…holds peace rally in Lagos
In continuation of its peaceful campaigns against groups agitating for the secession of the South West and dismemberment of Nigeria, a coalition under the aegis of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum on Thursday carried out a peace rally in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, to sensitise the people and prominent indigenes of the state on the dangers posed to the Nigerian nation by self-acclaimed Yoruba self-determination groups.
YAF, however, used the occasion of the peace rally to caution the various groups demanding restructuring of the Nigerian Federation, warning them not to give room to unpatriotic elements, who are only interested in the dismemberment of the country, to hide under them to engage in any treasonable acts aimed at throwing Nigeria in chaos and violence.
The Coalition also seized the opportunity to present petitions to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa and some prominent traditional rulers in the state.
YAF members, who have been touring states in the South-West to draw the attention of their kinsmen to the plan to cut off Yoruba race from the rest of Nigeria, also petitioned the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and the Director, Department of State Service, Shangisha, Lagos.
Traditional rulers in Lagos petitioned by the Coalition include the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Babtunde Akiolu; Alara of Ilara, Epe, Oba Olufolarin Olukayode Ogunsanwo; Aholu Menu Toyi of Badagry, Oba Babatunde Akran; Olu of Ejigbo, Oba Morufu Ojoola; Osolo of Isolo, Oba Kabiru Agbabiaka; and Onigando of Igando, Oba Lasisi Gbadamosi.
YAF also petitioned Oba of Ojomu Ajiran, Oba Tijani Akinloye; Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal; and Onisiwo of Tomaro and Abagboland, Oba Musiliu Adio Yusuf.
The coalition described as “devilish” alleged plans by some Yoruba secessionist groups to work for the break-up of Nigeria, warning that this could lead to a second civil war in the country.
YAF also faulted calls by some Yoruba leaders for the dismemberment of Nigeria and secession of the South-West region from the rest of the country.
The Coalition, which vehemently opposed the alleged secession plans by some other Yoruba groups, stressed that the unity of the country remained non-negotiable.
It, therefore, called on the Federal Government and the various security agencies to take urgent and decisive action against secession agitators in the South-West.
YAF National Coordinator, Adeshina Animashaun, who led scores of other members of the group during their visits to the Governor’s Office and the Lagos State House of Assembly in Alausa Secretariat and the royal fathers, appealed to the six governors and other major stakeholders in the South-West to rise to the challenge and stop the plans by secession agitators and some Yoruba elders backing them to cause chaos in the region.
Director (Political), Office of Civil Engagement, Governor’s Office, Alausa, received YAF’s petition on behalf of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while another official at the State House of Assembly received a copy of the petition addressed to the Speaker, Rt. Hon Mudashiru Obasa.
Animashaun restated that the aims and objectives of the most vociferous of these disparate groups known as the Yoruba World Congress, which claimed to be the umbrella body for these amorphous groups, were “patently suspect.”
“Those people by their nefarious and unpatriotic activities are bent on bringing hardship and disaster to the peace loving people of the South West,” he said.
Animashaun recalled that the YWC President General, Prof Banji Akintoye, in a press statement, had disclosed that the membership of the Yoruba-speaking nation of the UNPO was contained in in a letter addressed to him through the YWC coordinator for Europe by the UNPO Secretary General, Ralph Bunches.
“Your Excellency, the antics and body language of the YWC are enough clear indications of the sinister plans by some of these so-called Yoruba self-determination groups and their leaders like Prof. Akintoye, to lead their innocent and unsuspecting people to secede from Nigeria,” he said.
The YAF coordinator noted that with Amotekun under the control of YWC, it was planning to sustain unprovoked attacks and intensify the provocation of other Nigerians, especially northerners, in the pursuit of their selfish and devilish aim of seceding and dismembering Nigeria.
Animashaun, therefore, stressed that YAF was not in support of any person or groups clamouring for the secession of Yoruba land from Nigeria.
He vowed that the Coalition and YAF members would not be part of any arrangement that the South-West state governors and Yoruba traditional rulers have not endorsed.
The YAF coordinator also reminded those agitating for the secession of Yoruba land from Nigeria that such act is treasonable and punishable under the law of the country.
Spokesman of YAF, Oloketuyi Ojo, told newsmen that the peace rally was also to thank Governor Sanwo-Olu and other Yoruba leaders for taking steps to avert the “evil” plans of some groups to cause chaos on October 1.
On Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary, YAF urged all Nigerians to remain peaceful and patriotic.
According to the coalition, “Let’s continue to celebrate peace in our country by ensuring that the labours of all our past national heroes, who have given us the freedom we’ve been enjoying in Nigeria in the past 60 years, do not go in vain.
“We must not take our independence for granted. Rather, we should at all times strive to play our role patriotically in order to make Nigeria a better place for ourselves and generations yet unborn.
“It is only when our country progresses in everything in an atmosphere of peace that the whole world can be proud of us. No nation progresses in a chaotic atmosphere and under insecurity imposed by some aggrieved citizens.”
YAF also enjoined all Nigerians to eschew all divisive tendencies in order to preserve and continue to build the country handed over to us by the nation’s founding fathers in a peaceful and progressive atmosphere.
It stated, “Peace and righteousness do a great deal of good to any group of people and nations, and this we believe should continue to bind the conscience of every Nigerian, especially as the country clocks 60.
“We should, therefore, not give any room to unpatriotic men to destroy the good legacies and country bequeathed to us by Nigeria’s founding fathers.
We must strive to be among those superior characters to hold the balance of power to keep our great nation up to a high standard of civilization. Second-rate men and women must be effectively checked and kept at bay to save our dear fatherland from collapse.
“It is, therefore, important to once again remind us all here that our country can only be great again if we all reorient ourselves and reason together as Nigerians and not as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba; not as Northerners or Southerners, Muslims or Christians.
“For us as a group of patriotic citizens, we’ll never waver in our consistent pursuit of a peaceful and united Nigeria.”