A coalition of Yoruba groups and organisations in the Diaspora, Yoruba One Voice, has expressed concerns over what it termed ‘retrogressive and insensitive’ response of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to calls for restructuring and devolution of powers, warning that the Yoruba nation may be pushed to secede from Nigeria any time soon.
This is as the coalition in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Zacheus Somorin, appealed to the members and organizations in the international community to urgently commence the framework for the review of the country’s structure for peaceful dissolution.
YOV was reacting to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, that Buhari will not succumb to threats and undue pressure over the subject of restructuring.
The presidential aide had in response to a groundswell of calls for the restructuring of the country, said, “The Presidency responds to the recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the President to do one thing or another or else, in their language, “the nation will break up.”
”This is to warn that such unpatriotic outbursts are both unhelpful and unwarranted as this government will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the Covid-19 health crisis.”
Many Nigerians, including leadership of some socio-cultural groups including Ohaneze Ndigbo and Afenifere, MiddleBelt Forum, as well as Niger Delta agitators and respected personalities like Pastor EA Adeboye, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Aare Gani Adams, among others, have recently reiterated the call for restructuring of Nigeria.
According to YOV, the swiftness by which the Presidency through Shehu jettisoned the nationwide demand for restructuring in Nigeria is retrogressive, callous, and uncouth.
The Diaspora group stated that despite the fact that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Buhari rode on the wings of restructuring in 2015 to earn the votes of Nigerians, it stressed that the attitude and body language of President Buhari shows that he is averse to making the country’s system work seamlessly through restructuring.
“We expected that this administration will collate, digest and present assurances to Nigerians that President Buhari will do the needful by rebuilding the country towards inclusivity on the altar of restructuring, but the regime had other ideas wrapped in uncouth language. But Nigerians will not be cowed or shout down from making their points even in the face of threats.
“For a nation of over 200 million people, the incidents of the past weeks should have taught us that if any civil war happens in Nigeria, the casualties will be huge. That is why we are urging the United Nations, the UK, the US Congress, the Commonwealth , the British Parliament, among other international bodies, to urgently superintend over the peaceful dissolution of the country.”
Somorin stated that the YOV has placed the United Nations and the African Union on notice about their intentions, he said the Yoruba glory is being trampled upon based on how Nigeria is presently structured – politically
“It is clear that the current leadership of Nigeria is not, and has never been committed to the fundamental objectives and directives of the principles of statehood, policies of Federalism as enshrined in Chapter II of the Constitution that it derived its powers from.
“Our peoples are tired of terrorism, insecurity, hopelessness, injustice, killings, unemployment, inequality, corruption, scandals, violence, oppression, extortion, and assault.
“Whereas, our peoples are entitled to their inherent, inalienable rights to Self-determination and dignity of their persons in accordance with Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human and Peoples Rights of 1948; Article 20 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Article 1 of the International Convention Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”
Calling on Yoruba home and abroad to liberate the race from the shackles of bondage, the group said it has explained to its people in Nigeria that the reason for seeking self-determination is to save the country from impending implosion.