Chief Ologbosere plan to destroy 700 years old Itsekiri-Yoruba ties, says Pan Yoruba coalition
Some 35 Pan Yoruba groups have expressed deep regret about what they considered the ‘reactionary and anti-people’ role of the Ologbosere of Warri, Chief Ayiri Emani, regarding his insistence that an Olu of Warri cannot have a Yoruba mother.
In a statement issued after the meeting of the groups held in Lagos on Monday and made available to the media, they expressed disappointment at the move by Chief Emani to destroy the over 700 years of history and blood-bound relationship that has existed between Yoruba and Itsekiri people of Delta State. The statement signed by some 35 Pan Yoruba groups including, O’odua Peoples Congress, O’odua Liberation Movement, (OLM) O’odua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC), Ilaje Progressive Movement, (IPM), Agbekoya, Afenifere Youth Movement, (AYM), Council of Yoruba Youths Worldwide, (CYYW), Egbe Omo Yoruba in West Africa, (EYOWA), Yoruba Revolutionary Congress, (YRC), Apapo O’odua Koya, (AOKOYA), Yoruba World Congress, (YWC), Ibile, Omo O’odua Parapo, (OOPA) among many others, said is on a mission to destroy over 700 years old history that has been a source of pride to the two civilisations.
‘We are deeply shocked by the role of a single man who wants to plant a seed of discord that will last for generations. We are worried that in the face of a cherished tradition and the blood bound relationship between the Yoruba and Itskiri, two cousins, Chief Ologbosere wants to put this iconic history in jeopardy. This is worst than genocide’ the statement signed by Mr Sunday Akinnuoye, Chief Kunle Adamolekun and Taofik Adeyemi on behalf of the groups stated.
The coalition said it has been following the arguments and posture of the Chief which appears to be born out of deliberate hatred for anything Yoruba.
The coalition said the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s last public function was at the coronation of the Olu of Warri in May 1987, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi put his life on the line in defence of Itsekiri dominion and the late Chief Alfred Rewane was murdered because of his providing financial support for the June 12 struggle. The coalition said ‘These are classic examples of how Itsekiri and Yoruba have worked together for their common destiny. This is the heritage that Chief Ologbosere wants to burn and destroy for no justifiable reason.’
It added ‘It is on record that the first Olu of Warri ruled from 1480 to 1510. He was the eldest son of Olua. It is common sense that the first Olu of Warri had Yoruba blood in him having been from Bini royal home built by Oranmiyan, the son of Oduduwa. Olu Atuwatse 1 who was the 7th Olu of Warri. He was educated in Portugal from 1600 to 1611 emerging as the first graduate in sub Saharan Africa. He ruled between 1625 to 1643. He was the son of Olu Atorongboye. He married a Portuguese lady whose son later became the Olu of Warri. The issue is if Olu can have a Portuguese mother, is it not a shame that 500 years later, we are saying Olu cannot have a Yoruba mother?’
The groups said the action of Chief Olugbosere of Warri is a reversal of the pride and heritage of Itsekiri and Yoruba people adding that the marriage between the Olu designate and his mother were blessed by the Royal families of Bini, Warri and Yoruba Nation and that the marriage tradition and custom that produced the Olu designate had the blessing of all the Warri Chiefs.
‘We are watching with keen interest. We are sure of one thing, the steps taken by Chief Ologbosere will be a source of concern to Yoruba and Itsekiri forefathers as a conscious attempt is being made to destroy all their efforts’, the groups said. It urged Itsekiri and Yoruba people, low and high to rise up and prevent the planting of a seed that will produce everlasting bitter fruits between Itsekiri and Yoruba people.