(Being speech delievered by Aare(Dr.) Gani Adams, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, at the 4th edition of the World Congress of Oodua Progressive Union (OPU), held on 25th January, 2018 at Abeokuta, Ogun State)
I am highly elated to stand before you today as we mark the 4th edition of the 2018 annual World Congress of the Oodua Progressives Union [OPU]. But before I start my speech, I will like to express my gratitude to God for keeping us alive till this present moment. It is not by our power or might that we are able to see the light of this great day, but it is by His grace that we gather here today to witness yet another fantastic and defining moment of our lives. Therefore, I give all glory and adorations to the almighty God, Olodumare, Oba awon oba, atinileyin ma sojo,Arabaribiti Oba ti Imole re Kari Aiye. He is the only one that deserves our praises.
At the same time, I also express my sincere appreciation to our revered monarch, His Royal Majesty, Kaabiesi, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland for being here with us as the custodian of the Yoruba culture and traditions. The same appreciation goes to the other traditional rulers present here today. I greet you all in the name of the highest God and that of our great ancestor, the Oduduwa. Ki Ade pe Lori o, ki bata pe lese, ki esin Oba o jeko pe o.
In truth, my appreciation will be incomplete if I fail to reckon with the efforts of all the members of our great Union present here today.
By being here today, you have shown that you are truly great ambassadors of the race, and that is a strong signpost for us to get to the Promised Land.
Twelve days ago, that was on Saturday, 13th January, you joined the rest of the world to be part of the historic gathering of my installation as the new Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland in Oyo.
Your presence as OPU members from across the 79 countries of the world, and more importantly, as great sons and daughters of Yoruba in the diaspora was awesome. And on this note, you definitely deserve my applause and I say a big thank you to you all.
Great sons and daughters of Oduduwa in the diaspora, I welcome you all back home to the fourth edition of the 2018 World Congress of the Oodua Progressives Union (OPU).
At the last count, OPU is now the largest association of the Yorubas in diaspora, with branches in 79 countries and in all continents of the world.
Looking back, the journey was not that rosy, It was a journey that was full of struggles and hopes, but with God on our side, with unequal determination and supports from everyone of you, we are where we are today as the most successful association of the black race.
OPU History in Perspective:
As far as I am concerned, the story of our great association was likening to the miracle of a childless woman who looked up to God for several years for the fruits of the womb. In a strange manner, God of wonders visited her; she got pregnant for nine months, and eventually gave birth to triplets. That was a bundle of Joy indeed.
Like the story of the pregnant woman, for several years, I had this idea of forming associations of Nigerians with Yoruba descend abroad.
I saw the vision boldly written on my mind. It was a big picture of a Yoruba group and association of like-minds in the diaspora, gathering to promote the unity and common interest of the Yoruba race.
The baby- the idea came to life in 2011, in Great Britain, beginning with the official launch of the Indian chapter in November 2012.
Following the successes recorded in Indian, the month of September 2013 was hectic for us as the Great Britain chapter of the OPU was launched on September 7, 2013, Germany on September 10, France, September 12, Holland September 14.
In one month, we had six branches across the world. That was no mean feat.
So by August 16 2014, the Austria chapter of OPU was launched at Vienna, Austria.
Today as I speak to you, we have all our branches in79 countries, cutting across all the continents of the world.
Unity and Ideals of our great Organization:
As an organisation of Yoruba indigenes in the diaspora, OPU is saddled with the responsibility of re- awakening the spirit of unity among the culturally diverse nations, with strong interest in emancipating, liberating and re- orientating the Yoruba race.
As an Organisation, we intend to strengthen the bond of unity and economic integration of all Yoruba indigenes across the world.
OPU is determined to realise the dreams and aspirations of our great progenitors.
We are set to create an enabling platform for socio- economic integration among our members.
As an Organisation, we are poised to use all our networks for the common interest of the Yoruba race.
As I stand before you today, I preach the gospel of unity in Yoruba land. I bring forth to you messages of hope.
However, I will like to state it clearly that there is little we can do without you promoting the ideals of the organization.
These Ideals are encompassing, and I will not fail to mention some of those ideals.
That is why it is important for you to spread the gospel of Yoruba unity to the world.
OPU is gradually working towards political and economic emancipation of the Yoruba race.
We are working towards building an Oodua House in each of the countries in the world where OPU is situated.
The purpose of this is to build a rallying point for all indigenes of the Yoruba race.
By this, we are creating a platform for generating funds, to offer supports and assistance to sons and daughters of Oduduwa, wherever they reside in the world.
OPU is determined more than ever before, to propagate the rich cultural heritage of the Yoruba race, promote our history and language through research and arts and work towards the achievement of true federalism in Nigeria.
As the initiator of these lofty ideals and convener of this noble organisation,I can say confidently that God is our strengths, and having passed through different experiences while establishing our branches in 79 countries, I think all OPU members must be commended for their courage, vision and cooperation in the last seven years that the journey had lasted.
OPU On My Mind:
My brothers and sisters, great sons and daughters of Oduduwa in the diaspora, before I leave this podium I will like to send this message across to all members of this great organisation. I am of the conviction that OPU is now a formidable force across the world. And I believe strongly that all of you seated here today will always champion the cause and ideals of our great organisation.
Wherever you are in the world, be our good ambassadors.
You are the true disciples of the Yoruba race, therefore, spread the message of unity and liberty, and promote our soco- economic values, including our cultural heritage, traditions and language across the world.
These are the dreams and aspirations of our fore fathers. And as you do all these, the spirit of the highest God will guard you and more importantly, the spirit of our progenitor, the great Oduduwa will surely lead you to the Promised Land.
Thanks for listening and God bless you all.