Abeokuta — Yoruba leaders led by Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, yesterday met at the country home of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Ikenne, demanding new set of politicians who are ready to "protect and defend" interest of the Yoruba nation.
They spoke at a workshop organised by the Yoruba Unity Forum with the theme "State of the Nation: Yoruba, Where Are We?"The Ooni expressed regret that there is no unity in the Yoruba nation, saying until Yoruba are united, Nigeria's unity may remain a mirage.
The monarch maintained that tribal and ethnic crises in Nigeria have remained unabated because "they tend to flow from disunity among Yoruba leaders."
"We have allowed deception, mistrust to divide us as a nation. It was the colonial masters that distorted our history. Yoruba nation is the home of civilisation and structure of the political administration. We should be examples for others in Nigeria."
The Alaafin, represented by the Basorun Oyomesi, Yusuf Olayinka, agreed that the present generation of politicians have failed, saying there's need to emulate Awolowo, who according to him, lived a selfless life.But a professor of History, Banji Akintoye, disagreed that there is disunity in the Yoruba nation, pointing out that the present crop of politicians are not deeply rooted in the Yoruba culture.
"I do not agree that there is disunity in the Yoruba nation. What is actually wrong is that we are not producing enough politicians who stand strong in Yoruba culture and ready to protect the culture and interest of Yoruba.
"So, we need new leadership who can protect and defend the interest of Yorubaland," he said.Meanwhile, in his address, Chairman of the Forum, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, said the Yoruba nation had a role to play in the sustenance of Nigeria's unity to put the nation on a stable course.
The daughter of the late sage, Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, said the 2019 general elections "provide Nigeria another golden opportunity to reset our compass and choose our direction wisely."