The Pan -Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, on Saturday fired back at the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu for threatening that states in the South-west would not allow any agitation for Oodua Nation and that no sit-at-home order would be tolerated in any state in the region.
This is just as the group re-echoed that in the interest of equity, unity and fairness, it is the turn of the South-east to produce the next President of Nigeria.
Akeredolu who is the Chairman of the South-west Governors’ Forum had on Friday warned those agitating for Oodua Nation to perish the thought.
However, Afenifere, while reacting to the governor’s warning through a statement titled, “Akeredolu: Between Equity and Opportunism”, made available to journalists in Akure by its Secretary General, Mr. Sola Ebiseni, said the governor’s statement was most disastrously bereft of statesmanship and national conciliation and showed the governor was faced with the lust for political power.
The statement read: “The statement credited to Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State at the launching of an emblem appeal to flag off the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, unfortunately, confirmed the scarcity of statesmanship in our clime, particularly faced with the lust for political power.
“We have no problem with the governor playing to the gallery, as a glorified Chief Security Officer, urging that security forces clamp down on any person or group whose activities he interpreted as capable of disintegrating the Nigerian State because we are no less patriotic and committed to its continuing corporate existence. We are also in the same boat as him that “this country is very important to some of us” and the recognition that agitation and protests are rights protected in a democratic society.
“Our worry however is that Akeredolu, even as the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, would not, in deference to that high pedestal, wean himself from petty politicking, which sacrifices equity needed for national peace and cohesion in preference of crass opportunism. In short, his vituperations on that occasion were most disastrously bereft of statesmanship and national conciliation”.
According to the group, “the real intention of Akeredolu’s phoney sanctimony was unveiled when he declared that ‘it is not at this stage in the history of this country that we will repeat IPOB in Yorubaland. Opportunity beckons at us. We cannot afford to throw away that opportunity. We must work to ensure that there is a power shift. The opportunity for the presidency to come to the South, especially the South-west, is around the corner. We will not sit and support anyone clamouring for Oodua nation. We will not support it. We have fought for this with everything we had. Nigeria will be good”.
“Akeredolu is within his right as the South-west Coordinator of his party’s campaigns to imagine the opportunity coming his way and his party in the pipe dream of presidential power.”
The Yoruba group noted that it was “unimaginable that the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum would descend to the abyss of equating his pontification for the equity of a southern presidency with the hegemony of his or other ethnic nationality.
Afenifere argued that for Akeredolu to say that the clamour for Southern President was especially for South-west was not only most insensitive but also to make a fool of Akeredolu’s colleagues outside of South-west.
“No wonder then that the Governor of Delta State in whose office the Southern Governors’ Conference was held was the first to betray the cause by accepting the second fiddle position of the Vice President to the detriment of what has turned out to be their feeble declarations.
“The unkindest cut of Akeredolu’s new song was his reference to IPOB as if he had any control over the choice of a different modus operandi employed by different agitating groups in Nigeria. Truth be told, there is no region of Nigeria where the elite, including the ruling class in government, has been able to determine the methods adopted by agitators or succeeded in checkmating the effects thereof.
“So, let Akeredolu not boast of any capacity to dictate the method adopted by the Yoruba agitators or seek to set the rest of Nigeria against his Ndigbo colleagues or the entire South-east in his unhidden separatist agenda of securing undue advantage for his party and region in the quest for the Nigerian president of southern extraction.”
Afenifere added that “the true and real recipe for peace and continued corporate existence of Nigeria is an arrangement that will guarantee regional equity and not an ‘emi lo kan’ philosophy in the mode of King Louis’s l’état c’est moi”
“Incidentally, those who fought the civil war truly shed their youthful blood and have seen all about Nigeria, are now in the vanguard of the national movement not only for Southern but in the quest for the requisite equity are in the queue for the Nigerian President of South-east extraction. There lies the solution to separatist agitations and not self-serving sanctimonious pontifications,” Afenifere added.