*Say no group has right to ask others to leave
*Task FG to restructure to avoid breakup
By Dayo Johnson; Dapo Akinrefon; Ola Ajayi; Rotimi Ojomoyela; Shina Abubakar and Ibrahim HassanWuyo
Following a 72-hour ultimatum issued by Arewa youths for Yoruba ethnic group to leave the 19 northern states, Yoruba leaders yesterday warned of consequences of such ultimatum and asked the northern leaders to call their youths to order.
The ultimatum by the Arewa youths was in response to a declaration of Yoruba nation last Wednesday by Yoruba activist, Sunday Igboho who also advised his kith and kin in the north to start coming back home. Igboho did not however ask the northerners living in the South West to leave the region but merely stated that the Yoruba no longer wished to be part of Nigeria in view of grave injustice done to the region by the Nigerian government.
Responding to Igboho’s declaration, the Arewa Youth Assembly in a statement signed yesterday by its spokesman, Mohammed Salihu Danlami, said Igboho should, in the next 72 hours, evacuate his people from the North or they would help him to do so.
In the statement, Arewa youths quoted Igboho as having said it was time for Yoruba nation and would no longer accommodate and accept the presence of northerners.
According to them, “This is despite the fact that the constitution of the country has made it crystal clear that any Nigerian can live in any part of the country irrespective of his or her religious and tribal leaning. The Arewa youth Assembly still affirms its position as a law abiding civil youth organization. Notwithstanding, it will not fold its arm and watch innocent Nigerians being threatened by individuals who clearly have no regard and respect for the law.
“As such, we will like to bring to the notice of Mr Igboho that since it is he who wants his people out of the North to form a Yoruba nation, we will make it easy for him by asking Mr Igboho to provide a means of transportation to convey his people to the southwest.
“We are hereby giving him the ultimatum of 72hours to move his people out or we will be forced to take necessary actions by personally taking the responsibility of getting his people back home. Igboho has continuously threatened the lives and properties of Northerners residing in the southwest for no reason. We have kept quite for the sake of peace and for respect of the laws of our country. But as Mr Igboho rightly said, enough is enough, he either calls himself and his accomplices to order or force us to retaliate the best way we know how.
“It is in the light of this recent event that we wish to call on the Northern elders, traditional rulers and all security agencies to support us in accomplishing this task of evacuating the Yoruba out of the 19 Northern States and the FCT Abuja, making it a very peaceful exercise devoid of loss of lives and destruction of properties or hijack by hoodlums to prevent the re-occurrence of the EndSARS protest,” they said.
In their immediate reaction to the 72-hour ultimatum, the Yoruba leaders cautioned the northern youths against beating the drum of war and warned of consequences of such action.
Avert disintegration by restructuring—Ayo Adebanjo
The new leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo said yesterday that the continued refusal by President Muhammadu Buhari not to restructure Nigeria may lead to the disintegration of Nigeria. Reacting to the 72-hour ultimatum by some northern youths that Yoruba people should vacate the north, Adebanjo said restructuring will douse calls for such ultimatum.
He said: “That is the pressure we are having from our youths and that is why we have been pressing on Buhari to do restructuring now. All the youths in the country are tired of this administration. All we have been saying is that if we do restructuring, there is no need to pull out of Nigeria.
You often hear me say that no restructuring, no Nigeria and as they are talking of elections in 2023, I have told them that they are just wasting their time. There is no country, let us have a constitution that we can all agree on and that is where I stand. I don’t want the country to break but if you continue to rule me under this constitution, to thy tents oh Israel.”
There will be consequences, Agbekoya warns
Reacting to the ultimatum, the Agbekoya Farmers Society of Nigeria, yesterday, warned Arewa youths of the consequences of 72hours ultimatum and forceful ejection of Yoruba from the North.
The group, in a statement signed by its President-General and National Publicity Secretary, Chief Kamorudeen Okikiola and Mr. Olatunji Bandele respectively, cautioned the Arewa youths to desist from beating the drum of war through their utterances and also called on Northern leaders, governors and politicians to restrain the Northern Youths, advice and guide them accordingly when it comes to public issues.
The statement reads: “Giving 72 hours ultimatum and forceful ejection of Yoruba from the North will bring about retaliation from Southwest and this may cause public disorder which may lead to war. The call by Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho asking the Yoruba living in the North to come back home does not warrant an ultimatum and forceful ejection because he himself cannot force any Yoruba who decides to stay back in the north to come back home.
Nigerians have never experienced this state of insecurity under any democratic government and have never been so divided against themselves like this. We need to reconsider our stance as a country and also re-examine the constitution that binds us together, because it is now very obvious that the 1999 constitution is a major problem. Rather than bind us together, it is tearing us apart”.
This is a theatre and tragicomedy—Akin Osuntokun
Also lending his voice, a former Presidential aide, Mr. Akin Osuntokun described it as a theatre and tragicomedy. Osuntokun said: “The one word to describe it is theatre. Please follow up with the Arewa youths spokesman giving the ultimatum. Ask him what he will do if nobody complies with the directive and thereafter expose him for the empty barrel he is. Nigeria has become a joke and these neo-Buhari clowns are the traveling theatre practitioners.
