Petition For The Creation Of Yoruba Central State [20 June 1967]

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Find below one of many reasons Odua Nation, if granted, may become the hotbed of tribal wars and competition for supremacy. This is a petition written by a section (a group of tribal regions) of Yoruba land against another section (another group of tribal regions) of Yoruba land, but cleverly shrouded in a demand for state creation ���� PETITION FOR THE CREATION OF YORUBA CENTRAL STATE [20 JUNE 1967] —A Petition Submitted to His Excellency General Yakubu Gowon by the Alaafin of Oyo, Chiefs, and People of Oyo. “We, the Alafin [Oba Bello Gbadegesin Ladigbolu] and Chiefs on behalf of all the Chiefs and people of Oyo Division would like, first, to congratulate Your Excellency [Yakubu Gowon] on your present promotion to the esteemed position of the Major-General of our Armed Forces. We also wish to thank you for the progressive and courageous step taken by you in carving Nigeria into twelve component States.” “Sir, as people of the Yoruba Central State, we have been very sorry and abject victims of an aggressive oligarchy from outside Ibadan; while our population is five and one quarter million of a total of nine million in the newly created Western State we are completely shut away from our natural rights and amenities and we are reduced to the position of mere second rate citizenship in a state of our birthright.” “In Yorubaland it is the traditional right of the Alafin and the Yoruba Obas and Chiefs to appoint one of their sons to the exalted Office of the Are-Ona-Kakanfo. This ancient tradition was recently attacked by the appointment of a Leader of the Yorubas a direct affront to our tradition as Yorubas, and undue recognition being accorded a certain personality by the Military Government of Western State. It is no exaggeration to say that the minority in this State today controls our Civil Service, the Police Force, the Local Government set up to the detriment of the indigenous from the majority section which are the proper Oyo and Yoruba Ibadan Provinces.” “It is a pointer to the success and superiority of self-rule, that only when the Late Chief S. L. Akintola himself a native of Central Yoruba area, became the Premier of Western Region that some of the towns in the area have pipe-borne water and electricity. Since the Army take-over [in January 1966], harsh hands of neglect have gripped our area and we are choking under the throes of a ruthless Ijebu and Ekiti Officialdom.” “The wave of violence, arson and atrocities unleashed on Central Yoruba Area over the last four years is unprecedented and alien to us. The perpetrators come from Ijebu, and Eastern Nigeria. They are abetted by the arms of law. These atrocities never rear their heads in Ijebu Areas. This is one way our people have been gagged and muzzled so that the minorities can retain their predominance. We are confident that in our own State these injustices and horrors will cease. It baffles us how so few a group of people can have so much and not be contented. The Ijebus are out for a rule of terror and intimidation. The so-called Western Leaders of thought is an Ijebu-Ekiti dominated assembly which claims to represent us. Opposition elements were bungled in prison – their papers were banned, their leaders blackmailed. This is how the minorities obtain their mandate to impose their views on the majority. The Federal Military Government is for a country ‘where no man is oppressed’ and therefore we are claiming our just right; freedom from a minority rule, personal intimidation and economic strangulation. It is only the creation of a Central Yoruba State that could solve the problem and save the country from future political eruption.” “We are not expressing mere sentiments. We have no chance of survival in the new set-up of things in the Western State. Nothing short of the creation of a Central Yoruba State will satisfy our aspirations. We have the unflinching support of our people. We wish your good self all succour and zest needed at this crucial moment. Our faith in you and your Government will grow from strength to strength; and we implore you to invoke your authority now and right-away to create for us and our children the Central Yoruba State which will include the old Oyo and Ibadan Provinces—a population figure of 5.2 million.” “In conclusion Sir, We like to emphasize that the creation of the Central Yoruba State is being sought on the principles of: (1) historical and traditional ties (2) economic viability (3) overall interest of the Federation as a whole—the principle being that no one State should be too large to become a terror to its neighbours. On behalf of ourselves and our people we remain, Sir.”

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