And like all the other great races that came before us, it is in the face of our collective adversities, our present-day challenges and our ever-present struggles that we as a people shall rise up again and dominate our entire environment.
And when that time comes, no-one and no group of people will be in a position to say “no” to the rise of the mighty Oduduwa nation. It is at that time that we shall expand our borders and re-establish the ancient boundaries.
It is at that time that we will drive the alien invaders out of Kwara and parts of Kogi. It is at that time that we will reclaim what is rightfully ours and deliver our Yoruba brothers and sisters that have been forced to languish in those parts in a sad and pathetic condition of debilitating bondage.
It is at that time that we will vigorously respond to the plight of our Itsekiri cousins. It is at that time that our fellow Africans, and indeed the world generally, will know what being a Yoruba is all about and what having a Yoruba nation can mean for us all. For now we seek only to lift up our people to where they rightfully belong: nothing more and nothing less.
For now we seek only to nurture and protect that which we deeply cherish: nothing more and nothing less. For now we seek only to confirm the incontrovertible fact that we have a role to play in God’s greater plan for the final emancipation of the African continent: nothing more and nothing less.
For now we seek only to establish the fact that we are a people that are not only close to the heart and seat of Almighty God Himself, but we are also a people whose irresistible and manifest destiny it is to lead mother Africa and all her beautiful peoples to the citadels of abundance and excellence and to the pearly gates of the Promised Land.
And if it means that before the Yoruba nation can achieve its divinely ordained purpose that Nigeria must go then I say today, and I say it loud and clear to all who care to listen, that it is indeed, good-bye Nigeria and hello Oduduwa Republic.
If we cannot have a true federation, it is good-bye Nigeria. If we cannot have devolution of power, it is good-bye Nigeria. If we cannot have a secular state, it is good-bye Nigeria. If we cannot have resource control, it is good-bye Nigeria.
If we cannot have regional armies, it is good-bye Nigeria. If we cannot have regional police forces, it is good-bye Nigeria. If we cannot have regional Parliaments and a maximum degree of separate development, then it is good-bye Nigeria.
If we cannot have these things then we may as well say that the unfruitful and barren “marriage” that two extremely cruel, unfeeling and obviously sadistic Englishmen by the names of Lugard and Harcourt decreed between the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria in 1914 is not only truly dead but it is also well-buried.
Again, if we cannot have our own constitution in the West, our own foreign embassies and our own National emblems, then it is good-bye Nigeria. If we cannot at least have the right to determine our own future as a people without any manipulation, subterfuge or input from the relentless, byzantine and barbarous Huns and Philistines that hold sway in certain parts of this nation, then it is good-bye Nigeria.
And of course, once we are forced to say “good-bye Nigeria,” there will be no regrets, no turning back and no remorse. It will be a clean break and it will be a break that we are prepared to defend with the last drop of our blood.
And even though here we have not asked for and neither have we advocated secession, I dare say that in the next few years, if care is not taken, the spirit of secession will undoubtedly begin to rise up and shatter the very foundations of this nation. Sadly this is a reality that we have to live with. We can no longer allow ourselves to be in denial.
If things don’t change and if they don’t change fast, this country will eventually cease to exist. It is only an undiscerning fool that still cannot appreciate or recognize this bitter and unpalatable fact. It is only the ignorant and the deluded that can still insist on treating this matter with levity or that can dismiss the likelihood of such a sanguine and bloody course of events from unfolding.
Again, for the record, let me be clear. What we are calling for here is not secession or armed struggle. What we want, nay what we demand, is change: peaceful, progressive, wholesome, equitable and constitutional change. What we are fighting for is peaceful and purposeful constitutional reform.
And of course, based on the internationally accepted principle of self-determination of a people (a principle which has the full backing of international law), we have every right, as citizens of the world, to call for and indeed demand such change simply because that is precisely what our people, the over 40 million-strong Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria, desperately desire and certainly deserve.
We have not called for subversion, dissention or dismemberment here but instead we call for an understanding of our position and an appreciation of our strong resolve. Again let it be clearly understood by all and sundry that we will do whatever it takes within our means to liberate our people and to enable them to achieve their full potentials as human beings.
It is in the light of this that we totally reject the new-fangled and alien concept and philosophy that encourage wholesale and unrestrained racial integration. We refuse to become fully integrated with, and consequently held down by, other groups and ethnic nationalities who not only come from a different world but who also erroneously believe that they were divinely mandated to turn us into the biblical and proverbial “hewers of wood and drawers of water” in our own land.
We refuse to accept having any part of or any fellowship with those that have fully espoused and imbued the culture of ethnic hegemony, the culture of the nomad, the culture of the leech, the culture of the cattle-rearer, the culture of the desert, the culture of corruption and the culture of laziness.
We refuse to accept the culture and ways of those that our forefathers continuously warned us about. They told us that when these people enter a room with a snake that we should endeavour to kill them first even before killing the snake. That is how dangerous they are.
Yet they may overcome others but they will never overcome the Yoruba race and neither will we, as a people, ever bow down before them. And lest they forget, let our core “Arewa” brothers be reminded of one incontrovertible fact: that the only reason that the Yoruba nation is not on the march today is simply because a fellow Yoruba man is sitting on the throne.
Yet, the truth is that, Obasanjo or no Obasanjo, when the time is right, the militant march of the Yoruba nationalists will rent the air and shake the very foundations of this country. It is at that time that we will once again be in a position to achieve our wildest dreams and our greatest ambitions. It is at that time that they will know who we really are. It is at that time that we will prove to the world that our will and our firm resolve cannot be tested lightly.
Until then I encourage every Yoruba man, woman and child to stand firm, to stand tall, to be strong, to be courageous and never to give up because ultimately we shall prevail. For the vision is for an appointed time: though it tarries, it shall surely come to pass. The Lord shall see to that. He shall be our deliverance and our strong tower.
Until then I say God bless you all. God bless the Alajobi Group. God bless the Yoruba nation and may the Lord, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, deliver our beloved Nigeria from the hands of those that seek to keep her in perpetual servitude, darkness and bondage.
May He raise up a biblical Jehu who will, once and for all, cleanse this vast and beleaguered land with his sword. And may He raise up a gallant Garibaldi whose brief it will be to unite the Yoruba people and to lead them from glory to glory”.
(Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a lawyer, delivered this speech at the Alajobi Group lecture to commemorate “June 12” at Premier Hotel, Ibadan,Oyo State on June12th 2001)