Yorubas in the six states of the South-west geopolitical zone extending to the Yoruba speaking tribes in Kwara, Kogi, Delta and Edo States Thursday ratified a draft Yoruba Agenda for the 2014 national conference.
Those who will represent the ethnic group at the conference were warned not to engage in acts capable of truncating the position of the Yorubas at the conference, otherwise they risk being declared persona non grata.
Present at the Yoruba summit where the formal presentation and ratification of the group’s agenda for the conference was done were leaders of thought and socio-cultural groups in Yoruba land.
Participants included Senator Femi Okurounmu, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Pa Olaniwun Ajayi, Chief Olu Falae, General Alani Akinrinade, Dr. Kunle Olajide, Ooni of Ife represented by Apetumodu of Ipetumode, Oba James Adegoke, Owaoye Oke-Mesi, Oba Gbadebo Adedeji, Olubadan of Ibadan land represented by Otunba Omowale Kuye and Chief Ayo Adebanjo.
Others were Aremu Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo and Sola Ebiseeni who represented Governor Segun Mimiko among several others.
Presenting the 15-page draft Yoruba agenda, Akinrinade said it centred on a new Nigeria consisting of a central union or federal government; and six regional governments, based on the current six geo-political zones.
The proposed government was defined to include all other Yorubas outside the main Yoruba states like those in Edo, Delta, Kogi and Kwara, submitting that there was need for both federal and regional constitutions.
Other areas of importance identified included a Westminster model of parliamentary government; the right to self-determination even the right to secede.
The group also seeks a just and equitable taxation system, that will make the federating units equal with the federal unit coordinating the others.
The Yoruba agenda also raised 15 other specific issues to be addressed including a new people-oriented constitution, true federalism, regionalism with fiscal federalism in varying degrees; roles for traditional rulers; special status for Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory among others.
Olaniwun Ajayi moved for the adoption of the proposed agenda as contained in the draft copy, and the motion was seconded by Oba Elijah Oyelade, the Salu of Edun Abon, Osun State and it was unanimously adopted by all in attendance.
The host governor, Abiola Ajimobi had earlier said that contrary to the view expressed by President Goodluck Jonathan, that the 1914 amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates by Lord Lugard was not a mistake, the amalgamation had caused the country pains and calamities.
The governor said, “as you all know, the Yoruba people, like all other ethnic nationalities that make up this country did not willingly join the behemoth that was to later become Nigeria. We were coerced by the British overlords in the evergreen magical marriage of inconvenience called the amalgamation of 1914.”
“This forced marriage has earned us several pains and calamities. It led to the 30-month civil war where the Yorubas suffered needless casualties in the course of fighting for the unity of Nigeria. The most recent calamity of our forced togetherness is the pain of the senseless killing of children in the North.
“I imagine that when a Yoruba man walks up to fellow humans in the world and he introduces himself as a Nigerian, what comes to the mind of his naive audience would be that he shares the same humanity, the same human and national space with those blood-thirsty hounds called Boko Haram. It is the pain of the forced identity of 1914.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman, Yoruba Agenda Committee, Olu Falae disclosed that what was being presented was not a new document. He maintained that the journey started as far back as 1994 with series of meetings in some of the palaces of Yoruba Obas to produce the Yoruba Agenda, which was modified in 2005 and revised in 2012.