Connect with us


The Afenifere Communique On National Issues…




By Bolanle Bolawole
[email protected] 0705 263 1058

The pan-Yoruba leadership group, the Afenifere, met penultimate Friday, May 14, 2021 at the residence of its acting leader, Pa. Ayo Adebanjo, at Sanya-Ogbo, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, to deliberate “profoundly on matters affecting the Yoruba peoples of Yoruba land” as well as “on national issues”, after which the group issued a communique.

Coming days after the Tuesday, May 11, 2021 Asaba meeting of 17 southern governors who also discussed the state of the nation and came away with profound resolutions that have set tongues wagging, the Afenifere’s own meeting could not but have been influenced by the southern governors’ deliberations.

According to the Afenifere, matters discussed by the group included the southern Governors’ meeting and resolutions; the ban on open grazing by herdsmen and the attacks on southern communities; restructuring and threats of secession; calls for a national dialogue; and plans by the National Assembly to hold public hearing on constitutional amendment.

The Afenifere added that “after exhaustive deliberations on these issues”, resolutions were made: That Afenifere was in total support of the decision of governors of the 17 southern states in Nigeria banning open grazing of livestock in any of the states that they control (and) that although Afenifere felt that the declaration by the governors ought to have come long before now, given the atrocities that have arisen from open grazing, it was better late than never; that despite various steps taken and appeals made by state governments and communities, herders continued to graze their cattle on farms (and that) when the farmers tried to protest, they were harassed, maimed and sometimes killed. “Our female folks are raped. This is a very important reason for the need to completely outlaw open grazing with severe penalties for any violator”, reasoned Afenifere.

ALSO READ: Attack On Police: Anarchy And Disintegration Imminent

In its third resolution, Afenifere expressed delight that “restructuring as a workable recipe for stopping Nigeria from falling apart is becoming more popular and winning converts on a daily basis. We are delighted because restructuring is something we have been advocating for a long time. From around 1953, Afenifere had been advocating for a Federal System of Government for Nigeria. A Constitution based on Federalism was operating in the country until 1966 when the military consigned the Constitution into the dust bin. Since then, Nigeria has not been enjoying true federalism. We in Afenifere believe very strongly that failure to practise federalism and increasing Unitarisation of the country are largely responsible for the travails Nigeria is suffering today – and will continue to suffer – unless Nigeria is restructured! We have no doubt about this at all. We are happy to note that some who were either opposed to restructuring or hesitant to (embrace) it are now embracing it. We, therefore, demand that restructuring should be effected NOW!”

In its fourth and fifth resolutions, Afenifere expressed misgivings about efforts to review the 1999 Constitution because it considers it more appropriate for the said constitution to “be jettisoned” in its totality…but “when the 8th National Assembly called for Memoranda on Constitutional Review, we submitted a Memorandum…since we don’t have any document other than this 1999 Constitution with which the affairs of the country is being run…”

That must have been a hard choice for the Afenifere who, seemingly left with no other choice, felt it was “sensible to submit a Memorandum that clearly states our own position” while hoping “that the National Assembly will be sincere in its effort at reviewing the Constitution”. Such sincerity! The same that the fox demonstrates towards the cock! That cuts a pitiable and sorry sight! Playing along with a pliant legislature does nothing to advance the people’s struggle; if anything, it strengthens the beneficiaries of the status quo ante and helps them to further entrench themselves while taking the people for a ride. But we digress!

Today’s focus is Afenifere’s Ijebu-Ode meeting and its communique. The Afenifere’s support for the South-wide ban on open grazing is laudable. The weight and influence exerted by Afenifere in this respect should further encourage and buoy the confidence of the Southern governors. Afenifere, however, should not stop at that; it should lean on the governors, particularly those from the South-west, to walk the talk by backing up the ban with appropriate laws passed in their respective House of Assembly. Fortunately, the conference of House of Assembly speakers from the same southern states has also backed the Asaba resolution. Without this law, Asaba declarations will be like what William Shakespeare described as “…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

Afenifere said Asaba should have happened earlier than it did; that was right. For too long the governors behaved like King Nero who fiddled while their territories were set on fire by arsonists and their people put to the sword by blood-thirsty hounds parading or disguising as herdsmen. Worse, some of the governors were even complicit in these heinous crimes, singing praises of Abuja; afraid to speak truth to power like Samuel Ortom of Benue state has repeatedly done; and concerned more with being in the good books of the Abuja cabals than defending and promoting the interests of their own long-suffering people . So, it is possible Afenifere is aware of the duplicity of some of the governors and the need to give them close marking. From grapevine sources, some of the governors reluctantly went to Asaba and grudgingly put pen to paper. Their feet must constantly be held to the fire if anything tangible is to come out of the Asaba declaration.

