The leader of the Yoruba Nation self-determination struggle, Professor Banji Akintoye, has said he did not authorise a congress of the apex body of the Yoruba self-determination struggle, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, being rumoured to take place in Ibadan on Tuesday, November 1 (today).
Akintoye accused the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, of using some members of the self-determination struggle to destroy the movement because of his presidential ambition.
The IOO leader, who said this in a statement on Monday, said he had to do this to debunk the claim by Funmi Soyemi, the outgoing Chairman of the Ilana Interim Management Committee of the organisation, that a world congress of Ilana Omo Oodua will be held tomorrow in Ibadan.
Akintoye said, “The people planning the congress are few agents of Nigerian politicians within the struggle. Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, is currently recruiting some power-seeking individuals within the self-determination struggle to either discredit me or destroy the movement completely.
“I am sending out this short message to all Yoruba people worldwide that I did not authorise any meeting of Ilana Omo Oodua to be held tomorrow in Ibadan, Oyo State. Those behind the gathering are a few people working for Nigerian politicians who are determined to discredit our noble struggle.
“I hereby dissociate myself from such a gathering and I want the whole world to know the meeting is illegal, unauthorised, and unknown to Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide. Thus, whatever resolutions are reached at the meeting are null and void.”
The statement further went on to note that, “Also, Bola Tinubu has threatened to destroy Ilana Omo Oodua and other serious self-determination organisations in Yorubaland because we told him that he is merely after his personal interest and not the interest of the Yoruba people.
“As a result, I implore you to disregard all of his agents within our system and become more focused on our struggle for freedom and liberation.”
When contacted for reaction, the Chief Spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, could not immediately confirm if the presidential candidate is scheduled to be at the congress of Ilana Omo Oodua in Ibadan on Tuesday (today).
He said, “The itinerary of Asiwaju that I have for tomorrow is the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I cannot confirm if he is attending the World Congress of Ilana Omo Oodua tomorrow at Ibadan.”
When asked to react to Akintoye’s accusation that Tinubu is seeking to destroy the Yoruba self-determination struggle by using some members of the movement, Keyamo declared that there was no iota of truth in the allegation.
He also queried who elected Prof. Akintoye as the mouthpiece of the Yoruba race.
“Are the Yoruba a group of people who arrogate to themselves the leadership status? When did the Yoruba gather to elect some of these characters?
“I speak authoritatively because I am also Yoruba and I have a right to be Afenifere with any Yoruba group. That is because my mother is a full-blooded Yoruba woman, a princess of the throne in Ilaro. I am an Egbado man myself. My first cousin is the Olu of Ilaro. I can confidently claim to be part of Afenifere.
“All I am trying to tell you is that the Yoruba have not appointed any of such characters to speak on behalf of the Yoruba race,” he said.