The Alaafin of Oyo, His Royal highness, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi asserted that as the supreme custodian of Yoruba culture and traditions, the attack on the Yoruba culture by the advent of foreign religions like Islam and Christianity who in their approach has adopted puritanical and pentecostal positions to denigrate family names, values and traditions of the Yorubas was very regrettable.
Oba Lamidi Adeyemi who made this remarks during an International Conference on the “Life and Times of Late Professor Joseph Adewale Atanda” held on Monday, 9th October, 2017 at the Otunba Gbenga Daniel Lecture Theatre, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye stressed that the foreign religions with their counter culture sermons had demolished the foundations and structure of Yoruba knowledge and values system, hence, the need to halt its spread so as to preserve the legacy of the Yoruba forebears. He noted the contributions of Professor Toyin Falola of University of Texas at Austin, USA who had edited the late Professor J. A. Atanda’s collected works as worthy and deserving an enormous applause and recognition.
Kabiyesi added that Yoruba as a major ethnic group within a badly structured Nigeria federation; development in Yorubaland would no doubt place the ethnic group in a vantage position to preserve the legacies of their ancestors. He submitted that the important gathering of who is who in Yoruba intelligentsia would help in proffering solutions to the problems Nigeria was facing and which it would face in the future.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye who also doubled as the Chief Host, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde in his opening remarks opined that the Conference was very apt considering the volatile primordial politics shaped by false view of the past and present in the political landscape of Nigeria and the overall shaping of Nigerian partisan politics including the position of the Yorubas in the Nigerian politics. He said he was very glad that the Conference was going to explore the historical trajectory of the Yoruba nation which encapsulates: Yoruba personalities, politics, cultural regeneration, internal and external relationships and transnational influence.
He stressed that fulfilling one of the mission statements of the University was to provoke debates on National and International discourse. Thus, discussing issues concerning the Yoruba nation would align with function of the University which was to engage the “town and gown” towards deepening understanding and finding solutions to local, national and historical problems.
He added that as the country was enmeshed in the twist and turns of the nagging problems bedeviling it, such issues like religions extremism, radical secessionism, obtuse nationalism and elitist confusionism had incited an urgent need for the convocation of a conference of the Yoruba nation in order to intensify the need to comprehensively place the Yoruba agenda within the country national question.
The Conference keynote speaker, Dr. Tunde Olaopa affirmed that for the country to be fully united in a true federalism there was an urgent need to put restructuring of the country in line with what obtained in the defunct Oyo empire where there was check and balance and separations of powers in the leadership and relationship of the Alaafin, the Oyomesi, and the Ogboni who served as checkmate to Alaafin from becoming dictatorial.
He advocated for regional cooperation and integration between the Yoruba States within the polity.
He said that the adoption of this approach would increase the material resources of the Yorubaland and guarantee its development.
The Conference with the theme “The Yoruba Nation and politics since the Nineteenth Century” witnessed the launching of a comprehensive works of Late Professor Joseph Atanda as edited by Professor Toyin Falola and presented to the public by Dr. Wale Babalakin, who launched it with a handsome donation.
The Conference was attended by dignitaries from all walks of life including some royal fathers in the Yoruba land such as Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola and Orangun of Ila, Oba Abolarin Akindele.
The highpoints of the ceremony were drama dance and calisthenics by the students of the Department of Performing Arts, of the University.