NIGERIA: THE STATE OF A COUNTRY IN DISTRESS
WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE
ORGANISED BY THE YORUBA LIBERATION COMMAND, (YOLICOM)
HELD IN LAGOS ON TUESDAY OCTOBER 2, 2018 IN LAGOS.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We welcome you to this historic event.
Two events prompted this World Press Conference:
First is the 132 year anniversary of the end of the Yoruba civil war and the birth of a modern Yoruba nation in 1886 after a protracted war that lasted for 16 tortuous years. The 132nd Anniversary was Sunday, the 23rd of September, 2018.
That war is significant to the Yoruba people all over the world in many respects. In the first place, the war was fought by our forebears in the search for nationhood. It was a war between federal and confederate forces over what nature of government was best for the entire commonwealth.
It is important to note that the war was fought with determination. It was fought with standards that have now been adopted by several United Nations conventions. It was fought without the killing of children, women, or pregnant women, for that matter. It was fought with sophisticated weapons, the best military materials and the finest logistics that any military institution of the time could have employed, yet with a high degree of civilization.
The Kiriji war reaffirmed our history as a people and as a nation long before the Nigeria amalgamation of 1914.
In spite of the war which lasted for 16 long years, it is remarkable that the Yoruba nation did not go into recession which was an indication of how strong and virile the Yoruba economy was at the time.
The most significant aspect of the war was that at the end, the Yoruba people decided to end the war at noon on September 23, 1886.
The Federal and Confederate forces signed the treaty of Peace and decided to work together as a nation. This was long before the advent of the British colonial lords. Only great nations could have fought such a war without borrowing and without economic and cultural disequilibrium.
The Kiriji war was another indication of the strength of the Yoruba Nation in times past, it was an indication of the will of the Yoruba people to show their anger at a particular system considered unbearable to them.
It was also an act of courage and valour never before seen in Africa; it was an act of military prowess rare to come by in any part of the world, and yet, a show of political dexterity in conflict resolution.
Today, we commend those Yoruba soldiers on both sides that laid their lives down for their fatherland. We commend their courage and zeal and above all, their sacrifices in the search for truth and sustainable livelihood. I wish to call on all of us to please observe a minute’s silence in honour of these heroes.
…….May their souls rest in perfect peace.
The second event that propelled this conference is the State of Nigeria. As Nigeria marked her 58th Independence Anniversary yesterday, we stand here to speak on the state of the country as it affects the Yoruba Nation.
We read with rapt attention the statement of the President of Nigeria, Gen Mohammadu Buhari on yet another anniversary of Nigeria and we were not disappointed: Like his predecessors, there was no inspiration, no hope for a despairing population, except to leave the people to nurse their festering wounds and continue to live in fear and anxiety.
WHY NIGERIA IS A FAILED STATE
As Nigeria marked her 58th year of independence, all indices point to a shipwreck with strong indications that the country is moving backwards.
The fundamental issues why Nigeria has failed are glaring.
ELECTIONS AND PEOPLES’ POWER
The democratic process is flawed. Elections can no longer guarantee either the freewill of the people or good governance.
As indicated in the events in Osun and Ekiti States, elections have become a savage stock exchange where the state and politicians institutionalize crime, bribe the electorate with illicit money and ensure the victor emerges through a totally corrupt and inept system. What we are seeing is cultural genocide. Our values are being eroded. The Nigerian state is criminalizing the people. With cash for votes in the most open and bizzare manner, social vices will triple; there will be greater exclusion, rogues will assume leadership, criminals will take over state institutions and armed gangs will be in charge of our laws. This is the worst phase in the history of the modern Yoruba nation. The criminalization of Yoruba people has become more pronounced because of the Nigerian hegemony that seeks monoculture and the destruction of indigenous ethics.
Party politics has become a weapon for mass impoverishment of the Yoruba nation, it has become an avenue for blind robbery, stealing of public funds and outright theft of the sovereignty of the people.
