Several pan-Yoruba groups have met in Lagos with a resolve to mobilise the region to ensure only a candidate who supports the restructuring of Nigeria emerges in 2023.
The groups said the people of the South-West will take over the campaign, own the process and ensure the region’s bloc vote like never before.
File photo used to illustrate story.
“We want this election to be different. The campaign will not be by money bags but by the masses, from home to home, street to street and valleys to mountains. Our people will speak with one voice this time,” the groups said.
The 57 groups vowed to ensure that the 2023 Presidential election produces a candidate that will restructure the country and resolve the lingering national question and the release of political prisoners, irrespective of the political platform the candidate would emerge from.
The group stated this in a communique signed by Sunday Akinnuoye, Femi Agbana and Mrs Ganiat Toriola and made available to SaharaReporters on Friday.
The pan-Yoruba groups said the forthcoming Presidential election must produce a pro-restructuring Presidential candidate or the country risks having an uprising.
The groups said political parties should know that the coming election will be different, noting that it is not going to be about the All Progressives Congress (APC) or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but the people on the streets.
The groups added that the pan-Yoruba groups will take over the process and the campaign to ensure the will of the people triumphs in the entire Yoruba territories.
The meeting was presided over by a prominent journalist, Mr Adewale Adeoye, who said he was invited by the groups to preside over the meeting.
The groups are to meet again in the first quarter of 2022.
The groups warned that the multiplicity of Presidential candidates in Yorubaland will be counter-productive.
The coalition said it is aware of Presidential aspirants like Dr Kayode Fayemi, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, adding that Yoruba people must choose who should represent the interest of the Yoruba people at the national level and not for the candidates to impose themselves as representing the Yoruba slot.
“We shall ensure this does not happen. The Yoruba people must decide their Presidential candidate and work genuinely for him,” the coalition said.
“We wish to see the National Question resolved immediately before the next election, but given the balance of strength, the Presidential election may still hold without the country addressing the critical issue of self-determination.”
“If this happens, Yorubaland will rise up to mobilise for any candidate that genuinely wants to restructure Nigeria in the first six months of the post-Muhammadu Buhari era,” it added.
The groups said consultation is ongoing with ethnic nations across Nigeria to ensure they speak with one voice during the forthcoming election.
The groups said Yoruba people have been taken for granted by the political elite who think the people do not matter. The groups said Presidential aspirants in Yorubaland usually rely on money and not ideas, adding that political leaders have emerged with absolute contempt for the people.
According to the coalition, such a situation makes it difficult for them to address the fears and aspirations of the people.
The coalition said, “We are meeting with other nationalities across Nigeria and the human rights community. We do not want the next election to be determined by the oppressors, but by the oppressed, not by the slave owners but by the enslaved with a new defiant spirit of resistance against an unjust system.”
The coalition said elections have been held by giving cash to voters which legitimised the right of the elected to look down on the voters and even turn against them.
“We have studied what happened in Latin America and Europe lately. The people rose up and voted according to their conscience. They voted for their true representative. This seldom happens in Nigeria but in 2023, there will be a radical change. The people will speak and the world will hear them loud and clear. If a popular election is annulled or the candidate delisted, the resistance will be more than June 12.”
“We have resolved to ensure only one credible Yoruba candidate emerges, a decent person that we can hold to his or her words, a responsible family man who fears God and respects the people, a candidate that is of high moral standing who is genuinely committed to resolving the knotty National Question,” the statement said.
The 57 pan-Yoruba groups said any Presidential candidate emerging from the South-West will meet the fury and rage of the people if restructuring is not considered as the topmost priority. Over 300 delegates attended the meeting held in Lagos on Tuesday.
“We want to assure Nigerians that the people can change the narrative of the 2023 election. This is possible. We can reignite the flame of liberty using the mass-based approach beyond political party divide,” the coalition said in the communique signed by all 57 groups. The groups drew representation from the O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC); Oodua Nationalist Coalition (ONAC); Agbekoya; South West Students Coalition (SWSC); Oodua Muslim-Christian Youth Dialogue (OMCYD); and Oodua Liberation Movement (OLM).
Others include Apapo Oodua Koya (AOKOYA); Oodua Self Determination Alliance (OSDA); Itsekiri Salvation Front (ISF); Network of South West Vigilante (NSWV); Oodua Hunters Union (OHUN); Yoruba Automobile Technicians Association (YATA-South West); South West Tailors Union (SWTU); South West Professionals (SOWPROF); Convenant Group, and several civil rights groups based in the South-West.
SaharaReporters, New York