Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba designate, Otunba Gani Adams, has launched Yoruba cultural-tourism revival in the United Arab, UAE, where he called on all Yoruba in the Islamic country not to loose their sense of history to the dictate of their domain but to constantly refreshed their memories with the cultural values and ethics of their heritage.
Otunba Adams, who will be installed as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland on January 13 by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, said that he came to Dubai purposely to ‘stoke the embers of the dying cultural–tourism sensibility of the Yoruba people, who are here in their thousands and who are susceptible to forget the culture and ethics of their heritage because of the dominant prevailing culture of the host country.”
Speaking to a multitude of Yoruba who thronged the Landmark Hotel, Dubai venue of the launching of the 79th Chapter of Oodua Progressive Union (OPU|), Otunba Adams pointed out ‘I understand the push and pull factors which endeared us to Dubai. I understand the fact that we should behave like the Arabs when in Dubai but not at the expense of our own culture and tradition.”
He said “I have been conducted on a tour of Dubai. I have watched how the Dubai indigenes have not allowed the cosmopolitanism of their business drive and crave for global interaction affect their culture. This is what we should emulate from them.”
Otunba Adams affirmed “OPU is not a political movement. It is purely a cultural- tourism global initiative, which inauguration is purposely to rejuvenate, regenerate, and revitalize the pristine Yoruba cultural heritage. A cultural heritage which makes us the Yoruba who we are and what we are. Hence, this journey of mine and our members all over the world planting OPU.”
He revealed “In as much as we are not political, it does not mean that we should shy away from lending our voices in shaping whatever issues which might affect the full exercise of our fundamental human rights within the framework of Nigeria as a nation and within the ambit of The Federal Republic of Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended.”
Otunba Adams, who lamented that Nigeria, as it is presently constituted, is not sustainable and “It is our belief in OPU that the time is now for the country to take the option of restructuring. We also warn that any restructuring that is not tailored along the regional line, reflecting the six geopolitical structures of the country, would be a mere wasting of time and resources.
“Regionalism is most suitable for the country at this time as each region will be governed by laws that best suits it, and I think, the experience and success recorded in the defunct Western Region best register the need for a return to regionalism.“
Already, groups such as the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Niger Delta Avengers have, more or less, shattered whatever illusions we may retain, regarding the Nigeria we are living in. While Nigeria will obviously be better off remaining a nation, it is also true that a surgical operation is required to take out the cancer of disintegration currently ravaging the country on every side.
“Nigeria is supposed to be the Federal Republic but it operates a unitary constitution where the states, like children, simply go to Abuja at the end of every month to collect food. They cannot even feed themselves.
“Is it not an utter shame that the descendants of Oyo Empire, Kanem-Borno Empire, Benin Empire and others have to go, cap in hand, to Abuja, collecting allocation that cannot even pay workers’ salaries when the traditional system, which guaranteed full employment and a decent standard of living, can be recreated through proper federalism like we had in the First Republic?”
The Head of Chancery of Nigerian Embassy in UAE, Mrs Kemi Ogunbanjo, who could not but expressed her happiness over the colourful appearance of the OPU members, attired in a special red cap said: “I am always proud of you in the way you conduct yourselves as good ambassadors of Nigeria”.
The Guest Lecturer, Mr Gabriel Akinadewo, Managing Director, Freedom Online Newspaper, in his submission declared that Nigeria, blessed with human and material resources, can only be great if it changes its orientation from being a consuming to a productive nation.
Citing insecurity, lack of infrastructure, series of agitation and lack of direction to drive the economy, as some of the challenges Nigeria is facing, Akinadewo told the audience how other countries, with similar challenges in the past, surmounted the obstacles.
Urging Nigeria to face the brass task on restructuring, Mr Akinadewo posited “This is the time for us to reorder our value system. Is it possible to restructure Nigeria without crossing the red line? And if the red line is too risky a venture, for how long are we going to suffer in a land filled with milk and honey? A major challenge in Nigeria is that leaders at federal, state and local council levels are not listening to what the people are saying. The government is working outside the people’s interest. We must do away with our retrogressive system by consuming what we produce. Nigeria is destined to be great but if the attitude of leaders to development is wrong, the country is going nowhere”.
While inaugurating the chapter, Adams urged the officers and members to “become exemplary men and women, not only of OPU but of Yoruba race and Nigeria as a country.
Otunba Adams said “You have a duty to protect the integrity of OPU, our enviable Yoruba race and our country, Nigeria. I challenge you, not only to lend your voice but to ensure that you play your parts in the restructured Nigeria that will emerge soon, by the Grace of God”.
At the epoch-making event were the Coordinator of OPU in Europe, Akinrogun Victor Adewale; Secretary, Nigeria Community in Dubai and Managing Director of Gatewind Management, Mr Austin Edeko; President, Nigeria in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Kuwait, Alhaji Abdul Wasiu Elu; the Guest Lecturer and Managing Director of Freedom Online, Gabriel Akinadewo; Gbobaniyi of Arigidi-Akoko, Ondo State, Chief Femi Davies; Chief of Staff to Otunba Adams, Segun Akanni, popular Nollywood actor, Odunlade Adekola and Dr. Layo Adeniyi, among others.