The Yoruba ethnic group has been accepted as the 45th member of the Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organization (UNPO).
President of the Yoruba World Congress (YWC), Prof. Banji Akintoye, announced in a statement sent to DAILY POST on Tuesday.
Established in 1991, UNPO is an international organization established to facilitate the voices of unrepresented, marginalised nations and peoples worldwide.
Akintoye stressed the latest development represent important step in the collective quest of well-meaning Yoruba people to achieve the goal of dignity and self-determination.
He explained that the membership of UNPO offers the Yorubas a solid voice on the international stage as the body maintains a permanent presence at the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA).
Akintoye further disclosed that the membership affords the South-West an opportunity to participate in advocacy training, worldwide cultural festivals, election monitoring, sports activities, among others.
Akintoye in a letter addressed to him by UNPO Secretary-General, Ralph Bunche, expressed his gladness to welcome the Yoruba nation as a new member of the International Body and that they are looking forward to working closely with the Yoruba people.
Akintoye, a renowned Emeritus Professor of History, listed former UNPO members that are now independent countries.
“Some former members, such as Armenia, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Palau, have gained full independence and have joined the United Nations (UN) as full members”, the YWC leader said.
“The peoples represented within the UNPO membership are all united by one shared condition. They are denied their equitable level of representation and voice in the institutions of the countries to which they currently belong and in international governance.
“As a consequence, their opportunity to participate on the national or international stage is limited and unfair, and they struggle against difficulties in their effort to realize their rights to civil and political participation and to control their own economic, social and cultural development.
“In many cases, they live under pressure of the worst forms of violence and repression, such as is being perpetrated by armed Fulani herdsmen, militias and Boko Haram against the peoples of Nigeria.
“The UNPO is able to address issues that often remain hidden because UNPO has the freedom to raise issues that others cannot raise due to political or funding constraints. Today, UNPO has more than forty (40) member nations.
“Having identified ourselves as an indigenous nation, the UNPO recognition is the first stage towards achieving our goal of self-determination, and this is permissible and lawful under existing laws and international instruments,” Akintoye added.