The Yoruba in Kwara State Sunday demanded for boundary adjustment in Nigeria to eradicate the problems associated with minority group, citing Section 8 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.
At a conference with theme “The Kwara State Yoruba and the National Conference”, organised by an umbrella socio/cultural organisation of all Yoruba of the South-Senatorial District of Kwara State, Yoruba in Ekiti, Oke-Ero, Irepodun, Ifelodun, Isin, Offa and Oyun local councils of Kwara State at Omu-Aran City Hall, the Yoruba said they were at a great disadvantage by remaining as a minority in Kwara.
The Yoruba of the other five Yoruba-speaking areas of Kwara State (Ilorin-East, West, South, Asa, Moro local council areas) were in attendance. The Okun Development Association (ODA) of the Yoruba in Kogi State sent quality representation. There were goodwill messages from Yoruba in Canada and America.
The group, in a communiqué signed at the end of the conference by Sir Joseph Aderibigbe, said: “It is in the best interest of the Yoruba people of Kwara State to request for a boundary adjustment, which will accommodate the desires and interests of the Yoruba of Kwara and Kogi states to be appropriately grouped with our kith and kin in the present South-West geo-political zone of Nigeria, with whom we share common boundary, culture, tradition, folklores, artifacts, and others. We hinge this demand on the Section 8 (2) of the 1999 Federal Constitution of Nigeria.
“Yoruba people of Kwara State reject vehemently their minority status in the North where they have been permanently disadvantaged, especially in seeking limelight political offices and key economic advantages, as we are like bat (neither animal nor bird) in the North where as a result of our language and culture, we are regarded as Yoruba and as a result of demographic partition, the South-West regard us as northerners. We have the greatest chunk of our people in the South-West Nigeria.”
The conference viewed with concern the alleged political conspiracy that informed the non-implementation of plebiscite as recommended by Henry Willinks Commission of Enquiry into the grievances of the minorities in 1958.
The conference is of the view that if that had been done before Independence, the Yoruba of the North would not have had any business to be made part of the North “even at Independence.”
The communiqué added: “Conclusion of the conference is that the outcome of the issue of the boundary adjustment at the national conference should be subjected to a referendum to authenticate the desires of the people.
“The conference viewed with embarrassment and insult some spurious claims that the territories of the Yoruba of the North are the property of the defunct Caliphate and it is hereby emphasised that not an inch of Yorubaland will be yielded to any power outside Yorubaland.
“It is also resolved that the Yoruba of the North are not fairly governed in the states they are now forced to belong and that in the event of an issue of state creation at the national conference, the northern Yoruba who by 2006 population census, are more than two-and-a-half million people, will want to be formed into a state where they can govern themselves with fairness, justice and equity.
“It is also resolved that since the Yoruba of the North have some age-long grievances as to the issue of the structure of Nigeria, special provisions should be made in both Kogi and Kwara states to make for adequate representations of the interests of the people at the national conference.
“The people also resolved that in the event of not being given adequate opportunities at the national conference, we shall commence immediate legal action under the Africa Peoples’ Charter over the negative and repressive conditions that the Yoruba people of the northern Nigeria are currently going through. We shall through that seek to be part of the state or region we want to belong. The provisions of the Africa Peoples’ Charter also provide for referendum, which we are at all times, prepared for.
“That our delegates to the national conference shall defend our positions as endorsed by this conference.”
Source: THE GUARDIAN