The Yoruba Self-Determination Advancement Forum has described restructuring as the only lifeline for Nigeria’s survival, threatening that the Yoruba will break away from the nation if there is no urgent move to restructure the country.
The coalition, which comprises over 60 Yoruba self-determination platforms, said on Tuesday that restructuring would be its negotiating tool to support any presidential candidate in next year’s general elections.
It said it was open to negotiation with former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; a former Central Bank of Nigeria Deputy Governor, Kingsley Moghalu, or any other presidential candidate who has strong commitment to restructure the country.
YOSEDAF, who said it had been deceived in the past, said this time any such candidate who approached it must sign an agreement with the Yoruba to restructure the country before he could get the support of the South-West.
The coalition addressed the press in Lagos on Tuesday.
In a statement jointly signed by its Convener, Evangelist ‘Kunle Adesokan, and Secretary, Kola Are, YOSEDAF disapproved of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, saying things had worsened since his assumption of office three years ago.
The coalition accused the All Progressives Congress of reneging on its promise to restructure the country, noting that “instead of restructuring, expansionist agenda, under the guise of cattle business with land-grabbing as the ultimate goal, has torpedoed the fragile unity of the country more than ever before.”
It said with the situation on the ground, the Yoruba were seriously contemplating “the likelihood of exiting Nigeria.”
“Indeed, that route is no longer a foreclosed option in the light of prevailing circumstances in the country since the injustice of June 12 was perpetrated,” it said.
“Our desire is that political participation would be based on restructuring and genuine federalism. In the last 19 years, however, our elite have either watered down our democratic ideals or consciously abandoned them. Those who rode to power on the back of such popular quests are today the greatest apologists of one Nigeria, at all costs – even at the expense of the Yoruba people. They really do not care if marauding herdsmen unleash terror on their people, insofar as they are in control of the government in the South-West. Such arrant nonsense cannot be allowed to continue,” the coalition said.
The Public Relations Officer of YOSEDAF, Francis Abayomi, said despite that Atiku was being accused of corruption, if he could guarantee the coalition of his readiness to restructure the country, YOSEDAF would support him.
The coalition secretary, Are, stressed that the proposed restructuring must guarantee maximum autonomy for the Yoruba.
He added, “You will come and sit down with us; we will negotiate and have an agreement. If it is a thief, (someone) that people have said is a thief, go and try him. If he is an armed robber, go and try him. If he is somebody without a certificate, charge him. Whether it is Moghalu, if he is able to guarantee that restructuring, let him come and negotiate with us and sign.”
Also speaking, the Leader of the Yoruba Liberation Group, George Akinola, said the Buhari administration had not benefited the Yoruba in any way.
“Tinubu led the entire Yoruba into the APC and into the present government without negotiating the Yoruba position by saying if the Yoruba support you, this is what we are going to get at the end of the day. Now, we have a government in power, we have a Vice-President that is Yoruba but we have nothing. What can we say we have gained?” he queried.