A chieftain of now rested National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Chief Ayo Opadokun has urged South-West youths to probe any political office aspirant who seeks the vote of the race in 2023 general elections on his or her position on the Yoruba Agenda before they are voted for.
Opadokun spoke yesterday, 13th April 2023, at a conference by a socio-political group, Alliance of Yoruba Democratic Movements (AYDF) held in Lagos. He noted that the Yoruba race has an agenda and plan to move forward in the Yoruba speaking states and as such 18 committees were set up to take care of issues that affect the Yoruba nation.
AYDF, a coalition of 111 pan-Yoruba and civil society organisations organised the two-day conference on the 2023 election with a theme: “Democracy and the Future of Yoruba Nation.”
Mr Opadokun noted that the Yoruba race took the future of the race and that of the country seriously and came up with the Oodua Development Council which was set up in the year 2000 and it was a pacesetter for other ethnic nationalities who set up their sectional movements after that of the Yoruba.
He maintained that neglect of the federal system of government is responsible for the retrogression of the country, adding that progress and development were recorded in the First Republic because the government was run on the tenets of true federalism.
Opadokun urged the electorate to ensure they vote for candidates that believe in the restructuring of the country because the way the country is structured now is warped and there is a need to make it better.
“The second and perhaps a much more fundamental matter for the younger generation to consider, request and insist upon is that aspirants who will soon be coming to you should respond to where they stand on the Yoruba Agenda. Since
In 1994, the Yoruba Agenda was harmonised under the chairmanship of the Late Professor Adebayo Adedeji.
“The political/elite’s position was harmonised with those of the traditional rulers at meetings held at the Ogbagba Court of the Awujale of Ijebuland when we thought that General Sani Abacha was going to organise a truly representative assembly of Nigerians to discuss and resolve the June 12 debacle “.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of AYDF, Mr Adewale Adeoye called the Yoruba race to utilise its population strength to attract political and economic development to the region in 2023.
He urged the race to promote sustainable development across their territories and promote youth and gender equality in the electoral process and political platforms as the nation prepares for another round of elections.
“We face internal, external and international threats to our livelihood. We are afflicted by poverty, lack of jobs, deprivations, exclusion and worst still, degradation of our environment, our streams, our mountains, our valleys, our forests and our livelihood; externally.
“We are at the mercy of marauders, terrorists, kidnappers, villainous spirit gangsters that have surrounded some of our towns and villages, in the West, East, North, and the South, including our seashores.
“These forces are not only for domination but are bent on exterminating us and taking over our ancestral homes.
“The impact on food security cannot be imagined not to talk of the impact on our forest resources that are vanquished and destroyed with impunity.
“For the first time, murders, killings and assassination of our people is no longer a terror masterminded by the state, but by alien non-state actors who are heavily armed and who killed without discrimination putting the whole territory in jeopardy.
“The acts of terrorism on our highways, our street corners, our towns and villages have polluted our sacred forests and groves, almost eliminated the night economy, restrict our freedom, deprive our farmers their trade, our fishermen their commerce and our communities their livelihood.
“The threat is no longer a shred of imagination. It is real. We live under fear, trembling and anxiety,” Adeoye said.
He however said that the future of the Yoruba people to a large extent depends solely on what the people want.
According to him, in the past years, voter apathy dominated the South-West political culture due largely to the disconnect between the Yoruba ruling elites and ordinary folks.
He, therefore, decried the trend, noting that there is a need for a non-state actor intervention to create an electoral paradigm shift.
“We are aware that there is still a sizable number of our people who will not participate in the coming 2022 and 2023 elections. We are aware some of them are registered voters and will not go out to vote in coming elections in line with democratic norms.
“The votes coming out from the South-West fail to reflect our population. This in future may affect our people in the context of local, regional, national and global politics where the population is power. We want our people to show their determination to use their votes to determine their future. We want our people to use their votes to raise political consciousness. We want the old Western Region now comprising six states to overwhelm the rest of the country through massive participation in any electoral process so that we can assert ourselves as one indivisible people, bound together by common history, shared dreams, and a common future for the prosperity of our people.”
In a remark by the Secretary of the group, Popoola Ajayi, he appealed to the youth to be more engaging in politics.
“There must be a synergy agenda that will cut across the leader who will lead us to a path to develop agriculture, economic development, governance band institution and Constitution amendment,” he said.
Ajayi also called for unity among Yorubas that cut across ethnic diversity for the common benefit of all to be at the forefront of political recognition.
Contributing, the representative of Kogi and Kwara states who is the National Secretary of Afenifere Renewal Group, Ayo Abere-oran charged the people to go and register for PVC (Permanent Voters Card) as a key to changing the narratives.
He expressed displeasure over insecurity in the country while commending the Yoruba security initiatives including Amotekun, OPC, Agbekoyas and other groups that have complemented the military and the police to provide security for the region.