CHAIRMAN, Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF), Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo, has called on all Yoruba not to allow their personal interest to override the collective interest of the race, in the quest to make it relevant in the political setting of the country.
The matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty stated this in her welcome address at the general meeting of the YUF, held at the Efunyela Hall, in Ikenne Remo, the residence of the Awolowos, on Thursday.
She urged members of the forum, which she described as apolitical, to remain steadfast in the cause to fight for the unity and progress of the land.
She stressed the need for all Yoruba sons and daughters, both at home and in the diaspora, to embrace unity of purpose in the overall interest of the race, adding that everyone should be more concerned with how to take the land to a greater level among all other tribes in the country.
“I want to implore you all to remain steadfast and focus in our quest to develop Yorubaland. This meeting is not a political gathering but a forum, where we deliberate on issues affecting the race. I want to appeal to us all that we need to place premium on the collective will of Yorubaland.
“YUF remains the only umbrella body for different groups in Yorubaland, hence there is the need for all these groups to have representation in this forum. This is a body meant for all Yorubas, so we must embrace it,” she said.
The chairman, who lamented that children of these days could no longer speak Yoruba language fluently, advocated that the language be inculcated into the culture and tradition of children, pleading that it must not be allowed to go into extinction.
“I want to encourage parents to teach their children how to speak Yoruba language, because it is so disheartening that many of our children cannot speak their mother tongue fluently. If this trend is not checked now, the culture and tradition of our land will go into extinction,” she said.
She also advocated that Yoruba language should, henceforth, be the medium of communication during YUF meeting, and this was unanimously adopted.
She also appreciated the forum for standing by her family during and after the death of the publisher of the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Chief Oluwole Awolowo, last April.
The deputy chairman, The Right Reverend Bolanle Gbonigi (retd), also lent her voice on the need for Yorubas to speak with one voice on issues affecting the race. He said the forum welcomed all groups, maintaining that the forum was not an association.
The report of the last meeting of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly held in May and hosted by the forum was presented to the larger meeting by Senator Femi Okunroumu, on behalf of the chairman, organising committee, Mr Jide Adeniji.
It commended the leaders of the forum for the successful outcome of the meeting which had in attendance leaders from the South-South and the South-East of the country.
Also, the vice chairman of the forum, Most Reverend Ayo Ladigbolu, spoke on the need to revive the Yoruba culture, adding that Yoruba language curriculum should be reviewed.
In a communique read by the publicity secretary, Chief Kunle Olajide, the forum commended the South West governors for promoting peace and stability in the region.
It also adopted its constitution and announced its national executive committee to steer its ship.
Former governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel moved the motion for the adoption of the constitution which was seconded by Mrs Olabisi Sangodoyin.
The meeting observed a minute silence in honour of the late Chief Oluwole Awolowo