A group of Yoruba leaders, women and youths, at a rally on Saturday, joined forces to support the increasing agitation for self-determination and creation of Oduduwa Republic.
Defying heavy security presence, the protesting group, led by a Yoruba self-determination group, “Ilana Omo Oodua”, converged on the historic Mapo Hall in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to press home their demand.
The group, in a peaceful protest against what they described as the prevailing injustice and biases in the country, insisted that there was no going back on the demand for the creation of Oduduwa Republic.
Professor Banji Akintoye, a leading historian and former senator, was at the forefront of the clamour by the Yoruba group currently occupying some streets in the ancient city of Ibadan.
The rally, which was billed to start around 9am, could not hold until about two hours later, due to the presence of heavily armed security personnel who prevented the protesters from gaining entrance into the Mapo Hall venue of the event.
Undeterred, the group, in protest against the security barricade, took the rally to some major streets in the Ibadan metropolis, to create more awareness and sensitise the people on the quest for self-determination for the Yoruba race.
The group, however, later converged in front of Mapo Hall where the protesters declared that the Yoruba nation had enough of the burdens of the marriage of inconvenience in the country.
Among others, they listed alleged ethnic imbalance, lop-sided appointments into public offices, insensitivity of the present leadership of the country to the increasing waves of banditry, kidnapping, raping and killing of the people of the South-West region, as part of their grievances.
This was as they said they have lost faith and confidence in the country’s leadership and the electoral process, declaring that conducting the 2023 elections would amount to nothing but an exercise in futility.
One of the notable leaders at the Mapo Hall rally, Bashorun Kunle Adesokan, was emphatic in his conviction as he noted that it was time for the Yoruba race to have a country of its own country.
“Yoruba have suffered enough. We are not in support of the 2023 elections. We are telling the politicians not to contest. They should not contest in order not to waste their money,” he said.
The Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, said the security agencies prevented the rally from holding inside Mapo Hall, as earlier planned.
“The Police at Mapo Hall said they were at the venue of the rally to prevent hoodlums from hijacking it and not to stop it from holding,” he said.