Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, speaks on Yoruba nation in his interview with Punch news
You know that is a very sensitive issue. What are the people agitating for? They are agitating for fairness; they are saying what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. The best bet for us is to have one country, but when people are feeling otherwise, there must be reasons they are agitating. Fifteen to 20 years ago, was it like that? When Yoruba people were in power, were there agitations? There must be reasons and we all know the reason has to do with banditry and insecurity. Even in the north, some people are also kicking. What is important now is for us to adequately separate the grain from the chaff. I am not going to blame the agitators. There must be a reason why they are agitating. I will suggest we talk to them; let’s bring them on board, deliberate with them. Let’s debate. It is very important for us to debate and debate on our corporate existence, for things to be right. It is very critical. For me, that is my own approach. Even when you go to war, at the end of the day, you must sit down to negotiate. So, why not have the roundtable discussion now? Why not go through that route? Why must you go through hot agitation and try to destroy things? The best approach has always been the peaceful approach.
Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, made rude remarks about you and later apologised. Have you forgiven him?
This throne, you own the good, the bad and the ugly. You are a father to the good, the bad and the ugly. We are not leaving him. We have set up a lot of committees. Professionals are involved. They are on board for everything in Nigeria to be right ultimately and to look into his (Igboho’s) case. So, we are working very closely with all the relevant authorities to make sure that all is well.
It was in the news that you and the Olubadan sent a delegation to Cotonou, Benin Republic, where Igboho had been arrested and facing trial. What was its mission?
Everybody is worried, but for me, I believe more in positive energy than negative energy, so let’s just keep praying for our government. Let us keep praying for them (the leaders) to continue to do what is right and for us to continue to guide them as traditional rulers. Nobody is perfect, but when positive energy is there, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. It is a challenge for us all. Let us thank God that the economy is out of recession. Recent data revealed that we have grown more than five per cent in terms of our gross domestic product and the rate at which we have been having children is about six to four per cent but the economy was growing like 0.4 per cent; it is not adding up. But this time round, I think the agitation will continue to come down if the government focuses more on economic development. That will ensure even distribution of wealth. I know they are working on that, we have seen a positive response over the last six years.