Yoruba Leaders Ask Buhari to Restructure Nigeria Before 2023 Elections

Muhammadu Buhari
  •  Say failure can stoke quest for self-determination
  •  Threaten to mobilise nationals against elections

Eddie Alegbe in Lagos

Key leaders of Yoruba Nation saturday requested President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure Nigeria fiscally and structurally before the 2023 general election in the interest of national peace and unity.

They warned that unless this peaceful step was heeded, so that Nigeria heads in the right direction thereafter, “the clear alternative would be for self-determination quests to proceed rapidly without any further restraint.”

The leaders warned that the current federal structure could no longer sustain the unity of the federation, pointing out that Southern Nigerian alone “contributes 90 percent of the country’s revenue to the federation account.”

They set a timeframe for the restructuring of the country in a communique they issued yesterday after a meeting convened by the Yoruba Summit Group (YSG) in Lagos.

Among others, Afenifere Leader, Pa. Rueben Fasoranti; his Deputy, Pa. Ayo Adebanjo; Convener of Yoruba World Congress (YWC), Prof. Banji Akintoye; daughter of late Yoruba political sage, Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu and Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams attended the meeting.

As indicated in the communique, they declared that unless Nigeria’s social, political and economic structures were restructured in line with the Independence Constitution of 1960, the unity, peace and development of Nigeria would continue to be a dream that would never be achieved.

The leaders accused the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari of frustrating the restructuring of Nigeria to consistently favour the north, notwithstanding the realistic fact that southern Nigeria contributes 90 percent of the country’s revenue to the federation account.

The communiqué said the permutations for 2023 presidency, zoning, selecting, rather than addressing the nature of the Nigerian union, the dilapidated structure of the farcical federation, would lead to the kind of chaos never before seen and experienced in history.

It said: “We, the Yorùbá Nation, therefore reject the holding of a future general election before restructuring Nigeria fiscally and structurally. We state that the ship of state is veering off precariously into a precipice, and that Nigeria is at the very edge of a political subsidence.

“We are persuaded that nothing short of restructuring can save this country. Any attempt to go ahead with elections in 2023 without addressing the issue of restructuring would spell doom for Nigeria.

“Notwithstanding the interests of some elements in our midst, it will be presumptuous to assume that the masses of the educated Yoruba Nation will dive headlong into being part of the 2023 elections, when all elements of its execution – the military, paramilitary, INEC, the judiciary have been rigged and appropriated by a single very tiny minority ethnic group in a small corner of the country.”

The communique said the emerging resolve of the Yoruba “not to be part of the vassal state that Nigeria has become, is better managed with due accommodation before any further degeneration and obvious consequences.”

It added that the quest of Yoruba Nation “shall henceforth be to mobilise the masses of our peoples not to participate in any further elections until the goal of restructuring or self-determination is attained.

“The Yoruba Nation is therefore making the clarion call for confidence building steps to be taken by the Buhari regime immediately, especially as the historic 60th anniversary of Nigeria as an independent nation beckons on October 1, 2020.”

The communique urged the Buhari administration to convene “an urgent meeting of all nationalities now to determine the nature of our relationships.

“It has become patently untenable for the Yoruba Nation to tolerate further incompetence and impunity as has been foisted on all other ethnic nationalities across Nigeria.”

The communique commended the southwest governors on the take off of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), the region’s informal security outfit codenamed operation Amotekun.

It said: “With the granting of licenses for prospecting for gold in Yorubaland, we are aware of the dangers banditry, kidnapping and sundry criminalities this portends. Yorùbá nation has noted with great interest, the creation of Àmọ̀tẹ́kùn, a security network for the Southwest states.

“We extend our warmest felicitations to the governors who have started in earnest to fulfil the task of filling the huge gulf of various, serious insecurity issues plaguing our region. We hereby call on states yet to put this structure in place to do so in earnest. The Yorùbá do not forget.”