The Afenifere Renewal group, Pan-Yoruba Association, said the recent attempt by President Goodluck Jonathan to persuade the Yoruba nation to support his re-election bid is too late.
The group disclosed this in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, where he described the Yoruba Progress Summit, which held last Friday, in Ile-Ife, as an afterthought and a futile effort to “sneak the President into Yoruba land through the backdoor.”
“For the past five years under his administration, the Yoruba people have been deliberately marginalized and skewed out of national reckoning, especially in terms of key appointments and opportunity to partake in key sectors of the economy.
“We are surprised that President Jonathan believes the position of the Speaker, over which he has no control, is enough to atone for the deliberate marginalization in key appointments, over which he has control," he added.
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“In any case, we do not need a ‘Progress Summit’ in Yoruba land. We already have a progressive culture based on democratic and egalitarian values. What the Yoruba nation needs is how to be delivered from the retrogressive forces imposed on us by the Nigerian state.
“The Yoruba nation was well ahead in terms of development until the forced union called Nigeria began to steal our institutions from us. The Obafemi Awolowo University, being one of the stolen institutions, is good only to address the need to restructure Nigeria, not for an effort to sustain the status quo.”
According to The Punch newspaper, the group said the Yoruba nation would only be pleased by a return to regional government through the maximum devolution of powers and a return to parliamentary democracy.
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The group stated that regionalism was the best form of governance that would give different regions the chance to develop at their pace and contribute their quota to Nigeria’s development.
The summit was dismissed by the group saying it was convened by people who are pretending to be leaders of the Yoruba people.
“Those Yoruba persons parading themselves as leaders of Yoruba people know that leadership in Yoruba land resides in treasured virtues of Omoluabi and Afenifere philosophy, not necessarily in persons. Yoruba people know their leaders.
“We dare say that more than any so-called leader at that event, those students, who braved all the odds to tell Mr. President the truth, are the true leaders, irrespective of their ethnic origins. ARG, therefore, salutes the courage of those students who spoke truth in the face of oppression and we enjoin every Nigerian to replicate their courageous act,” the statement concluded.