The Text of Welcome Address by Otunba (Dr.) Gani Adams, the Convener of the Oodua Progessive Union at the Leadership Training and Adoption of Programme held at Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos on January 26, 2015

I welcome you all to this leadership training and adoption of programme. I am delighted today for two reasons. The first is the growth of Oodua Progressive Union, the organization that I founded along with some Yoruba indigenes living abroad.

One night in 2013, I was resting at the frontage of my house, and thinking about the possible way I could use to mobilize the Yoruba people in the diaspora for the elevation of our cultural values.

I started discussing with my aides; I told them how the idea was burning in my mind, that I would like to set up an organization that would unite our people across the world, and involve them in the projection of our identity as the Yoruba people. They said I should suggest a name, and the name that readily came to mind was Oodua Progressive Union (OPU). Then, we started working towards the development of OPU; Today, OPU has been established and registered in more 54 countries across the world.

The second reason why I feel delighted is the honour bestowed upon me by our brothers and sisters by coming home to attend this leadership training. These people are very busy, and their coming back for this purpose is a great honour, I must say.I have gathered our people here today to come and support our region and our country in general. These Yoruba men and women came from their locations, from Europe, Asia, America and within Africa, to support their fatherland. With their presence and membership in the Oodua Progressive Union, they have created a strong bond now that enables them to contact regularly their fellow compatriots residing in Nigeria and other places across the world, so that they can cooperate with one another in order to build an admirable country.

It is unfortunate, however, that many of them could not vote in the general election because they were not around when the registration was going on, and many of them came home particularly for this event, and would be going back very urgently. Their presence here today is a great sacrifice.

They are here to make strong statement. They are here to learn more about how they can lead our organization in their respective chapters. They are here to plead with all Nigerians to make way for violence-free election in February. They are together sacrificing their time and finance to create awareness about purposeful leadership, so that our aspiring leaders at all levels would gain great insight into selfless leadership.

As we move towards the day(s) of election, Nigerians should nurture the spirit of brotherhood and tolerance. Election gives us the opportunity to vote our leaders into office and to exercise our lawful rights, but after the election, we must allow peace to reign in our country. Politicians should not create tension among one another. I urge them to foster in Nigerians the culture of tolerance and value of love.

We cannot, however, entrust our culture of tolerance on our politicians alone; it behooves our traditional leaders to keep preaching peace, and encouraging harmless coexistence among their subjects. In particular, our region, Yoruba land, must continue to experience peace, and I doubt if a selfish politician would ever be happy with our tranquility.

Yoruba monarchs should therefore endeavour to strengthen their monarchial institutions in order to gain confidence and authority to call to order any person with a tendency to foment trouble during elections.

Yoruba monarchs can gain more respect and power when they strengthen their stake—that is, true custody of tradition and cultural values. They should try—I mean “try”—to protect the tradition of our forbearers, and use their positions to sustain cultural and social values in their communities because the Yoruba kings, to their communities, are the deputies of Eledumare (God).

Our cardinal kings, His Imperial Majesties, the Ooni of Ile-Ile and the Alaafin of Oyo, should create a strong bond that would accommodate other Yoruba kings and chiefs. They should set aside all kinds of differences that excessive use of supremacy might have caused, because a humiliating lizard cannot penetrate a wall without an existing crack.

One critical last point, ladies and gentlemen, is the development of the Yoruba region. We need more investors to come and establish their firms in our regions. I therefore use this opportunity to call on the Yoruba sons and daughters living abroad to come home and invest in Yoruba land. Today, our region is the most peaceful place in Nigeria; I have been working with the leaders of our esteemed organization, OPC, at all levels to continue to encourage peace that we are all experiencing.

I assure any investor that their investments within Yoruba states of Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Lagos and Kwara will flourish, and will be protected adequately by security agencies and the people of the communities in which they like to locate their companies. I am making this call to our people abroad because we cannot submit all our needs to governmental leaders; they will not attend to them. Let us build our region together and uplift our identity as Omo Oduduwa.

I thank you, our guests, and our brothers and sisters from overseas for making it to this event. I wish all participants of this leadership training pleasurable moments.

Thank you for your attention.

 

Otunba (Dr.) Gani Adams

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