Former Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Akinjide Osuntokun, on Monday urged the Federal Government not wait for the Yoruba to revolt before addressing the marginalisation affecting the South-West.
The Professor of History spoke during the 74th birthday lecture of the Chairman of Splash FM, Chief Adebayo Akande, at the University of Ibadan.
Speaking on ‘The place of the Yoruba in the ethno-political configuration of Nigeria’, Osuntokun urged the Federal Government to be fair to all the zones in the country irrespective of their political leaning.
He said, “Government must not wait until there is rebellion or armed militancy of the youth of the South-West before embarking on fire-brigade or palliative measures.”
Classifying the political structure in Yorubaland into ‘mainstream’ and ‘home rule’, he said, “The people who believe and advocate belonging to mainstream and joining those in government have had their position weakened by the fact that there is nothing to show for the time when one of their sons was at the helm of the presidency between 1999 and 2007.
“Yoruba people watched helplessly as their roads become unmotorable and all other features of modern life collapse. They were rightly not singled out for favour.
“If the truth must be told, the Obasanjo government bent over backward to accommodate other ethnic groups at the expense of the Yoruba. Since 2003 and until recently no Yoruba woman has been found suitable for ministerial appointment in a country where Yoruba women led in the acquisition of Western education since the imposition of colonial rule.
“Even in the distribution of ministerial positions, the Yoruba have fared worse than other ethnic groups. It is open to debate if the Yoruba would have fared worse if they had not belonged to the mainstream.”
He added, “The Yoruba ought to be able to manoeuvre its way through this labyrinth of political and economic negotiation necessary to see the Nigeria of our dream”.