Yoruba National Assembly Communique

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Yoruba National Assembly Communique

September 2, 2012 by Agency Reporter

Text of the communique from the Yoruba Assembly held at the Oyo State House of
Assembly, Ibadan, Oyo State — 30 August 2012

Representatives of various political parties, sub-ethnic groups of the Yoruba of
Nigeria, professional and vocational groups, at a PAN-YORUBA CONFERENCE to which
the following categories of eminent Yoruba personalities were invited:All former
Heads of state of Yoruba stock, All former Vice Presidents of the military era,
Chiefs of General Staff or Chiefs of Staff (Supreme Headquarters), All former
and current state governors of South West states and Kwara, and Itsekiri who are
Yoruba, All Yoruba former Presidents of the Senate and Speakers of the House of
Representatives, all former Chief Justices of Nigeria, (CJN) former Justices of
the Supreme Court and other retired judges, all Yoruba former and serving
members of the House of Representatives, all former and serving Speakers of the
various Yoruba states Houses of Assembly. They also include leaders of all
political parties from Yoruba land, Top Yoruba professionals, Chairmen and
secretaries of all
Self-determination Groupsat the state levels in Yoruba land; Yoruba Trade
Groups Chairmen and Secretaries at state levels, Chairmen and Secretaries of
Diaspora Groups, Women and Youth Leaders of Yoruba land at state levels, Yoruba
Academics, Religious Leaders and other Yoruba leaders from across the States of
Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Kogi and out Itsekiri kith and kin of
Delta state,met in Ibadan on the 30 August 2012 and discussed the general state
of affairs of the so-called Nigerian federation.

At the end of robust deliberations on pertinent issues, the following decisions
were adopted as resolutions:

1. Noted that Nigeria is, once again, at a critical crossroad. After more than
50 years of Independence and less than 2 years shot of 100 years after the 1914
amalgamation, deep structural issues and Nationality Questions, such as
Federalism, Fair and Equitable Revenue Allocation, Security, Free and Fair
Elections, State Police and inter-relationship amongst the different
Nationalities remain unresolved! Indeed, the need for a National Dialogue to
resolve the issues has never been more pressing. The general state of the
Nigerian federation is disturbingly unhealthy. There is general insecurity in
the land, there is growing decay of infrastructure, and there is increasing
tension in the polity, exacerbated by mounting unemployment all over the
country.

2. Observed further that the failure of the Nigerian Federation to meet the
challenge of building a modern multi-ethnic democratic state can be traced to
several factors that include: absence of a negotiated constitution by citizens,
existence of a constitution that erodes the pre-military federal character of
the Nigerian State, political and bureaucratic corruption that seems to arise
from a sense of alienation from the state on the part of those expected to
provide a sense of belonging and direction for the citizenry, and the menace of
religious and cultural intolerance.

3. Noted in particular, the 1999 Constitution, on the basis of which the country
is governed today, is seen as a source of tension between federating units. The
constitution imposes a unitary model of government on a country with diverse
cultural and religious orientations and values, thereby putting most of the
powers and resources to develop the federation in the hands of the government at
the center, the farthest government from the citizenry.

4. Noted that the growth of the Yoruba region, referred to as the Southwest in
the 1999 Constitution, has been stalled by the imposition of a unitary form of
government that denies states the right and benefit of fiscal federalism, a
corner stone of federalism worldwide. In this respect, all aspects of modern
life in the Southwest: education, health, transportation, and social welfare of
citizens have declined so sharply that the quality of life of the average
citizen in the region today is lower than what it was in 1970.

5. Expressed alarm towards the commencement of the cashless policy in Lagos
state while living out equally vibrant commercial centers such as Kano, Onitsha
and Port Harcourt. The Assembly recognizes that making Lagos a guinea pig of
this policy amounts to a deliberate attempt to ruin the base of Yoruba economy

6. Viewed the menace of Boko Haram as a sign of religious and cultural
intolerance that is capable of destroying the unity of the country and of
endangering the life of citizens not only in the North but all over the country.
We believe that central ideology of Boko Haram regarding modern or western
education is not a matter to be settled by security forces, but one that needs
to be discussed at a national conference that is designed to restructure the
federation.