The situation is getting worse. Yoruba people are disillusioned. Yoruba people are frustrated, dejected, abandoned and rubbished by a system that will never meet their needs and aspirations.
The signs on the streets show that there is burning anger, there is fury, there is hatred and deep resentment against a suffocating system that consistently impoverishes and undermines the means of livelihood of the people.
FIELD OF MASS KILLINGS
Nigeria since 2010 has become a theatre of war coordinated by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. In 2013, there was the insurgence of Fulani herdsmen. Since 2010 till date, no fewer than 30,000 lives have been lost. This included several Yoruba people that have been killed either in the North or in the South West, right in their homes.
For instance, in June 2012, 50 people were killed in Barkin Ladi in Plateau State. On the day they were to be buried, the herdsmen struck again killing a serving Senator Gyang Datung and another Hon Gyang Filani the majority leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly.
This year, 105 souls were lost in the same Barkin Ladi. Three days ago, 15 people were killed by Fulani herdsmen in Plateau State.
In Benue state, several communities have been subjected to perpetual attacks by the Fulani herdsmen. In Oke-Ako and Ipao Ekiti, Fulani herdsmen have killed no fewer than 5 people within one year. The gory images of bloodletting have continued unabated. The Nigerian soldiers under the full control of the Fulani are carrying out the bidding of their masters.
Yoruba territories have been invaded by armed Fulani herdsmen. On weekly basis in Yelwa and Oke-Ogun areas of Ogun and Oyo States, Fulani herdsmen kidnap and rape Yoruba people at will.
The Lagos-Ibadan highway has been invaded, along many sections, by armed Fulani men, continuously creating a state of siege and trauma.
In April alone, here are some of the victims of the killings:
· April 5 – 30 killed in Gwer West, Benue
· April 5 – 50 killed in Offa, Kwara*
· April 7 – 4 killed in Bali, Taraba
· April 7 – 2 killed in Agatu, Benue
· April 8 – 5 killed in Birkin Ladi, Plateau State
· April 8 – 5 murdered in Obi, Nasarawa
· April 8 – 4 killed in Keana, Nasarawa
· April 10 – 10 murdered in Benue
· April 10 – 51 killed in Wukari, Taraba
· April 13 – 5 killed in Bassa, Kogi
· April 14 – 4 killed in Logo, Benue
· April 14 – 78 murdered in Obi, Nasarawa
· April 18 – 4 killed in Bassa, Plateau
· April 20 – 31 killed in Guma, Benue
· April 25 – 19 killed in Gwer East, Benue
· April 25 – 38 killed in Guma, Benue
· April 25 – 7 killed in Awe, Nassarawa
· April 28 – 14 killed in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna
· April 29 – 5 killed in Gwer West, Benue
We are not surprised that the state under President Buhari has become a conspirator in these target killings. Let us take a look at the commanding height of the Nigerian Security forces:
The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Gen Mohammadu Buhari, The Chief of Army Staff, Yusuf Buratai, the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, The Director of State Security Services, Yusuf Magaji Bichi- DSS, the Director of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency,(NIA), Ahmed Abubakar, The Minister of Defense, Brig (rtd) Dan Mansur, The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazzau, the Director of Nigerian Prisons, Alhaji Jafarr Ahmed, the Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, Col Ahmid Alli, the Comptroller General, Immigration, Mohammed Babandede, the Inspector General of Police, (IG) and Ibrahim Idris Kpotum, the Chief of Staff to the President, Aba Kyari are all of the hausa-Fulani stock. This is not a coincidence, it is by design that all these top positions are occupied by people of one tribal group, one religion and one section of the country.
This clearly shows the parochial prism from which the government of General Buhari views the social, economic and political realities in Nigeria.
There is no doubt that this is responsible for the free reign of the armed Fulani herdsmen that have turned Nigeria into a theatre of war.
Apart from these key security positions, the mainstay of Nigerian economy is also controlled by the Hausa-Fulani. Take a look at the list in the petroleum sector.
