We Want True Federalism – Yoruba Leaders Insists

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 the   southwest governors about the OPC threat, he is not leaving anything to chance.  He was said to have reached out to  the state Commissioner of police and other security agencies in the state on the issue.

Pa Ayo Fasami: Led Yoruba Delegation To Villa To See The President

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 access  to individual means of communications(handsets).

The Yoruba leaders were also touched the area of education, by  appealing to the Katsina state born Nigerian President to reintroduce ”Free Universal and Compulsory Education ” at all levels. They want the President to take cue at the practice of the policy in the southwest in the past and how it helped many people to acquire education in the region., an indication. Given that it was a  huge success in the region, the Yoruba leaders want it to be replicated throughout the country. Whether the President would cu into the idea remain to be seen.

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.

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