As the Yoruba leaders intensify their agitation for restructuring of the country, a lecturer at Department of African Languages, University of Florida, Gainsville, Florida, USA, Professor Akintunde Akinyemi has cautioned them to be careful in their call.
Akinyemi who expressed with dismay the high rate of unemployment, poverty and social vices in the country which necessitated agitation for restructuring among other things, pointed out that the most important thing Yoruba leaders should do was to find ways of how to make things better in the country.
He said instead of calling for restructuring in any form, Yoruba should look for ways of better the lot of the country.
Akinyemi made the observation at the opening of 2017 edition of National Conference of Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria (YSAN) held at Department of Linguistic and African Languages, University of Ibadan.
While contributing to the theme of the conference “Warfare, Ethnicity and Polity in Yorubaland, Nigeria and Africa”, Akinyemi said “I am not saying we should not restructure Nigeria, we Yoruba need to think on how to progress. We the people have enormous power, if we give them tough time, they will run away.
“I am not against restructuring of this country, but we are not united. Yoruba is looking for Oodua Republic, if we get it we cannot speak in one voice. Ibadan does not agree for Egba, Egba does not agree for Ijebu or are we going to fight ourselves?
“Anyone who witness civil war will know that war is not a joke. It is until we stop sharing money in Abuja that Nigeria will get it right. It is the lawmakers that can do it but they will not do it.
“Our leaders want the masses to come to them for help that is what killed Kunrunmi. If we say let us come, let us sit down and talk, some people will call themselves that they are the leaders, some other people will say they are the elders council, some people will just change the name that they are Yoruba council. Who are our leaders? Hausa have their leaders, this is the major problem. But 2019 is around the corner, that is when they will know the power that people have.
“We should be careful before we join any tribe. What is important is look at how things will get better. If you look at it, things are not easy. Still some people are telling me that some universities could not pay their full salary of their staff. In some states they are paying half salary and some people will say don’t talk so that they will not stop the salary entirely. One of my younger ones is in LAUTECH. These are the problems. Tell me how sensible it is that Oyo and Osun states could not manage LAUTECH and Oyo State is establishing Technical University.
“This is why I say Yoruba should be careful in supporting any tribe in agitation, on restructuring. The lawmakers, our leaders are misusing the powers. For example my own university, my VC does not have official car, he does not have personal driver, he drives himself, even the one before him does not even have a car, he drives himself with motorcycle to the office. This is the problem. Our leaders are too selfish we academia have to do the work.
Akinyemi maintained that those calling for secession and war in the country don’t know the consequences of war, that is why they are calling for war as he tasked writers to begin write about wars in a way to educate people on the consequences of war.
According to him, “Some people don’t know anything about the civil war, we should continue to teach people about the history of Nigeria. I want the association to liase with the association of authors to encourage students to write books about wars. If you get to Brazil, over 8 million people will tell you they are Yoruba, the same thing with Cuba.
“We need to enlighten people, apart from music, let them write on contemporary issues. If revolution start, some people will die, but we are the leaders, we lecturers should try and know how to make this country progress”.
The Guest Speaker, a lecturer at the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, Professor Olawale Albert while speaking noted that revolution cannot benefit Nigeria because Nigeria was created without ideology.
Albert said that Nigeria is not ripe for any revolution at this time saying a country without ideology will blame itself if revolution started.
“Revolution cannot pay us in this country because Nigeria was not created based on ideology. There is no law that prohibit movement from one party to the other.
“All the political parties in Nigeria don’t have ideology, that is why you see people moving from one party to another. Even if you ask the elders, they don’t have ideology, are you saying it is our younger ones that will have the ideology?
“When Jerry Rawling staged the revolution in Ghana, there is one factor that bind them which is hunger. If you ask him now he will tell you that no one can do it now. A country that is turning professors to someone who cannot afford to buy a plot of land in Abuja”, he concluded.