The Minister of Petroleum, Gen Mohamadu Buhari, The MD of NNPC, Maikanti Barau, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mordecai Danteni Ladan- , Petroleum Education Fund, Ahmed Bobboi, Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau is in charge of PTDF while Seidu Mohammed is in charge of NOSDRA.
Apart from Petroleum, here is the list of key figures in Finance. Abbas Umar Manasawa –Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Corporation, (SPMC), Ahmed Lawan Kuru is in charge of AMCON, Hajia Aisha Dahir-Umar- PENCOM, Alh. Umaru Ibrahim controls the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, (NDIC) while Mohammed Kari is in charge of NAICOM.
Mrs Hadiza Bala Usman is in charge of the Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA)
Engr Saleh Dunoma- FAA, Capt. Mukhtar Umar is in charge of NCAA
While Usman Abubakar is in charge of Nigerian Railway Corporation, (NRC)
With these developments, Nigeria is currently in the pockets of the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy. We can no longer wait. Time is running out. The sun is getting set on our destiny as a nation. The conscious generation must act now.
There are other significant positions which should give Nigerians a source of deep worry.
The umpire at the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) is Prof Mahmud Yakubu- INEC, the Accountant General of Nigeria is Ahmed Idris, the official in charge of Budget Office is Tijani M. Abdullahi.
It is clear from the above, that Nigeria has become the private property of the Fulani ethnic group using the Hausas as canon folders. It is unfortunate that the future elections will offer no respite for Nigerians. With the skewed wards and constituencies, the Fulani has placed itself in a vantage position to determine, influence or manipulate those that will rule Nigeria from one generation to the other.
The Yoruba, and by extension other ethnic groups in Nigeria, are not free or independent, as the Nigeria independence celebration of October 1 were wont to portray. We are encircled and shackled by the Nigerian paradox of the tail wagging the dog.
We, the Yoruba are no longer interested in the Nigerian project. The task ahead of all young people in Yorubaland is to work for the self determination of Yoruba people as a sovereign nation. It is on this basis that we hereby make the following declarations:
- That the Yoruba people hereby reiterate our desire for self-
determination as enshrined in the United Nations charter and the Africa Charter on Peoples and Human Right. This is the free choice of one’s own acts or states without external compulsion and the determination by the people of a territorial unit of their own future political status. The right of a people to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law (commonly regarded as a jus cogens rule), binding, as such, on the United Nations as authoritative interpretation of the Charter’s norms. ‘Self-determination’ is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action.”
- Chapter 1, Article 1, part 2 states that purpose of the UN Charter is: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”
- “By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Charter, all peoples have the right freely to determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right.
- The African Peoples Charter on Peoples and Human Rights (Banjul Declaration) states that all peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. … All peoples shall have the right to the assistance of the State Parties to the present Charter in their liberation struggle against foreign domination, be it political, economic or cultural.
- We demand the immediate withdrawal of all armed Fulani herdsmen already stationed in Yoruba towns, villages and street corners. They should withdraw peacefully in their own interests.
- We declare that restructuring of the country is no longer necessary. It has become a political weapon used by gladiators to delude Nigerians and coarse Nigerians into a string of fraudulent elections whose outcomes are predictable.
- That Nigeria has failed the Yoruba nation in all aspects of human development.
- We call on Yoruba people to prepare for the big challenge to self-determine our future and to be ready to make the highest sacrifices for the sake of today’s and future generations.
To avoid the impending doom, YOLICOM is calling for a United Nations (UN) supervised referendum to determine the peaceful dissolution of Nigeria, where each nationality group within the country can safely, and without let or hindrance, choose the path of its own destiny.
The generality of Yoruba make up over 25% of Nigeria. At over 50million people we are larger than many of the countries in the world.
We have the largest local and diaspora population of any black race in the world. With conscientious sensitization and mobilization, we shall take our nation out of Nigeria and finally evolve an African country the black race and the world can be proud of.
