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A New Leaf For Egbe Omo Yoruba, North America: An Examination Of The 14th Annual Egbe Omo Yoruba National Convention, Tampa, Florida

The second day, Saturday, August 12, 2006, the morning session was occupied with presentations by some dignitaries at the convention. They covered economy, politics, 2007 Elections and Yoruba, and Yoruba outside Nigeria. Some of the dignitaries were Chief Alao Adedayo, Publisher Alaroye Yoruba Newspapers, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere, a member of the National House of Assembly, Dr. Osadebe Anam who represented Orji Kalu, Governor of Abia State, Nigeria, and Dr. Mohammed Ladan, President of Zumunta, USA. The presenters were Otunba Olu Awotesu, former Minister for Agriculture, Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Osun State, Mr. Toyin Olanrewaju, and Professor Mobolaji Aluko.

At the morning session, there were reverberation of words of wisdom expressed by Fathers of Yoruba race, past and present. ‘Operation Wetie’ was well articulated by Otunba Olu Awotesu, the game plan of the Military years in destabilizing the Yoruba race; with Afenifere; the demise of AD; the dissolution of the Marketing Board by Obasanjo as the Military Head of State, that destroyed Cocoa market; the neglect of Education; and the final turning of the Western part of the country, agric products, into the death chamber; the Oil money as THE source of Nigeria’s economy base; the current incarceration of Dr. Fasehun and Adams who are not likely to come out from Prison until after the 2007 elections; and the political killings in Yorubaland which would not help the unity of that country. A song that ended the business session of the convention was the song by late Herbert Ogunde, “Yoruba Ronu”. That was a very prophetic song.

Another area touched at the convention was the problem with the Yoruba leadership after the death of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Otunba Awotesu was of the opinion that the problem in Yorubaland started at the death of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. After his death, everyone was clamoring to be the Yoruba leader. Everyone wanted to step into his shoes. According to Otunba Awotesu, he has not seen anyone that could step into Awolowo’s shoes. It’s too big for anyone to occupy. In his wisdom, it would take some collective efforts to fit into that heavy shoe of late Awolowo. In other words it is only the collective efforts that would bring all differences in Yorubaland together. I believe with the show of leadership skills of Chief Adesanya, President of Egbe Omo Yoruba, Yoruba in North America, would unite Nigeria through Egbe Omo Yoruba.

Part of the convention that Otunba Awotesu covered was Agriculture, which I liked most. Unfortunately, the South West Governors are paying lip services to Agriculture. The best way to approach that would be to empower the Yorubaland with agriculture; needless to talk about the power of food in life. I believe agriculture is the only profession that would never liquidate. Every human beings must eat and wack at the same time. Investment on agriculture and empowering the people would be one of those things Yoruba people should embark upon. If we look around to other parts of the world, the strong supporters of any Presidential candidate and one of the richest groups in the world are farmers. Agriculture should be used as the backbone of the Nigeria political future. No one invests in agric that fail. Agriculture is America life support system. Yoruba could make agriculture its life support system as well.

Fortunately, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti States share boundaries with Kwara State, the front runner in Commercial farming, and other Yoruba States could borrow from the Zimbabweans farmers in Kwara State. Kwara State Government is training its Youth on commercial farming, while Government incentives are available to Kwara farmers. Some guaranteed loans are also available. It would be beneficiary to the six Yoruba States, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, and possibly Lagos to ally with Kwara State and take back one of the glories of the Western part of Nigeria. Ogun State is already capitalizing on the Cassava products with its sales to China, boosting its economy. The climate is on their side; rainforest with cash crops, and good soil for other agric products. The Cocoa farm should be brought back to its glorious days.

In another development, at the Convention, in fostering unity, there was a unanimous feeling to take all steps necessary to end political violence in Yorubaland. According to Otunba Olu Awotesu, who was one of the ‘pioneers’ of ‘operation wet e’ in those days, admitted that they were pushed to the wall in resulting to violence against the unjust election results. They contested an election, and the election was rigged, on appeal to the Court, before the Court could hear the case from their lawyers, went ahead to announce the election results as valid. By the time they held the lawyers hostage in Lagos, or so, the people in Ekiti could not contain their anger, they resolved into burning properties and their political opponents. In this century Yoruba people should not allow that to occur again as 2007 is very crucial in the life of an average Yoruba man.

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