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Okun Group : We Want To Leave The North

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The Okun-Yoruba speaking people of Kogi State have said they wish to opt-out of the northern political zone and boundary descriptions.

The Okun people stated that their separation from their kith and kin in Ondo, Ekiti and Kwara states amount to an infringement on their right to self-determination, hence their desire to be reunited with the people of the Southwest.

They spoke under the aegis of Okun Liberty Advocacy (OLA), on Sunday, after their meeting in Aiyetoro-Gbede, in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.

President of the group, Chief Emmanuel Otitoju, who said that the group has studied the current situation of the country, said they desire a referendum under the proposed constitutional review, by the National Assembly, as well as protection of the minority groups  as observed in South Africa.

“We have studied and aligned with the positions of the Okun Development Association’s (ODA) memorandum sent to the National Assembly for a constitutional review and restructuring.

“And, our positions are as follows: that our separation from our kith and kin in the Southwest has inhibited our growth and development for a tortuous century thus far. We, therefore, demand that the boundary be readjusted to relocate our people and territory back to where we belong in Southwest of Nigeria.”

Okun people  is the term generally used to describe groups of Yoruba-speaking communities in Kogi state, North-central Nigeria. Their dialects are generally classified in the Northeast Yoruba language (NEY) grouping.

They are collectively called “Okun”, which in the Yoruba language means ‘vitality’ or ‘strength’, and is the word commonly used in greeting among the people, although this form of greeting is also found among the Ekiti and Igbomina groups of Yoruba people.

This identity, which was probably first suggested by Eva Kraft-Askari during a 1965 field expedition, has gained wide acceptance among the indigenous Yoruba people and scholars.

 

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