The new head of a Yoruba association has spoken on his plans for his new position.
Banji Akintoye, a professor and former senator, was on August 22 appointed the head of the Assembly of All Yoruba Groups Worldwide.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Mr Akintoye said he accepted the position after consulting with his family and close friends and with a broad spectrum of notable Yourba personalities.
“I hereby humbly respond ‘Yes’ to your call, fully and gratefully confident that you all will rise and work dedicatedly and faithfully with me in all efforts to advance the best prospects, the best achievements, and the right destiny, for our Yoruba nation,” he said.
The delegates of the Yoruba groups who converged in Ibadan on August 22 chose Mr Akintoye for the position.
Mr Akintoye was nominated by Abdulraheem Aduamigba, the Chief Imam of Yoruba in Ilorin, based on what was described as his contributions to the development of the Yoruba race.
He was elected at the age of 84 to lead the group.
Mr Akintoye on Thursday expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for considering him worthy of the position.
“I am glad that those who assembled at the Ibadan meeting and took the decision are all in agreement with me in my firm and unshakable conviction that what we, the Yoruba nation, need most today is our unity – our unity and collective resolve to stand together in order to demonstrate to would-be invaders of our land that though we are a civilised people who love the beautiful life, we are nevertheless a very strong nation, that the threats to come and “kill, maim and destroy” on our land, the threats to come and “banish” us from our land, do not frighten us – and that we will very definitively and decisively crush any invaders of our homeland – just as we did before in 1840.”
“I perceive that the real meaning and intention of your action was to serve on me a special clarion call to rise to sharply increased levels of intensity and quality of servanthood to our nation in the things that you have hitherto seen me doing and more, things over some of which very many of you have fruitfully worked with me.”
The new leader said he will increase the frequency of his public speeches and statements in order to reinforce awareness about the challenges facing our nation.
“We shall evolve a powerful drive for arousing our state governments and our people to revive our endangered Yoruba
language, and to revive the teaching of our nation’s history to our children in our schools.”
He added that the perception of the leadership of today’s Yoruba nation shall be that it does not interfere with partisan politics and politicians.
“I commit myself to continue as resolutely non-partisan as I have been for decades, and to join, support or oppose no political party, so that I may be able to move and communicate without inhibition among all our people, towards the advancement of our Yoruba positions and goals in Nigeria, and towards enhanced progress, prosperity and the right destiny for our Yoruba nation.”