Seventy-four notable Yoruba elders have sworn to pull the Yoruba Nation out of Nigeria if the country is not restructured before the 2019 general elections.
The elders convened under the aegis of Voice of Reason (VOR), a socio-cultural group, took an advertorial on the 25th page of The Punch newspaper of Monday, January 22 to air their grievances.
A cross section of elders that signed the advertorial include: former Chief of Army Staff, General Alani Akinrinade; former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe; co-founder, EKO Hospitals, Olorogun Sonny Kuku; and spokesperson, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin.
The group stated that the 1999 constitution under which Nigeria is being governed is “flawed” and designed to give undue advantage to the northern regions of the country over their southern neighbors.
“The Yoruba people are irrevocably committed to a fundamental restructuring of this current union within the shortest possible time, preferably, before the elections, failing which, we Yoruba people may have to exercise our option not to continue to be part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as presently constituted.
“In the inalienable right to self-determination guaranteed by the United Nations Charter, we are prepared to use ALL means and resources available to us to extricate our people from this failed, unfair and unworkable union,” the advertorial read in part.
Read the full advertorial below:
VOICE OF REASON (VOR)
Agba Kiiwaloja ki oriomo tuntun wo [Yoruba Proverb]
VOR is a body of Yoruba sons and daughters, comprising successful entrepreneurs and eminent professionals across the spectrum of the society.
As a body, VOR is not partisan, but we are passionate about the progress and welfare of the nation.
The average age of the scores of membership of the body is above sixty five years.
In any culture in the world, anyone of that age qualifies to be referred to as an ELDER.
With the events going on in Nigeria at present, we believe, as elders in Yoruba land, it is time we made our voices heard, loud and clear.
No one needs to be told of the suffering of the people under the harsh economy and insecurity brought about by a federation hobbled by corruption, insincerity and ineptitude of politicians.
VOR has noted that the aspirations of most Nigerians are not being met resulting in very apparent despondency which, if unchecked, will lead to chaos in the land.
VOR further notes that the dissatisfaction of citizens largely stems from a lack of opportunities for self-development and employment even for those who have taken step to educate themselves and their children, many of our qualified citizens are abroad unable to come back and cope with the existing conditions.
Before the whole country becomes convulsed by election fever, we have resolved to bring the following to the attention of the public as a whole.
The Yoruba people are irrevocably committed to a fundamental restructuring of this current union within the shortest possible time, preferable, before the elections, falling which, we Yoruba may have to exercise our option not to continue to be part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as presently constituted. In the inalienable right to self-determination guaranteed by the United Nations Charter, we are prepared to use ALL means and resources available to us to extricate our people from this failed, unfair and unworkable union.
The restructuring exercise envisaged and demanded by the Yorubas cannot and should not be carried out through the National Assembly as presently constituted using the current 1999 Nigerian Constitution. This is because the current constitution not only does NOT represent the will or wishes of “we the people,” it is a flawed document conceived and hatched under a ‘Northern’ Military Government with fraudulent and unwarranted structural advantages given to Northern Nigeria, and foisted on the rest of us.
Furthermore, we believe that the threshold for amending the present constitution to reflect and effect our legitimate demands is insurmountable for the Southern zones, based on the in-built flawed assumptions in the 1999 constitution.
All Yoruba States are encouraged to carry out genuine census of how many we truly are in Yoruba land, using Lagos State example which uses 23 million people for planning as against 9 million used by the Federal Government in the sharing of revenue and resources.
We sympathize with the people of middle Belt in the onslaught on their villages by armed herdsmen committing murder and mayhem. In view of the migration of mayhem southward by these rampaging marauders, a proper tab should be kept by our communities on Okada riders and itinerant artisans in our midst to make sure there are no “Sleeper Cells” of terrorists among them, waiting for an opportunity to unleash violence on the populace.
