Chief Modupe Onitiri Weighs in on Abiola’s Yoruba Republic Declaration

By David Adenekan

IT SHOULD be noted that, Chief (Mrs) Modupe Onitiri-Abiola is one of the wives of late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the widely acclaimed winner of the June 12th, 1993, presidential election.

To many, including fellow secessionist movements like the Yoruba Nation separatist group under the leadership of both Prof. Banji Akintoye and Chief Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho Osa) have decried the proclamation of ‘A Sovereign Democratic Republic of The Yoruba’ by Chief (Mrs) Modupe Onitiri-Abiola within a sovereign country called Nigeria, as an aberration of the highest order; a political action that is tantamount to treason and felony.

According to Prof. Banji Akintoye’s self-determination group, Chief Onitiri-Abiola and every member of her group that perpetrated this ridiculous act should be prosecuted. They went ahead to refer to the action of the group as a farce; a dubious and desperate attempt to forcefully seize the reign of power to proclaim and establish a new sovereign country within an existing sovereign country called Nigeria.

Suffice it to say, this one side narrative, is currently trending in the news. Paradoxically, this trend may not last long as the proclamation of Chief (Mrs) Onitiri-Abiola’s self determination group is becoming a daunting threat to the fragility and non-cohesiveness of Nigeria’s Sovereignty.

It isnow crystal clear that all is not well with the country called Nigeria under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who hails from the same South-west geo-political zone that the Chief (Mrs) Dupe Onitiri-Abiola’s separatist movement comes from.

It is also suggesting a strong indication that, many Yorubas do not think a Yoruba man as number one citizen in Aso Rock will guarantee and protect their inalienable rights as indegenous people of Yoruba land within the context of a “geographical expression” called Nigeria. This is coupled with the fact that, their ancestral land is under threat by the maraudering fulani herdsmen and, the imbalance structure of Nigeria federal system will not allow for regional autonomy and resource control that will forestall every motive of deprivation, domination, enmasculation, strangulation and alienation of many indegenous people of Nigeria. Historically, there is no one way of achieving a people sovereignty with a defined territory. It may start with warfare and eventually end at the negotiating table.

In the past, there are many countries in the world that have engaged in fierce battle for them to attain independent status. Though, it is imperative to state that, not all secessionist groups have in the past succeeded in attaining independent.

However, for historical perspectives, it is important to mention some countries in the past that have to wage wars to attain the status of independent countries. Classic example are; the India, Pakistan and Bangladesh war of independent; Bosnia war (Bosnia and Herzegovina), 1991, Slovenia ten days war (Slovenia independent from defunct Yugoslavia). 1814, Swedish – Norwegian war of Independence and the Eritrea – Ethopia war of Independence. This is but, to mention a few.

It should be noted that, it was in a rare case that we have a country attaining Independence without first engaging in a war. In light of this, to evaluate the action of Chief (Mrs) Modupe Onitiri-Abiola’s led separatist movement as a condemnable act may be out of context and not being fair to human history. This is because, to fight a war is one of the rules of engagement to attain an independent country.

However, we may need to refer to the historical antecedents of many countries that have attained Independence before we decide to condemn the action of Chief (Mrs) Onitiri-Abiola’s separatist movement.

To further butress my point, the struggle to attain an independent country by the people of Southern Sudan became possible after many decades of bloody wars that later changed into dialogue upon dialogue before the call by United Nations for a referendum that led to a resolution that finally proclaimed Southern Sudan, as a sovereign country.

Therefore, we may need to see the most recent proclamation in the south west geo political zone as a daunting threat to the fragility and unbalanced structure of system of government in Nigeria. To a certain extent, this most recent proclamation for a sovereign Yoruba nation may embolden other separatist movements in the south-south, south-east and middle belt geo-political zones to adopt a similar action. A contagious effect indeed!

With this new trend, is Nigeria not sitting on a keg of gunpowder that may explode sooner or later?

Moreover, is the action of Chief (Mrs) Onitiri-Abiola’s separatist group not a wake-up call for other groups like Prof Banji Akintoye’s led Separatist movement that an independent Yoruba nation may not be realized on a platter of gold and the Chief (Mrs) Onitiri-Abiola’s separatist group may start gaining acceptance among many Yoruba people that are truly yearning for a sovereign Yoruba nation?

In summary, the call for a sovereign national conference that will allow the people to decide how they want to be governed, is viewed in many fora, as the best solution to the political logjam that we, as a nation is headed.

In furtherance to this, the call for restructuring is now reverberating across the country, with former President Olusegun Obasanjo adding his strong voice to support a reset of the country to evolve a new trajectory for true nation building.

The dire is now cast. Will President Bola Ahmed Tinubu yield to the voices of reason and write his name on a marble stone to be the one that will restructure the country and save the country from a catastrophe of a country that may collapse?

Hmmm, “To Your Tent, Oh Israel.”

Time will tell!!

David Adenekan Is the Editor of Shekinah International Magazine, and a media expert. He Writes from Chicago, Illinois.

Opinions expressed by individual columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of policies of the website’s management.

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