… want issues addressed in 120 days
We are in support of struggle – YCE
By Adeola Badru
Hundreds of agitators under the aegis of ‘Ilana Omo Oodua,’ yesterday, occupied the streets of Ibadan, Oyo State capital, seeking self-determination for the Yoruba nation.
The group, in a peaceful rally against what they described as the prevailing injustice and biases in the country, insisted that there was no going back on their demand for the creation of the Oduduwa Republic.
They gave the “two tiers of government” 120 days within which to address contentious issues in the country.
The protesters, which comprised various Yoruba groups, converged in front of the ancient Mapo Hall, under the leadership of Prof. Banji Akintoye.
Scores of security personnel were stationed at strategic points around the venue to prevent hoodlums from hijacking the peaceful rally.
The rally, which was billed to start around 9am, could not hold until about two hours later, due to the presence of the heavily armed security personnel who prevented protesters from gaining entrance into the Mapo Hall venue of the event.
Undeterred, the protesters later converged in front of Mapo Hall where they declared that the Yoruba nation has had enough of the burdens of the marriage of inconvenience in the country.
According to some of the protesters, the agitation for sovereignty followed the claims that the Nigerian Constitution had not been effective in the smooth running of the country’s affairs.
Among others, they listed alleged ethnic imbalance, lop-sided appointments into public offices, insensitivity of the present leadership of the country to the increasing waves of banditry, kidnapping, raping and killing of the people of the South-West region, as part of their grievances.
The protesters also said that they had lost faith and confidence in the country’s leadership and the electoral process, declaring that conducting the 2023 elections would amount to nothing but an exercise in futility.
One of the notable leaders at the rally, Bashorun Kunle Adesokan, noted that it was time for the Yoruba race to have a country of its own..
He said: “Yoruba have suffered enough. We are not in support of the 2023 elections. We are telling the politicians not to contest. They should not contest in order not to waste their money, because we will not allow the Yoruba to participate in the elections.”
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During a press conference shortly after the rally in his house at New Bodija, Ibadan, Akintoye said, having allotted 120 days to the two tiers of government in Nigeria for consultations and engagements with the issues raised by the NINAS Constitutional Force Majeure Proclamation of December 16,2020, the group has declared a 120-day period of consultations commencing April 17,2021, with the Peoples of the Alliance Territories with dedicated sessions for various segments of the Nigerian and the international community.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-determination (NNAS), whose address was read by Otunba Shade Olukoya, Treasurer, Ilana Omo Oodua and Chairman ,Steering Committee of NINAS, said: “NINAS offers the framework for activating this de facto governance imperative which begins with providing clear directions to our traumatised peoples and relating to the international community on their behalf.
“NINAS knows and hereby alerts the Peoples of the Alliance Territories, that the mad rush of the caliphate and its agents across Nigeria, to drag Nigeria to another round of national elections under the 1999 Constitution, informed by the Caliphate ‘s desperation to somehow resuscitate that Constitution in the sense that if, instead of taking down the 1999 Constitution forthwith (which is well now with the Constitutional force majeure),we (the Alliance) go for Elections under that Constitution, we will invariably give a fresh lease of life to that Constitution whereas if we pressing on as we are already doing right now, by rejecting further any national elections (2023 in particular) under the 1999 Constitution, that Constitution will be dismantled, decommissioned and jetitioned inside the first half of 2021, paving the way immediately for transitioning, referendums and emergence of successor-constitutional arrangements.
“Having allotted a total of 120 days to the two tiers of government in Nigeria for consultations and engagements with the issues raised by the NINAS Constitutional Force Majeure Proclamation of December 16,2020. .NINAS hereby declares a 120-day period of consultations commencing April 17,2021, with the Peoples of the Alliance Territories with dedicated sessions for various segments of the Nigerian Society, the diplomatic community and the international community..
“Let it be known that upon the completion of this first final round of consultations, mid-August 2021, should the demands of the Constitutional force majeure (CFM) remain unaddressed , NINAS shall proceed most expeditiously with the Activation of Reconsideration of Allegiance to the repudiated 1999 Constitution and commence processes of the orderly interment of that Constitution within the context of the self-determination imperative for the Constituent Nationalities Components of Nigeria.”
The group berated a former presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, for describing self-determination campaign as treason.
In the same vein, the Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, described the self-determination struggle as a worthwhile cause.
In an interview with Sunday Vanguard, Olajide said the struggle is a legitimate one, adding that the Yoruba have the right to demand self-determination.
“We have no objection at all for our people justifiably asking for self-determination, as long as they they promised us as they have done, that they are going to get it without bloodshed. So, YCE has nothing against them”, he stated.
“In fact, YCE is very unhappy with the state of the Nigeria nation, especially in the last five or six years. This administration has done a lot of damage. We have nothing against self-determination if we can have it without bloodshed. It is a legitimate right for Ilan Omo Oodua to demand Yoruba nation, so far they have promised us there will be no violence or bloodshed, because the country has been badly managed in the last five to six years.
“The situation has been polarised. Nobody really knows whether the President himself wants the country together or wants it to disintegrate. He has not addressed us to reassure us. So people asking for self – determination have every right to ask for it.
“As elders, what we are emphasing is we do not want any violent dismantling of this republic. It is better for all of us to be together, but if it is going to be one superior ethnic group against the other, then we better go ablaze”.