The pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, yesterday, expressed worry over the state of the country, warning that Nigeria is at the brink of an avoidable catastrophe that requires urgent actions.
This came on a day the Yoruba One Voice, YOV, weekend, urged Yoruba people all over the world not to relent in the campaign for self-determination for the people of the South-West.
Those at the Afenifere Executive Council, presided over by its leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, were Oba Oladipo Olaitan (Deputy Leader), Chief Sola Ebiseni (Secretary-General), Chief Supo Sonibare (Treasurer), Abagun Kole Omololu (National Organising Secretary), Comrade Jare Ajayi (Publicity Secretary), Mr. Adebayo Adenekan (Secretary for the Diaspora), Dr. Akin Fapohunda (Director of Research), and Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jare Ajayi, Afenifere warned that the signs are “ominous, requiring steps to prevent the country from an apocalypse.”
The statement read: “The Nigerian nation is at the brink of an avoidable catastrophe that requires urgent actions. And the most potent recipe to prevent the catastrophe is restructuring that would return the country to true federalism.
“After reviewing recent developments in the country, Afenifere Executive Council said that the signs are ominous, requiring steps to prevent the country from an apocalypse.
“The meeting endorsed the recent resolutions of the governors of Southern Nigeria, with regards to placing a total ban on open grazing and having state police.
“Afenifere is in full support of the governors to have laws banning open grazing latest by September 1, this year. We notice that some states already have this law enacted. We urge the remaining states to enact the law expeditiously. Beyond the enactment, however, we call for immediate enforcement of the law to put an end to various vices that the act of open grazing is engendering.”
The pan Yoruba organization frowned at the disapproval being expressed by some Northern elements to the position of Southern governors, prompting it to ask the questions:
“Of what intrinsic benefits has open grazing been in the recent past, going by various studies that have been done? It is on record for instance that open grazing is one of the major causes of desertification that is occurring in the northern part of the country. It is also on record that cows reared in a ranch are far more productive, healthier and are less tasking for the rearer compared to the ones being driven from one place to another in search of food and water. And certainly, those in ranches constitute less risk to neighbouring communities compared to the ones migrating from one place to another.”
Afenifere maintained that the seemingly intractable security challenges in the country are due largely to the restraint put in the way of state governors.
“The governors are described as chief security officers of their respective states, yet they have no security agency that can be deployed to where crimes are being committed with arms. A security agency that can arrest, investigate and prosecute. Those of them who came up with some security apparatus like Amotekun are disempowered because they could not bear arms. And when they arrest suspected criminals, such suspects must be handed over to the police. As experiences have shown, once this is done, hardly do such cases go beyond the police. And the state security body has no control anymore since the Police is a federal agency that does not take orders from the governor. This must change. State police, down to the level of local government, must become operational immediately” the communiqué asserts.
“Finally, the executive council meeting called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the national and state assemblies and all other concerned authorities to ensure that restructuring takes place within remaining part of this year. Its implementation in terms of true federalism in finance, security, social welfare must begin before the middle of next year.”
YOV vows to forge ahead with Yoruba Nation
Meanwhile, in a communiqué issued at the end of a webinar conference themed: ‘The State of Yoruba Nation,’ organised to mark YOV’s first anniversary, the Diaspora group also called for an immediate referendum to be supervised by the United Nations, UN, on the right to self-determination by the Yoruba Nation.
Participants at the conference, however, lamented the state of insecurity in the South-west, saying it has manifested in the invasion by the armed Fulani herdsmen, leading to incessant killings, raping, kidnapping of innocent people, among others.
YOV Secretary-General, Dr. Sina Okanlomo, who read the communique, said the organization will not relent in his effort to change the narratives in Nigeria, insisting that the Yoruba have all it takes to decide on the best way to go.
The communiqué reads: “We urge Yoruba people all over the world not to relent in the irrevocable campaign for Self Determination for Yoruba people.
“That the Yoruba Nation resolve to forge ahead with renewed zeal for the Right to Self Determination as entrenched in Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on People’s Rights.
“The immediate referendum to be supervised by the United Nations, UN, on the right to self-determination by the Yoruba Nation.”
Earlier, in his opening speech, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, urged other like-mind groups, both within and outside Nigeria, to join YOV in the quest for the liberation of the Yoruba race.
Aare Adams said: “With the success recorded today, YOV had made history, as the largest Yoruba Diaspora organization seeking the Yoruba nation self-determination agenda. And with this, I have the conviction that we will achieve this lofty dream.”
Religious intolerance hurts national unity—Oyetola
Speaking at another forum, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State said yesterday that religious intolerance is injurious to Nigeria’s unity and peace.
Governor Oyetola spoke at the 60th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Liberation Cathedral, Osun Province 1, held at the Church premises at Alekunwodo area, Osogbo.
His words: “Religious intolerance is injurious to the unity of the country and to our collective peace as a people. Our diversity is our greatest.
“After all, the assumption, and rightly so, is that the Church and other religious organisations are major institutions responsible for moulding the moral profile of the society.
“In light of the diverse challenges that we face in the country today, therefore, there is a need to honestly beam the searchlight on all our social institutions to correct identified lapses.
“Closely related to this is a need for the Church to use the society as a mirror to self-examine itself. If the Church is okay, the society would be okay because a good and functional Church impacts positively on the society. However, it is not the sole responsibility of the Church or other similar social institutions alone. All hands must be on deck to arrest the moral decadence in society.
“The pandemic, the dwindling economy, rising cases of banditry and kidnappings in the society are crises and conditions demanding pragmatic management and a rethink in our strategy. We must respond now to contemporary issues, not neglecting the future, but giving due consideration to the challenges that plague our development.”
“The society and the leadership of the country must prepare to watch and pray, so that the prevalence of violence such as we have now, could be mitigated in the country.”