LAGOS – The Yoruba nation of South West Nigeria, has analysed its position in Nigeria and has come up with the conclusion that the core values for which the Yoruba people are known have been eroded, noting that the Yoruba nation is endangered and that the people must as a matter of urgency step up the sophistication of its culture to stop the nation from being destroyed, concluding that restructuring is the last option available for its survival.
The people believed they had been marginalised and the virtue for which the nation had been known had been eroded, leaving instead an impoverished nation, noting that the way out for a prosperous Yoruba nation would be a restructured Nigeria where every region would benefit from its resources.
In a South West colloquium which was convened by Chief Bode George, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader in the South West, tagged “2019 The South West speaks” the Yoruba people represented by prominent sons and daughters of the land spoke in one voice, alleging the marginalization of its people, had called on all sons and daughters of Yoruba irrespective of party affiliation to put hands together and fight for the return of the glory of its people, noting that the virtue for which the people had been known had been trodden under feet, insisting that only candidates who would accept to restructure Nigeria would be supported with their votes come 2019.
The programme began with a minute silence observed in honour of the late elder statesman and founder of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun who died a few days ago.
In a keynote address presented by Dr. Eddy Olafeso, PDP National Vice Chairman South West, he noted that Yoruba people had always being pacesetters, they had taken first positions in education and other sectors, pointing out that the nation had been bequeathed with a valuable legacy by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and that Yoruba people should be better off, but that the opposite was the case, pointing out that the time to take their rightful position was now.
The father of the day, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a leader of Afenifere, who was represented by Prof Banji Akintoye, said that the Yoruba people had a lot of heritage to leave for their children, noting that their civilization was in danger and that when Yoruba nation was in danger, the whole country would be in danger.
“Yoruba people must defend its nation. It is not part of Yoruba to surrender to failure. It is not easy for Yoruba to accept poverty. The government of the day has left an enormous degree of poverty and insecurity that we have never seen before. The degree of hopelessness among our people has never been seen before. The Yoruba nation will fight to defend its integrity. We will fight until we get result. We don’t fight wars because we know the value of life; we value our towns and cities”
“We will put together the sophistication of our culture to stop our nation from being destroyed. We live in a country that can give opportunity to our children, so we will send a message to our people to wake up and defend their land so that we don’t wake up one day and discover that our nation has been taken over by other people” He said.
Prince Uthman Sodipe while reading the communiqué, declared that in line with the position of South West on restructuring , they had unanimously accepted to support Atiku Abubakar because of his stand on restructuring, noting that the Yoruba nation would only support candidates that had restructuring in their agenda, and that Atiku had been found to possess, pointing that the Yoruba nation had remained cohesive and believed in the restructuring of Nigeria.
On his part, the convener, Chief Bode George said that there was need to dismantle politics of hate and bitterness which had capacity to diminish everybody, remove the ogre of sectarian malice and distorted humanity.
He noted that every ethnic constituent was naturally peace loving, caring and willing to live among themselves in harmony, demanding that leaders demonstrated genuine, unbiased and unprejudiced leadership.
The politician noted that nations were not built on forced uniformity of ideals but on round table of debate wherein consensus invariably emerges after series of dueling of conflicting visions and colliding disagreements, noting that the resort to violence and ethnic divisiveness would not augur well for the growth and progressive development of our nation.
Adding, “We insist on balanced, equitable expanse where every section of the Nigerian society will be free and unhindered in the civilization of their natural resources. I have traversed the length and breadth of our country and every State has abundance of mineral or agricultural resources. If we all get up and work hard the people in every state can survive without any largess from any central government” He said.
Sen Abiodun Olujimi, Senate minority leader and a chieftain of PDP said that enough was enough for the marginalization of Yoruba nation, noting that the Yoruba people should consider what had brought them together for the gathering, insisting that restructuring was good for everyone. She said that it was unfortunate that some of their leaders had not been too faithful to the course of the Yoruba nation, stating that some of them had brought negative tags to Yoruba nation, pointing out that they would not stop talking about restructuring because that held the key to the progress of its people.
The legislator noted that all Nigerian must start demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the electoral act into law, noting that if it was not done it meant someone had an agenda that was beyond others, stating that it was only when it would be done that the card reader would work all over the country and the election would be credible.
Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a former minister of the federal republic and a former senator said that restructuring was the only way that this nation would be saved, noting that we would not have a proper democracy in Nigeria without restructuring. He said that Nigerians should demand proper democracy from President Muhammadu Buhari.
The elder statesman said that the fight against corruption was good but that the government would not say it was fighting corruption and when anyone moved from PDP to All Progressives Congress (APC) the person would become a saint, noting that PDP was not a party of saints but he would advocate for a true democratic Nigeria.
A prominent Yoruba leader, Dr. Remi Akintoye moved a motion for the adoption of Atiku as the South West candidate for the 2019 presidential election, even as the people agreed that it was necessary to make a case for the prosperity of the region which they felt was long overdue, insisting that there would be no better time to fight for the course of the people than now, noting that restructuring was the only remedy to bring back the nation to the path of glory.
The meeting cut across political divide, with the governorship candidate of PDP in Lagos State, Chief Jimi Agabaje appealing for a peaceful election, said that the time for a restructured Nigeria was now, even as his counterpart in Action Democratic Party (ADP), Babatunde Gbadamosi said that the youth must be encouraged to take their rightful position in governance.
It was indeed a gathering to remember because very important person of Yoruba extraction was on ground to contribute to what may be termed the rule that will determine the future of the people, as the discussants and participants succinctly put it, that their people were impoverished, there was hopelessness everywhere and until an important decision was taken on the way forward for the people, like the issue of restructuring, there would be no hope in sight for the Yoruba nation.
Other prominent sons and daughters of Yoruba land present at the event were, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Chief Aderigbe Shittu, Dr. Adegbola Dominic, Lagos State PDP chairman, Barr. Adewole Bolaji Lagos State ADP chairman, Alh. Bayo Lawal, Dr. Saka Balogun, Mogaji Gboyega Adejuwon, Erelu Olusola Obada, Chief Sunday Oguntade, Mrs Haleemat Busari, deputy governorship candidate of PDP in Lagos State, etcetera.