By Nwangwu Uba
The call for practice of true Federalism which allows each state develop at its pace using it resources which started in the ’60swith the Igbos championing the cause which led to a three year -old civil war between the south eastern Nigerian regional Army and Federal forces, Has taken a new dimension withthe Yorubas which had been against it in the past throwing their weight behind it. now supporting the idea.
Political watchers believe that Afenifere, the Youruba , socio-cultural Organisation and the elders in the region coming out to support the struggle for practice of true Federalism in the country in the country may not be unconnected to increase in the crime rate which had been linked to the activities of the Fulani Herdsmen in the region.
Gani Adams, tAare Ona kankafo of Yoruba land , may have raised alarm about the Herdsmen kidnapping and perpetrating of criminal activities in the region in the region when he dared the Herdsmen: we are ready to flush out armed Herdsmen kidnapping and perpetrating criminal activities in the region.
Note that a summit organized recently by the southwest governors to discuss the rising spate of violence and crimes in the region which had been traced the Herdsmen, theOdua’a People’s Congress, OPC, were said to have sent representatives to the meeting. Victor Olayemi, Ondo state Coordinator of the group said they would have struck and stopped the herdsmen terrorising the south- west but could not go ahead without the backing of the governors and the elders of the region.
Adedeji Aladesawe, the Coordination Supervisor of the OPC, in Osun state, revealed that Adams, the Aare Ona Kankafo, who incidentally is the leader of the body wrote the governors and some prominent traditional rulers in the six south- western states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo about eight months ago on the infiltration of the Fulani herdsmen in the region but that was how far he could go.
In apparent fear of a likely break down of law and order in the region id the OPC members should carry out their threat against the herdsmen, the governors were said to have reached out to Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, the Inspector General of Police , IGP,and Heads of other security agencies to redouble their efforts to stop the atrocities being perpetrated by the armed herdsmen in the region.
Kayode Fayemi, a former minister of Solid minerals and now governor of Ekiti, according to sources is the most worried among
It was therefore not very surprising that Yoruba socio-cultural Organisation, Afenifere and the elders had to sit to avoid the region being thrown into crisis. The group and the elders were said to have buried their differences and ready to speak with one voice by reaching out to President Muhammadu Buhari to present their case to him. Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and National leader of All Progressive Congress, APC, was said to have prepared the ground for the meeting between the Afenifere, Yoruba elders including himself and the President at the Villa on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. The meeting provided an ample opportunity for the Yoruba leaders to present a five-point demand to the President.
One of the demands, according to Ayo Fasanmi, was a call for the deployment of additional policemen in the 774 local government areas in the country to tackle insecurity and true Federalism. The yoruba leaders did not want to sound as if they were fight for the interest of the south-west alone but in the interest of the security of all Nigerians. They may have adopted the strategy to force the President to act fast by issuing order to the IGP TO deploy more policemen to the local government areas across the country to tackle insecurity and crimes.
OlabiyiDurojaiye, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria, was said to have read Afenifere prepared speech at the meeting, which was binding on the other Yoruba elders including Tinubu, at the meeting. The Yoruba leaders had urged the President to further strengthen the police by giving the go ahead to the Police Service Commission, PSC, to recruit additional officers for redeployment in the local areas . They are optimistic that if the President could accede to their demand, it would go a long way to solve the high level of insecurity and the high level of crime in the regions.
They were said to have also suggested the training of the general public on how to monitor strangers in their localities and report to the police about their conduct if found to be inimical. They noted that ”imbibing such a habit and practice will give a tremendous boost to the police and other security agencies as to ”intelligence gathering and report”, particular now that people have
The Yoruba leaders
Perhaps, the height of their demand was a call for true federalism , described as the only way , the country be made great. The leaders, who could not hide their feelings appealed to the President to support the call for true federalism, insisting that it one way for the country to achieve the desired goal of unity even in adversity, mutual disrespect, tolerance and giving true meaning to the opening phrase of the 199 Constitution as amended: We the People.
In a voice laden with emotion, Senator Durojayi, who read the Afenifere speech noted that the country big size is an asset worthy of preservation because of hard work and prudent spending as obtained in China, India and the United States which have big populations.
The Yoruba leaders may have taken advantage of a recent Statement by the President that the need from true federalism at this time off the nation’s democratic development is now to harp on. He had told the APC, governors who had visited the villa , that it will be belabouring the point to say that ”true federalism is necessary at this juncture of the country’s political and democratic revolution”. This is an indication that even before the Yoruba leaders came up with the demand for practice of true federalism in the country, Buhari had already made up his mind to support it as a way of moving the country forward in the comity of nations.