June 12, 2014 – Afenifere Renewal Group has described June 12 as symbol of freedom from poverty and dictatorship. The group made the observation in a communique issued at a colloquium it organized in partnership with Yoruba Academy at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.
The colloquium which has the theme, ‘Working Towards a Yoruba Nation’, noted that the Nigerian state, as presently structured, has only succeeded in entrenching fault-lines that make the constituent ethnic nations see themselves as enemies rather than state partners. This, it noted makes the task of nation-building almost impossible hence Nigeria can best be described as a predatory state.
The communique noted that Nigerian unity today is forcefully upheld at the expense of Nigerians and that it can no longer afford its cost of rising poverty and unemployment, religious and ethnic violence, social vices, and terrorism.
“Nothing has impeded Nigeria’s development like the twin devils of corruption and impunity. Therefore the failure of Nigeria as a state fuels the search for an alternative political arrangement for the Yoruba people.
“The present socio-economic crisis in the current amalgam called Nigeria will still be experienced if a Yoruba nation is achieved.
“The lesson of the June 12 must not be forgotten. June 12 symbolises the fight for freedom from dictatorship and poverty.
“The Yoruba nation, within or outside the framework of Nigeria, should be built around the ethical values of Omoluabi and the cultural pedigree embodied in Ranti omo eni ti iwo ‘se. It must be a society where power and sovereignty expressly belong to the people at all times.
“We need a social order wherein the rights of common people take precedence over the rulers within Yoruba nation. This necessitates changing the ownership of means of production. The reality of a Yoruba nation is doubtful without putting in place people-centred policies. A new Yoruba nation must give priority to women.
“If the quest for regional autonomy must succeed, it must be firmly rooted in grassroots mobilisation, especially of the youth. The best way to mobilise the youth is to start addressing unemployment and food security, creating access to education and political platforms.
“We must focus on wealth creation. We are by nature self-sustaining people with societal premium on dignity of labour. Our cultural wealth creation means like agriculture must therefore be properly institutionalized”, the communique noted, stressing that the present political leadership in Yorubaland cannot lead Yoruba nation out of the quagmire. “Therefore, self-determination groups must unite in purpose. There is also the need for the re-orientation of leadership philosophies. Yoruba language must be deployed in the struggle for political autonomy. Our slogan must remain “Regionalism…or Nothing”, the communique said.