Yoruba Leaders, others gather to launch Yoruba Academy

Yoruba Leaders, others gather to launch Yoruba Academy

Saturday, February 2, 2019 10:04 am

General Akinrinade and other Yoruba leaders at the summit

Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan

As Nigerians are preparing for elections to elect the President and other public office holders between Saturday February 16 and March 2, 2019, the former Chief of staff, Lt. General Ipoola Alani Akinrinade has lamented that the country is heading nowhere.

Akinrinade, said this last Thursday at the launching of Yoruba Academy, which has its secretariat at Quarter 844, Government Quarters, Agodi GRA beside JAMB Zonal Office, opposite Ikolaba Grammar School, Ibadan, pointed out that the future of Nigeria is not certain.

Stressing, “Nigeria is going nowhere”, the retired army General while interacting with the newsmen said that the current constitution of Nigeria does not have the capacity to create egalitarian society where the system would be fair to all the ethnic groups in the nation.

Akinrinade, who wants an immediate review of the constitution or possibly a new constitution for the nation noted that restructuring the nation is imperative and not negotiable adding, “We elders don’t want Nigeria to divide but the youth are agitating for it. It is better and beautiful the way we are. Nigeria project can work if we are sincere and stop being selfish. Why can’t each state manage its own resources? Sharia Law has been in existence in the North for long and I don’t have problem with that but why will anybody feel that it should be imposed on other regions? They can practice Sharia anywhere but they should not bring it to the South West”.

Speaking earlier, an astute politician and a Yoruba leader, Ayo Afolabi narrated how Yoruba Academy started saying that the project started at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, in 2007 as some notable Yoruba individuals came together to discuss the future of the Yoruba people.

He noted that some Yoruba elders and scholars like late Professor Babatunde Fafunwa and Professor Wale Omole earlier running similar organization were approached and enjoined to merge their organization with them pointing out, “When we came together, we now appointed Professor Fafuwa as the Chairman of Board of Trustees”.

He said, “I am not happy that some of us who started this project are not here. We were at IITA discussing and we felt that we needed to establish Yoruba Academy. There was no money and all of us who were there contributed what we had to kick start the project. We actually started working in 2008. It was Jimi Agbaje and Tola Abolurin who contributed the highest.

“We registered Yoruba Academy with the government. Later, Chief Bisi Akande came to pay us a visit and after interacting with us and got to know our mission, he gave us substantial money and we used part of the money to pay salaries and got an office at Bodija but not quite so long the owner of the place gave us quit notice because he wanted to sell the house and that was how we started looking for another office.

“We went to General Akinrinade who said that he did not have any house in Ibadan to give us and asked us to see the Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi for assistance. We were not making head way until one day when I got a call from General Akinrinade telling me that he was in Ibadan and that I should join him for us to go and see Governor Ajimobi”.

Speaking further, Afolabi stated, “When we got to Governor’s Ajimobi’s House at Ring Road, we were told that he has not woken up and General Akinrinade said that we will wait for him outside. When Ajimobi heard that Baba is waiting for him outside, he rushed out in his pajamas to find out what the problem was and Baba told him that we needed a place for Yoruba Academy. He asked us to go and find a government vacant space and when we might have found one, we should come back and that he would see what he could do.

“The civil servants assisted us in finding a place and we eventually got this place and we went back to him. He said that he could not give us free and that we will have to pay N14m to lease the place for 25 years. Where are will going to get N14m? Not long after that, General Akinrinade launched a book in Lagos and all the money he realised from the launching, he gave it to us without removing a penny.

“Out of it we paid N14m to the government and that was how we took possession of this place. When we got to this place, it was not habitable at all and so we had to renovate it and that is why we have something like this. However, we don’t have money to do many things. We don’t even have money to pay salaries and so, Yoruba here and abroad have to come together to fund this place”.

Speaking on Yoruba Academy, the Director General, DAWN Commission, Mr Oluseye Oyeleye stated that the academy is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation established as a multi-disciplinary institution.

According to him, the institution is charged with the task of bringing together everyone committed to the best traditions of the promotion of modern democratic life adding that it also aimed to ensure the preservation of Yoruba Language, culture, social practices, values and institutions.

Oyeleye, who noted that the academy is a medium where succeeding generations can feed into the Yoruba history and contributions, particularly the core being as a people, pointed out that the academy would be committed to engaging in, encouraging and funding research and systematic reflections on the history, culture, position, and future of the Yoruba in the context of Nigeria and in a globalized world, towards helping to create and sustain freedom for all and life more abundant.

Speaking on the relevance of the academy, the DG said that the academy would serve as a central clearing house for scholarly works about Yoruba and support the next generation of scholars who would be the ones to accentuate what has been done right in the areas like politics, economy, arts and culture, technology, military and strategic studies, as well as documenting the wrongs done to avoid such mistakes in the future.

He said, “The institution engages all leading scholars and intelligentsia-home and abroad-to chart a new course for the Yoruba race whilst preserving and celebrating our past as a people. We will have Fellows of the Yoruba Academy who will share thoughts, ideas and insights and analyze. the state of the diverse sub-fields that constitute Yoruba studies and plan the directions which the academy will take.

“Doctoral students of Yoruba extraction will be encouraged to submit their work to the academy, enabling the institution to tap into the welter of knowledge available among them…The Yoruba Academy strives to make us discover our position and pride as a people.

“The Omoluabi concept that defines our essential characteristic as responsible, ethical and people of sound moral standards needs to be projected and reinforced. Therefore, the Yoruba Academy is paramount in ensuring that the collective works it promotes have positive impact on our being”.

He stated further, “The Yoruba Academy exposes us to the outside world, creating a better understanding of what it is to be Yoruba and in particular, educate those who have lost their bearings. The Yoruba Academy re-connects the race to the richness of our history and the fertility of minds among the growing generations who may no longer feel the need to identify with Yoruba because of the challenges of our not too good recent past, and the exposure to and influences of our current global space and existence… The Yoruba Academy is an institutional framework for the totality of our learning and development as Yoruba people…The Yoruba Academy assists every Yoruba man and woman to redefine his or her identity”.

Among those in attendance were: Elder Statesman, Dr. Amos Akingba, Prof Ladipo Adamolekun, The Chairman of Atayese, Mr. Tokunbo Ajasin, a retired Nigerian footballer, Segun Odegbami, Director of Charis Ventures, Dr Iyabo Bassir, Bucknor Arigbede Adeyemi of IACD, Hon Femi Egbedeji, Chief Tunde Odunlade, Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, Hon. Wale Oshun, ARG Publicity Secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, ARG Coordinators in Ekiti, Kogi, and Kwara, Bunmi Akanbi Awotiku, Ayo Abereoran and Bamidele Abdulateef

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