Pa Ayo Adebanjo is one the greatest nationalists and elderstatesmen that we have ever had in Nigeria and he was amongst those that fought for our independence. He was a close associate of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a key leader of NADECO and one of the most credible and consistent leaders that we have ever had in the south-west. He has been actively involved in politics since 1951 with the formation of the Action Group Youth Wing. He has dedicated his life to fighting for the cause of a better Nigeria, the establishment of true federalism, the restructuring of our country and for the convocation of a sovereign national conference. The following is his contribution to the igbo/yoruba debate that is still raging in the country.
”Yoruba do not hate igbos, igbos are their own worse enemy. If you look at the facts after war, the Igbo themselves didn’t help themselves.
The principle of creation of states was meant for the recognition of all ethnic nationalities; that no ethnic nationality is inferior to the other. And we Yoruba were fighting that the constitution of the country should be made in such a way that everybody should have access to the top.
So, when the opportunity came for us to fight for that, the Igbo didn’t support the Yoruba. Immediately they were offered a juicy position by the northerners, they joined them. That was what happened after the election, instead of Azikiwe joining the UPN, he teamed up with the NPN. And these are the people you claim to have conducted a pogrom against you.
Even Ojukwu himself, when he came back from exile, he joined NPN. Many people do not know that.
And from my experience with Igbo people for over 60 years, there are very few Igbo that we in the West are ready to trust. Prominent Igbo, who should have joined in the fight to unite the East and the West to solve the inequality in the country, refused because they took advantage of the fact that the people in the North wooed them and gave them some inferior positions. Go put these points to the prominent Igbo, who were around at the time I’m talking about.
The Igbo are their own fatal enemies. Igbo people were not massacred in the West. Even during the war, all the property of Igbo people was kept intact. But when the opportunity came for Igbo to rearrange the country, it was those who massacred them that they teamed up with. Igbo should be told that. They are their own enemies” – CHIEF AYO ADEBANJO