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Yoruba group sets agenda ahead 2019

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Nigerian casting a vote. Photo: Voanews

With just seven months to the 2019 general elections, a pan-Yoruba group, Yoruba Self-Determination Advancement Forum (YOSEDAF), is not leaving anything to chance, not only to ensure that the region achieves autonomy to accelerate its developmental stride, but to pave way for the realisation of self-determination for a Yoruba nation within the country.

One of the options put forward by the group is restructuring to achieve true federalism. In emphasising the restructuring option, they claim that what the region intends to achieve is a governance structure that would equally benefit all the components of the present contraption called Nigeria.

Towards this end, the group said no presidential candidate without concrete plans to restructure, as well as genuine federalism would get the votes of the Southwest in the coming presidential election.

At a press conference in Lagos, YOSEDAF, a coalition of over 60 self-determination platforms committed to the political survival and democratic values of Southwest people, comprising Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, as well as Kogi, Kwara, Edo and Delta States, themed: ‘2019 General Election: Restructuring and Genuine Federalism,’ said it has taken seriously the likelihood of exit from Nigeria, stressing that the route is no longer a foreclosed option in the light of prevailing circumstances, since the injustice of June 12, 1993 was perpetrated.

The group, through its Secretary, Mr. Kola Are lamented that the Yoruba, which gave their all, to enthrone the current government in 2015, have been bizarrely maltreated and abandoned to their fate, with a resolve that only candidates with genuine interest in true federalism would be given audience during electioneering.

“Our desire is that political participation would be based on Restructuring and Genuine Federalism. In the last 19 years however, our elite have either watered down our democratic ideals or consciously abandoned it. Those who rode to power on the back of such popular quests are today the greatest apologists of One Nigeria at all costs; even at the expense of the Yoruba people. They really do not care if marauding herdsmen unleash terror on their people in so far they are in control of government in the Southwest. Such arrant nonsense cannot be allowed to continue! Self-determination groups are poised to take the lead in rejecting such insolence and betrayal of the ‘their mandate” so-called by the political class,” he said.

Convener of the group, Evang, Kunle Adesokan, said from the colonial days, the Yoruba have relentlessly worked towards the restructuring of Nigeria to reintegrate it under one regional government, but the military intervention in 1966 paved way for all kinds of nepotism-driven balkanisation and clustering of peoples, nations and nationalities into states without regard for ethno-cultural contiguity.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that in the last two decades since return to civil rule, democracy has failed woefully to deliver on good governance. Therefore, for any political party and its presidential candidate to enjoy the support of Self-Determination Platforms and people in Yoruba land, a covenant on restructuring and genuine federalism that guarantee maximum autonomy for Yorubaland is non-negotiable!”

Mr. Rasaq Oladosu, who disclosed that none of the aspirants currently eyeing the country’s number seat has plans of restructuring the country said: “To this end, our resolve that Yoruba people will not support a candidate on the basis of promises of bringing about highfalutin change. There must be a clear roadmap with the prospects of delivering on restructuring and federalism worth of the support of our people.

The group’s Media & Publicity Secretary, Francis Abayomi said its quest for a federal system that meets the democratic yearning and aspiration of the people remains undiluted. “Our understanding of what restructuring aims at and how to arrive there remains unblurred. For us, restructuring would only be meaningful to the extent that there is clarity of principle and practice on such issues as Right of Ethnic Minorities to Internal Self-Determination, State Police, Fiscal Federalism, Efficient System of Government (whether Presidential or Parliamentarian), Re-examination of Exclusive and Residual Powers to enhance efficiency autonomy amongst other shared democratic values.

“It is only a presidential material like MKO that shares the worldview of imbuing capacities of the young and marginalised groups that can restore confidence in the economy and create a new momentum that will trigger socio-economic emancipation of our peoples. We would mobilise our peoples to support an ethnically and religiously detached presidential candidate whose emergence will automatically reduce tension and fear of subjugation, hatred and political vindictiveness.”

Other speakers-Director, Contact & Mobilisation, Mr. Tunde Abioye, and Convener, Yoruba Liberation Movement, Mr. Akinola George lamented that despite that almost all the economic activities in Nigeria take place in Yoruba land, the region has nothing to show for it, adding that poverty in the region is growing at astronomic pace. “Therefore, the presidential material that would be acceptable in deepening our democratic quest towards the agenda of restructuring and genuine federalism must be of the pedigree that is broadminded enough in the mold of the legendary MKO Abiola of the June 12 fame,” they said.


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