Yoruba not ready to play a second fiddle in Nigeria —Afenifere

The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, yesterday said it does not reckon with the National Assembly, in the first instance, as having the moral right to amend what it called the fraudulent 1999 constitution

Speaking yesterday at the end of a meeting of Afenifere at his Ogbo country home in Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State, the acting leader of the group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to prioritise restructuring of the country ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Restructuring, according to him, is the only factor capable of guaranteeing the continued unity of Nigeria, warning that if the flawed and lopsided federal system being practiced today persists amid cacophony of agitations, the constituent parts may have no option but to demand “to thy tent oh Israel.”

Chief Adebanjo said: “We urge Buhari to bury the idea of holding election before returning to federalism by restructuring the country.

“There must be a country before elections are held. It would be patriotic of him to heed this advice.

“If General Buhari is sincere about keeping the country together, he must restructure the country now. This is the only answer to halt the disintegration of the country. To save Nigeria, restructure the country now.

“It is mischievous for President Buhari’s government to accuse advocates of restructuring as secessionists and separatists. It is the system that our founding fathers, the Saudarna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmad Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe agreed to before the British government granted us independence in 1960, after the collapse of Macpherson constitution in 1953.

“The clamour for the return of the country to federalism is borne out of the obnoxious provisions in the constitution which have made economic and political progress impossible, and this has been the main cause of instability in the country.

“Our resolve for the restructure of the country back to federalism is unshakeable. We assert we are no secessionist. It is those who oppose restructuring that are enemies of a United Nigeria; that all opponents of restructuring give impetus to secessionists.

“We do not believe in the National Assembly which is a product of this fraudulent constitution to amend the constitution. It is immoral and illogical for a product of fraud to amend the fraud.

“The Yoruba people are the only ethnic group that has never called for secession. We have invested in a united Nigeria that we will resist any act that will lead to its break up. We will be in Nigeria as equal partners in a federal Nigeria. A Nigeria in which we will play a second fiddle is most unacceptable.

“Therefore, our irreducible minimum condition of staying in Nigeria is a restructured Nigeria. Anything short of that is ‘to thy tent, oh Israel’. The unity of horse and the rider in which a section of the country is the rider and we the horse is most unacceptable.”

He also expressed support for the prohibition of open grazing of cattle.

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