The current situation in Ilana Omo Oodua: What Yoruba people worldwide should know
By Prof Banji Akintoye
I thank the countless fighters for the Yoruba nation who have cared much about the troubling situation in Ilana Omo Oduduwa in recent weeks and who have called or written to express sincere concern and offer advice.
In spite of the inevitable rivalries among our hundreds of Yoruba Self-Determination organizations, most of us in the Yoruba Self-Determination struggle acknowledge that Ilana is a very major contributor to our Yoruba struggle. It is therefore not surprising that most persons who oppose the Yoruba Self-Determination struggle tend to focus their hostility on Ilana both openly and spiritually. You will remember that some months ago, the powers in control of Nigeria, and some Yoruba cronies in their service, started big noises against Ilana. At some point, in fact, they even seriously wanted to proscribe Ilana. In more recent times, the well known groups serving the Fulani and the federal government, and others serving some Yoruba politicians, have publicly proclaimed Ilana as the number one enemy that they must destroy.
However, they cannot destroy Ilana. The God-ordained truth is that nobody can destroy Ilana. That truth is shining brightly even now in the midst of the difficulties in Ilana. Thus, while some persons in Ilana may have given their hearts to fighting their brethren in Ilana and even to engaging in intense acts of character assassination, a large army of concerned patriots are springing up and bringing light to push back the darkness. At home in Yorubaland and in the Yoruba Diaspora across the world, many highly rated professionals who have never taken part in the Yoruba struggle are now coming forward and joining Ilana.
So, my message to all who sincerely pray for the success of our Yoruba self-defense struggle is that Ilana remains strong and is even growing stronger. For those who have been waging war against their colleagues, I have only a fatherly plea. Stop the meaningless war. Stop casting doubts on the character of people, including your own. Be mindful of the fact that while you are bent on destroying the character of other persons, you may also be destroying your own image.
All the allegations that some persons are making large amounts of money in the context of Ilana are manifestly untrue. Ilana has never had, and can never have, large amounts of money. Ilana is so focused on trying to push the Self-Determination struggle forward that it has never figured out how to accumulate large amounts of money. Ilana is a successful Self-Determination fighting machine only because its members are passionate fighters, and that most of them do not hesitate to make sacrifices for the struggle. I urge you all to return to the job of presenting the true picture of Ilana.
A major chapter in the history of the Yoruba nation is currently being written in our time, and each of us is writing his or her own page in the chapter. I urge each of you to resolve that your page will be such as to make your children and your children’s children forever proud of you.
In duty to the truth, I must conclude with the following statements. I have been shocked by the allegations that have been steadfastly levied in some platforms against one of our most prominent members, Prof. Wale Adeniran. I know it to be true that Prof. Adeniran has never held any money-holding position in our organization. I truthfully testify that when credible intelligence made it compulsory that I as leader of the Self-Determination struggle had to put a distance between me and the murderous managers of Nigeria’s affairs, Prof. Adeniran was as much in danger as I was, and that he did not hesitate to come with me. I testify that in all the months of our life in exile, Prof Adeniran has consistently and steadfastly been a dutiful servant of our Yoruba nation’s struggle. I testify that Prof. Adeniran has never shown any hesitation about allowing his family (his wife and young daughter) to serve the domestic needs, and sometimes also the secretarial needs, of our refugee group. I testify that the Adeniran family deserves a lot of gratitude from all of us Yoruba.
It is a common experience of refugee groups to live in occasional deprivation and lack. I testify that all of us in this small refugee group (consisting of five of us, myself at 87, Mrs. Akintoye at 86, and the somewhat younger ones Prof. Adeniran and Mrs. Adeniran, and the Adenirans’ young daughter, Olakiitan Adeniran) have always borne our difficulties with bravery and fortitude. Stories that Prof Adeniran has been making money here, or that he and Maxwell Adeleye (Ilana’s young former Publicity Secretary) have been making money from their services to Ilana, or that Mrs. Adeniran has made so much money as to be able to establish a supermarket here in Benin Republic, are grotesque falsehoods. Since we are all human, it is possible that any of us may feel offended by their brothers in ways that the rest of us don’t know, but hauling money-related allegations that are false is not the way to seek or get appropriate redress.
All in all, I say that Prof. Adeniran has earned for himself a crown of glory for bearing the falsehoods being thrown against him without once answering back. He has established himself as a worthy leader in our nation. I congratulate him.
We are close to the victorious end of our struggle for our separate Yoruba nation. Let us all get rid of rancor, and let us embrace brotherliness, forgiveness, mutual respect and harmony. The Almighty God, the Giver of all blessings, has granted us the Yoruba nation-state that we all desire. All that we need now is to make ourselves worthy to receive that which God has granted unto us. To make ourselves worthy, we must turn away from anger, refusal to forgive, bitterness, rancor and cursing, and we must consciously embrace mutual love, forgiveness, respect and good will among us. We can easily do this. We are Yoruba.