Yoruba, Itsekiri land under siege of armed men, Soyinka, Prof Akintoye write Yoruba Obas
By Samuel Ogunsona
Yoruba and Itsekiti indigenous territories are under the yoke of armed men desperate to conquer the people, prominent Yoruba leaders have said in a letter addressed to Yoruba and Itsekiri traditional rulers.
Some 50 prominent Yoruba leaders, scholars and religious leaders signed the letter including Professors Wole Soyinla, Banji Akintoye and Wale Adeniran among many others.
The letter to the Obas raise issued of killing, raping and kidnapping of people in the recent years by some armed men and invaders.
The letter stated ‘’For seven years now, the Fulani people of Northern Nigeria have been coming as hostile invaders and terrorists armed with sophisticated modern weapons to our homeland, destroying our people’s farms, killing our people, raping and killing our women, killing our children on their way to and from school, killing worshippers in places of worship, forcing large numbers of our farmers to abandon farming altogether, kidnapping and extorting ransom, generally pushing us towards a devastating shortage of food, generally pushing our whole economy towards total collapse’’
Furthermore it noted that ‘’The Fulani have even become so daring that they have attacked some of our Oba’s palaces and killed one First Class Oba. We are close to being slaves in Nigeria’’
‘’As things stand today, it is no longer difficult for us Yoruba, Itsekiri people to understand the intentions and objective of these Fulani enemies of our Yoruba nation. They themselves, through their leaders and their ethnic organizations, are constantly telling us what their intentions are. They say that our homeland belongs to them, and that they want to conquer and subjugate us and become owners of our land. They want to install Serkis and Emirs to replace our Obas. They want to be the persons elected to rule over us and to speak for us in the affairs of Nigeria
Most of the Fulani themselves are not Muslims. Only the Fulani minority that we know in the affairs and politics of Nigeria are Muslims. The nearly 90% of Fulani people consisting of the cattle herders and militias that are ravaging our homeland are non Muslims but worshippers of various tribal deities and forest entities.
The Muslim Fulani elite never attempt to convert these majority to Islam. Nevertheless, the Fulani nation say that they will use Islam as the battle cry for conquering us Yoruba.
They want to destroy our indigenous religion (Isese), Christianity, and even our Yoruba Islam and replace all with their own brand of Islam. They want to impose radical, fundamentalist and violent Islam upon our land’’
‘’It is well known from their writings, statements and actions that they regard the Islam that we Yoruba have practiced for hundreds of years as not pure Islam, that they will never join with us Yoruba Muslims to worship in our Mosques. They say now that they regard Yoruba Muslim leaders as a serious obstacle to full Fulani conquest of Yorubaland because Yoruba Muslim leaders will want to share leadership and government with Fulani leaders over Yorubaland. So, according to their agenda, they will make it a priority to wipe out Yoruba Muslim leaders.
Their whole objective is to destroy our Yoruba nation’s identity completely, in the way that they have destroyed the identity of the Hausa nation.
The Fulani campaign of conquest is not merely an affair of the poor Fulani herdsmen and Fulani militias It is an agenda of the whole Fulani nation. When the Fulani elite say anything at all about the Fulani killings and destruction, they always speak in favor of the Fulani killers, destroyers and kidnappers. Also, eminent Fulani people in the service of the Nigerian Federal Government are constantly coming up with policies and proposals that are meant to ensure the success of the Fulani plan of conquest of our homeland. For instance, the Fulani- dominated federal government has proposed to establish’’
‘’Fulani Ruga settlements everywhere and to take control of all land along rivers and streams.
Generally, the Fulani operate with a confidence that shows that they have the support of the Federal Security Agencies. We all know that Yoruba people who are brutalized by the Fulani can usually not rely on the Federal Police and other Security Agencies for support. Commonly, Yoruba people who report Fulani attackers to the police usually get arrested instead of the attackers.
Today, all over Yorubaland, the final phase of the Fulani invasion is developing. Groups of Fulani marauders are hiding in the forests and bushes all over Yorubaland, and such groups are being supplied with food and weapons by air from unknown sources. From time to time, hostile Fulani groups, accompanied by truckloads of sophisticated weapons, are arriving in various towns and villages of Yorubaland and being assisted by Public Security Officials to establish camps and weapon dumps.
International terrorists of ISIS, Al-Shabab and Al Qaida, invited and assisted by the Fulani to come to Nigeria to assist the Fulani conquest, have broken through into our Yorubaland and are spreading out. The massacre of more than 80 Christian worshippers during service in an Owo church on June 5, 2022, is a trial run of the Fulani final attack. We your people know that the final Fulani onslaught on the Yoruba homeland will soon begin’’
‘’We the common people of the Yoruba nation will never let our homeland be conquered by the Fulani or any other nation, even if they are supported by Nigerian Federal Forces. For us, this is a matter of life and death and we will never surrender our homeland to anybody.
Kabiyesi, while we your people are faced with this dire emergency, we naturally expect our Obas and Chiefs to be by our side in this struggle. The institution of our Kingship is an ancient institution that is today about 2000 years old. Each of our Obas sits on the throne of great kings who for 2000 years have upheld the security and dignity of our nation and defended our nation against every kind of attack.
Your duty to defend our nation is not a matter of choice, it is a mandate imposed on you by your throne and crown, and by our history, our traditions, and our culture. We all expect you to stand up and do that duty.
