2023: South-West groups list conditions before backing presidential candidate

A coalition of 57 Yoruba groups has vowed to ensure that the 2023 presidential election produces a candidate that will restructure the country and resolve the agitations for a change in the system of government in Nigeria.

In a communiqué to the media in Lagos on Friday, co-signed by Sunday Akinnuoye, Femi Agbana, and Ganiat Toriola, its representatives, the coalition said the forthcoming presidential election must produce a pro-restructuring candidate or the country risks an uprising.

The groups said political parties should know that the coming election will be different and will not be about the All Progressives Congress (APC) or the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) but about the people.

It added that it will take over the process and the campaign to ensure the will of the people triumph in the entire Yoruba region.

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Noting that it is aware of presidential aspirants like Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, and Bola Tinubu, national leader of the APC, the coalition said the Yoruba must choose who should represent the interest of the region.

According to the group, “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.

“We shall ensure this does not happen. The Yoruba people must decide their presidential candidate and work genuinely for him.

“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 mobilize for any candidate that genuinely wants to restructure Nigeria in the first six months of the post-Muhammadu Buhari era.

“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 groups alleged that the Yoruba have been taken for granted by the political elite who usually rely on money not ideas and that political leaders have emerged with absolute contempt for the people making it difficult for them to address the fears and aspirations of the people.

“We have studied what happened in Latin America and in 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,” it added.

“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.”

Some representatives of the coalition include Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Oodua Nationalist Coalition (ONAC), Agbekoya, South West Students Coalition (SWSC), Oodua Muslim-Christian Youth Dialogue (OMCYD), Oodua Liberation Movement (OLM), Apapo Oodua Koya (AOKOYA), Oodua Self Determination Alliance, (OSDA), Itsekiri Salvation Front (ISF), Network of South West Vigilante, (NSWV), Oodua Hunters Union, (OHUN).