In comparison with the countries of the modern world, the part of Nigeria that is the Yorùbá Nation is, in population, bigger than many of the richest and most influential countries of the Western world. It is a little bigger than Canada, about as big as Spain or Poland, about four times as big as Portugal or Sweden, over six times as big as Denmark or Switzerland. Of the 53 countries of Europe, only five (Russia, Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy) have populations that are larger than the population of Yoruba in Nigeria; two (Spain and Poland) have populations about equal to the population of Yoruba in Nigeria; and each of all the remaining 47 countries is smaller than Yoruba in Nigeria.
Of the fifty-four countries of the continent of Africa (beside Nigeria), Yorùbá population in Nigeria is smaller than those of only three countries – Egypt, Ethiopia, and Congo (Kinshasa), a little larger than the population of the Union of South Africa, and considerably larger than the population of every one of the remaining fifty countries. In West Africa, Yorùbá in Nigeria is considerably larger in population than the combined populations of the four countries of Benin Republic, Togo Republic, Liberia, and Gambia.
In land area too, Yorùbáland in Nigeria alone is, in comparison with the countries of today’s world, quite a large country. It is usually estimated to be about 95,000 square miles. At that size, it is slightly larger than the territorial size of the United Kingdom, and many times the size of European countries such as Belgium, Holland or Portugal.
Beyond the Yoruba homeland in Western Nigeria, parts of Benin and Togo Republics, varying sizes of pockets of Yorùbá diaspora are found in other countries of West Africa, especially in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Mali, and others. Their greatest concentration is found in Sierra Leone where they number about one million in population in the Greater Freetown area. Beyond West Africa in tropical Africa, a large Yorùbá diaspora, numbering about two million in population, is found in the Republics of Sudan and South Sudan, and a smaller one in Central African Republic.
Beyond Africa, varying sizes of populations of persons of Yorùbá descent, resulting from the African Diaspora of the Atlantic Slave Trade era, exist in many countries of the Americas – in countries like Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Bahamas, Suriname, the United States, etc. In these countries, more and more black persons who originally came from other nations of Black Africa have been claiming Yoruba descent. The reason for this is that Yorùbá culture has been the one outstanding pillar of African personality and cultural pride in these countries. Consequently, the number of people who identify themselves as Yorùbá has kept increasing over the centuries, especially in more recent times. Today, Yorùbá descendants number about 50 million in Brazil (a country of 194 million) and recently in 2018, Yoruba was named as the second official language of Brazil after Portuguese, and about six million in Cuba (a country of about 13 million). A total of over 100 million black persons in all the Americas are thus identified today as Yorùbá descendants.
Finally, in the decades since the independence of Nigeria in 1960, conditions in Nigeria have resulted in the emigration of an ever-swelling stream of educated Yorùbá to various parts of the world. It is probable that over 4 million of such Yorùbá emigrants have made their homes in countries of the Western world – United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and some countries of continental Europe. In each country where they have settled, Yoruba immigrants constitute a highly educated immigrant citizenry.
Because of the growing expansion of Yorùbá cultural influence in the Americas, educated Yorùbá people in homeland Yorùbáland in West Africa tend to identify more with the Black peoples of the Americas than do any other indigenous African people. The Yorùbá elite in Nigeria now commonly claim that the total population of Yorùbá people plus Yoruba descendants worldwide is close to 200 million. The idea of a “Trans-Atlantic Yorùbá Nation” is growing in the Americas, and it seems likely to become a significant factor in world affairs soon.
We must therefore exit from this falling Nigeria edifice to claim the promising potential of a great Yoruba nation before the nascent series of implosions increases beyond the present intensity. An Oduduwa Republic of one people, one language, one culture, that is not working at cross-purposes with other peoples within Nigeria, who nurture different visions of their own future to pursue, is possible, and is imminent.
YOLICOM Secretary for Information/ SPOKESPERSON