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South-West Governors Unite Behind Historic Anthem, Facing Mixed Reactions

In a landmark decision, the six governors of Nigeria’s South-West states have unanimously adopted “Iṣẹ̀ wà fùń Ilẹ wá” as the official Yoruba anthem for the region. The announcement came following a meeting of the South-West Governors’ Forum in Lagos on June 10, 2024, chaired by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

The anthem, originally composed by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and given melody by Chief Hubert Ogunde, has historical significance for the Yoruba people. It has been used by various Yoruba organizations, including Afenifere, for decades.

While some stakeholders view the adoption as a step towards regional integration and unity, others question its relevance in addressing pressing socio-economic issues.

Jare Ajayi, National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, praised the move, stating that it signifies a resolve by South-West governments that the region will be marching forward with unity of purpose.

However, Kolawole Olaiya, former chairman of the Trade Union Congress in Ekiti State, criticized the decision as a misplaced priority. He argued that the governors should focus on improving workers’ welfare and addressing security concerns instead.

The Yoruba Commitment Forum (YCF) welcomed the adoption, with convener Otunba Tayo Onayemi describing it as a patriotic decision that calls for unity and hard work among the Yoruba people.

Some groups, like Dee Osun Monitors, have suggested modifications to the anthem’s lyrics to ensure inclusivity for all Yoruba subgroups.

The governors also used the meeting to discuss other regional issues, including security cooperation, economic integration, and food production. They renewed their call for the creation of state police and agreed to strengthen the DAWN Commission for regional economic development.

As the South-West region embraces this new symbol of unity, the debate continues on how it will impact regional cooperation and development in the coming years. The adoption of the anthem raises questions about balancing cultural identity with pressing economic and social needs in a diverse and complex nation like Nigeria.

Izu Mgbaemena

I'm Izu Mgbaemena, a Nigerian-based writer for Naijadazz. I love sharing stories about Nigerian culture, food, music and more. As a frequent contributor to Naijadazz, I relish the opportunity to showcase the endlessly fascinating aspects of Nigerian culture to a global audience.