In a bid to sensitise people in South-West on the need for restructuring, a pan-Yoruba group, ‘Yoruba Koya’, recently held a peaceful protest aimed at telling the Yoruba race to demand for the restructuring of Nigeria’s political, economic and social structures for real development. YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE reports that the protest, which held simultaneously across all south-west states, reinforced the determination of the group to seek the welfare of the Yoruba nation.
The six states that make up South-Western Nigeria – Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun and Lagos – have taken big steps towards the calls for restructuring.
This formed the submission of a launched movement on April 13, 2018, when people in their hundreds, under the aegis of the Pan Yoruba Movement Group, Yoruba Ko’Ya, marched simultaneously around various state capitals across the six states of the South-West, as a way to sensitise the Yoruba nation to the peculiarities of restructuring.
The march also provided an avenue to speak against various crimes perpetrated in the South-West, which affected the Yoruba people, some of which include: destruction of farmlands by herdsmen; attacks on citizens by herdsmen; youth unemployment; food insecurity, as well as infrastructural decadence.
The pan-Yoruba group, which is made up of artisans, students, business men and women, bankers, retired police and military officers, just to mention but a few, enjoined Nigerians, especially Yorubas to support the agitation for restructuring of the country. They also called for a reawakening of the consciousness of Yoruba people to the hidden agenda of moves aimed at negatively affecting the Yoruba nation in the scheme of affairs.
At the peaceful demonstration, members of the group, decked in customised t-shirts, carred placards that had various inscriptions such as ‘We reject kidnapping, food insecurity, youth unemployment, infrastructure decadence, corruption in public service, farmers versus herdsmen clashes;’ ‘We demand housing for all, quality healthcare services, free and compulsory primary and secondary education;’ ‘We demand qualitative and affordable education, economic and political restructuring, transparent and accountable governance,’ among others used the opportunity of the rally to create awareness for its advocacy.
In Lagos, they marched from Ikeja Shopping Mall to the State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja where they submitted a letter to the office of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly. In Ibadan, the peaceful march went through Ring Road, to Agodi-Gate, Government House, Ibadan during which they sang solidarity songs.
In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, members of the Yoruba Ko’ya movement walked peacefully from Iwe Iroyin, the headquarters of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state, situated at Kuto, to the Oke Ilewo Government House with their banners, handbills and public address system,aimed at creating awareness. Similarly, in Akure, Ondo State, the group converged on the popular First Bank roundabout in Alagbaka GRA and led a procession to the front of the office of the governor. Aside the march, they also distributed fliers and gave sensitisation presentations like their colleagues did in other states. Another major rally took place in Ado-Ekiti. The group gathered at the popular Fajuyi Park, going through Oke Isa to Post Office road to create awareness for their advocacy against what the state coordinator of the Yoruba Ko’ya movement, Comrade Shina Awopeju, described as “balkanisation of Yoruba hegemony.
Some of those who participated in the marches across the six states, noted that the current political situation in Nigeria called for some sense of sensitisation, as well as restructuring, as there is a seeming lopsidedness in fair inclusion of the Yoruba in the scheme of affairs.
Also identified were the state of governance; high insecurity; deplorable living conditions of millions of Nigerians; high level of unemployment among the youth, as well as the state of the economy, which they said had contributed to the need for advocating for improved standards of living.
National Organising Secretary of the Yoruba Ko’ya movement, Comrade Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye, who was part of the march in Ado-Ekiti, spoke on the need for the Yoruba nation to rise up to its responsibility of ensuring sustainable development for its people.
According to him, Yoruba Ko’ya is made up of true sons and daughters of Yorubaland, who are united in the fight against mis-governance in all the six states in South-Western Nigeria and the organisation strongly rejects the current infrastructure decadence and poor economic growth in Yoruba land as a result of bad governance.
“Yoruba nation deserves much more in the current national politics in our country and we must all rise to this occasion by supporting both the economic and political restructuring of Nigeria, through a more transparent and accountable governance, especially in our region.
“We cannot continue like this and expect any positive change. It is annoying that the kaolin and limestone at Orin-Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State cannot be explored for economic development of my state without the permission of a minister in Abuja.
“The governor of Ondo State, Oluwaarotimi Akeredolu announced in July 2017 that Federal Government had granted his state permission to mine the bitumen deposited in Irele Local Government Area of the state, but till date, the licence has not been released officially.
“The highest oil block in Nigeria today is owned by those outside the oil producing areas. We are saying no to a unitary system in federalism uniform. I am calling on all Yoruba sons and daughters to take their destinies into their hands by rejecting the satanic marginalization of their nation.
“In 2016, Lagos State contributed 57% of the total VAT shared into all the 36 states of the federation through the federation account, yet the construction of the most economically important road in Nigeria – Lagos/Ibadan highway – remains abandoned without any justification.
“Every day, herdsmen are killing our people with security men looking elsewhere; the youths are on the streets in search of non-existing jobs. This must come to an end.”
The need for leaders to understand the importance of restructuring the nation to address the many needless challenges currently faced, was highlighted, and it was believed that such movement like the Yoruba Ko’ya, through its advocacy, could help convey the agitations of the different sub-nationals in the country to those who were in power, which would endeavour to ensure that the issues are addressed in a way and manner that is fair and equitable to all, without disrupting the sense of unity and oneness as a country.
According to the group, eminent Yoruba leaders such as Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi; Chief Deji Osibogun, Chief Executive Officer, Space FM, Ibadan; Pa Ayo Adebanjo; Professor (Mrs) Adetowun Ogunseye; Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu; Pa Rueben Fashoranti are its patrons.
As such, they called on the Yoruba political elite to rally round and support the Yoruba Ko’ya movement in its move to emancipate the region from continue relegation in the scheme of things in the country. They urged the leaders and major stakeholders in the region to adopt pragmatic approaches towards creating awareness and driving support for the movement for the sake of posterity.