…vows to protect Yoruba land from Fulani herdsmen
The Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has berated the Federal Government for paying lip service to the clamour for true federalism and restructuring of Nigeria.
The prominent Yoruba group under the leadership of Chief Reuben Fasoranti, who spoke at a summit organised by the Oyo State Chapter of Afenifere in Ibadan Tuesday, noted that it is better for the government to harken to the voice of the people and stop the country from drifting to precipice.
This is even as the group vowed to protect Yorubaland from possible attack and invasion by Fulani herdsmen.
The summit had the theme, “The Yoruba nation; For a better today and tomorrow.”
Afenifere reiterated their stand that the country’s socio-economic situation cannot grow as fast as many Nigerians wanted if the country is not restructured in a manner that will allow each region to develop at its own pace.
Fasoranti, who appealed to all Yoruba sons and daughters to take the progress of the nation seriously, said that the clamour for restructuring, if acceded to, “the menace of several killings across the country would have been better managed by now.”
Also, the state Afenifere Chairman, Dr. Gbola Adetunji, pleaded for cohesion and unity of purpose among Yoruba people.
Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr. Gbade Ojo, sought for the continued existence of Nigeria, and also lent his voice to the clamour for restructuring and return to true federalism.
Ajimobi in his speech, pointed out that it should be the utmost desire of the Yoruba to promote federal stability because of the economy of large scale and benefit of comparative advantage.
“This should, however, not be at the expense of the progress of the Yoruba nation. The race must continue to be at the forefront of the agitation for the strict application of the federal character principle as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended); to ensure that appointments to public service institutions fairly reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious and geographic diversity of the country,” he said.
The retired Archbishop of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Ayo Ladigbolu, who delivered a lecture at the event, entitled “The Yoruba Nation: For better today and tomorrow”, called for the immediate restructuring of the country to fast-track development.
He said: “Having been a beneficiary of regional autonomy in my younger days, and having participated as an observer of regional politics, I still have strong feelings that regional autonomy ought to be returned to the Yoruba nation and other states.”
In a communiqué issued at the end of the summit, Afeninfere expressed disappointment at the rate at which prominent Yoruba businessmen were losing their positions in major industries in the country, while also calling on their people in government agencies to be conscious of their responsibilities to the race.
Among those who were at the summit were a former Oyo State governor, Omololu Olunloyo, Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, Afenifere National Leader, Chief Ayo Fasoranti, national leader of the Alliance for Democracy, Mojisolowa Akinfenwa, a governorship aspirant in the state, Seyi Makinde, and the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Gbade Ojo.
The communiqué read, “The Yoruba were known to be on the front line of various aspects of human endeavour such as in education, business and industry. Unfortunately, the Yoruba appear to be losing this position. It is therefore very imperative that we re-invent ourselves.
“The Yoruba must use their knowledge to address Nigeria’s challenges. Yoruba in various agencies of government at all levels should always be conscious of their responsibilities to their race.
“Security challenges of today are quite unprecedented: Fulani herdsmen attacks, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnappings and so on and so forth. Afenifere shall take steps to safeguard lives and property in Yorubaland. The new focus of Afenifere is to reconcile all Yoruba in order to ensure a broad consensus over most important issues.”