We often hear some of our Obas saying that they have a duty to Nigeria, to preserve Nigeria. Your duty is to us your people, to your ancestors, to all Yoruba people alive today and to those Yoruba that will be born hereafter. We expect you to stand up now and defend our land and people. This is even a duty to the mother earth that has given us our homeland for countless thousands of years, and to the Spirits that have watched over our land, our people, and our institutions’’
We have no sympathy whatsoever for the belief by any of our Obas that his duty is the preservation of Nigeria or any entity other than our Yorubaland and people.
We see Traditional Rulers in other parts of Nigeria, especially in Northwestern Nigeria, always standing steadfastly for their people and we demand that our Obas stand with us unreservedly too.
Under the relentless deterioration and retrogression of the quality of governance and security in Nigeria, the constantly expanding poverty and the reign of chaos, the overwhelming majority of us, your Yoruba people, have come to the conclusion that our best means of preserving our nation and our people is to separate our nation from the Fulani. They claim that they have a right to enter at will into our homeland and destroy it because they and we belong to the same country of Nigeria. Now, we are separating our Yoruba nation from Nigeria. Out of respect for ourselves as a civilized nation, we are proceeding peacefully and in a law-abiding manner to separate our Yoruba nation from Nigeria
We Yoruba have given a great deal to Nigeria throughout Nigeria’s history, but we will never surrender our Yoruba nation to be destroyed or conquered by any people.
So, Your Majesty, the battle line has been drawn and we expect you to stand with us on our side of the line. We love you, we adore you, and we will stand by you in all situations. But we demand and expect that you stand with us too. What
we are asking you to do is not impossible or difficult. We are asking you to stand up and do your duty to your Yoruba Nation. Our culture, tradition and history demand that we should love, respect and honor you. But, the same culture, traditions and history demand that you should stand by our side at all times. What exists between you and us is a historic contract that is thousands of years old. Whoever breaks that contract might call down terrible penalties upon his head and upon the heads of his family for ever.
Kabiyesi. We humbly thank you and expect you to do your duty to us your people. As you do so, may the God of our nation, the guardian spirits of our land, and the godhead of every Yoruba man, woman and child stand by you in health and prosperity.
By the grace of God, when we get our own sovereign Yoruba country, we shall quickly raise you our Traditional Rulers, back to the high level of honor that you enjoyed among us your people before the unfortunate event of our being included in Nigeria.
This humble letter comes from Yoruba people at home and in the Diaspora in most countries of the world. It is approved, supported, endorsed and signed by millions of members of hundreds of Yoruba self-determination organizations at home and in most countries of the world.
On their behalf, it is hereby signed by:
Prof Banji Akintoye
Prof Wole Soyinka
Prof Wale Adeniran
Chief Adeniyi Adeyemo Igboho
Mrs. Dupe Onitiri
Pastor. David Odediran – U.S.A
Olori Modupe Eko – U.K
Mrs. Ronke Okunsanya – Nigeria
Otunba Olabode Oseni – U.K
Mrs. Doyin Akinrinlola – U.S.A
Mrs. Felicia Arike Ojo -U.K
Mrs.Dorcas Amusan- Fagboran(MBE) – U.S.A
Pastor Isaac OkebiOrunKosi – U.K
Dr. Kola Ilesanmi – Canada
Mrs. Ayo Brown – Ireland
Prof. Yemisi Akinyemiju – Nigeria
Doctor Kayode Ilesanmi – Canada
Prof. Raheem Kolawole – Ghana
Mr. Gani Alagbala – U.S.A Chief Alex Ajala – U.K
Mr. Femi Akinbi – U.S.A
Pastor Dr. Adekunjo – U.S.A
Dr. Fatai Ogunribido – U.K
Mr. Maxwell Adeleye – Nigeria
Dr. Juda Oyewole – Russia
Dr. Olabisi Akinlade – France
Doctor Femi Odedun –
Pastor Praise Ayodele – Nigeria
Chief Hon. Titi Akindahunsi – Nigeria
Mr. Modupe Alaye – Ghana
Mr. Adetokunbo Shounde – Japan
Mr. ‘Uthman Ikosiola Salaam – U.S.A
Chief Banji Ayiloge – U.S.A Prof. Wande Abimbola – U.S.A
Prophet Ologunloluwa – U.S.A S. Boluwade Adebayo – Portugal Mr. Dele Odesanmi – Spain
Dr. Adegbola olagbegi – U.K
Dr. Joe Omotoso – Australia
Mr. Bola Bolawole – Nigeria
Victor Olaoye – France Paul Olufemi – Cambodia
Olufemi Ibileke – Nigeria. Comrade Akeem Lawal Prof. Remi Fayemi – Nigeria
Yomi Asaye – Nigeria
Mr. Kola Afolabi – France
Hon. John Augustus – U.K
Hon. Samuel Adeyeri – U.K Hon. Alh. Olaide Adeyeye – U.K Hon. Abeke Eniola U.K
Hon. Ola Apata – U.K
Chief Olayanju Titiloye – Nigeria
Dr. Janet Fashakin- U.S.A
Hon. Pastor Olufemi Adeniyi – U.K
Prof. Ade kukoyi – Nigeria
Chief Abiodun Oyedipo – Nigeria
Pastor Seun Aribilola – U.S.A
Chief Jimoh Olawale Taofik – Nigeria
Barr. Funmilayo Ṣoyemi – Ireland