The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has observed that the debate that preceded the implementation of the Amotekun security initiative, and the ongoing furore over collection and distribution of Value Added Tax (VAT) are symptoms of the breakdown of trust within the Nigerian federation.
The observation was contained in a communique signed by its National Chairman, Olawale Oshun and the General Secretary, Ayo Afolabi at the end of its retreat in Ogun State.
ARG noted that none of the persons elected to the positions of governor, National Assembly members and state Assembly members in Yorubaland, from all parties, except a few living in the cloud, would deny that their people’s clamour for restructuring Nigeria has now peaked since it started in 1993.
“We call on all of them to align strongly with the wishes of their people and subjugate their personal interest to that of their people. We noted the unshaken faith of the Yoruba people in the need to restructure Nigeria captured in the Yoruba Agenda in 2005 as “Regional Autonomy Or Nothing and warn that the recalcitrance of the Ruling clique and the Presidency can only push moderate Yoruba people to the wall, as can be derived from the present clamour for Self-Determination.
“Nigeria may therefore be living on borrowed times as long as the strident calls for restructuring continues to fall on deaf ears.
“We therefore reaffirm the need for an urgent restructuring of Nigeria. The debate that preceded the implementation of the Amotekun security initiative, the ‘inchoate’ nature of local council development authorities and the ongoing furore over collection and distribution of Value Added Tax (VAT) are symptoms of the breakdown of trust within the Nigerian federation, especially between the federal government and the state governments.
“We therefore call on our President to acknowledge that he is not the only one in love with Nigeria’s continued existence, Yorùbá Self Determination activists do, just that there MUST be JUSTICE and EQUITY for all Nigerian citizens. If however these are denied as the 1999 Unitary Constitution perpetually does, they should not be blamed for their clamour.”
On insecurity, Afenifere said it was deeply concerned with the sustained and debilitating insecurity incidents across the country, which among others included kidnapping, maiming, molestation of Nigerians and in particular the economic deprivation of Yoruba peasant farmers from their legitimate occupation,
It condemned without any reservation the lethargy of all the security agencies that should have nipped these violent acts in the bud, and called on all security agencies to awaken fully to their responsibility.
“We call as well on all the governments in Yorubaland to as a matter of urgency collaborate with one another to strengthen Amotekun security agency to enable them offer reasonable level of protection to people in their domain. They should also explore the place of formal and informal intelligence gathering systems in the resolution of the problems in their joint domain,” it added.
On the anti-open grazing, the communique commended the Governors of Southern Nigeria States for their boldness in enacting a law that banned open grazing and herding of cattle.
“We therefore call for strict enforcement of this law and charge community and our traditional leaders to help in the enforcement effort. We implore also, governments in Yorubaland to consider and implement as a matter of urgency agricultural policies that would assure the region sufficient food security, and also contribute to the livestock production basket of the whole nation.
“We call on the Government of Ogun State which is yet to pass the Anti Grazing law to do so without further delay,” it said.
The group also reiterated that the acceptable Yoruba socio-political leadership is one that should protect the social welfare, interests, and values of the people.
It demanded, therefore, that elected officials comport themselves as representatives elected to advance the interests of their people and not project themselves as pursuing only their selfish interests or as mere appointees of the Federal Government.
“We call on all Yoruba men and women of goodwill, particularly our Royal fathers to GUIDE and uphold the ‘Omoluabi’ ethos and promote concerted efforts to address existential threats facing the Yoruba nation, including unemployment, erosion of social values and norms, rising cases of cyber crimes, and cultism amongst others.
“These are clear indicators of a not-so-bright future for our teeming young people and it is therefore a matter of utmost urgency for all communities, our traditional institutions and governments across Yorubaland to develop and strengthen policies and programmes that promote identity, values orientation, skills acquisition and economic prosperity across Yorubaland,” it added.