Against the backdrop of quit notice issued by Northern youths to the indigenes of South East, resident in the North, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, on Thursday tasked the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) to extend his peace and unity advocacy to the North and Eastern parts of Nigeria.
He said this has become imperative with a view to protecting the unity and the corporate existence of the nation, contending that drastic measure must be taken by the Ooni as the leading monarch in Yorubaland to galvanise peace and tranquility in the country.
Babalola, who gave the charge during a courtesy visit on Oba Ogunwusi in his Ile-Ife palace said taking up the gauntlet to meet with relevant stakeholders in the North and East would go a long way in dousing the tension generated by the quit notice issued to Igbos in the North.
Describing the threats over the quit notice as parts of the failure on the part of government to accede to clamour for the restructuring of the country, the legal luminary stated,
“I have been an advocate of restructuring of the country for decades. I am happy many leaders in the North, the South South, the East and West are now asking for restructuring of the country, which will no doubt bring about self determination, rapid development, employment and safety of lives and property.
“Since the air of self determination is almost everywhere, in the North, East and West, I want to plead with your Imperial Majesty to use your vantage position to galvanise other obas and leaders of thoughts to join their counterparts in other parts of the country to actualise the restructuring of the country,” Babalola remarked.
According to him, “I want to specifically commend Ooni’s effort and at preaching peace and unity first among Obas od Yorubaland and secondly among all the tribes in Nigeria.
This search for peace and unity has seen you visiting Oyo Alaafin and embracing the Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, on January 17, 2016, the first of such in 79 years, thus thawing the near four decades of thick and foggy ice of impasse between the two powerful and leading thrones in Yorubaland.”
While observing that his visit to Ooni was historical, Babalola stated further stated that “I was in this palace 27 years ago. What I came for then was different. At that time, there was war between Ife and Modakeke. The people of Modakeke hired me as lawyer, but we later came back to a roundtable to resolve the internal crisis.
“What is important today is that Modakeke and Ife people area now one. No more war between the two communities as there is inter marriage between their sons and daughters,” he stated.
In his remark, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi described Babalola as a special creature, who had through dint of hardwork and legal career contributed to the social and economical development of Nigeria, particularly in education.
He posited that he had commenced plans to visit other parts of the nation to preach unity and peaceful co-existence among all tribes in Nigeria, stressing that “we cannot afford to fight another civil war in this country.”