OMMUNIQUÉ OF THE 2021 RETREAT OF AFENIFERE RENEWAL GROUP (ARG) WHICH HELD FROM 17TH TO 19TH SEPTEMBER 2021 IN IJEBU-IMUSHIN, OGUN STATE.
Theme: The Yoruba nation and emerging socio-political trends in Nigeria
Afenifere Renewal Group, a welfarist socio-political group, convened this retreat to reflect on the socio-political and economic landscape of Yorubaland within the Nigerian space.
The retreat reviewed, through expert and evidence-based submissions, the germane issues affecting directly and indirectly the socio-economic and political endeavour and potential of our people in the Yoruba homeland of Western Nigeria.
The meeting concurred that the Yoruba people, their well-being and economy had been at the receiving end of the failure of governance and policies of the unitarist mode of government imposed by the Nigerian Ruling clique.
The meeting further concurred that the Ruling clique led firmly by the Nigerian presidency has turned deaf ears to the loud clamour of majority of Nigerians for the country to be returned to a functional federation as opposed to the imposed Unitary form of government in place.
In view of the various submissions and proposals, the following were adopted as resolutions:
We are deeply concerned with the sustained and debilitating insecurity incidents across the country, which amongst others include kidnapping, maiming, molestation of Nigerians and in particular the economic deprivation of Yoruba peasant farmers from their legitimate occupation,
We condemn without any reservation the lethargy of all the security agencies that should have nipped these violent acts in the bud, and call on all security agencies to awaken fully to their responsibility. We call as well on all the governments in Yorubaland to as a matter of urgency collaborate with one another to strengthen Amotekun security agency to enable them offer reasonable level of protection to people in their domain. They should also explore the place of formal and informal intelligence gathering systems in the resolution of the problems in their joint domain.
OPEN GRAZING LAW
We commend the Governors of Southern Nigeria States for their boldness in enacting a law that bans open grazing and herding of cattle. We therefore call for strict enforcement of this law and charge community and our traditional leaders to help in the enforcement effort. We implore also, governments in Yorubaland to consider and implement as a matter of urgency agricultural policies that would assure the region sufficient food security, and also contribute to the livestock production basket of the whole nation.
We call on the Government of Ogun State which is yet to pass the Anti Grazing law to do so without further delay.
We noted that none of the persons elected to the positions of governor, National Assembly members and state Assembly members in YORUBALAND, from all parties, except a few living in the cloud, would deny that their people's clamour for restructuring Nigeria has now peaked since it started in 1993. We call on all of them to align strongly with the wishes of their people and subjugate their personal interest to that of their people.
We noted the unshaken faith of the Yoruba people in the need to restructure Nigeria captured in the Yoruba Agenda in 2005 as "Regional Autonomy Or Nothing and warn that the recalcitrance of the Ruling clique and the Presidency can only push moderate Yoruba people to the wall, as can be derived from the present clamour for Self-Determination. Nigeria may therefore be living on borrowed times as long as the strident calls for restructuring continues to fall on deaf ears.
We therefore reaffirm the need for an urgent restructuring of Nigeria. The debate that preceded the implementation of the Amotekun security initiative, the ‘inchoate’ nature of local council development authorities and the ongoing furore over collection and distribution of Value Added Tax (VAT) are symptoms of the breakdown of trust within the Nigerian federation, especially between the federal government and the state governments.
We therefore call on our President to acknowledge that he is not the only one in love with Nigeria's continued existence, Yorùbá Self Determination activists do, just that there MUST be JUSTICE and EQUITY for all Nigerian citizens. If however these are denied as the 1999 Unitary Constitution perpetually does, they should not be blamed for their clamour.
SOCIAL CONTRACT IN YORUBALAND
We reiterate that the acceptable Yoruba socio-political leadership is one that should protect the social welfare, interests, and values of the people. We demand, therefore, that our elected officials comport themselves as representatives elected to advance the interests of their people and not project themselves as pursuing only their selfish interests or as mere appointees of the Federal Government.
We call on all Yoruba men and women of goodwill, particularly our Royal fathers to GUIDE and uphold the ‘Omoluabi’ ethos and promote concerted efforts to address existential threats facing the Yoruba nation, including unemployment, erosion of social values and norms, rising cases of cyber crimes, and cultism amongst others.
These are clear indicators of a not-so-bright future for our teeming young people and it is therefore a matter of utmost urgency for all communities, our traditional institutions and governments across Yorubaland to develop and strengthen policies and programmes that promote identity, values orientation, skills acquisition and economic prosperity across Yorubaland.
Once again, we call on all stakeholders to address their minds to the points raised in this communique as a pathway to the renaissance that will usher in a prosperous time in Nigeria. ARG is ready to support all progressive ideas and practices to ensure that the Yoruba race returns to its vibrant and progressive self. Leaders at all social strata must hearken to the yearnings of their people at all times, irrespective of their partisan leanings.
Monday, 20 September 2021