Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, has said his state is not part of the secessionist agenda away from Nigeria being advocated by Sunday Adeyemo, a Yoruba rights activist popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
Governor Akeredolu stated this while swearing in some government officials, including the new Secretary to the State Government, Oladunni Odu, in Akure, the state capital, on Monday.
Igboho had recently declared that the Yoruba nation wants to secede from Nigeria and called on the United Nations to intervene.
But reacting, Governor Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, insisted that Igboho cannot speak for Yoruba people.
The governor stated that while citizens have the right to agitate and discuss over perceived wrongdoings, Ondo State will, however, continue to remain a federating unit of Nigeria.
He said: “To comment on the current agitation by some people who express grievances arising from the challenge of nationhood. The noises generated by seeming inaction or passive indifference on the part of the elected and appointed representatives of the government at all levels appear to be responsible for the growing disaffection in the land.
“There is problem, no doubt. While some have been measured in their reaction to this problem, others have been less diplomatic. It is common to find groups and individuals purporting to act or speak on behalf of the rest of us. Did you ask them to speak for us? People just stand up and say they are speaking for a people. Who invest you with that authority?
“While it is right for citizens to discuss, agitate, even fight to right perceived wrongs and even people (asking) for self-determination. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this but this must be done within an acceptable parameter.
“We cannot continue the way we are going, all of us must be concerned and agree to achieve a desirable end. There must be common platform through which the demands for the most mundane to the sublime be presented. There must be general consensus. This must be articulated and presented after rigorous engagements on the level of intellection and agendum for the action.”
Governor Akeredolu insisted that the issue of self-determination must be advocated for by its proponents with respect and through the right channels instead of with force.
He said: “Self-determination must be a collective programme of action. Nobody can speak when others are not part of it.
“Let me state unequivocally that Ondo State under my watch will stay in the Federal Republic of Nigeria as constituted.
“We recognise that there are reasons that certain anomalies be right. Nobody is running away from it but we will continue to encourage dialogue as an effective tool in resolving disputes. We will also not shy from joining others to insist on socio-economic justice.
“We will, however, not subscribe to banditry and recklessness in putting forward our demands. We will not in Ondo State subscribe to that. So, if people are shouting out there at this time, Igboho will speak for you. It is not going to work and those who have not been speaking for us will not speak for us. Let us be clear on it. We will stay in Nigeria. We are not running away.”
The governor said his state won’t be part of any self-destruction or self-annihilation like the Indigenous People of Biafra and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, caused the South-East region of the country.