7. Observed that sustainable unity and development of the country cannot flow
from over concentration of power and resources in the central government. For
example, we note that lack of effective law enforcement and assurance of
security and safety for citizens is traceable to the over concentration of
powers in the central government: police, intelligence gathering, and crime
prevention. This arrangement leaves states without the power to enforce laws
made by their elected officials for ensuring public order.

8. Noted that on the basis of the evidence that the failure of governance in the
country has grown with the transfer of powers from federating units to the
central government, we affirm the urgency to restructure the polity at a
national conference of federating units, at which representatives of federating
units chosen by citizens strictly for such purpose will produce a new
constitution to be ratified through a national referendum.

9. Agreed that the process of restructuring should start with federating units,
which must in their own space first discuss and determine the type of
relationship they want between their region and the central government and
relationship between states and the region in which they are located. For we,
the Yoruba, the country Nigeria, is a forced marriage of diverse ethno-national
groups, struggling to find form and shape, and limiting promises and
possibilities.

10. Re-affirmed the commitment of the Southwest to the territorial unity of the
country and resolved to work for enhancement of the country’s unity by
cooperating with other regions to resolve peacefully the conflict and tension
thrown up by the current unitary constitution that limits the control of
federating units over their affairs and development.

11. Recognized that the best way to sustain unity in a culturally diverse polity
and society is to organize the politics and economy of such country on the basis
of a federal system of governance. Most culturally diverse countries of the
world that are able to sustain peace and development have been able to do so
through a federal constitution. Nigeria’s cultural diversity is too pronounced
for the political elite to pretend that a unitary constitution can be
substituted for a federal constitution that is generally designed to respond to
diversity and optimize the benefits of diversity for peace and development.

12. Resolved to set up the Southwest Constitutional Commission (SCC) for the
purpose of coordinating memoranda from citizens and groups in the Southwest
towards a federal constitution for the country and of producing a constitutional
framework for the region as unit of the Nigerian federation.

13. A new Nigeria consisting of a federal government and six regional
governments (based on the current six geo-political zones) operating federal and
regional constitutions, respectively.

• A single legislative list which will be the Exclusive Legislative List
consisting only those functions ceded to the Central Government.

• The adoption of the Westminster model of parliamentary government.

• A Regional and State Police force structure.

• The establishment of a Constitutional Court with jurisdiction over
inter-governmental cases and petitions from elections to the national Assembly

• The Conference fully supports the on-going Regional integration in the South
West.

• That all public officers who currently enjoy immunity be made amenable to
court processes on charges bordering on commission of crimes.

• That an informal role for traditional rulers in the political structure be
recognised.

The conference further decided as follows:

• The adoption of Open-Secret ballot system for voting at elections.

• Total condemnation of Boko Haram’s indiscriminate violence in killing
people, including Yoruba in the North.

• The setting up by the South West States of vigilante groups to protect them
against the re-insurgence of crimes and violence perpetrated by nomadic
tendencies or motivated by faith or otherwise. In this respect, each State House
of Assembly in the region should pass appropriate laws.

• That the Yoruba as an ethnic group should design and produce a common flag
and anthem. This is without prejudice to the anthems and flags of each state.

14. Finally and in conclusion, the Conference thanks the Governor and people of
Oyo State for hosting this most important and crucial meeting of a comprehensive
cross-section of the Yoruba people.

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One Response to “Yoruba National Assembly Communique”

  1. Wole Onafujabi, Esq. says:

    The idea of Westminster model is lawdable only if the
    Governor’s offices will be wiped out and let all local
    governments areas within the zone be fully empowered
    however a good standard level of education be agreed
    as minimum for those vieing for any position in public offices.

    To all that is to be done NOW and truith be told there
    must be organiced training models that should be
    developed to create standards across the board so much
    that the inter departmental management policies on ground
    before take-off is fortified against corruption and modelled
    to achieve the success long yarned for.

    Talking about Westminster style it must be noted that because
    we will not be having any Monach as the head of government
    let us in this vein have a proper Nigerian styled democracy using
    all our previous experience of the whole 52yrs to design our own
    democracy that will stand the test of time.

    Truth be told WE NEED A WEAK CENTRE so long as power is
    shared with proper duties accredited to such offices this is the
    only way to set up a good foundation for proper govenance..

    More to come.

    Barr. Wole Onafujabi.

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