Yoruba leaders in the Southwest region might come up with a new political party ahead of the 2019 general elections with a view to demanding a new order for the country.
The indication surfaced on Saturday at a national meeting organised by a pro-Yoruba political organisation, Yoruba Patriotic Movement (YPM) entitled “Resetting the Yoruba Nations Agenda for Rapid, Systematic and Sustainable Development”, held at Jogor Event Centre, Ibadan.
The meeting, chaired by former Acting National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, a former governor of Osun State, had in attendance Yoruba leaders from across various political parties in the country. The leaders agreed that if a new party would not be founded, most of them could move en masse into an existing party.
It was learnt that the Yoruba political leaders across various parties might come together and form a political party. The YPM wanted all political leaders and their followers, which cut across
APC, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Accord Party (AP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Labour Party (LP) and others, to be in the only one political party that would be established.
The meeting agreed that there should be a Yoruba summit, Yoruba economic agenda and that all Yoruba groups should register under the YPM.
In his address, Akande said the focal point of the programme centred on unity in politics among the Yoruba, irrespective of party affiliation.
He said: “After this, whenever and wherever we will meet, even if not in my house, wherever we will meet, I must be there. However, we must understand our languages.”
Former Chief of Staff to ex-governor Adebayo Alao-Akala in Oyo State, Dr. Saka Balogun, who is the interim chairman of YPM, said: “We want as many as possible Yoruba politicians to be in the same political party. It might not be possible for all of us to be in the same party, but if most of us are in the same party, it would be more convenient for the agenda we plan to set to work out well.
“We are not seceding from Nigeria, but we are maintaining that we don’t want a situation where Yorubas will not be given the due respect or honour it deserves in this country. It is not compulsory that we establish a new party; it is possible that we all move en mass to an existing party. Such a party definitely won’t remain the same again.”
Former Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters to former president Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe, also noted: “We cannot but have a Yoruba agenda as long as we are in Nigeria. We must have an agenda. And it is not that we can come up with that here (at the meeting). But we must note it that we must have one.
“On restructuring of Nigeria, most people are misinterpreting us (the Yoruba) that we want to secede; that’s why we are clamouring for restructuring, but it is not true. Yoruba believe in our hard work. In the days of Awolowo, we can see what they made of the Western Region. Till today, both state and federal governments have not matched up with that standard.
“We are clamouring for restructuring so that we can have independence to harness our sweat, hard work and intelligence for the development of our people. You can’t compare educational setting in Ibadan, Ile-Ife and other parts in the Southwest with what is in practice in Maiduguri or Kano. One legislation cannot guide education throughout Nigeria, that is impossible.”
Okupe added: “In our agenda, we must re-echo it that education should be the bedrock of the agenda. Whatever it will cost us, we should be ready to give it. If we say we should wait till when Nigeria is ready to determine where Yoruba is heading to, it may spell doom. The constitution of this country accepts that we are a federation. And as a federation, we have the grace to call all Yoruba nation that this is the path we wish to tread as Yoruba people.”
Present at the meeting were former ambassador to the Philippines, Chief Yemi Farounbi; a leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Fredrick Fasehun; former aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe; and former military governor of Lagos State, Gen Raji Rasaki (retd).
Others were former Super Eagles chief coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde; former President General, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Bayo Oyero; a chieftain of Accord Party, Senator Femi Lanlehin; Aare of Efon Kingdom, Dr. Kunle Olajide; Secretary to Oyo State Government, Alhaji Olalekan Alli, who represented Governor Ajimobi; Prof Soji Adejumo; and Mr Tunde Adejuyigbe, who represented Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State.