Fundamentally, it is a reflection of the Buhari dispensation and the tragicomedy it has become. All these would have been so funny were it not so tragic.”
They should return home—Olukoya
On its part, the Ilana Omo Oduduwa urged Yoruba resident in the north to return saying it was long overdue. Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr Folashade Olukoya said: “Igboho asked them to come home. We have been telling them for the past 10 years to come home. They will just be collateral damage.”
We don’t react to childish rants—Omololu
National Organising Secretary of Afenifere, Abagun Kole Omololu, in his own reaction said “Afenifere don’t react to childish rants. Uncultured statements by Arewa youth do not gain our attention.
No group has right to ask other Nigerians to vacate—Dr Olajide
Dr Kunle Olajide, Secretary-General, Yoruba council of Elders YCE said “Nobody, no group of person anywhere in Nigeria, has the right to ask any citizen from whatever part of the country living lawfully anywhere in Nigeria to vacate. And in any case, the Arewa youth perhaps might not even be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and they do not have any legal standing.
Nobody has that right at all. No group of Nigerians anywhere known by any name has the right to ask any other group of Nigerians residing lawfully in the territory of Nigeria to vacate, they apply to all socio-cultural orgnisations, youth inclusive. For me, the treat should be ignored, however, the attention of relevant authorities, especially the Inspector General of Police should be called to that threat and the leadership of the group must be summoned for interrogation,” he said.
The north should also articulate their stand—Ajibulu
Niyi Ajibulu, Secretary, Ekiti Council of Elders said, “the statement of the Arewa youth is contradictory, I don’t think they know what they are saying. No ethnic or tribal group has the right to ask anybody to vacate any part of the country. Even if we go our separate ways, you still have the right to live in another country of your choice. I think what the North should do, is to sit down as a group, their elders should also sit down and articulate what they want as well. The Yoruba have made their stand known, now they too should sit down as a group. It is not by piece meal reaction to issues. The Constitution that we are presently running says we can reside anywhere of our choice without let, hindrance or fear.
There’s need to re-edit Nigeria—Dr Faroumbi
Nigeria’s former envoy to the Philippines, Dr Yemi Faroumbi, in his own reaction described the ultimatum given by the Arewa Youth as a wake up call to Nigerian Government on the need to review the constitution and properly restructure the county.
According to him, the ultimatum sound unintelligent from a group which insisted that herdsmen from the north has the right to stay anywhere in the country but is now giving orders to a group to leave a region. Anyway, it is a demonstration of how ineffective our government had become.
For Arewa Youth to give one person directive to move Yoruba out of northern Nigeria is an incompetent thinking because Sunday Igboho has no control over the Yoruba anywhere and nobody to even lead. But the fact that we are getting all these lines of thought is an indication that our government has failed.
The primary responsibility of any government is the security of lives and property of its citizenry. When government fails to do that, then people begin to take laws into their hands with all these idle talks or idle threats that can threaten or break the foundation of the country called Nigeria and snowball into political problems.
That is the reason a lot of people think there is need to re-edit Nigeria. There is a need to rewrite the constitution that will take care of the agitation of the different groups in Nigeria. A genuine document that will take care of the people of Nigeria, not just security problem but also economic problem that lead to hunger which paved way for the present crisis in the country.
The economic problem is not peculiar to a section, everybody is feeling unhappy and when everyone feels that way we are paving the way for anarchy and if we don’t want anarchy then we must have a structured well planned and organised answers to the contemporary issues in the country”.
Nigeria has become unholy alliance——Akintoye
A former PDP Director of Publicity, Hon Zadok Akintoye, said “the comment made by the Arewa Youth Assembly vindicates the position of Yoruba leaders and elders that Nigeria has become an unwelcome and unholy alliance hinged on deception and falsehood. Rather than speaking in condemnation of the root causes of the disaffection by the Yoruba nation with the Nigerian state, this irresponsible organization is here underscoring the fact that necessitates the grievances of the Yoruba as expressed by Sunday. I will advise the North to rethink its position in its own interest.
We should solve the crisis at a roundtable—Oba Kofoworola
A traditional ruler, Oba Bodunrin Kofoworola, Aare of Ago Are appealed to all the combatants that going our different ways was not the solution to the crisis. He said, “Nobody can do it alone. Whatever issues that are involved, we should all sit at a roundtable to solve it. May God have mercy on us.”
There’s need for dialogue—Abiala
Former Nigerian Labour Congress leader, Comrade Olu Abiala, who also served as the Secretary General of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, said the ultimatum would not do the country any good.
He said,”We can’t say we don’t want to see each other again. We only need to sit down and dialogue.
This is not the solution now. The most unfortunate thing is that the president appears not to be ready for dialogue. The earlier President Muhammadu Buhari looks into the 2014 National Delegate Conference, the better for the country. The president should send it to the House of Representatives for deliberation.
“What is happening would not have happened if the government white paper on the conference had been released. It’s quite unfortunate that the combatants are at their wits end. They are not ready to shift ground. We didn’t attain the independence we have today without discussion. We negotiated it. If we still want to remain as one entity, we have to discuss it. We should find a way to cohabit under a mutually acceptable structure that every section will know they have a stake in the entity called Nigeria”.