Yoruba Leaders Demand Resolution of National Question, Release of Political Detainees …Say Nigeria Risks Implosion Without Credible Elections …Assert Votes No Longer Translate to Good Governance …Want Indigenous Communities Free from Terrorist Cells …Reveal Advocates of Self Determination Are Growing Owing to Excruciating Pains, Injustice Rising from a summit which held this week in Lagos,
Yoruba Leaders Demand Resolution of National Question, Release of Political Detainees
…Say Nigeria Risks Implosion Without Credible Elections
…Assert Votes No Longer Translate to Good Governance
…Want Indigenous Communities Free from Terrorist Cells
…Reveal Advocates of Self Determination Are Growing Owing to Excruciating Pains, Injustice
Rising from a summit which held this week in Lagos, some Yoruba leaders who met under the aegis of the Alliance for Yoruba Democratic Movements (AYDM), say that Nigeria risks a major explosion without a credible election that will urgently resolve the National Question and free indigenous territories from the grip of terrorist cells. They also assert that the interest of the people of Western Region in elections has seriously waned because their votes have not translated to good governance.
The two day summit graced by over large number of delegates drawn from states of the defunct Western Region including Kogi and Kwara States, was also attended by representatives from Ivory Coast, Benin Republic, Ghana and leaders of Pan Yoruba groups in Northern Nigeria and the South South.
The guest speakers at the event were Prof Tayo Adesina of the University of Ibadan and National Democratic Coalition, (NADECO) Chieftain, Mr Ayo Opadokun. The Itsekiri were led by 87 year old Mr Alfred Agbayegbe and President, Itsekiri National Youth Congress, (INYC), Mr Weyimi Agbateyinwo. The representatives of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, (DAWN) were also at the meeting while the Okun Development Union was represented by Mr Ayo Abereoran
The meeting, which also attracted participants from students movements, women groups, leaders of market women, tailors, artisans, mechanics, hunters’ unions, farmers and leaders of self determination groups was presided over by popular Journalist and Conflict Resolution Expert, Mr Adewale Adeoye.
The group in its communique issued after the technical session held on the second day of the conference, say the interests of the people of the Western Region in elections have waned simply because their votes no longer translate to good
governance. Outlining the four main tendencies in the South West – those who cast lot for restructuring, advocates for regional autonomy, campaigners for sovereign nation for the people and those who want elections to hold, it say those clamouring for self determination are justified by the excruciating pains imposed on the people coupled with the historical injustice.
“As we speak, our forests, high and lowlands in the South West up to Kogi and Kwara States are occupied by armed gangs. The farmers can no longer farm, women are raped, daughters gang-raped and children kidnapped and murdered pushing the entire territories into a state of siege and anomie. The people nurse bottled up grievances that can explode at any time,” the AYDM contend..
The group warn that time was running out for Nigeria amidst the bleak prospect of a free, credible and fair elections and the desperation of the ruling clique to ward off the real choice of Nigerians.
Arguing that Nigeria is currently in “the grip of a reckless, corrupt, inept but defiant class whose major objective is to sustain the status quo at all costs” it posit that “The small cell that lead the existing political parties always impose presidential candidates on the people, a candidate that will continue with the same horrifying agenda of human persecution.”
The group say the South West people need to mobilise themselves against violence and prevent resurgence of ethnic conflict that may arise from future elections.
“We are conscious of the insecurity situation in the South East, Middle Belt and the North. We advice the Federal Government to immediately enter into meaningful dialogue with all critical stakeholders to avoid a spill of the country into mayhem. We call for the release of all those detained for their political beliefs.”
The group is of the view that Nigeria faces major sources of implosion that can drag the country into turmoil unless the people themselves seize their own destiny with their two hands.
The communique signed by its General Secretary, Mr Popoola Ajayi, say the 2023 elections face three major threats. The lack of resolution of the National Question through a new constitution, the desperate attempt by the Northern cabal to retain power in the zone and terrorism which the group posit appears to enjoy the support of some state actors and the dwindling participation of the people in the electoral process leading to the disempowerment of millions of people in the South West.
“A credible election driven by public inclusion, especially women and the young people, the emergence of a honest leader with local and international appeal that can tackle past and present nightmares with the South producing the next President are not enough but offer the prospects of leading the country from her present dark and harrowing tunnel” the AYDM affirm.
The group say the people of the old Western Region are disillusioned by the political system, corruption and ineptitude which continue to lower their enthusiasm for participation in the electoral process.
It reason that, “Increasingly in Nigeria and across the South West, we are seeing a situation where less than 10 percent of the population chose their elected leaders which is different from the past when the population of voters was enough to checkmate the prospect of dishonest and anti-people element,” adding that “the historic false population figures have been exploited by the ruling clique to manipulate elections and exclude millions of Nigerians from expressing their political desires out of their own free, prior and informed consent.”
The group believe that a section of the people put their hope on the fact that a honest, transparent and progressive leader may emerge in the presidential election that will bring hope in the place of forlorn despair.
“Using non violence approach, the AYDM will work with many groups for greater inclusion, which requires people taking their destiny into their own hands to create a paradigm shift in the electoral process by using their numbers to assert their demands backed by mandate protection.”
The group canvass “that massive political activism of the people, their popular expressions and raw determination to challenge the exploitative situation are important in the search for peace, security and a prosperous future for the long suffering people of the South West.”
The group say it has taken note of the demand by many participants to embark on massive people driven campaign to ensure effective action of the South West people in the political process adding that it is necessary in order to help appreciate and justify the real population of the people of the region.
“The people are losing faith in elections. This is coming amidst attempts to manipulate the 2023 elections through imposition, retention of power in the core North, the emergence of a corrupt and wayward aspirant and the lack of commitment to resolve the National Question and the release of political prisoners which are major issues that should be tackled to avoid Nigeria slid into anarchy” the AYDM quip.
It say “the prosperity of the people have been further marred by armed terrorist invasion, kidnapping, seizure of territories by armed gangs, rape of our women, threatened agrarian sector, takeover of indigenous forests by armed herdsmen and a general atmosphere of terror imposed on the people in their own land. It noted that while the people desire and are anxious to redefine their future and break the circle of anguish and agony, their capacity is limited within the context of democracy by corruption in the political process;
“These acts of corruption by a section of the political class disempower the people and exclude them from active participation in the political process that can lead to their freedom from a bleak and tortuous eclipse. The people are justifiably frustrated by a political and electoral system that offer little hope amidst violence, bribery and corruption in the electoral process, votes buying, complete lack of ideology all of which stifle the prospect of the best and most qualitative aspirants.”
The group note that that since the false 1952 population census, “the people have been at a great disadvantage, frustrated and marginalised through false population, false voters’ figures and consequent low voting power in Federal elections to the detriment of the people. This is also reflected in skewed delineation of wards as we have seen in the case of Warri Ward skewed against the Itsekiri people.
“Nigeria is afflicted by poor leadership vision or no vision at all, ineptitude, faith and ethnic based violence, aided and fueled by a section of the political class, terrorism and fading public hope. If the elections should hold in Nigeria, the people must thwart the plot of men of mischief and confront their future with a raw will and determination never before seen.”
The group however declare its readiness to work with other progressive forces across the country to bring out the best of what remains of Nigeria.