On Friday January 15, Fatherland Group, a socio-political movement of professionals from across Nigeria and the Diaspora, will host a meeting where the troubled relationship between Igbo and Yoruba nationalities, the two biggest ethnic groups in Southern Nigeria, will be addressed.
Dele Ogun, a London based Corporate Lawyer and Historian, the Convener of Fatherland Group, said the historic meeting will hold 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.
Ogun said 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.”
Ogun stated that the Conference which is tagged “Yoruba and Igbo speaking with one voice from a shared experience: Wetie to Biafra” will hold via zoom and it is expected to draw prominent Nigerian scholars and professionals at home and in Diaspora.
According to him, the conference will be chaired by Jo Wealleans and other speakers which include; Emeritus Professor Emmanuel Chukwuedo Nwanze, former Vice-Chancellor of UNIBEN, Professor Banji Akintoye, the world-wide leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, the Yoruba global movement, Timothy Modu Jnr., Historian Dele Ogun as well as Adewale Adeoye, Executive Director, Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) among others.
Post-Conference entertainment is to be provided by the Igbo Songstress, Amarachi Attamah and by the master Yoruba Talking Drummer, Ayan De First – Mr Culture.
Ogun, whose group has acquired a reputation for high level thinking on the condition and trajectory of Nigeria, said the summit will open a new chapter in Yoruba-Igbo relationship, adding that 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.
He said participants should register at www.fatherlandgroup.org
Speaking further he said this is a first 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