Yoruba leaders harp on unity, endorse agenda for National Conference

The group plans to seek autonomy for all of Nigeria’s regions.

The call for unity among Yoruba interest groups in Nigeria dominated discussions as an agenda for the region in the forthcoming National Dialogue was adopted in Ibadan on Thursday.

The groups converged on the House of Chiefs at the state Secretariat to fine tune and endorse a position prepared by a committee led by Olu Falae.

A former Chief of Defense Staff, Alani Akinrinade, who presented the fifteen issues to the gathering, explained that some experts on technical areas raised in the document were still working on the proposal for a more acceptable final copy.

According to him, the document was not entirely new as the process that produced it started since 1994 when meetings were held in some of the palaces of Yoruba Obas. He said that the “Yoruba agenda” that emanated from the meetings was modified in 2005 and revised in 2012 to produce the document adopted in Ibadan on Thursday.

Chief among the positions were regional autonomy to each of the six geopolitical zones in the country, resource control and regional police, among others.

In order to take care of the interests of Yoruba minorities in Kogi, Kwara, Edo and Delta States and incorporate them to the mainstream, the committee said it may call for boundary adjustment, depending on the position of the experts that would work towards the final document.

Though, no list was announced for representatives of the Yoruba at the National Conference, the gathering assured that only those who possessed the mental capacity to marshal the positions would make the list. It also said, after their appointment, the individuals would be tutored on their importance to the Yoruba nation.

The chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group, Wale Osun, while endorsing the document, said it would be difficult for any Yoruba man who made the list of representatives at the conference to go against Yoruba interest. He said such a person would likely not have the guts to return home.

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Femi Okurounmu, advised state governors in the region to desist from sending separate positions from the one agreed on by the gathering to the conference.

In his welcome address, the Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, faulted President Goodluck Jonathan’s position that the amalgamation of Southern and Northern Protectorates to form Nigeria in 1914 was a blessing. The governor contended that the action had brought pains to the country.

The event was attended by Yoruba men and women from all walks of life, including traditional rulers, political leaders, religious leaders, businessmen and many others.


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