Amid agitation for Biafra Republic in the southeast, a southwest group, the Yoruba Liberation Command (YOLICOM) has declared secession from Nigeria.
The group which made the declaration in Lagos on Thursday, July 27, sought the creation of Oduduwa Republic, Vanguard reports.
The spokesperson for the group, Opeoluwa Akinola, at a press conference held at Ogba said it was time for the Yoruba nation to exit Nigeria which he said was being dominated by the Fulani north.
The group rejected the calls for restructuring, noting that Nigeria will never be genuinely restructured by the present crop of political leaders.
It said: “We totally reject the idea of restructuring as proposed. It is an attempt to restructure Nigeria on their own terms and not on the terms of the people. Nigeria will never be genuinely restructured by the present crop of political leaders who are themselves beneficiaries of the same skewed system.
“Even if the country will be restructured, it will pass through the National Assembly, which was created during the era of military rule of the Fulani to ensure an upper hand for the Fulani North. The National Assembly is an organ of the Fulani and their agents, so also is the Nigerian military, which has continuously been used to repress, intimidate and humiliate Nigerians.”
The group says what the South-Western Yoruba region needs now is Oduduwa republic.
The group also said it is in support of the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra for self actualization irrespective of whatever hate speech he has been accused of. It said it wants an end to marginalization of some regions in the country and sought for a relation with the Biafra nation by the Oduduwa republic.
Biafra Republic Agitators
The full statement released by the group read:
“You will recall that since 1914, when Nigeria was amalgamated at gun point, the country has been thrown into one turmoil or the other. For over a century, Nigeria has failed to meet the international benchmark of socio political and economic development.
“The only references to Nigeria’s grandeur were the striking achievements of the then three regions of South West, South East and the North. Since the collapse of federalism and the three tiers founded to a large extent on the civilisations and values of the ethnic configuration in the country, Nigeria was remained in the tunnel of misery, pangs and pains, including the fact that the country was plunged into an avoidable civil war that took now fewer than I million lives.
“Since the end of the war, millions of Nigerians as individuals and collectively as a society, have continued to wage and fight wars of survival characterised by extreme hunger and lack of the essentials of life like housing, good water, shelter, health and drinkable water. It has been most traumatic for the Yoruba Nation, which, between 1953 and 1966, raised one of the most advanced political economies in Africa and in the entire black world, parring on the same level with many countries in Europe by the standard of the time.
“The Yoruba educational, cultural and political institutions were not only some of the best in Africa, the then Western Region gave hope to the entire black world with the highest Human Index development in Africa by the rating of the UNDP. The destruction of the regional system of government has turned Nigeria into a unitary state dotted with a savage vulture of corruption, ineptitude, inefficiency, moral degeneration, deaths, violent crimes and now violent religious extremism.
“The so called democracy is nothing but the imposition of individual will through an orchestrated mass corruption where the poverty of the voters is exploited for electoral gains by politicians seeking political offices. Democracy is not about the interest of the few elected people and their cronies. Democracy is now government of the party for the [party leaders and by the party members.
“Since 1914, the recurrent question has been: Should Nigeria remain one or not? Should the bottled up energies free s and liberate themselves from the shackles of misery, the fetters of iron and the muddy mess of agony or they should remain in eternal slavery? The question has come up again in the past few months with various groups making demands.
“You will agree with me that the self-determination groups in Nigeria are the engine of our history today. We have the largest population with which all the members of the main political parties in Yorubaland combined together cannot equal. Our members are not in these movements for personal gains like we have in the political parties. Our members are in these organisations to make sacrifices and if necessary lay down their lives for the Yoruba nation.
“We wish to announce to this important gathering, that we in YOLICOM representing some of the finest leaders of self-determination groups from across the Yoruba nation, has weighed the options extensively. For the past three months, we have been consulting with all the Yoruba self-determination groups, meeting poor and malnourished Yoruba people, talking to our people in the villages, towns and on the hills and mountains in the rural communities of Yoruba nation.
“In the light of the foregoing, and in response to the occurrences in Nigeria of the past few months, including but not limited to the releases, utterances and comments certain groups representing the Igbo nation in Nigeria, IPOB (The Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB) among others to the effect that they desire to leave Nigeria and cease to be called Nigerians; and certain groups representing the (AREWA) people of Northern Nigeria, to the effect that the Igbo people should vacate the territory of Northern Nigeria before October 1st, 2017.
“That we support the aspirations of the Igbo Nation irrespective of the unfortunate hate speeches, infantile savage utterances of a certain Nnamdi Kanu, who appears to have singled out Yoruba Nation for ridicule and revulsion. We take solace in the fact that we work with many large-hearted, better-exposed, principled and consciousness Igbo leaders who have a richer sense of history and understands better the complex nature of nation building and who also realize that importance of alliances, networking in statesmanship and international friendship and solidarity. We look forward to a viable and mutual relationship to the future Igbo nation, based on cordial respect within the framework of international best practices.
“We observe the panic measures of the government which has been to attack proponents of self-determination and even exterminate them. We also note the setting up of a committee to handle the issue of restructuring as led by the Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam El Rufai.”
“The Yoruba Liberation Command (YOLICOM), the core of the authentic representatives and defenders of the values, rights and demands of the Yoruba Indigenous people, rejects the deceitful and self-serving tactics of the Nigerian political leadership, an extension of the Fulani oligarchy. We now make the following declarations:
“That what we want as a people of Oduduwa Republic. We have no apology for this. That the Yoruba people wish to see an end to the over 100 years of bitter acrimony, ethnic rivalry, savage killings, blackmail of the Yoruba nation by some recalcitrant ethnic groups, herdsmen killings, forcing millions of our people to stop going to farms and the excruciating burden of coming from a country with the stigma of terrorism.
