IN PICTURES: Otunba Gani Adams Launches OPU In Cote d’ Ivore

Text of Speech of Otunba (Dr) Gani Adams, the Convener of the Oodua Progessive Union at the Launching of Cote d’ Ivore Chapter of Oodua Progessive Union held in Abidjan, on 12t h September, 2015.

Permit me to begin this address by giving special thanks to Almighty God for making this gathering possible. Our gratitude to Him (Almighty God) is uncountable.
First we are grateful that the idea of forming Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) which was conceived not too long ago is gradually blossoming from a dream to reality.
Today, OPU has been established and registered in more 54 countries across the world. We are happy that today’s launching marks another watershed in the history of this organization.
Recall that sometime this year we launched the Benin Republic Chapter of OPU after meeting in Lagos for leadership training and adoption of programmes for 2015.
Out of the programmes enumerated for this year is the launch we are gathered to do.
The other reason why I have cause to be happy is the impressive turnout at this event.
I am particularly delighted that many accomplished persons are gathered here today.
It gladdens my heart to see many Yoruba community leaders and successful businessmen and women in our midst.
The sight of our Kabiyesis gives us lots of courage, I am also happy that our brothers and sisters from various chapters are here.
I am enthused at the sight of our people from Nigeria, There is no greater bond that unites us than our common progenitor: Oduduwa and our filial link to Ile-Ife (Oodua a gbe wa ooo!!!).
Your Royal Highnesses, captains of commerce, community leaders, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Oodua Progressive Union is a Pan – Yoruba organization formed in 2011 to create a platform for Yoruba sons and daughters in the Diaspora.
It is a non-governmental, non-partisan and non-religious founded on the need to foster unity among Yoruba irrespective of boundaries and climes they may found themselves.
In essence, we establish Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) to work for the interest of all that have ancestral link to Oduduwa, our common progenitor.
Your Royal Highnesses, captains of commerce, community leaders, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, among our peers on the continent and to a large extent throughout the world, no ethnic group have enjoyed enormous cultural visibility and patronage as the Yoruba people.
In the press, large volumes of writings covering socio-cultural, economic and political strides and achievements of our people are published annually.
Among ethnic groups of the world, people of Yoruba ancestry are well-dispersed.
The dispersal of Yoruba people across the world is occasioned by waves of migration that are historically conditioned by indigenous settlements, the devilish Trans- Atlantic Slave trade and voluntary movement of our people as result of the to fester their socio-political and economic nests.
Today, Yoruba people and their descendants are predominant in Nigeria and republics of Benin and Togo.
We are also well established in some parts of the republic of Ghana and here in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
Although our common ancestral home is Ile-Ife in Nigeria, Oduduwa’s descendants (to whom we belong) maintain very large presence in the republic of Ivory Coast as migrant settlers and citizens.
Despite the distance from ancestral home, our people by the virtue of their industry remain active players in the continuous socio-economic and political development of the Ivory Coast. Our people’s presence in this country dates back to the borderless pre-colonial times. Majority of our people came to settle here for different reasons.
Historical records show that Yoruba community in Cote d’Ivoire is made mainly of migrant traders who had been in this country before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Records further show that by the 1930s, some traders from Ijebu and Oyo provinces were already resident in Cote d’Ivore. In fact, the hospitality of the indigenes couple with limitless economic opportunities encouraged influx of Yoruba people to Cote d’Ivoire.
The successes of our people here in this country in their various fields of endeavor spur them to send home messages that encouraged their settlement.
In 1942, people from Ejigboland in present day Osun State sent messages to their relations in Cote d’Ivoire advising them to stay in this country until after the Second World War so as to enjoy citizenship benefits that is envisaged after the war.
Many of our people also migrated to avoid family burden at home.
Irrespective of the sundry reasons that encouraged their relocation, one thing remain evident today is that our people are industrious, respectful and obedient.
They are contributing their quota to the development of not only the communities that host them but the country as a whole.

Your Royal Highnesses, captains of commerce, community leaders, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Oodua Progressive Union’s (OPU) is founded to work for the political and economic liberation of all sons and daughters of Oodua throughout the world.
OPU has also been created to facilitate fora where issues relating to the progress and unity of the Yoruba people irrespective can be discussed and realized.
We are establishing in countries with large presence of our people to build in them an Oodua House that would serve as the rallying point for all Yoruba people.
The OPU is ready to offer assistance in any form to all Yoruba sons and daughters in their country of residence.
We also ready to and promote and defend our rich cultural heritage as a basis of identity for Yoruba race in the Diaspora.
Through Oodua Progressive Union (OPU), we hope to break both physical and psychological boundaries that kept our people apart for years by reawakening and strengthening our common link to Oduduwa.
Your Royal Highnesses, captains of commerce, community leaders, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, based on our shared history and culture, we stand to benefit a lot if we are united under this common umbrella of Oodua Progressive Union (OPU).
We therefore use this occasion to call on the governments and traditional institutions wherever our people are located to help the course of Yoruba unity and progress.
This is because aligning with Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) will assist your quest for socio-economic development.
Permit me to end this address by showing our gratitude to our royal highnesses for their continuous support for our all our programmes, Your presence at most of our programmes gives us reassurances that we have the backing of our ancestors in all that we do.
Our prayer for you is long life and God’s continuous guidance on the throne of your forefathers.
Let me also thank members of the diplomatic corps particularly our ambassadors for their presence and support for the programme.
We appreciate the presence of many government officials at this launch.
It is our hope that the government will not relent in keeping its pact with our people.
We appreciate and thank all our guests for their distinguished presence.
We also say a big thank you to members of the fourth estate of the realm for their continuous positive reportage of our activities.

Last but not the least on our list of appreciations is our brothers and sisters for their unrelenting commitment to Oodua Progressive Union (OPU).
I am happy at the passion you have shown towards Yorubaland by your presence at this programme.

Despite your busy schedule, you spared time to honor our ancestors with your presence. My prayer is that you will continue to prosper in all your endeavors.
Oodua a gbe wa o! I thank you all for your attention.

Otunba (Dr) Gani Adams
National Coordinator Oodua People’s Congress
Chief Promoter Olokun Festival Foundation
Convener Oodua Progressive Union.

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