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Southern Governors Resolution: The Position of Oodua Youth Coaliation

Damilola Adeyemo

AKURE – Press Conference was held by Yoruba youth groups promoting, preserving and projecting the values and dignity of Oduduwa land on Monday 17th May, 2021.

The conference was to declare support for the southern governors meeting at Asaba in Delta state for the possible and practicable solutions to the myriads of challenges confronting the Nigerian States, in particular the 17 states that make up the Southern part of the country.

In a statement, President Oodua Youth Coalition, Oluyi Akintade Tayo, stated the sole aim of the meeting which is finding a lasting solution to the problems facing the South. While five Yoruba governors of Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos, Oyo, and Ogun were present at the meeting, their counterpart from Osun, where the Yoruba nation originates from, was conspicuously absent without representation.

After the meeting, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who chaired it, read out the 12-point communique reached by these governors. The most important of these positions are the outright ban on open grazing, immediate call for President Muhammad Buhari to address Nigerians on the state of insecurity in the land, convoking a National Dialogue by the Federal Government and setting in motion the machineries for restructuring of the federating system of governance in the country.

Oodua Youth Coalition(OYC), therefore, uses this medium to formally support the positions of the governors and ask that the Federal Government, led by President Buhari, take action as soon as possible.

To return peace and stability to the land, with focus on greater subnational and national growth and development, OYC urges President Buhari to immediately address Nigerians on insecurity in the land, call for a National Conference, place a ban on open grazing and take all necessary legislations to see to the restructuring of Nigeria.

While we appreciate the different groups, bodies, unions, forums, associations and parties that have supported these calls and have come out to back the Southern Governor’s positions, we are concerned that their Northern counterparts have thrown caution to the wind, dismissed these important interventions and outrightly rubbished the efforts for a more peaceful, secured and prosperous Nigeria.

Days ago, Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State,had attacked the Southern Governors, with the hope of making those important declarations a battle between President Buhari/Federal Government and the Southern Governors.

Governor Bello also asked that the governors start these plans in their respective states. He must have forgotten

We will like to inform the public and Gov Bello that on January 25, 2021, the Southwest Governors, led by Arakunrin Akeredolu officially banned open grazing and ordered sanctions on anyone violating the rule.

This event took place in Akure, Ondo State. Then, on the first day of February, 2021, the Southeast Governors Conference(SEGC) converged on the Ecumenical Centre in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, banning open grazing. This was followed up by the first ever Security Summit in the Southeast on April 11, 2021 where they set up Ebube Agu, a replica of Amotekun Corps, the local security arm in Yoruba land.

Unfortunately, with the Southern Governors and Nigerians in general waiting for the quick and immediate steps to be taken by the Presidency to quell the rising concerns, President Buhari has jetted to France to attend a multilateral international meeting. The President, who promised to lead from the front, has abandoned us and left us at the mercy of kidnappers and killer herdsmen and bandits raiding our communities, abducting us and killing our people.

It is worrisome too that the likes of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria(MACBAN), Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria(KACRAN), Senator Ali Ndume, Prof. Usman Yusuf and other prominent names from the Northern part of Nigeria are calling for the heads of our leaders, tagging the position as ’empty’, furious that Fulani leaders were not consulted, saying the call is for secession and that it negates the 1999 constitution.

What could be more hypocritical than this?

These Northern leaders must understand that we are in a very dangerous situation that needs urgent and drastic attention and solution.

We have exhausted all means and dragged our feet enough. Lives are lost everyday. Families are torn apart. Livelihoods destroyed and properties consumed. All these are happening from Southwest to the southeastern part of the country.

The leaders of Southern Nigeria, with the governors of Southwest States actively involved, have tabled their positions. We support this great move and we will continue to defend and promote Yoruba land as an entity of the Nigerian state.

However, while waiting for these governors to stay true to their demands and see to its logical conclusion, we, at Oodua Youth Coalition, demand that the Southwest Governors implement these suggestions and positions in their respective states for equity and fairness. If we are asking for restructuring from the federating system, which automatically results in freedom and autonomy, the state governors should not forget that their state assemblies, local governments and judiciary are still in ‘bondage’.

We also demand that our state governors take seriously the physical, mental, emotional, social and financial development and growth of the youths in Yoruba land.

It is reported by statista . com that in 2020, youth unemployment had risen from 13.96% of 2019 to 14.17%. One wonders what would be the youth unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2021, with us just coming out of phases of lockdown, businesses and companies folding up thanks to COVID19, government policies on importations, inability to access favourable loans and capitals, unfavourable environment to thrive and other factors.

For avoidance of doubt, the #EndSARS protest, which was huge in the Southwest, was as a result of unfair and indiscriminate profiling, harassments, assaults, arrests, maiming and killing of young, innocent, hardworking Yoruba women and men by the Nigerian Police. This has to stop. It is worthy to note that the various Special Panels set up to seek justice for the affected victims of police brutality have yielded little or no result.

More young people on Yoruba land have resorted to drug abuse and are emotionally unstable, with cases of mental retardation and suicide unbelievably rising.

The governors of Southwest must formulate and implement youth-oriented programs and policies that will further secure our futures and the future of Yoruba land. They must, without prejudice, engage young persons in politics, governance, private sector and businesses to cement these as we own the now and the morrow.

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