A prominent Yoruba leader in Nigeria and in other parts of the world who is also a foremost historian, Professor Stephen Banji Akintoye, announced recently that the Yoruba- speaking nation of Nigeria has been accepted as the 45th member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO).
What does this mean for the Yoruba nation?
Is it a way forward to the goal of dignity and self-determination as the professor has said?
UNPO, an international membership based organization, was formed on the 11th of February, 1991 in The Hague, a city in Netherlands in other to empower the marginalised and unrepresented people of the world to protect their fundamental human rights. Its members consist of indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories from across the globe.
As Professor Akintoye, who is a prominent Yoruba Leader and President-General of The Yoruba World Congress (YWC) revealed, the information was contained in a letter addressed to him through the YWC Coordinator for Europe by her Secretary-General, Ralph Bunche.
“Well, Yoruba people are known to be intelligent people and always planning ahead of events. They do not put the cart before the horse. Why they are referred to as the most educated and loudest ethnic group out of Africa.”
This is a very welcome development for the Yoruba people who have been clamouring for self determination as :
1. They Oodua group now present themselves with The United Nations (UN), The European Union (EU), The United States of America (USA), and other international and multilateral diplomatic bodies, groups and agencies such as UNESCO.
2. Just like the Catalonian people of Spain, they can put forth their organs of representation such as a people’s parliament and an indigenous people’s government with a flag as their symbol different from Nigeria flag.
3. Yoruba nation now have an opportunity to participate in advocacy training, worldwide cultural festivals, election monitoring / observation, and sports activities, among the unrepresented nations.
4. This international body, like many others, had the capacity to help Yoruba nation achieve its goals within the Nigerian Federation.
5. The UNPO has the freedom to raise issues that other organizations can not raise due to political or funding constraints. With this, it can help raise hidden issues affecting the Yoruba nation that can not be done within the national frame of Nigeria.
Why the acceptance is also a very much welcome development is that there are already on ground countries that were former UNPO members but are now fully independent nations and members of the United Nations. Some of such countries are:
2. East Timor
Do you also think this a welcome development? Share your views.