State Assemblies, in Yoruba land should make laws against Open Grazing. We believe it is NOT the business of the Federal Government to canvass or arm-twist the state governors for cattle colonies, if need be our people would be encouraged to boycott beef from their diet to drive home the point. If we don’t eat beef, there is no need bringing cattle to our farmlands or doorsteps.
Education was paramount in Yoruba land in the past. It was the basis of the giant strides made by Yoruba at the beginning of this federation when the regions planned and executed their development programs by themselves, with education, our teeming population can be converted into human assets that will drive development in our land instead of the mass of unemployable bodies looking for jobs and ready to be recruited for nefarious activities.
As a starting point, all primary and secondary JS classes in Yoruba land must begin the study of Yoruba History and Culture as part of their courses of study in earnest. This can be accommodated under our present school management system without it being open for JS examination.
Concerted efforts must be made in developing and strengthening the youth. Youth discontent and despondency must be avoided at all costs. That is why preparing the youth for leadership is dear to VOR.
Yoruba Obas should move to withdraw from the national council of traditional rulers if the chairmanship is not made ROTATIONALbetween the North and the South. As it is, they are perceived to be subordinate to the Sultan of Sokoto. The religion of Islam should not be used as an excuse. History tells us that Islam came to Yoruba land long before the Jihadists were stopped in Oshogbo.
There should be village/community meetings all over Yoruba Land for people’s mobilization, dissemination of information of Yoruba interest, raising funds, strategizing and promoting and promoting Yoruba harmony and integration.
Our elected representatives should be invited to local meetings within their constituencies, not to hail or ask them for favors, but for them to be intimated with the challenges within the constituencies with a view of finding solutions to such problems.
The laudable DAWN initiative should be strengthened so that there would be more economic integration and improvement in road, rail and waterways links among the states in Yoruba land.
All politicians aspiring to lead our people must henceforth be those ready to serve. We are tired of politicians using our people as bargaining chips to feather their nests to the detriment of our people. Our people must also desist from selling their votes. Experience should have taught them that they sell themselves into perpetual slavery and penury even with such short-term gain
Olorogun Sunny Kuku
Admiral Okanlawon Oni
Olumide Sofowora SAN
Admiral Toye Shode
Dr A. A Akingba
Prince Remi Adefarakan
Engr. Afolabi Salami
Prof.Akin Ibidapo- Obe
Prof. Bayo Williams
Prof. Kayode Odusote
Senator Akin Odunsi
Arc. Fola Olumide
Pastor Seye Ladapo
Pastor Soji Adelore
Prof Oye Ibidapo-Obe
Mrs Cecilia Akintomide
Prince Goke Omisore
Mrs Tokunbo Sholu-Ekukinam
Otunba Aderemi Abdul
Mrs Ronke Onayemi
Otunba Sola Adekanola
Otunba Yomi Alao
Chief Samuel Bolarinwa
Dr Olufemi Adegoke
Omo-oba Yemisi Shyllon
Dr Femi Olugbile
Chief Taiwo Rasheed
Ashipa Jibowu Owoade
Capt Akinyele Caulcrick
Chief Tokunbo Ajasin
Chief Supo Shonibare
Arc. Tosin Akinyemi
AIG Tunji Alapini (rtd)
Chief Deinde Brown
Ogbeni Bola Majekodunmi
Otunba Deji Osibogun
Otunba Dolapo Balogun
Chief (Dr) Dele Fajemirokun
Chief Kayode Aderinokun
Sir, Yomi Williams
Dr, Segun Oshin
Bambo Adesanya SAN
Chief Tunde Dabiri
Chief Olulekan Smith
Otunba Olu Otubunsin
Chief Tunde Onakoya
Prince Dapo Adelegan
Gen Alani Akinrinade, rtd
Chief Michael Adeojo
Engr Sola Alabi
Engr Sunmade Agbe-Davies
Dr Ebun Sonaiya
Dr Ladi Awosika
Dr Leke Oshunniyi
Dr Seyi Roberts
Chief Taiwo Rasheed
Kamar Raji esq
Chief Tunji Ayanlaja SAN