Southwest governors adopt new anthem for region


The six governors of the South-West states of Nigeria, under the auspices of ‘the South-West Governors’ Forum, on Monday, June 10, 2024, met in Lagos, where they discussed issues about the development of the region.

Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Lucky Aiyedatiwa (Ondo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ademola Adeleke (Osun), and Biodun Oyebanji (Ekiti) attended the meeting. At the meeting, the governors unanimously and officially adopted the Ic¹Ì wà fùñ Il¹ wá song as the Yoruba anthem.

The adoption of the new Yoruba anthem has continued to generate reactions from stakeholders in the region. While some see it as a misplaced priority, others see it as a good step towards the realisation of the regional government, which the South-West has been in the forefront of.

The former chairman, Trade Union Congress, TUC, Ekiti State chapter, Mr Kolawole Olaiya described the new regional anthem as a misplaced priority, adding that the South-West governors should prioritize the welfare and security of the citizens by coming up with an acceptable new minimum wage.

Olaiya said: “No matter any form of anthem – national or whatever, that is not the problem of Nigeria.

“The problem of Nigeria is the welfare and security of the citizens. The regional anthem or national anthem is not what Nigeria wants but welfare and security.

“They should give workers robust welfare in the form of salary increase or increased minimum wage.

“People are living in poverty, there is a food crisis, fuel crisis, and there can’t be unity without the welfare of the people. I want the governors to consider their workers and citizens for better welfare. I want them to consider the present minimum wage; they should align with the Federal Government’s position.

“They should forget about the anthem, it’s not what’s supposed to be the focus, the focus should be the welfare of the people and not engaging in frivolous issues.

“National and regional anthems cannot feed us, they should resolve the issue of poverty.”

The Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said that the adoption of the anthem “signifies a resolve by South-West governments that our region will be marching forward with unity of purpose.

Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, commended the governors for having a good sense of history as he recalled that the anthem was composed by the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, under the leadership of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

“Indeed, it was Chief Awolowo who composed the anthem and asked Chief Hubert Ogunde, the renowned artiste, to give the anthem a melody. Ogun State Government, under the late Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, adopted the anthem. Osun State did the same when Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was governor.

“Late Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu followed suit by adopting it for Ondo State. This, however, was the first time that all governments in the South- West Region would adopt a common anthem. The uniqueness of the anthem is not only in the exhortative words it contains but also in the fact that it is in the native language of the people, Yoruba.”

Ajayi further urged the governors to ensure that the anthem is learnt and recited by students in all Yoruba-speaking areas and beyond.

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