1800 N. BROOM STREET
WILMINGTON, DE. 19802
U. S. A.
March 25, 2014
This is a letter from Oodua Foundation, a think-tank organization of Yoruba academics, professionals and entrepreneurs resident in all parts of the world, to our Yoruba nation in Nigeria. We write this letter out of our deep concern for, and out of our resolve to change, the depressed condition in which our Yoruba nation lives in Nigeria.
We write, with particular pain,to you the youths of our Yoruba nation. We know that you are being ground down by the economic and political chaos in Nigeria, that most of you have to spend many more years than necessary to complete your school studies,that after struggling through schools, colleges and universities, you roam the streets jobless for years – incapable of supporting your parents, unable to plan your lives, to marry, or to begin to raise families of your own. It is painful to watch countless thousands of you desperately trying to flee to other lands to escape the hopelessness in Nigeria. We even know that some of you, in total desperation, try to reach the outside world by walking across the Sahara Desert to North Africa – many never making it through the dangerous desert.
We write also to Yoruba entrepreneurs and working folks. We know the frustrations, discriminations, and unfair and fraudulent competitions that you Yoruba businessmen regularly struggle against. As for you our men and women in the honourable teaching profession, we know that you live with perpetual attacks on your morale and competence– in an educational system that has been made to decay steadily for decades. We also know the hideous frustrations that regularly confront our doctors and health-care workers, our market women and small traders, our commercial drivers, our technicians, and even our government employees. We know that in the context of all these, the Yoruba tradition of pride in work, in enterprise, in learning, and in adventure, has been badly brutalized in Nigeria.
We write too to our traditional rulers (fathers of our nation) and to our politicians, both of whom are caught in the whirlwind of the heavily corrupted political and economic life of Nigeria. We know that, in these disorienting situations, it can be hard to uphold the accustomed Yoruba dedication of rulers and leaders to the well-being of the masses of Yoruba people.
We in Oodua Foundation, like all Yoruba persons, know that we Yoruba do not deserve to live in these depressing conditions. Throughout our history, we have belonged in the fore-front of civilization in Black Africa. We built the foremost urban civilization; a political system based on the sovereignty of the people and the dignity of the individual; an economy rich in production and commerce; a society that cherished qualitative leadership, loved enterprise and service to the community, respected the religious rights of all, and smoothly accepted foreigners.
From the late 19th century, in the assimilation of new modern influences (especially Western education), we outpaced all of tropical Africa. In the 1950s, when the configuration of power between Nigeria’s Regions and the Federal Government gave the Regions the freedom to promote their socio-economic development, the strength of our Yoruba nation quickly surfaced mightily. Our Western Region became the pace-setter in all aspects of development and modernization in Nigeria.
Unhappily, since independence, all power and control and assets in Nigeria have been diverted to the federal center – with the result that the federal center has become shockingly inefficient and corrupt, that corruption has been spread to the rest of Nigeria, and that the State Governments have become impotent entities incapable of developing their domains or promoting prosperity among their people.
To be able to develop in Nigeria again, every part of Nigeria needs that much of the powers that have accumulated perversely in the federal center must be returned to the states. We also need that the delimitation of states in our federation must respect our indigenous nationalities, and that our states be fundamentally stronger than now. These proposals, in detail, are the mandate that we Yoruba people have sent our delegates to go and propagate and defend in the National Conference in Abuja.
Our delegates know that these proposed changes are absolutely crucial to the proper development of Nigeria, to prosperity in all parts of Nigeria, and to harmony among the peoples of Nigeria. We trust that our delegates will unite closely and do their duty faithfully. For them to operate along political party lines in the National Conference would be a criminal betrayal of our nation. There is a time for everything – this is no time for partisan or divisive politics of any kind. Our membership of political parties is temporary and changeable, but each of us and our posterity belong to the proud Yoruba nation ad infinitum. For our nation, the outcome of this National Conference is all-important.
While we trust our delegates, we Yoruba people at home and abroad must focus unwavering attention on them in Abuja, and demand ceaselessly that they do what we expect of them. They bear a sacred responsibility – and they have our fullest support. They know they cannot return home to ask their Yoruba nation to accept, under any circumstance, a continuation of the status quo (with its confusion, corruption, poverty, and conflicts); and that we Yoruba people are determined, absolutely, to get out of chaos and poverty. Above all, let all of us Yoruba determine that our Yoruba nation will revive and rise – faster and to greater heights than ever before – in Nigeria if possible, out of Nigeria if necessary.
Dr. Dejo Ogunwande, SECRETARY. Prof. Adeniran Adeboye, CHAIRMAN.Prof. (Senator) Banji Akintoye, PATRON