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Nigeria must restructure or go separate ways, Yoruba groups tell North

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Frontline Yoruba groups, scholars and professionals, including Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Yemi Farounbi and others, yesterday, said if the North is not ready for restructuring, nationalities in the country could go their separate ways.

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They pointed out that the constitution and structure of the country have impeded national development especially that of the Yoruba.

They spoke at a one-day summit themed, ‘Rekindling Yoruba Nationalism: Whither Yoruba Nation?’ organised by Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

They maintained that a peaceful dissolution of the country is possible.

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Speaking, the chairman of ARG, Wale Oshun, said: “Nigeria is at crossroads. The Yoruba have always borne the burden of nationhood. We need to listen to the voices of ordinary people. The current constitution cannot sustain any development. People have been advocating restructuring since 1992. What is the sense in keeping asking for the same thing?”

On his party, the YCE secretary-general, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said: “The 1999 constitution is the bane of the country. It commercialises politics. The state governors are more dictatorial than the President. This constitution cannot work. It is fraudulent. We cannot keep on amending the constitution. Sovereignty belongs to the people and they must take power.”

The lead speaker, Prof. Derin Ologbenla of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, said the restructuring could still work. However, a former National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Lai Olurode, cautioned: “We need to manage our diversity creatively. We need to be clear and methodical.”

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An Islamic cleric, Prof. Sabit Ariyo Olagoke, meanwhile, has asked Yoruba nation agitators to jettison the idea, at least for now, until people of the region learn to speak with one voice.

He made the disclosure in Ibadan, yesterday while addressing reporters during a monthly guest forum organised by the Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State council.

He said the body language of Yoruba leaders is a clear indication they are not prepared for self-determination.

Olagoke, a renowned professor of Mechanical Engineering and Public Administration, appealed to persons calling for Oodua Republic to study Brexit and how Britain came out of the union successfully.

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He described the myriads of problems facing Nigeria as unfortunate, even as he attributed the rise in ethnic agitations to the absence of justice and equity in the country.

He said: “Yoruba are highly divided. Look at the people agitating; look at their antecedents. Some Yoruba leaders were among those advising the Federal Government on how to tackle the agitators.”

According to him, even some Southwest governors distanced themselves from Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho), who is agitating for the Yoruba nation.

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