recognizes that making Lagos a guinea pig of this policy amounts to a deliberate attempt to ruin the base of Yoruba economy

6. Viewed the menace of Boko Haram as a sign of religious and cultural intolerance that is capable of destroying the unity of the country and of endangering the life of citizens not only in the North but all over the country. We believe that central ideology of Boko Haram regarding modern or western education is not a matter to be settled by security forces, but one that needs to be discussed at a national conference that is designed to restructure the federation.

7. Observed that sustainable unity and development of the country cannot flow from over concentration of power and resources in the central government. For example, we note that lack of effective law enforcement and assurance of security and safety for citizens is traceable to the over concentration of powers in the central government: police, intelligence gathering, and crime prevention. This arrangement leaves states without the power to enforce laws made by their elected officials for ensuring public order.

8. Noted that on the basis of the evidence that the failure of governance in the country has grown with the transfer of powers from federating units to the central government, we affirm the urgency to restructure the polity at a national conference of federating units, at which representatives of federating units chosen by citizens strictly for such purpose will produce a new constitution to be ratified through a national referendum.

9. Agreed that the process of restructuring should start with federating units, which must in their own space first discuss and determine the type of relationship they want between their region and the central government and relationship between states and the region in which they are located. For we, the Yoruba, the country Nigeria, is a forced marriage of diverse ethno-national groups, struggling to find form and shape, and limiting promises and possibilities.

10. Re-affirmed the commitment of the Southwest to the territorial unity of the country and resolved to work for enhancement of the country’s unity by cooperating with other regions to resolve peacefully the conflict and tension thrown up by the current unitary constitution that limits the control of federating units over their affairs and development.

11. Recognized that the best way to sustain unity in a culturally diverse polity and society is to organize the politics and economy of such country on the basis of a federal system of governance. Most culturally diverse countries of the world that are able to sustain peace and development have been able to do so through a federal constitution. Nigeria’s cultural diversity is too pronounced for the political elite to pretend that a unitary constitution can be substituted for a federal constitution that is generally designed to respond to diversity and optimize the benefits of diversity for peace and development.

12. Resolved to set up the Southwest Constitutional Commission (SCC) for the purpose of coordinating memoranda from citizens and groups in the Southwest towards a federal constitution for the country and of producing a constitutional framework for the region as unit of the Nigerian federation.

13. A new Nigeria consisting of a federal government and six regional governments (based on the current six geo-political zones) operating federal and regional constitutions, respectively.

• A single legislative list which will be the Exclusive Legislative List consisting only those functions ceded to the Central Government.

• The adoption of the Westminster model of parliamentary government.

• A Regional and State Police force structure.

• The establishment of a Constitutional Court with jurisdiction over inter-governmental cases and petitions from elections to the national Assembly

• The Conference fully supports the on-going Regional integration in the South West.

• That all public officers who currently enjoy immunity be made amenable to court processes on charges bordering on commission of crimes.

• That an informal role for traditional rulers in the political structure be recognised.

The conference further decided as follows:

• The adoption of Open-Secret ballot system for voting at elections.

• Total condemnation of Boko Haram’s indiscriminate violence in killing people, including Yoruba in the North.

• The setting up by the South West States of vigilante groups to protect them against the re-insurgence of crimes and violence perpetrated by nomadic tendencies or motivated by faith or otherwise. In this respect, each State House of Assembly in the region should pass appropriate laws.

• That the Yoruba as an ethnic group should design and produce a common flag and anthem. This is without prejudice to the anthems and flags of each state.

14. Finally and in conclusion, the Conference thanks the Governor and people of Oyo State for hosting this most important and crucial meeting of a comprehensive cross-section of the Yoruba people.


The Nigerian government and the directorate of the NYSC would be playing ostrich to believe that wishful thinking, pronouncements and decrees can prevent Nigerians from any form of violent attacks, especially suicide bombing in the troubled north. It is in this regard that Afenifere Renewal Group
(ARG) is calling on all parents and guidance in the South West not to permit their sons and daughters to leave for the NYSC program now and in the future, if they are deployed to where human life is of no consequence and where anarchy is the order of the day.
As things are today, we have reached a point in the South West where we can no longer accept the wastage of our expensively trained and hard-earned human lives, on the altar of Nigerian integration that is not working. Only last year, we had to mourn quite a number of our promising youthful graduates, who were gruesomely murdered during the presidential election in the north.
If some people do not give a damn about human life, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) and the Yoruba do, and value its sanctity. We also believe that human being is the centre of any development and that service to humanity is the only sacrifice universally. We therefore align with and endorse the position
held by the Lagos State House of Assembly on this same issue and wish that all South West House of Assemblies concur with their Lagos counterpart.
Kunle Famoriyo
Publicity Secretary –Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG)
08181151221. email: 10th July 2012


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by Afenifere Renewal Group-usa on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 9:03pm ·

Detroit, Michigan – January, 22 2012 – The continuous carnage unleashed by Boko Haram on Nigerians living in some sections of the country has drawn our attention. We, members of Afenifere Renewal Group USA Chapter are critically disturbed by these acts of terrorism that has resulted in massive destruction’s and killings of innocent citizens. The recent ferocious assault on members of the Christian faiths in their places of worship and on residents of Kano State has shown that the enemies of liberty and unity; Boko Haram will have no delimit in their efforts to kill innocent citizens. We condemn these dastardly acts in no uncertain terms.

We note that before the arrival of colonial rule in Nigeria, Yoruba people had been exposed to the Christian and Muslim faiths. They competently combined these two religions along with their original faith which in essence admitted of only One Creator, ” Olorun” or ” Olodumare”. Such is the advancement that we have had. We endured one another, faith or ethnic dissimilarities notwithstanding. With the advent of Boko Haram and their incongruous ideology, we discern as a matter of fact that there is intense fear in our land such that for the first time in our existence, both the Christians and Muslims are wary. Faith activities that draw crowds are being viewed suspiciously; many are cancelled or reduced in scope.

Afenifere Renewal Group believes that our people must not live in fear much more so when they have mutually cohabited in amity for more than a century and half after the Kiriji war. We therefore must take reasonable steps, but must not allow ourselves to be checkered by happenings and people we have done no evil against. At a time like this, we still must ponder and ask ” should Boko Haram decide to wreak havoc in any part of Yoruba territory, what should be our reaction? We certainly hope not, in the unlikely event that they do, Yoruba people across all religions must unite among themselves and must stand as one against evil. Our religious leaders must not embark on attacking one another, and they must get their followers to understand that any such assault is not religious, but political. They must unite to condemn and fight the evil but not themselves, the potential of which is large bearing in mind the uncoordinated response of religious leaders in areas now directly affected by the violence staring all of us in the face.

We are distressingly troubled by the manner in which the federal government has been managing the Boko Haram issue with levity. When government fails a fundamental obligation of protecting the lives and properties of its citizens, the government in itself is villain. Should the Jonathan led administration continue with this sluggish pattern in handling a national emergency, the agitation and protest that had followed the removal of oil subsidy will be a child’s play compared to a religious war. The admittance and submission made by the President that memberS of Boko Haram has infiltrated his government and the military is worrisome, this should be a concern to all meaning Nigerians. With this declaration Mr. President has turn over the key of governance to Boko Haram

We demand that the federal government make the security of lives and properties of all Nigerians an utmost priority and go to any length to quell the activities of this fatuous group. Enough is  Enough. President Goodluck Jonathan needs as matter of urgency to convene SNC to discuss the imperative subject of our nationality; the issue of sovereign national conference is inevitable if Nigeria must survive as nation..

 Marcus Peters Jersey