Confab: Afenifere Warns Delegates To Respect Yoruba Agenda

Gov. Mimiko and other  Afenifere leaders in Aso Rock

Afenifere leaders, with Governor Mimiko, 3rd right, arriving Aso Rock Villa for the meeting with President Jonathan

Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan

Ahead the forthcoming National Conference, Yoruba leaders today warned potential Yoruba delegates to the conference not to betray the cause of the race threatening that should that happen, the consequence would be grievous.

This was part of the resolutions reached at the Yoruba Constitutional Conference held at House of Chiefs House, Secretariat, Ibadan, capital of Oyo State.

Speaking, the Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Wale Oshun also warned President Goodluck Jonathan to expunge the idea of no-go-area in the agenda of the Conference.

Oshun told the gathering attended by traditional rulers and notable Yoruba leaders including Olabiyi Durojaye, Alani Akinrinade, Segun Odegbami, Iyiola Oladokun, Niyi Akintola, SAN, Bisi Adegboye, Tunde Fagbenle, Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo among several others that irrespective of platform a delegate emerges, every Yoruba delegate would be regarded as Yoruba ethnic nationality.

He said, “We affirm our resolve to regard any Yoruba nominee, irrespective of nominating platform, as Yoruba  national and all potential Yoruba delegates should know and be fully aware that whichever platform threw them up, the consequences of betraying the Yoruba cause would be dire. We would not, because we disagree with many of the modalities, play into the hands of detractors by abandoning the Conference as being suggested in some quarters, but, those wishing to mainstream or sell their kith and kin should better not accept their nominations, this should be taken as a forward warning.”

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He described the event as essentially a stepping stone to the proposed National Conference, stressing that “our expectation today, is that our joint deliberations will guide and lead us in determining and redefining our stance about the proposed National Conference.

According to him, “The Yoruba Constitutional Conference, being held here today, is a further signpost of the collective wishes and desire of the Yoruba people. This space is a demonstration that Yoruba people do move in the same direction to achieve common goals and objectives. This is indeed one of our strengths as a people. Among us Yoruba, there are settled issues as far as our collective destiny and direction of travel is concerned. Those issues speak to our core values and fundamentals, which essentially prescribe that the pathway to our freedom and glory as a people, resides in our being able to fully determine and pursue our development as a people, without any imposed hindrances or constraints.

He added, “It is no longer necessary to attempt to justify the need for an urgent restructuring of this nation. This is so, because if we do not restructure and urgently too, we may all have signed the death knell of the country. Those of us who love Nigeria so much argued-following the murder of Nigeria’s President-elect, Chief M.K.O Abiola in 1998-that transition into full blown democracy in 1999 should be preceded by a Nigerian dialogue and complete restructuring.  Opponents argued that immediate return to democracy would resolve all the issues. Now we all know that fifteen years after, the decline in governance has become total. I should not bore you with the details, just to say that whisperings for dialogue and restructuring have turned into loud expressions. These are manifesting in the invidious creations of Boko Haram, Niger-Delta militancy, kidnappings, bare-faced treasury looting, impunity, as well as the inability of governments at various levels to deliver on issues of good governance, welfare and development. Indeed, no statement for restructuring could be louder than that of Boko Haram.”

In his speech, General Alani by Akinrinade noted that the “the unity of Nigeria is negotiable” adding, “It is the reason we are meeting. The Yoruba had always wanted a Nigeria accommodating all the ethnic nationalities, but, we must create a nation where no one is oppressed. We are mindful that failure to do so will leave each nation no option but to find happiness in its own separate way. We need not create avenue for unnecessary intransigence by declaring that we must stay together by fiat ab initio. We must remind the President that we know that he knows that there is no better democratic alternatives to confer legitimacy on the constitution than a referendum. Among other things, we must implore the President to stand firm, close his eyes, think of a possible giant called Nigeria or any other name and sacrifice anything possible to achieve a successful national conference that will cement the relationship amongst our different nations.

He stated further, “Here is his chance to carve his name in gold, earn the eternal gratitude of all our peoples and save Africa and the world another combustion. Let me state with all emphasis that Yoruba nation is not in the business of sabre rattling, nor believe in intimidating anyone.  We have and will always be found in the pursuit of justice, freedom and life more abundant for all. May all those who consented to throw in this National Conference be faithful to the people. An attempt to turn to a wild goose chase may prove to be one more antic too many and too costly.”

All the various groups and individuals that spoke at the event reiterated that those to be sent should not just be anybody, but those that are sound and mentally alert, sincere and genuine Yoruba sons and daughters.