Leader of Afenifere, the south west cultural group, Chied Reuben Fasoranti has lamnented the disunity among governors of the South-West, saying “unlike the recent demonstrations of camaraderie and unity by the governors of the South-South and by the governors of the North, south west governors have permitted artificial party affiliations to keep them apart”. Text of his statement is reproduced below:
Afenifere has observed with much discomfort the disunity among governors of the South-West. The relationship amongst “Their Excellencies” is nothing to write home about. This is clearly lamentable.
Unlike the recent demonstrations of camaraderie and unity by the governors of the South-South and by the governors of the North, our own governors have permitted artificial party affiliations to keep them apart. Instead of remaining focused to and pushing a common regional agenda, each state today proclaims, “To your tents, O Israel.”
Recently, South-South governors spoke with one voice, resolving to withdraw their commitment to the Federal Government’s amnesty offer to militants if government went ahead with a purported plan to relocate the proposed University of Petroleum Technology from Effurun, Warri, Delta State to Kaduna.
More than any other consideration, this single-minded resolve by the South-South Governors made the Federal Government to change its mind. Similarly, the Northern governors called an emergency meeting and spoke with one voice on the “Boko Haramun Case,” with a resolve to forge a common policy on aliens coming to the North.
Conversely, Yoruba governors failed to forge a common front on crucial matters affecting the interest of the Yoruba race. These include but are not limited to: The flagrant killing of Yoruba people, including National Youth Service Corps participants, in the Jos crisis of last December; WEMA Bank; the bombing of the Atlas Cove, the chief entre port for petroleum products to the South-West, an attack that inflicted collateral damage on our resources, kinsmen, facilities and interests.
The Executive Governors have also been unable to speak as one on pipeline vandalisation; local government and state creations; electoral reforms; resource control; devolution of power; true Federalism and true fiscal Federalism; poor road network spanning the entire South-West; Northernisation of Federal appointments; fertilizer allocation and distribution. It remains a poor commentary on our race that we are unable to present a common front on such crucial issues where our people suffer gross disadvantages.
The problem lies in the fact that we have compromised our unity. It is sad that rather than see themselves first as kinsmen and descendants of Oduduwa, politicians regard themselves primarily as members of People’s Democratic Party, Action Congress, Alliance for Democracy, Democratic Peoples Alliance or Nigerian Labour Party. Although this divergent following of multifarious parties earmarks the legendary liberalism of the Yoruba race, time has come for us to reemphasise Yoruba homogeneity, unity and common ties.
Our people have forgotten the words of our elders that “K’arin ka po, yiye ni nyeni.” Its poor English paraphrase will be “United we stand, divided we fall.” This also means that although we may have disagreement on the person or character of some of those leading us, we must sometimes subsume these in an overriding unity in the more important purpose of defending and protecting the collective interest of the Yoruba nation.
Afenifere will encourage that, for the welfare of our people, Yoruba politicians must cast partisanship aside and forge a united front. South-West governors must lead the way by breaking down all partisan Berlin Walls that artificially keep our people divided. Yoruba governors must come together to form a political power bloc wherein they will relate together for the common good of our indigenes and our citizens. They must form a South-West Governors Forum or the Yoruba Governors Forum.
This will act as an interest group for enhancing the socio-political and socio-economic development of our Yoruba people and Yoruba land. It will be the clearing house for policies coming from the Federal Government to the South-West or those originating in the South-West for adoption in all the states for the common benefit of our people.
This synergy must bridge together: Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State, Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, Governor Segun Mimiko of Ondo State, Governor Christopher Alao-Akala of Oyo State and Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti State. It will be to our corporate advantage if we can also to reach out to our cousins in Edo State, Delta State, Kwara State and Kogi State.
In truth, our people are disunited now than they have ever been. This can only be to the advantage of our common antagonists. The world over, the trend tends towards inclusive, expansive socio-economic power blocs like –the European Union, ASEA, ECOWAS, etc.
Our unity made us strong as a region under Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Today, although parties may differ, Afenifere wants politicians to strive to forge Yoruba into one strong power bloc. Our strength must remain in our diversity.