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Yoruba Groups Set Conditions for 2023 Polls, Fire Buhari for Allegedly Failing to Address Citizens’ Fears, Aspirations

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

Ahead of the uncertain 2023 elections, some concerned Nigerians have started to attack President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing his All Progressives Congress (APC) administration of so far failing to address the fears and aspirations of the suffering citizens.

Already, a rainbow of Yoruba groups met in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, with a vow to ensure that the ordinary people of the Western Nigeria determine the future of elections in the region.

They have now adopted the name, Alliance of Yoruba Democratic Movement (AYDM), stressing that ethnic conflict, violence and the national question are critical issues that must be resolved, if elections have to be meaningful and impactful in Nigeria.

The Yoruba groups said it will soon launch an opinion poll across their region including Kwara and Kogi State to feel the purse of the people on presidential aspirants in the context of the future of democracy and elections in the region.

They vehemently decried the attacks on Yoruba territories by armed groups, the latest being the violence visited on Molege and Arimogija in Ose Local Government area of Ondo State by armed herdsmen.

Before now, the 57 Yoruba and civil society groups had earlier met in Lagos and resolved that any election in Yoruba territory should be about the resolution of the National Question and nothing more.

They are made up of artisan and Pan-Yoruba groups, civil society, workers unions have now increased to 84 as more groups enlist in the coalition which focal point is the old Western Region including Edo, Delta and also Kwara and the Kogi States.

The group said any presidential aspirant from the West will receive the support of the people if the focal point of the election is to resolve the lingering National Question without which credible future elections and sustainable developments are impossible.

Their General Secretary, Popoola Ajayi, in a statement after their latest Lagos meeting, said many Yoruba people are tired of elections that have failed to address the fears and aspirations of the long-suffering people.

‘’Election has become a private political affair to achieve the individual ambitions of professional politicians and no longer about the people. Voting is now more about members of political parties and not about the people.

‘’Democracy is gradually becoming government of the political parties, by the political parties and for members of the political parties. This must change. The people must seize their destiny with both hands.”

The group said it is aware of various tendencies in the old Western Region including those who want a break-up in the country and those who want the election not to hold at all.

The alliance said the demand for a break up of Nigeria by some ethnic groups is based on long-standing injustice, corruption, skewed and anti-people constitution and the rise in terrorism that appears to be supported by some people in power.

It said if elections must hold in Yoruba territories, the people should be the deciding factor, not money, or sharing of material inducements that destroys the moral fabric of the nation.

“We are preparing to mobilise Yoruba people, the poor, the middle class, the haves and have-nots, artisans, market men and women, deprived and the privileged so that real democratic power will be in the hands of the people. Democracy is government of the people by the people and for the people. It means the majority must have their say and they must have their way, not a tiny cabal.”

The group said it has set up committees to meet with groups and associations in the five geopolitical zones to work out a trans-regional alliance.

Among those who attended the meeting were representatives of the Nigerian Automobile Technicians Association, (NATA), with some five million members in the South West alone and other artisan associations, ANNACOWA (the association of Okada Riders in the South West) and Okada Riders Association of Nigeria, and Oodua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC).

Others include Agbekoya represented by Chief Kunle Oshodi, Apapo Oodua Koya, (AOKOYA), Oodua Peoples Congress, (New Era) led by Alhaji Rasaq Arogundade, South West Women Congress, (SWOG), Coalition of Oodua Student Associations (COSA), Covenant Group, (CG), Network for Yoruba Alliance, (NEYA), and Oodua International Democratic Movement, (OIDEM).

Also at the meeting were Ikale Peoples Coalition, (IPC), Edo Peoples Alliance, (EPA), Network of Itsekiri Unions, Oodua Hunters Union, (OHUN), Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC Reformed) led by Alhaji Taofik Adeyemi, Liberty Movement, South West Progressive Peoples Movement, (SWPPM) representatives of Yoruba communities in the North and some West African countries among many others

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