By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
Worried by the precarious security situation in the country, the pan-Yoruba militant group, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), has alerted security agencies in the country of alleged moves by the pro-Biafran agitators to shift their campaign to Yorubaland for ulterior motives.
While urging the security agencies and Yoruba leaders to guard against threat to peace in the South West zone, the OPC has specifically called for increased surveillance on the organizers of “The World Igbo Day 2015” proposed to be hosted in Yorubaland on Saturday, alleging “ulterior motives” behind the hurried arrangement.
In a press release from the National Coordinating Council of the OPC and signed by Comrade Akinpelu Adeshina, copies of which were made available to journalists in Ibadan on Friday, the pan-Yoruba group stated that it was “compelled to make this call given the precarious and heightened security situation in the country and the world over.
“We see the attempt to bring the World Igbo Day celebration – in whatever guise – which is normally celebrated on the 29th September annually to the Yorubaland as a mischievous and diabolically-crafted attempt to cause chaos in and destabilize Yorubaland; and this we will repulse and reject with everything at our disposal,” OPC stated.
The statement read in part: “As much as we believe in the right of every person and group to self-determination, we are of the firm belief that this particular event is mischievously conceived and earmarked to be hosted in any part of Yorubaland.
“It is true that the Yoruba are a liberal, peaceful and accommodating people, yet we are no fouls and should not be treated as fools.
“The South West part of Nigeria is the most secure and peaceful part of Nigeria today and should therefore not be turned into a theatre of war or avoidable crisis.
“For too long, the Yoruba have accommodated all other tribes and nationalities like good hosts. We have not minded the odium and other atrocities committed against our people, and on our ancestral land.
“During the last election campaigns, it was the height of all insults when the Igbos in Lagos derided and mudsling our highly revered traditional rulers, particularly the Oba of Lagos. Never in history has it been recorded that a Yoruba person or group crossed the Niger River into either the northern or eastern part of the country to go and vilify, desecrate or insult any of their paramount rulers for political or any other reasons.
“The leeway to do business and own properties which the Igbo and other nationalities enjoy in Yorubaland has not been reciprocated for the Yoruba elsewhere, thus it would only be fair to warn anyone or group that ‘if our relationship cannot be mutually beneficial, it should in no way be injurious to us as a people.”
The recent infractions of the Fulani cattle-herders in Yorubaland are the last slap to the cheek that we are ready to accommodate as a people. We have also not forgotten the attempt to overrun Yorubaland and turn it into the theatre of war during the Biafran attempt to cede from Nigeria.
“We see the attempt to bring the World Igbo Day celebration – in whatever guise – which is normally celebrated on the 29th September annually to the Yorubaland as a mischievous and diabolically crafted attempt to cause chaos in and destabilize Yorubaland; and this we will repulse and reject with everything at our disposal.
“In conclusion, we call on all Yoruba elders, leaders of thought and the commoners to wake up to the realities of the day and stand up to be counted in this effort to maintain the continued peaceful and harmonious existence that has always been the pride of the Yoruba.”