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South-West governors adopt Yoruba anthem, spark mixed reactions



South-West governors adopt Yoruba anthem, spark mixed reactions

To promote regional unity, the six governors of the South-West states of Nigeria have officially adopted the “IcÌ wà fùñ IlÌ wá” song as the Yoruba anthem.

This decision was made during the South-West Governors’ Forum meeting held in Lagos on Monday, June 10, 2024.

Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Lucky Aiyedatiwa (Ondo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ademola Adeleke (Osun), and Biodun Oyebanji (Ekiti) were all in attendance. The adoption of the new anthem has sparked a range of reactions from stakeholders across the region.

Former chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Ekiti State, Mr. Kolawole Olaiya, criticized the move as a misplaced priority. He emphasized the need for the governors to focus on the welfare and security of citizens, advocating for an acceptable new minimum wage instead. Olaiya stated, “No matter any form of anthem – national or whatever, that is not the problem of Nigeria. The problem of Nigeria is the welfare and security of the citizens.”

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In contrast, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, praised the adoption. Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, noted that the anthem signifies a unified resolve by South-West governments to march forward with a common purpose.

Ajayi highlighted the historical significance of the anthem, recalling that it was composed by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and given a melody by Chief Hubert Ogunde.

The anthem’s adoption has been viewed positively by other cultural figures as well. Mr. Kole Omololu, an Afenifere chieftain, described it as an inspiring moment for the Yoruba race, emphasizing its role in promoting unity, pride, and the values of Omoluabi (a special breed).

However, some critics, like Prince Jide Akinyooye from the socio-cultural group Dee Osun Monitors, called for amendments to the anthem’s lyrics. Akinyooye suggested replacing the phrase ‘Omo Oodua’ with ‘Omo Yoruba’ to be more inclusive of all Yoruba descendants.

The Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Mr. Kennedy Peretei, viewed the adoption as a subtle push towards regional governance. He suggested that the move might be aimed at realizing the benefits of regional governments, which he believes fostered healthy competition and progress in the past.

The adoption of the Yoruba anthem marks a significant cultural step for the South-West governors, but it also underscores ongoing debates about priorities and inclusivity in regional governance.

Lawrence Agbo, a tech journalist for over four years, excels in crafting SEO-driven content that boosts business success. He also serves as an AI tutor, sharing his knowledge to educate others. His work has been cited on Wikipedia and various online media platforms.