The Yoruba social-political group, Afenifere, on Tuesday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, convened a special meeting of its leaders in the south west to deliberate on current issues affecting the country, and concluded that only the restructuring of the country would solve its escalating problems.
The meeting, which had top Yoruba leaders in attendance, stressed the need to close ranks beyond political and religious leanings to forge a common campaign against the trend of running the country on a unitary system.
Under the chairmanship of its leader, Reuben Fasoranti, the meeting first went into a closed-door session, after which it engaged its members in an open brainstorming session before issuing a community.
The leader of the group, in his welcome address, lamented the state of the nation as evident in the killing going in southern and middle belt communities especially in southern Kaduna, as well in the South East communities and in Oke Ogun in the South West.
He also lamented the mass misery that has enveloped the land evident in hunger, homelessness and untold hardship on the people of Nigeria.
Afenifere also knocked the President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to forward the recommendations of the National Judicial Council for the confirmation of Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria.
It noted that the refusal to confirm him as the substantive CJN was an affront on the Nigerian constitution.
Reading the communique after the meeting, the Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said the meeting was elated that the Yorubas had closed ranks as witnessed in the historic gathering which represented a new beginning for the Yoruba nation.
“At this time all its nobles should put aside partisan politics and come together to remake Yoruba land and redirect the affairs of Nigeria the way the Yorubas did in years before independence when we walked with our friends across Nigeria to work a federal constitution upon which we gained our independence,” he said.
He expressed the worries of Afenifere over the situation of the country, saying it had become frightening and worrying.
“The meeting observed that the state of Nigeria at the moment is very frightening and worrying with uncertainty looming in the air,” the communique read.
“We are worried by the mass killings going on in southern Kaduna, in Oke-Ogun and in the south east and the state appears to be helpless and sometimes unwilling to curb the excesses of these killers as evident in the governor announcing to the whole country that he paid those who killed citizens. And up till date he has not been asked any questions officially.
“Meeting is worried that the Nigeria today lies prostrate in intensive care of sick countries, because we have refused to run Nigeria as a multi ethnic state along federal lines.
“In 1967, in his book, thoughts on Nigerian Constitution, the sage, Obafemi Awolowo, warned this country that any attempt to run this country on a unitary constitution will be productive of disunity, of fighting, and the administrative machinery of governance will come to a halt and democratic distortions, that is where this country is today, that is what Awolowo said as far back as 1967, but Nigeria did not listen to him.
“To this end, meeting resolved to set up a high powered committee to rouse the Yoruba nation and to network with our friends and like minds across Nigeria the work on the urgency of now, to insist that this country must be restructured before we go for another elections in this country. We cannot afford to continue to slide dangerously along path of anarchy and disintegration.”
Mr. Odumakin noted that the main focus of the of the committee is to get all hands on deck to mobilise for the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 national conference which was submitted to the federal executive council in the year 2014, adding that it was the minimum for the restructuring of Nigeria.
On the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the communique further read: “Afenifere is worried that almost few days to the end of the three months tenure in acting capacity allowed by our constitution, the President has refused to forward the recommendations of the NJC in respect of Justice Onnoghen to the National Assembly for confirmation.
“We see this as an assault on the constitution if the three months tenure expires and he is not confirmed as the CJN of Nigeria.
“It is an attempt to cruelly end the career of a worthy Nigerian. Therefore, we call on the President to within the few days left to the expiration of the tenure of the Acting CJN to send his name to the Senate for confirmation as Nigeria’s CJN.”
Those in attendance include Ayo Adebanjo, Olusegun Mimiko, Mojisola Akinfewa, Bode George, Olu Falae, Iyiola Omisore, Olugbenga Kaka, and a host of others.
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