After the expiration of the 30-day ultimatum given for kick-starting the process that would lead to self-determination, thousands of youths, women and Yoruba leaders occupied some streets in Ibadan, demanding for Oduduwa Republic.
The rally had many Yoruba groups from Southwest, Edo, Delta, Kwara and Kogi states. The protesters gathered in front of Mapo Hall in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The protesters and agitators were led by a Yoruba group, Ilana Omo Oodua, clamouring for self-determination. They were led by Banji Akintoye, an Emeritus Professor of History.
The protest, which was supposed to start around 9.00a.m., did not start until 11.a.m. due to heavy security presence at the entrance and around Mapo Hall.
Consequently, the protesters later mobilised to the front of Mapo to begin the protest. One of the group’s leaders, Bashorun Kunle Adesokan, said it was time the Yoruba race had its own country. He said: We don’t want to be part of Nigeria again. The Yoruba have suffered enough. We are not in support of the 2023 elections. We are telling all politicians not to contest. They should not contest to waste their money.”
George Akinola of Ilana Oodua said: “We want Oodua Republic now. We had given those 90 days and another 30 days. The ultimatum ended on Friday. We are not fighting anyone; we are only fighting for our right for self-determination. We are asking for the Yoruba nation.”
Also, Dr. Akin Adejuwon said: “Ilana Omo Oodua, led by Professor Banji Akintoye, is coordinating Oodua land for a very critical factor of self-determination, which is due.
He stands for nothing else than the critical factor, which is glaring today that self-determination of indigenous nationalities is the best way to go after 60 years of complete stagnation. It is backwardness. It is natural for the people to be sensitised.
Self-determination is what the Yoruba need.”
The group’s Director, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, said: “Dear colleagues, the Police in Mapo, Ibadan said they are at the venue to prevent hoodlums from hijacking the rally for Yoruba Self-Determination, and not stopping it from holding.”
The media aide to Chief Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, Koiki said: “We don’t want guns here. Only security operatives are carrying guns. If anyone is killed here, Oyo State Governor and the Federal Government should be held responsible.”
Leaders of Itsekiri in Edo and Delta states were also present at the rally. Isaac Omagbaluwaje Ajatifon, Chairman of Edo State Itsekiri and Ajemijeroma Gabriel Mene-Ejegi, Secretary, Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC), Warri South Chapter, who spoke on behalf of the people said: “We are tired of living like slaves in our land. Let’s separate. Itsekiri is Oduduwa. We are supporting this agitation.”
However, a member of the Yoruba Socio-Cultural group, Afenifere, Chief Niyi Owolade, has expressed displeasure over the rally.
Owolade said that the organisers of the rally ought to have withheld it till after the burial of the late spokesperson of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin that is slated for April 24.
He said there was a communication gap in the planning and execution of the rally and that Afenifere has been busy with the planning of Odumakin’s burial.
He said it was not the right time for the rally, as all hands must be on deck to give Odumakin a “glorious exit.”
“…Even if they are planning, they should have just adjusted it a bit. There is nothing wrong in holding the rally in a couple of weeks from now. Let’s lay one of the shining stars, one of our heroes to rest. All the plans are going on towards that and that’s what we are geared towards…”