ARG: Yoruba Do Not Need Consultative Meeting with Osinbajo

  •   Demands review of constitution to guarantee justice

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) wednesday rejected a request by its sister organisation, Afenifere, that acting President Yemi Osinbajo,  should include the Yoruba nation in series of consultation he had with leaders from the North and South-east geo-political zone.

Convening a consultative meeting with the Yoruba, the ARG, a pan-Yoruba organisation, demanded that the acting president should set in motion the process that would lead to objective review of the 1999 Constitution to guarantee social justice and fairness.

The group which canvassed the position in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, commended Osinbajo for the recent intervention he had been making in the last fortnight to calm frayed nerves and dousing tension in the polity.

In its statement, the group said the people of South-west geo-political zone did not need any consultative meeting with the acting president as being demanded in some quarters.

The ARG noted that the Yoruba people “are never the agitators, and our aspirations have never lacked clarity since late Chief Obafemi Awolwo published ‘Path to Nigerian Freedom’ in 1947.”

It acknowledged Osinbajo’s intervention, which it said was “the first time in the history of Nigeria we are witnessing such sincere confrontation of social malady through dialogue and democratic means.
“Before now, the federal government would have played the ostrich until the rising temperature hit the roof and then deploy armed forces to quell tension across the federation.”

However, the group faulted a statement credited to the acting president that all the people of Nigeria irrespective of ideology, race or religion, “have all agreed that Nigeria should remain one.”

It, therefore, posed two salient questions “to the acting president as once asked by the late Chief Bola Ige. One, do we want to remain as one country? Two, if the answer is yes, under what conditions? All Nigerians must answer the questions before we can decide whether we can continue as a country.”

While it prayed for Osinbajo to succeed in dousing current tension, the ARG noted that the country remaining a single entity “is not the contentious aspect of Nigeria’s nationhood. Where the task of building a sustainable nationhood begins is the second question, which has remained unaddressed for the past five decades.”
The group said answering the questions borders on reaching a consensus about a constitution that would  guarantee the inalienable rights of social justice and political freedom for every Nigerian, irrespective of ethnic or religious inclination.

“The 1999 Constitution, which was smuggled in as the condition for Nigeria’s existence, is nothing more than the consummation of attempts to institutionalise the tools of social injustice and discrimination in Nigeria and therefore has to be replaced,” ARG stated.

It, therefore, concluded that reaching consensus on the 1999 Constitution “is the only condition that can catapult Nigeria from its current ranking of red alert to sustainable democracies like Finland.
“We hope Nigeria can quickly achieve this feat and set example for other African countries as the entire continent does not look good on the Fragile State Index,” the ARG explained.

On this ground, it charged all the governors of the South-west states “to be alive to their responsibilities by constantly taking in the changing political dynamics of the nation such that their decisions and acts ensure the welfare, wellbeing, and security of people in their jurisdictions.”