“That our people have endured for a century the misery of Nigeria, her destruction of our values and the inestimable cultural genocide inflicted on our heritage by the rogue Nigerian country. It is time for the Yoruba Nation to exit from this axis of evil. That we totally reject the idea of RESTRUCTURING as proposed by the Nigerian state and the political elite. It is an attempt to restructure Nigeria on their own terms and not on the terms of the people. Nigeria will never be genuinely restructured by the present crop of political leaders who are themselves beneficiaries of the same skewed system.
“That even if the country will be restructured, it will still pass through the National Assembly which was created during the era of military rule of the Fulani to ensure an upper-hand for the Fulani North. The NA is an organ of the Fulani and their agents so also is the Nigerian military which has continuously been used to repress, intimidate and humiliate Nigerians. Nigeria has become a burden on Yoruba people. We suddenly have been exposed to unimaginable threats of violence, wiping off entire families through clubbing to death, kidnapping of women and adults, savage killings, kidnap of school children, stealing of public wealth and the public display of the stolen wealth, with arrogance by the criminals, the complete annihilation and confrontation of the poor people by the Nigerian state and many other ills that were hitherto strange to our long-lasting ancient civilization and values.
“By here policies and material relations, the Nigerian state with her ruinous gene, is breeding a disastrous crop of younger generation of people in Yoruba land. This is unacceptable to us. That any referendum at this time will swing on the side of the corrupt and irresponsible political class who continue to use ill-gotten public wealth to bribe, influence and manipulate elections and all institutions of politics and economy.
“Democracy itself has become an element for all forms of crooks and criminals to seek legitimacy to continue to abuse the people and steal their resources in the most brazen, inhuman, primitive and callous manner. A developed country can never emerge out of the charade of elections, form and content of Nigerian version of representative government.
“That we hereby and here, display the proposed flag of the Yoruba nation as a symbol of mobilization of our long suffering people out of the huge slum and prison called Nigeria, a country built and sustained by corruption, blood shedding, malicious damages and total contempt for humanity. That the entire proposed Yorubaland Nation lies almost completely within the trough encompassed by the River Niger, to the North and East, River Volta to the West and the long stretch of the Atlantic Ocean to the South. This geographic space more or less roughly describes the totality of the area occupied by Yoruba people over the extent of our known history.
“This includes stretches of land from the West at the borders of Togo, through Benin Republic to the Delta end of Warri in the creeks of the Niger delta (between Longitude 2°30′E and 6°30′E).The upward sweep commences from the Atlantic ocean coastline up to the immediate westerly bend of the Niger river, (below the confluence) (between Latitude 6°N and 9°N). That we assert our right to self-determination as espoused in Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which recognizes Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, which includes the right “to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
“Article 4 affirms Indigenous peoples’ right “to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs,”, and Article 5 protects their right “to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions.”. Article 26 states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired,” and it directs states to give legal recognition to these territories.
“We in YOLICOM totally agree with the desire and demand of the Igbo to vacate Nigeria. It is within their inalienable rights to so demand. We shall do all within our powers to assist and encourage the Igbo to achieve this.
“In the same vein, we agree that the Arewa groups are within their rights to demand that all Igbo should vacate their territories within the time frame given. As the deadline approaches, we see the threat being actualized. We also see the quit notice is also directed against the Yoruba people. There are about 6.5 million Yoruba in the 17 Northern States minus Kwara and Kogi states.
“We only urge the international community to recognise that this expulsion order, however, has automatically grouped every other southerner, or non-Muslim northerner, together in the order, because there is no verifiable way to differentiate between the Igbo and the Yoruba, between the Igbo and the Ibibio, Efik, Urhobo, Itshekiri, Ijaw or the Northern Yoruba of Kwara and Kogi. The Igbo do not carry a mark on their heads identifying them as such. Therefore this is an expulsion order to all Southerners and people of the Middle Belt by the core north of North West and North East. By this order, the North has automatically asked its people resident in the south to vacate the south of Nigeria and go back home to the North.
“Southerners, and especially Yoruba people resident in any part of the North are advised and encouraged to come back home, to Yorubaland where they are guaranteed one hundred percent protection of their lives, limbs and properties. It is important you do not fall victim to the wholesale slaughters, massacres and all the horrendously horrible things the Hausa-Fulani are known for if we are to judge by past experience. In the confines of Yorubaland, they dare not try any of these crimes because they know we have the antidote to their madness. We hereby repudiate, repeal and destroy the amalgamation proclamation of 1914, bringing the peoples of Nigeria together by fiat has come.
“We hereby assert the right of the Yoruba people to self-determination. This desire will be pursued using all local and international instruments until the Sovereign Nation of Oduduwa Republic is realized within the shortest time possible.
“We urge Yoruba people from all over the world to prepare for this battle which will be waged with all the power and energy within our disposal. This is the only way out of the political and economic quagmire we find ourselves as the Yoruba Nation.
“We call on the United Nations, (UN) to immediately put the machinery in motion for the immediate dissolution of Nigeria. Set the captives free. If Nigeria fails to heed this advice to dissolve the unholy and cruel union, the perpetrators and beneficiaries of the parasitic nation will have themselves to blame.”
Meanwhile, governors from the northern region of Nigeria have cautioned pro-Biafra activists and those calling for restructuring to refrain from conducts that could risk the unity of Nigeria.
The governors gave the caution on Thursday, July 27, at a joint meeting of the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) and traditional rulers at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House in Kaduna state, Guardian reports.
Shettima, who was represented by the governor of Katsina state, Aminu Masari, at the two-day meeting which began on Thursday, July 27, said the hate speeches being propagated by groups such as IPOB and MASSOB are inimical to the unity of Nigeria.