Stakeholders and professionals from the Igbo and Yoruba nationalities have scheduled to meet on January 15, to discuss the way forward regarding Nigeria’s myriad of socio-economic challenges.
The meeting, which will be hosted by an organisation, Fatherland Group, is also aimed at addressing the “troubled relationship between Igbo and Yoruba nationalities, the two biggest ethnic groups in Southern Nigeria.”
According to the convener, Dr Dele Ogun, the meeting will draw professionals from across Nigeria and the Diaspora.
In a release, Ogun, a United Kingdom-based lawyer and historian, said, “The historic meeting will hold this January 15, being the anniversary of the day Nigeria witnessed her first military coup, led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu and other radical soldiers with the stated objective of cleansing a rotten political system.
“The coup went awry after being hijacked by reactionary soldiers, an event that led to the counter-coup of 29 May, 1966, political instability and then a civil war that lasted for 30 months. The war and its aftermath continue to dominate bitter debate between Igbo and Yoruba people with each trading blame.
“Opportunist politicians have, over the years, exploited the rivalry with a selfish harvest of parochial political fortunes, to the dismay and detriment of millions of Yoruba and Igbo people who are naturally blood bound by circumstances of faith and commerce even in the midst of the bitter rivalry.
“The theme of the January event is tagged ‘Yoruba and Igbo Speaking with one voice from a shared experience: Wetie to Biafra’.
“The summit is intended to find a common ground, in the face of mounting common challenges occasioned by instability and existential threats to the lives of millions of Nigerians.
“This will be a step towards building a new constructive relationship between generations of Igbo and Yoruba people who have been divided by hostile narratives which have sown seeds of discord since the beginning of the campaign for Nigerian independence in which the two great civilisations played the leading roles but in which both have been poorly served.
“The process of reconciliation is to be aided by Dr. Biki S. V. Minyuku, who was the Chief Executive of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, headed by Bishop Desmond Tutu.”
The conference will be chaired by Jo Wealleans.
Speakers at the event include Emeritus Professor Emmanuel Chukwuedo Nwanze, former Vice-Chancellor of University of Benin; Prof Banji Akintoye, the worldwide leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, a Yoruba global movement’ Timothy Modu Jnr., as well as historian, Ogun.
The zoom event is expected to draw prominent Nigerian scholars and professionals at home and in the Diaspora.