The umbrella body of the Yoruba self-determination group known as Ilana Omo Oodua on Friday sent birthday greetings to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), as he clocked 79.
The group led by 86-year-old Professor of History, Banji Akintoye, said it wished Buhari everything he had done for the people of the South-West zone.
Akintoye’s spokesman, Maxwell Adeleye, in an exclusive chat with The PUNCH, said may the life of the President be run the way he is currently running Nigeria.
He said, “We at Ilana Omo Oodua wish President Muhammadu Buhari what he has done for the Nigerian people. May his life be run the way he has run Nigeria. We wish him what he has done for the Yoruba people in Nigeria.”
The group also said the President should allow a referendum to hold to discuss the corporate co-existence of the Nigerian nation.
“He (Buhari) should allow us to conduct a referendum so that we can determine our sovereignty so that we can determine if we want to still remain in Nigeria or not. That is our demand from him at 79. At 79, he is alive because of the grace of God and he is enjoying the grace of God,” Adeleye added.
Buhari, from Katsina State, was Nigeria’s head of state between December 1983 and August 1985 before his return as civilian President in May 2015.
Many Nigerians are currently disappointed in his regime as they lament untold hardship. The late Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, in June 2021, had said that Buhari scored F9 in managing the economy, the security challenges of the country as well as in his anti-graft fight.
As he clocked 79, former heads of state and Presidents including Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, Abdulsalami Abubakar, were yet to send Buhari birthday greetings as of press time.
Secessionist agitations in Southern Nigeria
Of late, growing dissatisfaction, disaffection, and perceived injustice have fueled secessionist agitations in Southern Nigeria. While Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho is an arrowhead of Yoruba Nation agitation in the South-West zone, embattled Nnamdi Kanu leads the proscribed secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra in the South-East.
Akintoye is an arrowhead of the Yoruba Nation agitation, championing the secession of the South-West zone from the Nigerian entity.
The Professor of History is currently in Benin Republic to oversee the release of Igboho, who has spent exactly five months in a prison in the Francophone West African nation.