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Vol 41 No 21

Published 27th October 2000


Nigeria

Oduduwa's children

Some of the fiercest opposition to President Obasanjo comes from his western region

President Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba, is a Nigerian first. His efforts to reestablish the nation after two decades of misrule are now at risk from violence involving its two biggest ethnic groups, the Yoruba and the Hausa-Fulani. The latest slaughter began where it all started two centuries ago, in the middle-belt city of Ilorin. Then, a rebellion by the Alafin's army commander Afonja led to the collapse of the Oyo Empire and capture of Ilorin by the Fulanis who were pressing southwards in their Islamic jihad. On 14 October this year Yoruba activists demonstrated in support of their wish to upgrade their traditional chief, the Mogaji Are, to the title of Onilorin of Ilorin. The supreme traditional ruler in Ilorin, Emir Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, called in the police. In the ensuing clash at least six members of the Yoruba militant Oodua People's Congress (OPC) died.

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