Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Monday, expressed his readiness to work for the unity and integration of Yoruba people across the globe.
The governor, who stated this while receiving a delegation of traditional rulers from Benin Republic led by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, stated that he is ready to work for the enrichment of the culture and economic expansion of the ethnic group.
He maintained that the Yoruba race must remain united if they hope to achieve the much-desired growth in Yorubaland.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor, while speaking at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, declared readiness to work for the unity of the Yoruba people.
The traditional rulers included the Alaketu of Ketu Kingdom, Oba Adejumo Adesina and the Onimeko of Imekoland, Oba Benjamin Olanite Ilufemiloye.
According to Governor Makinde, if the Yoruba could form a stronger bond of brotherhood, even across national boundaries, it would assist in addressing security challenges currently militating against the country, through sharing of coordinated intelligence.
He added that there could not have been a better time for Yoruba across borders to collaborate than now, saying that the rate of insecurity in the country meant that there should be intelligence sharing among neighbouring countries.
The governor equally appreciated the effort of the Alaafin of Oyo for being in the vanguard of fostering cordiality and unity of purpose among the Yoruba, adding that his fatherly role has become admirable to all and sundry.
He said: “When Professor Ijaola said Baba Alaafin is history-personified, I couldn’t agree less to that fact. Baba knows our history and he has never misinformed us. Whoever wants to hear the truth about the history of Yoruba, Nigeria, and some significant events that have happened in the world, you only need to visit the Alaafin of Oyo’s palace and you will be fed with details of any information you require.
“So, we that are Oduduwa descendants, Yoruba, irrespective of where we belong to, we need to ensure that we enrich our culture, even across the divides.
“We must also ensure we uphold whatever that can enhance the economic activities among us to thrive. Under my watch in Oyo State, I can assure us all that it will be done.”
He added: “I am delighted by this visit. When the Kabiyesi called me, I immediately instructed the Protocol Department to make sure they create the opportunity and time for us to meet and interact.
“If you get to all the borders as described by Professor, we are supposed to have gone far on the issue of integration. The Okerete Market in Saki is supposed to be a border market that will serve almost everyone along the West African corridors. There are opportunities.
“I was at the Republic of Benin at the earlier stage of our administration. As a matter of fact, on the agric policies of Oyo State, I visited Songhai Farm to try to know how integration could exist between us, because, for us, it is desirable socially, economically and culturally to come together.
“I salute my father, the Kabiyesi for making this effort a worthwhile experience. I greet the Alaketu for the honour and I congratulate you. May you reign for long, Sir.
“I want to say that you are always welcome to Oyo State.
“So, on behalf of the government and the people of Oyo State, I want to, once again, welcome you to Oyo State. I believe that the visit will be of immense greatness to us and whatever the Kabiyesi has in plan will come to pass.
“I will support Kabiyesi on every step he might want to take on this relationship to ensure that we are more together. Once again, I appreciate you on this visit.”
Speaking earlier, the Alaafin of Oyo equally emphasised that the traditional institution would not relent in its role of assisting the government to guarantee security of lives and properties within their domains.
In his remark, Emeritus Professor Anthony Ijaola recounted the historical antecedence of brotherhood among 0Yorubas from other countries, explaining that harmony should continually be sustained.
Those in attendance at the event included Olori Egbeyemi Adedunloye Akanni; Olori Olubukola Olanife; former Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Senator Mosurat Sunmonu; Deputy Chief of Staff, Hon. Abdulmojeed Mogbonjubola; chairman, Oyo State Advisory Council, Senator Ayoola Agboola.
Others were the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun; Special Adviser to the Governor on Strategy and Political Matters, Hon. Babatunde Oduyoye and the Special Adviser on Tourism, Hon. Hakeem Ademola Ige, among others.