Yoruba leaders meet, urge return to regionalism, others

By Iyabo Lawal, Kehinde Olatunji and Yetunde Ayobami Ojo on 27/02/2014

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YORUBA leaders and groups from the South-West zone yesterday gathered in Ibadan, Oyo State capital to fine-tune their position at the forthcoming national conference as well as the document to be presented.

  At the meeting convened by Chief Olu Falae and supported by Gen Alani Akinrinade (rtd) and Dr Kunle Olajide, speakers were unanimous in their call for true federalism and return to regionalism.

 At another meeting in Lagos yesterday, the Yoruba Council of Elders (Igbimo Agba Yoruba) called on the race to urgently organise a summit where the region’s position will be documented and presented at the forthcoming national conference.

  Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State while setting the tone of the Ibadan meeting reviewed the nation’s structural system and concluded that the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates had earned the country several pains and calamities.

  Ajimobi who spoke against the backdrop of claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that the merger has been a blessing to the nation maintained that it was indeed a ‘marriage of inconvenience.’

The event was the Yoruba Assembly for 2014 National Conference, a coalition of Leaders of Thought and Socio-Cultural Groups in Yorubaland held at the House of Chiefs within the secretariat complex.

  He also restated calls for true federalism and return to regionalism.

  He said: “As you all know, the Yoruba people, like every other ethnic nationalities that make up this country did not willingly join the behemoth that was to later become Nigeria. We were coerced by the British overlords in the evergreen magical marriage of inconvenience called amalgamation of 1914.

 “Since then, Nigeria has presented as the forcefully conjured seeds in the walnut pod. Different world-views, different ideologies, different cultures, different political beliefs, yet we were soldered into one component by the British colonial masters.

  “This forceful marriage has earned us several pains and calamities. It led to the 30-month old civil war where the Yoruba suffered needless casualties in the course of fighting for the unity of Nigeria. The most recent calamity of our forced togetherness is the pain of being tagged as citizens of the same country with the senseless killers of children who are inflicting needless pogrom in the North.

  “I imagine that when a Yoruba man walks up to fellow humans in the world and he introduces himself as a Nigerian, what comes to the mind of his naïve audience would be that he shares the same humanity, the same human and national space with those blood-thirsty hounds called Boko Haram. It is the pain of the forced identity of 1914.

“The current pseudo-federalism that we practise merely gathered, as our people would say, the hen and dove under the same cage. It breeds redundancy, cheating and parasitism, it is a recipe for chaos. This is why we are very strong in canvassing a return to that system where our forefathers proved their mettle to the rest of the world as brilliant administrators of men and resources.”

 Falae disclosed that what was being presented was not a new document. He recalled that the journey started as far back as 1994 with series of meetings in some of the palaces of Yoruba Obas to produce the Yoruba Agenda, which was modified in 2005 and revised in 2012.

  Falae thereafter asked Akinrinade to present the 15-Issue Agenda to the general assembly after which representatives of the various states, groups and individuals rose one after another to make comments and endorsed the document.

  Speaking at the 13th Annual National Congress of Igbimo Agba Yoruba (YCE) held in Lagos, Maj-Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd) said that the summit would enable Yoruba to speak with one voice, one purpose and to achieve one destiny.

According to him, the YCE supported the opportunity given Nigerians to come together, adding  “The opportunity given to Nigerians to come together and air their opinion on the way forward for the reshaping, revitalizing and reinvigorating this intricate and complex country called Nigeria was most welcomed.

  “There is no-gainsaying the fact that the Yoruba nation, which is one of the largest ethnic groups in the Nigeria  has been the most marginalised and neglected in the scheme of governance of this country right from independence till now and this has to change.”

  They frowned at the way some ethnic groups are riding roughshod on Yoruba hospitality and generosity by unabashedly abusing the privileges which were unavailable in their own domains.

  “Igbimo Agba hereby calls on the governments of the Yoruba speaking states to call to order all such groups to forestall such security threatening actions.

  On the insurgency in the North, the YCE said “The progressive escalation of violent activities of Boko Haram has defiled all entreaties of ceasefire even in the face of amnesty proclamation by the Federal Government. Catastrophic destruction of lives and property are reported daily particularly in the North East of the country.

  “Several unprovoked killings of security agents and innocent civilians constitute very serious threat to the survival of the country.”

  They also called on the government to find a way out of the Boko Haram quagmire and take serious step to revive the economy .

 

Posted on March, 1 2014

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