Yoruba Nation arrowhead, Prof Banji Akintoye, has described the Yoruba people of South-West Nigeria as the most tolerant in matters of religion in the world.
The 87-year-old historian also said Islamic extremism and violence won’t grow among the Yoruba people because of the peaceful and accommodating disposition of the people.
The leader of the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, made this known over the weekend at the 60th birthday colloquium of a Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the News Agency of Nigeria, Wale Ojetimi.
Akintoye’s statement came amid the outrage that trailed the killing of Deborah Yakubu, by Islamic extremists in Sokoto State. The Christian female youth and 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was stoned and burnt on the school campus last Thursday for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad. Akintoye said, “Among Black African nations today, our Yoruba Nation is the most hospitable to foreigners, and the most ready to accept and include people from other nations in Africa and the world.
“Though our nation comprises about equal numbers of Muslims and Christians (and also millions of followers of our indigenous religion), we are the most tolerant and most accommodating in matters of religion in Nigeria, Africa and the world, and the most peaceful in matters of religious relationships.
“A London University professor recently wrote that the tree that has produced the kind of poisonous fruits that we see in Islamic extremism and violence in Northern Nigeria could never germinate in Yoruba soil.
“Thus, our homeland stands unique in a Nigeria that is widely tormented by inter-ethnic conflicts, religious extremism, violence, and Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. We are a unique people.”
The Yoruba Nation campaigner said it was time for the Yoruba people to extricate themselves from the entity called Nigeria.
“Therefore, holding our nation well must now mean that we must find ways to separate our nation from Nigeria in a peaceful and law-abiding manner, and then that we must mobilise all the cultural assets of our nation, together with all the developmental assets of the modern world, to build a supremely orderly, progressive, prosperous and powerful nation-state of our own in the world, a land of abundant and ever expanding opportunities for all our people, a country making very significant contributions to human progress,” he stated.
The octogenarian also said by all measures of national strength, the Yoruba people are a strong nation, vowing that he won’t relent until the independence of the Yoruba people was achieved.
He added, “Most of you do not fully know what has been driving me in the past two years to give my life to the quest for our Yoruba nation’s self-determination and separation from Nigeria so that we may have a Yoruba country that answers truly to our Yoruba character.
“I do not want to go back to my God bearing the painful burden on my soul that I knew in depth the greatness of my highly endowed Yoruba nation in its history, that I saw that nation rising towards its modern greatness, only to see it pushed back by some savage hand, and then only to see it ultimately groveling in some mud pit of subjection, poverty and degradation. No. I cannot keep clutching any valuable thing, I cannot keep clutching even my life, while watching such a historic disaster evolving in front of my face.”