Nigeria’s Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Ojo Madueke, has described the Yoruba as Nigeria’s most sophisticated people.
He was speaking to a gathering of Nigerians in Canada during an event organized by the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG).
Mr. Madueke, who was quick to point out that this conclusion does not contradict his “Igboness,” further expressed the view that Nigeria benefits the most when the Yoruba are fully involved in governance, adding that as a former officer of the Biafra army, he knew what he was talking about.
When the guest lecturer, Professor Jacob Olupona, asked why President Goodluck Jonathan did not include any Yoruba in the top seven most important cabinet positions, the former Foreign Minister returned to the podium to reiterate the sophistication of the Yoruba. He declared that the President has all the ethnic groups well represented in his cabinet, but would not elaborate.
Mr. Madueke stated that the Igbos have been unduly persecuted over the 1966 coup by Nigerian army officers led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu which led to the killing of Igbos, despite the fact that the coup-plotters did not consult with the Igbos before embarking on the killings of certain post-independence leaders.
Mr. Madueke also said that he would not going to jump into President Jonathan’s rumored second term ambitions until the President has formerly declare it.
In his lecture, Professor Olupona out several socio-cultural and economic measures taken by ancient Yorubas to attain economic sufficiency and social pride.
For the record, he noted that the first Nigerian to teach at Harvard was Professor Kenneth Dike, an Igbo man, stating that he wanted to correct the impression that he (Olupona) was the first Nigerian to teach at the world-famous institution.
Other speakers at the event included Omoyele Sowore of SaharaReporters, who urged the audience to ignore Mr. Madueke’s double-speak about the sophistication of the Yoruba. If the former PDP National Secretary’s remarks were more than mere flattery, Mr. Sowore stressed, he and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP), would not spend so much energy and effort to sponsor to power and prominence some of the worst Yorubas.
Mr. Sowore recalled the recent elections in Osun and Ekiti States, where he claimed the candidates of the PDP were people with well-documented criminal track records.
It would be recalled that in January 2010, during Mr. Madueke’s shift as Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, he had a falling-out with Mr. Sowore during a press conference at the United Nations in New York. Mr. Sowore had famously asked Mr. Madueke, who had confessed he had not spoken to the ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua for over 60 days, who he was getting his instructions from as he liberally travelled the world.