Call For Yoruba Nation By Ilana Oodua Undesirable, Self-Serving, Unnecessary- Afenifere …Says Good Governance Can Address Issues Raised By Agitators

The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and socio-political organization, Afenifere, has described the call for the exit of Yoruba from Nigeria as undesirable, self-serving and unnecessary ‘at the moment at least’.

In a statement issued by the organisation’s National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi on Monday, April 23, 2024, Afenifere maintained that the problems bedeviling Yorubaland and Nigeria as a whole “are not merely because multi-ethnic groups make up the country. Rather, the country’s multifarious problems can be traced to lack of good governance.”

It would be recalled that Professor Banji Akintoye, leader of Ilana Omo Oodua and Mr. Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a Igboho, was reported to have, on April 17 this year, sent a letter to President Ahmed Bola Tinubu in which they wanted the President to within the next two months, set up a negotiation team that will midwife the exit of Yoruba people from Nigeria.

The duo (Akintoye and Adeyemo Igboho) in the letter to the President claimed:“We have the honour to send to Your Excellency this important letter on behalf of the many millions of Yoruba people at home in Yorubaland in Nigeria and in the Yoruba Diaspora in almost all countries across the world.”

“But Afenifere faulted the duo’s position on many grounds. First was on the reason adduced for the request to exit Nigeria which was on the basis of perceived marginalization that Yorubas are suffering in Nigeria.

“There is no doubt that the lot of Yorubas can be better than it presently is. But whatever deprivation Yorubas may be experiencing today in the Nigerian nation is not due mainly to the fact that they are Yorubas. The deprivations they are suffering could be traced to the general misgovernance that corporate Nigeria had been subjected to over the years if not decades. Meaning that marginalization, deprivation, injustice, misgovernance etc that Yorubas may be experiencing today is, if truth is to be told, not peculiar to Yorubas alone. We are not, by this submission, claiming that Yorubas are getting the best or should not be better served. Far from it. What we are saying is that it would be unfair to use the excuse of the deprivations in the land as an alibi to want to leave Nigeria. What we should clamour for is good governance that will enable every segment of the society to have a better lease of life”, Afenifere spokesman emphasized.

To underscore this point, the spokesman asserted that when, during the First Republic, the country Nigeria ran a semblance of true federalism in which each region was able to determine its own affairs, life was relatively better and the agitation for separation was not rife.

On the claim by the Yoruba nation that the request was done on behalf of Yoruba people at home and in the diaspora, the body wondered when a referendum was conducted of recent to really determine that what was conveyed in the letter to Mr. President was what Yorubas want at this moment.

Taking note of the submissions of Ilana and some other Yoruba Nation agitators that they got a nod from the United Nations to go ahead with their intention to form a Yoruba Nation, Afenifere spokesman stated that the global body is not the one carving out nations “in the way Europeans did at the Berlin Conference in the 19th century.

Indeed, Article 46 of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples minces no words in affirming its limitations as far as the declaration of sovereignty is concerned when it states clearly that:“1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.”

Ajayi then asserted that it borders on insincerity therefore to give the impression that once a group registers with the United Nations as representing an Indigenous People and is so recognized, then that amounts to be at liberty to assert the rights of a sovereign nation.

“No, that is not how a nation is birthed!”.

The pan-Yoruba organization then called on the people to be wary of being misled by letters purported to confer sovereignty on any group “as forming a country is not something that some people somewhere dash out like a commodity”.

Ajayi added that just last week Wednesday, Asiwaju Yoruba, Pa Reuben Famuyide Fasoranti, OFR, led some Yoruba leaders, under the auspices of Afenifere to the federal government headed by President Tinubu.

“On that occasion, Afenifere had a heart-to-heart discussion with Mr. President on what is going on in the country, what the Yorubas and the masses of Nigeria want and suggested ideas on what to do to ameliorate the undesirable situation in the country. President Tinubu assured everyone, as he did when he visited Pa Fasoranti in Akure in February this year and when he spoke on July 31, 2023 on his ‘plan to return Nigeria to glory’ of his intention and indeed the steps his government is taking to change the fortune of Nigeria for better”.

Afenifere spokesman then declared that “we have confidence in Mr. President to deliver on his mandate, the Renewed Hope and the promises he made not just with Afenifere leaders but also with Nigerians. What is needed now is to support his administration, to give suggestions on how to move the country forward and to call the attention of the government to areas where reparations have to be done”.

He added that just as Afenifere condemned the violent attack on the Oyo State House of Assembly by purveyors of ‘Federal Republic of Yoruba”, so is the organization frowning at the present move to excise Yorubaland from Nigeria.

“Yorubas have contributed so much to Nigeria. So much that our intention presently is not to move out but to get what is wrong with the country to be made right. We believe that President Tinubu has what it takes to right those wrongs. This is why we are giving him our absolute support, especially since he has given us the assurance that he will not veer off the path of doing the best for Nigeria.”

Ajayi concluded that Afenifere has no doubt that Restructuring is one important mechanism through which Nigeria can be made better.

“President Tinubu has assured us in words and in his body language that he will restructure the country. He is a man of honour. We believe that he will do it. And do it effectively at the right time – which will be very soon, by the grace of God”.

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