Kunle Olajide, secretary-general of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), says Sunday Adeyemo, a Yoruba youth leader popularly known as Sunday Igboho, does not represent the Yoruba people in his call for secession.
Igboho had recently said Yoruba is no longer part of Nigeria, calling on people of the ethnic group residing in the north to go back home.
Speaking with TheCable on Wednesday, Olajide said Nigeria would be stronger if it remained as a unit.
He said the Yoruba people had invested so much in Nigeria’s formation and unity, and it would be unwise for them to seek secession.
Olajide said: “It is his (Igboho’s) personal desire but the present circumstances in our nation do not favour and will not make it achievable, and the fact that Yorubas have invested so much in the unity of this country and in the making of Nigeria. The tribe cannot choose to opt out without any adequate plans.
“I am not aware that the Yoruba nation or citizenship has given a mandate to anybody to desire their extinction from this country. So it is not a decision that can be taken by an individual or a group of individuals.
“Anybody who is familiar with the history of Nigeria will know that we have been together for over 100 years, even before the British came and we have Yorubas all over the country just as we have other Nigerians everywhere.
“It is not something that you can declare by fiat. In any case, our diversity in this country and our population are our strengths. Fragmentation and dismemberment of this country cannot be in the best interest of anybody.”
‘YORUBA ARE ANGRY’
Olajide said the Yoruba people are angry over the “ethnocentric nature” of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He, however, noted that the ethnic group remains part of the country.
“Yes, all of us, especially the Yoruba nation, are angry about the ethnocentric nature of the present administration that appears grossly insensitive to the cries of maginalisation from all parts of this country. Whatever the hidden agenda it is, the agenda is bound to fail,” he said.
“But we are still part of this federal government that we are so much against because of the way it is being run. The vice-president is a Yoruba man, we have ministers and governors so I don’t think anybody can ignore those Yoruba leaders and go ahead to make a pronouncement that is not in the interest of Yoruba nation and Nigeria in general.”
Olajide urged Igboho “and some of those who believe in him to exercise patience”.
‘IGBOHO CAN’T SPEAK FOR YORUBA’
Igboho had also said Yoruba monarchs and elders were behind him in his quest for secession.
But the YCE secretary-general said there was no platform where the traditional rulers met with Igboho.
Olajide maintained that while Igboho has a right to pursue whatever objective he desires as a “full grown adult”, he cannot speak for the entire Yoruba people.
“Igboho is a full grown adult, he is not a teenager so it will be wrong to believe that he does not know the country he is in,” he said.
“I have spoken to him once or twice on the telephone but he is completely free to make his decision. But to make it on behalf of the entire Yoruba is what I seriously fault, it is not in order.
“I read his stories in the media and saw him on the television and social media but I am not aware that any such meeting has been held.”