A former Minister of Transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, has said those calling for the break-up of Nigeria are acting against the ideals of the late Yoruba leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
The President-General of the Yoruba World Congress, Professor Banji Akintoye, had on Wednesday claimed that over 55 million Yoruba people in the South-West would get freedom by having the sovereign Yoruba nation without breaking the law of Nigeria or shedding blood.
The retired don said, “We have been saying we will have the Yoruba nation. The Yoruba World Congress is committed to helping the Yoruba nation to secure its position in the comity of nations.”
But Babatope described the call for Oduduwa Republic as premature.
Speaking to Vanguard, he said, “Those of us, including Professor Banji Akintoye, know that if Baba Awolowo were alive, he would never call for the break up of Nigeria. All we want is a proper definition of the federalism we operate.
“Those that are calling for restructuring are right. Calling for Oduduwa Republic is premature. We haven’t gotten to that stage. When we get to that stage, all of us in Nigeria will agree.
“If we are going to have an Oduduwa republic, it will come from the elements who don’t want proper federation.”
Also, a former envoy to Philippine, Ambassador Yemi Farounmbi, described the call for Oduduwa Republic as an invitation to chaos.
He said, “First, people must agree to have Oduduwa Republic. That means they must have had a referendum or something similar. I am not aware that this has been done. I am not aware if anyone was given the mandate to demand such.
“I am aware of people clamouring for the restructuring of Nigeria, but not the disintegration of Nigeria for the emergence of Oduduwa Republic. I am not aware that anybody has been authorised to demand an action that could lead to the massacre of our youths.
“I am not aware that anybody has been authorised to make a decision that could lead to “python dance” in Yorubaland. It is not a sensitive thing for a leader to do.
“What people are saying is for us to go back to a structured Nigeria where power was decentralised. If we can do that, maybe we would minimise the agitation for the disintegration of Nigeria.’’