The Abuja cabals, the Fulani presidency and other Fulani leaders have already spoken out against Asaba. They will not stop at that. Recall that this same way was how they attacked Amotekun, the South-West security outfit, until they got some of the South-west governors to develop cold feet on it. That way, they whittled down Amotekun. Had the enthusiasm that birthed Amotekun been sustained, the South-west by now would most likely have overcome its security challenges. Except care is taken, Asaba may suffer a similar fate. Read the lips and hips of the southern governors on the Asaba declaration in the days, weeks, and months to come, especially after their upcoming meeting with Buhari.

ALSO READ: PTI Matriculates Students For 2020/2021 Academic Session

Afenifere lamented that “despite various steps taken and appeals made by state governments and communities, herders continued to graze their cattle on (the) farms of our people (and that) when the farmers tried to protest, they were harassed, maimed and sometimes killed. Our female folks are raped. This is a very important reason for the need to completely outlaw open grazing with severe penalties for any violator” But it has not always been so! The new phenomenon of herdsmen’s bestiality is an offshoot of the Buhari administration, which, ipso facto, is a Fulani government. Afenifere must know that Buhari has an agenda. Buhari is the Life Patron of Miyetti Allah. His government is the government of the Fulani by the Fulani and for the Fulani. Buhari and his people have cornered all the critical institutions of government, including the National Assembly that the Afenifere is banking upon to review the 1999 Constitution. Wishing thinking! A tall order is to expect that the NASS controlled by Buhari and his stooges will review the 1999 Constitution to relax the Fulani domination of, and power hegemony over Nigeria! Frederick Douglass told us a long time ago (1857) that “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will…” If Douglass appears a stranger and 1857 seems far away, how about our own Fela Anikulapo-Kuti who told us that if we want to enjoy freedom, liberty and the good things of life, we must be prepared to fight for it?

My fathers and brothers in Afenifere, for how long will you wait for Godot? You have waited since 1953! If they are deceiving you, don’t deceive yourself! Why waste your time on “apon ti o yo”, if we must quote Shina Peters? The younger generations are tired of the cold comfort that the Fulani and those taken in by their guile and deceit have characteristically poured on our struggles, thereby dulling the sharp edges of our sword. Enough! Let Afenifere be told that the Path to Yoruba Liberation and Freedom is not through the Fulani-controlled National Assembly, dominated by reactionary and retrogressive elements from top to bottom. Effective mobilization of the Yoruba vertically and horizontally to fight for their rights is the right thing to do and the correct path to tread. The Fulani will not give us our freedom and liberty on a platter. We have to snatch it!

Afenifere said it has advocated for restructuring since 1953; pray, what has it got to show for it? That’s before Independence and Afenifere has been taken for a ride by those who insist they own Nigeria. Those who are audacious enough to say to our face that Nigeria is their father’s patrimony are not those who, in another breath, will accede to true federalism. We have to force them to relinquish control. We must wrestle them to the ground before we can collect from them what is rightfully ours. Pardon me if I say that from the Afenifere’s own admission or confession, their tactics since 1953 have failed. Nothing suggests it will now succeed. And you cannot continue to apply the same failed measures and expect a difference result. If the Yoruba must liberate themselves, they have to look beyond the National Assembly.

I have heard it said that there are fifth columnists within the ranks of many pan-Yoruba organisations; moles who are paid agents of forces bent on keeping the Yoruba in chains; those who run with the hare but hunt with the hounds; those who make fiery pro-Yoruba speeches in the day time but receive sacks of blood money from the reactionary forces at night – those who have fed fat on the nationalist struggle of the Yoruba from time immemorial – but an end must now come to such shenanigans. Before now, the field had been left wide open for a handful of Yoruba leaders who did as they pleased, bestriding the Yoruba space as a colossus unchallenged. We serve notice: No more! I dare to say that this is the age of enlightenment. Thanks to social media! “Oju ti la”, as they say, and this message is not for Afenifere alone but also for all groups and organisations involved in the Yoruba self-determination struggle! No more shall the destiny of the Yoruba be decided upon or traded away in the closets of a few individuals.

Oh yes! Whether restructuring or self-determination will be decided by us – not for us! Whoever is not ready to listen to us should not pretend to speak for us – least of all lead us! The preferred or proffered solution of 1953 (when I was not yet born!), no matter how well-intentioned, cannot but have become outdated and anachronistic in today’s fast-changing digital age. Besides, the Fulani of today are not the same as the Fulani of 1953. The parameters, having changed radically and drastically, then, the solutions must not be static or stagnant. That is speaking realistically!


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending News