ARG 2012 End-of-Year State of the Nation Press Conference: “A Cry from the Wilderness – The Nation has to Listen”

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AFENIFERE RENEWAL GROUP (ARG) 2012 END-OF-THE-YEAR STATE OF THE NATION PRESS CONFERENCE

 

Delivered by Honourable Olawale Oshun, National Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) at the ARG Secretariat, 23, Fola Jinadu Crescent, Gbagada, Lagos, on Monday, 31 December, 2012

 

A CRY FROM THE WILDERNESS: THE NATION HAS TO LISTEN

 

PROTOCOLS:

 
Gentlemen of the press, distinguished ladies and gentlemen here present, I heartily welcome you to this very important 2012 End-of-the-Year State of the Nation Press Conference of Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG). May I also use this opportunity to wish everyone of us a Happy and Prosperous New Year as we journey into the year 2013.

 

My dear compatriots and friends, it is my privilege to address this press conference, and to use the opportunity to convey the perspective of our Group on some of the critical issues facing our country, for which all men of goodwill everywhere must resolve to join hands together in order to find the means to salvage the sinking ship of this country.

 

AFENIFERE RENEWAL GROUP – A MISSION, OUR MANDATE

 

Permit me to use this opportunity to reiterate what we in the Group describe as our avowed mission and mandate. This is useful in order to understand where we are coming from and what drives us as a Group.

 

In ARG, we have chosen for ourselves a mandate to promote, protect and accelerate Yoruba development in all spheres of human civilisation. The Group, which consists mostly of younger elements within the core progressive camp in Yorubaland, subscribe to the ethos of the Yoruba development patriach, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo (1909 – 1987). We also subscribe to the effervescent Omoluabi worldview. Our primary mission is the pursuance of the development of Yorubaland, along the lines of true and tested progressive ideology.

 

Of course, while we in ARG are particularly mindful of our role in projecting the developmental aspirations of the Yoruba, the well-being of its people, the protection of our heritage and our commonalities, we are equally concerned about the state of the country Nigeria, given its socio-political and economic trajectory, and of course, particularly within the current scheme of things, under the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. We are deeply concerned at the state of affairs, where governance impact is at its lowest ebb, and where leadership at the national level has no visible mission or vision, and if it has, then they are malfeasant. All we hear are platitudes about a future that is fast disappearing before our very eyes.

 

NIGERIA IN PERSPECTIVE – 2012

 

The year 2012 started on an eventful note. Perhaps a sign of things to come! You will recall that President Goodluck Jonathan ushered the citizens of this nation into the year 2012 with more than 100% increase in petroleum price. This ‘gift’ generated a nationwide protest before the President conceded to a reduction to N97 naira from N150 naira per litre.

 

Between January 2012 and now, many waters passed under the Nigerian bridge. Apart from incessant killings of innocent Nigerians in large numbers, mainly due to ethnic violence, especially in the Plateau, and Boko Haram insurgents in half of the Nigerian space, we had flood disasters in many parts of the country that took the lives of our people, destroyed farmlands, curtailed farm productivity, and consumed many property in its wake. In the course of the year, many lives were lost to bombings, plane and helicopter crashes. Kidnappers and assassins went on the prowl. Year 2012 gave an impression of Armageddon.

 

But if you permit me, I would like to more lucidly, put the issues as we see them in perspective, in order to properly understand the enormity of the situation that we are trying to present to our people.

 

  1. 1.     CORRUPTION, PROFLIGACY AND SACRED COWS SYNDROME:

 

Nigeria is currently buffetted by corruption in a scale witnessed only under the dark and evil military dictatorships of Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha. Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has become the official headquarters of grandmasters of corruption. In an environment where a model of articulate leadership and responsible governance should be expected, given the enormous powers and resources available, what we have instead, is an organised and well-commanded conspiracy of the political and economic elite, against the Nigerian people, to keep them in perpetual poverty and misery, through high-level corruption, profligacy and financial impunity.

 

Indeed, as revealed by a recent investigation conducted by a National Newspaper, the sum of  N5trillion has disappeared under the Jonathan Goodluck administration in just two years! The 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index placed Nigeria 135 out of 176 countries surveyed in the report.

 

Also a recent Gallup Poll and KPMG Report ranked Nigeria the second most corrupt country in the world, and most corrupt in Africa respectively. Indeed under the watch of this administration, Nigerians have been scammed the sum of $4billion under the most incredulous subsidy regime, yet to be properly explained to them, and for which most of the perpetrators are walking free. The House of Representatives Legislative Report on the subsidy regime reported a massive gap between fuel imported and consumed, and with much of the subsidised fuel smuggled abroad at big profit, mainly by briefcase firms. NEITI audit reports also indicate a potential revenue loss due to under-assessments/underpayments by covered entities amounting to $9.8billion or N1.3trillion. In fact, no human being can ever unravel the extent of the official corruption, looting, cover-ups and disdain for Nigerians going on in Nigeria’s Petroleum Ministry.

 

The second leg of official corruption is the high-level of proligacy at the national level. Recently, an approval for the building of a N2.5billion banquet hall was given by the Federal Executive Council, a Council, which for all intents and purposes has become the official rubber-stamp of the profligate cabal in the villa. The new official residence of Vice-President Namadi Sambo, under construction, is to cost taxpayers N14bn, if the National Assembly grants the fresh request for an additional N7bn for the project. The project, which is being handled by Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, was originally valuated at N7bn. There have been reports of additional plan to purchase another aircraft to join the presidential air fleet, which reportedly already has ten aircraft! Sadly, there is none bearing the name or imprint of a commercial Nigerian airline. We would at this stage like to warn Nigerians to watch out for, and be on guard against the immense wastefulness that would attend the unnecessary celebrations of Nigeria’s centenary. Nigeria, an inchoate nation?

 

The third leg of the tripod is the ‘sacred-cow syndrome’. In fact, the most rewarded and the most protected individuals under villa cover are the most corruptly alleged. The more the allegations, the more powerful you get. Your ministerial seat is firmly secured, you would be rewarded with the chairmanship of the Board of one of the most critical government agencies, and you would be virtually untouched and untouchable. In fact, the President himself recently called an ex-convict his biggest benefactor! Of course, corruption did not start under President Jonathan, but he has no doubt strengthened its arm, and personally presiding over its commanding height, he has re-armed its footsoldiers, and has reduced the anti-graft agencies to toothless bulldogs. The President’s extraordinary cravings for personal comfort easily gives him out as one that is totally out of touch with the reality of the harsh economic woes faced by majority of Nigerians.

 

Hand in hand also, legislative looting and incorrigibility go on unbridled, unchecked. The drama in the two chambers would make our Nollywood go green with envy. It is usually about obscene provisions and huge allocations for personal comfort, bribery, oversized allocations for members, oversight malfeasance, charades and cover-ups, and of course, looking the other way when not directly affected. It is never about law-making for the good governance and well-being of Nigerians. Of course because of its various compromises and penchants for deal-making, the two chambers can as well pass off as a toothless bulldog, sometimes barking, but lacking in the ability to bite.

 

Meanwhile, the rest of us Nigerians sink deeper and deeper into misery. The 2011 Human Development Index (HDI) report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is damning. The Report placed Nigeria 156th of the 187 countries surveyed. 70% of Nigerians live below poverty line, feeding from hand-to-mouth, 46% of the population is malnourished, unemployment stands at 23.9%, with youth population at 46.5%, 11 million Nigerian children of school age are not in school, 7.5million are girls. British-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Nigeria as the worst place to have a baby – out of 80 countries surveyed, Nigeria is 80th. Life expectancy for a child born in Nigeria is 51.9 years – Gabon 62.7, Mauritius 73.4, Libya 74 years.

 

The 2012 Mo Ibrahim index for Governance in Africa ranks Nigeria 43 out of 53 countries assessed with a 42.0 score in a West Africa average of 57.9.

 

Need we say more for the quality of governance in the country?

 

  1. 2.     INSECURITY AND KIDNAPPING

The most essential function of any government is to provide peace and security for its people. There can be no meaningful development without peace. Security is therefore an essential pre-condition for delivering on developmental pledges. Nigeria, by all estimations, and indeed, under the current administration of President Jonathan, has fared very badly in assuring this essential national ingredient. Insecurity in Nigeria, manifesting in varying dimensions, with the most common being kidnapping, armed robbery and internal insurgency, especially Boko Haram, have held the nation by the jugular. Nigerians now constantly live in fear of any one, or all of the menace.

 

Indeed, the African Insurance Organisation (AIO), a non-governmental organization recognized by many governments has said that Nigeria accounts for a quarter of kidnap-for-ransom cases reported worldwide in the last one year. The AIO disclosed in a recent newsletter at the 18th African Reinsurance Forum in Mauritius that Nigeria had been designated as the global capital for kidnap-for- ransom due to the huge record of kidnap cases reported in the country yearly. The AIO stated, “The number of kidnaps for ransom in Africa continued to increase. In the first half of 2011, Africa’s proportion of the global total increased from 23 per cent in 2010 to 34 per cent. Nigeria is now the kidnap-for-ransom capital of the world, accounting for a quarter of globally reported cases.”

 

The result of the National Crime Victimisation and Safety Survey conducted recently by CLEEN Foundation also indicates that armed robbery cases in Nigeria increased by 6 per cent from 11 per cent in 2010 to 17 per cent in 2012. The Boko Haram insurgency, with ferocious abandon, and almost on a daily basis, cause untold havoc through incidents of terrorist bombing in many States of the Northern parts of Nigeria. Most notably was the brutal murder of about 40 students of the Federal Polytechnic, at a college student residence in Mubi, Adamawa State. Also in October, gunmen opened fire on a group of muslim worshippers in Kaduna, killing more than twenty people. Similar attacks have claimed hundreds of innocent lives especially across the Northern parts of Nigeria. Recently, another insurgent group by name Ansaru claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of a French national in Kano.

 

However, despite huge allocations for security and defence in the national budget, national response to these security challenges has been at best tepid and ineffective. What is protected at best, is the central seat of power in Abuja. The rest of us, as in the popular parlance, ‘are on our own’, and ‘everyone for himself, God for us all’. This cannot be more underscored by the recent kidnap of the mother of the nation’s Finance Minister, 82 year old Mama Kamene Okonjo. The question is: who is safe?

 

 

 

  1. 3.     ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT

 

When President Goodluck Jonathan administration put Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the head of his economic management team, not a few Nigerians would have given the administration the benefit of the doubt, given Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s track record as the Finance Minister under former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure. But of course, some of us were skeptical given the composition of the EMT, especially as some of the members are amongst some of the most predatory and parasitic elites. However, economic management is about effective utilisation of national resources, assets, and people of a country for national prosperity, and not cronysm or what the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti referred to as “paddy-paddy” government.

 

The mismanagement of the subsidy regime, the grand official corruption in the petroleum sector, the lack of sense of purpose, or the political will to tackle vested interests in virtually all the critical sectors of the economy, stand out as sore thumb in assessing economic management under this regime. It is not out of place to say that the government has not solved any of the economic challenges it inherited or met on ground. The real sector lies prostrate still, the mono-productive oil base remains, local oil refining capacity virtually non-existent, there is lack of trust in the public sector, wasteful public sector spending, huge cost of governance, with almost 70% of national spending going to service the country’s large bureaucracy, as well as uncontrollable appetite of both the executive and legislative arms of government, and of course, virtual absence of integrity and accountability in governance.

 

The resultant 2012 economic score-card is not in anyway cheering: underscored by the decline  in the  real GDP  growth from 7.78% to 7.03% which meant that the economy decelerated for the 7th quarter in a row since the first quarter of 2011; the decline in agricultural sector growth from 5.90% to 4.98% as security and weather challenges continue to stifle activities in major agricultural zones of the country; the negative growth in the oil sector from 2.72% to – 0.34% as a result of pipeline vandalism, leakages, as well as stalled investments due to the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); the sharp rise in the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 8.00%  to 12.00% due to the CBN’s hiking of the MPR three times in the last twelve months to June 2012; the rise in the maximum lending rate from 22.02% to 23.44% which has discouraged real sector borrowing for production; the depreciation of the Naira from N149.91 to N154.39, among others.

 

More worrisome is the rising debt profile. The Debt Management Office at a recent meeting with the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Finance/Legislative Budget and Research/National Planning and Aid, Loans and Debt Management in Abuja gave an indication on Tuesday that the country’s total debt profile might hit $25bn by 2015. The figure covers both local and foreign borrowing. The Director-General of the DMO, Mr. Abraham Nwankwo, who made a presentation to the committee, stated that external debt for this year 2012 stood at $9bn, while the figure would jump to $12.1bn in 2013. The document showed that the projected debt for 2014 would be $14.5bn and $16.7bn in 2015. Locally, the country would owe $6.48bn in 2012; $7.1bn in 2013; $7.7bn in 2014 and $8.4bn in 2015. Nigeria’s rising debt profile is a source of concern to most Nigerians especially, having just exited the Paris Club barely six years ago.

 

Sadly, the minister then in the Obasanjo cabinet who negotiated the $30 billion debt buy back, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is the same person spearheading Nigeria’s re-entry into another foreign debt trap. This situation forced no less than the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi to raise an alarm recently, warning that the rate of external borrowing, if left unchecked, would result into hardship for Nigerians. He was quoted to have said that: “We are borrowing more money today at a higher interest rate while leaving the heavy debt burden for our children and grandchildren. For example, if you receive your salary and every day the money is not enough, you have two options to adjust yourself; either check your expenditure or check your wages.” We in Afenifere Renewal Group fully align with this position.

 

  1. 4.     YORUBA UNDER GOODLUCK JONATHAN ADMINISTRATION

 

The Yoruba demand to know why discrimination against us is on the increase. We note with verifiable evidence at our disposal, that most routine appointments and recruitments into the public service under this administration completely short-change our people. For instance, out of the 792 cadet officers recently recruited for training at the Custom Training College (CTC) in Kano, only 45 cadets were recruited from the 6 Southwestern States of Nigeria, compared with 263 cadets recruited from the Northwestern Nigeria. In the same recruitment exercise, the Northcentral Zone got 168 cadets, Northeast 157, Southsouth 91 and Southeastern Nigeria was allocated 68 cadet officers. The evidence before us therefore shows that 5.8% of the recruited cadets are from the Southwest while the Northwest took the lion share of 33.1% of the lot. We ask: what exactly is happening here?

 

Report of ethnic cleansing going on in the Aviation Ministry is fast reaching alarming proportions! Recently, we got reports that most of the key people sacked at the Ministry are of  Yoruba extraction. Findings have also indicated that out of the 75 appointments made, 49 of them are from the Southeast zone alone. The illogical justification offered for this decision is that this is in line with the on-going transformation agenda. So one asks, is the marginalization of a people the new definition of transformation? Our younger generation is now asking us to re-define for them the meaning of ‘Federal Character’ when appointments and recruitments at the federal level are now being manipulated to favour some geo-political zones to the exclusion of the Yoruba.

 

We have gone this route to alert the whole world, that Nigeria’s problems are not limited to the issue of governance alone, but that there is a calculated attempt to relegate the Yoruba to the background, which we believe may not augur well for the advancement and development of the country. Whereas it is not in Yoruba character to seek to dominate, enslave or push for unfair advantages against other people, we also do not accept asituation where we would be deprived of what rightly belongs to us. Our concern is about equity, fairness and justice for all, and if these qualities of ours are the offences against the rest of Nigeria, we have no apologies in this regard.

 

We therefore call upon the Federal Character Commission to wake up from its slumber and right the wrongs that are being perpetuated by opportunists in high positions. We demandthat the Commission should investigate all these allegations and similar allegations of discrimination against the Yoruba, especially in civil service appointments and promotions, and we dare it to publish its findings. We are fully prepared to pursue our legitimate rights within Nigeria, without minding whose ox is gored. We will no longer fold our arms and watch other Nigerians with curious agenda to deprive our people of what rightly belongs to them, unless of course we are saying that this country only belongs to certain categories of people or to certain sections of the country. As a starting point, our Group will be presenting an official protest letter to the Federal Character Commission, not only to formally bring these issues to their attention, but to also seek appropriate remedy.

 

We must however state that whilst we do not contend with the PDP-led government on the way they choose to share their government positions and political appointments, we must however say that facts on ground point to the fact that the Jonathan administration is fully bent on complete marginalisation of Yoruba people from the scheme of things. And we dare say that we will resist this in our own way.

 

 

OUR NEW YEAR MESSAGES:

  1. 1.     TO HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT, DR. GOODLUCK JONATHAN

During the run-up to the 2011 General Elections, specifically in November, 2010, we had the opportunity to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Marina in Lagos. In the course of our interactions with him, we presented the core Yoruba demand about the need to restructure Nigeria along truly federated lines. We reminded him that the failure of past administrations lay in their obduracy to the call for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, where the issues of the Nigerian nationality would be discussed and finally laid to rest. We challenged the President to toe a different line, especially given his experience as a minority from the Niger Delta. We were persuaded that only the practice of true federalism in a multi-ethnic country such as Nigeria would strengthen the collective capacity of her people for accelerated growth and development.

We do not claim our prescription to be a cure-all, but we remain totally convinced that the biggest challenge facing this country, and for which many of the problems would either remain or get resolved, is the undue centralisation and concentration of power and resources at the national level. Decentralising the enormous federal power and devolving power, responsibilities and resources to the federating units will make for a truly great nation, one which we will all be proud of. The federating units will become centres of true development actions where the creative energies of the people will be unleashed, within the confines of their local development realities and priorities. For instance, establishment of State policing system, whereby the federating units take control of their policing requirements, as well as fiscal federalism which would prescribe a new order of fiscal allocation and responsibility, would promote a new regime of improved security, more efficient allocation of resources to areas of need, and widen the space for economic opportunities for the people.

Boko Haram is saying something, albeit in a manner that may not be acceptable to us. But the import of their message is clear. They would like to have their society organised and administered in a particular manner, probably different from us in Yorubaland, or from the Igbo or the Tivs or Ijaws or even the people of Southern Kaduna. It is only when we have given everyone a voice in their own affairs that we can truly have peace. Any other thing is playing the ostrich and postponing the evil days for this country. Or must we wait until the rest of us begin to carry guns or resort to violence before we listen to the discordant tunes being played across the country?

Just as we said to the President at that meeting in Lagos, we are reiterating, and with even firmer convictions that the lot of this country will not change until we find the courage to summon all the ethnic nationalities and groups in this country to the table of brotherhood to discuss the way and manner, including the terms and conditions of our co-habitation. And we must state here that we completely align with the position of the Yoruba Assembly that the current effort at constitution review/amendment being embarked upon by the National Assembly is only, but an exercise in futility. It will not enhance or promote our nationhood, rather it would sweep the issues under the carpet and soon, we will be back to square one. This is the current challenge of nation-building that faces Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. He should listen to the voice of reason and stop wasting his time, energy and resources of Nigeria trying to build or develop a country that he himself knows is standing on a faulty foundation. He should realise that he is a tenant at the villa. His tenancy will soon expire and he will have to confront reality, just like General Obasanjo is now, very much to his chagrin.

 

  1. 2.     TO OUR YORUBA COMPATRIOTS

If the Yoruba are caught up in a Nigeria that is so unlucky not to have the likes of Georgian Mikhail Saakashvili and the military interregnum in the country was unable to produce a Head of State of Georgian class, we of the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) have decided to ask our people to take their destiny in their hands, with God on our side. Nigeria as it is presently configured cannot add value to our existence and development. Our burden therefore is to give direction to our people as we did early this year when we launched the DAWN (Development Agenda for Western Nigeria) a Roadmap for the actualization of the Regional Integration Strategy of South Western Nigeria. We are happy to report that all the six Governors of the region have bought into the Agenda, with a Technical Committe, and a Commission headed by a Director General put in place to see to the implementation of the Agenda.

 

Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) will tread upon the heights as we are made to be surefooted by the grace of God. We therefore make bold to say without any doubts that we endorse all the programmes and projects being embarked upon by our Governors in the Region. The peace that we have in Yorubaland today is due to the hardwork and efforts of these gentlemen. Our people are being given their self-worth back. Yorubaland is now seen as a place where genuine business and safe and secure livelihood can be carried out. Today, unlike what we had in the recent past when usurpers were in charge of governance in the Region, cases of political assassinations are no more heard in our land, our governors no longer chase us away from the roads with their sirens, new leadership character is emerging, and once again, the people are being put at the centre of development programmes. This is a credit that we cannot shy away from, and we will continue to encourage the Governors to be steadfast and to do more for our people.

 

We have stayed too long on the crossroads. We need to cross over. Enough of lamentations. It is time to work for our people. We have charted a course for ourselves through the DAWN Strategy Roadmap. It is a trans-generational imperative which we must guard and pursue very jealously. We will continue to build upon the efforts. We do not deceive ourselves that the journey would be easy, but we are convinced that having set on this course, there is no going back.

 

Thankfully, all our current Governors in the Region have embraced what we in ARG refer to the irreducible minimum for developing our Region. Our leaders in the various States have taken the issue of education, health, infrastructure and wealth creation very seriously. Their programmes reflect these minima in different dimensions. We note the great effort being put into getting our Region out of the woods, and we recognise the great results that are already manifesting. One area that we would like our Governors to focus more attention is in the area of a sustainable regional strategy for building energy and transportation infrastructure. We would like them to take more than a passing interest in the Power Sector Roadmap of the Federal Government so as to maximally leverage the opportunities it presents. The DAWN Strategy Roadmap also offers very actionable plans for achieving an integrated and well-managed transportation infrastructure in the Region.

 

We are excited at the future, despite all odds, and we are proud to be associated with all the Governors currently in charge of our affairs in the Region. The journey is still far. Our Governors need to continue to push the envelope and not look back. We recognise the imperative of rescue before revival, which they currently face, albeit limited resources. But we are convinced that working together under a Regional cooperation and collaborative framework is a sine-qua-non for expanding the opportunities and projecting the possibilities available. We must not fail to state however, that our leaders in positions of responsibilities should be mindful of the fact that they are holding their positions in trust for the people. We would urge and encourage all of them to continue to hold on to our cherished traditions of service and development-oriented policies and programmes. This we owe our people, and we must all be committed to this.

 

The Yoruba believe in free and fair elections. It is a way we have chosen to organise ourselves, and which we hold very sancrosant in choosing our leaders. We cherish and reward responsible and result-oriented leadership, even as we guard our choices jealously. Some of these elections will be conducted beginning from 2014. We do not expect anyone from outside our space to prescribe how this would be done. The Yoruba people themselves know the kind of character they would not freely give their mandates to. We therefore call on those who may wish to force their way into leadership in the Region, under whatever guise, to please not take the civilised approach of the Yoruba to nation-building for granted. We urge that we be allowed to choose our leaders through free and fair elections. We demand no more no less.

 

We have a special message for our youth. We would like to say to our youth that the future is bright, in spite of the current challenges. We need all hands on deck to fully exploit the current demographic advantage, the smartness of our young people, their enterprise, and their exposure to global cutting-edge platforms. We muat work together to prevent what may turn out to become a demographic doom, if not well-managed. All of us must come on board the development process and make our individual and collective contributions count. Once again, let me reiterate that we have a special focus for youth in 2013. We will reach out to you, give you the space to contribute and work with you to create the future that we will all be proud of. We urge our youth to pursue only worthy causes and help the future by ensuring that we return to those positive values that build nations. We in ARG will, in the course of the year work with the DAWN Commission to develop and mass produce the Omoluabi Manual as a compilation of the innate and expressed Yoruba values, norms and virtues that we intend to harness to build a new future for our race.

 

ARG is also working closely with the Yoruba Academy in Ibadan to develop programmatic policies that will be of benefit to our people. Soon some of these initiatives will start to manifest through the programmes of our governments. Part of the crucial role the Academy will play in Yorubaland and beyond is to assist in putting the issues of our culture, language and values on the front-burner. I would like to use this opportunity to mention that the Academy belongs to all Yoruba people in the Homeland and the Diaspora, irrespective of political and religious leanings, and without holding brief for them, I’m sure the Institution would welcome contributions from all and sundry.

 

For us in ARG, the year 2012 has been full of exciting challenges and hardwork, most of it behind the scenes. We prefer our work on behalf of the Yoruba people to speak for us. We are not in competition with anybody, rather we seek to build networks and develop useful leverages to pursue our mission and our mandate. We will be undaunted in the face of all odds, even as we retain our independence of thoughts and actions, and we will continue to build on the legacy of service bequeathed  to us by our elders, past and present.

 

As the year 2013 beckons, the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), in line with our avowed commitment to organise for change in our land, we pledge to keep our leaders on a straight and narrow path on issues that bother on our collective values, ideals and developmental agenda. Our plan is to continue pursuing our self-assigned mandate, in line and consistent with the indomitable Afenifere credo left behind by our late sage and Avatar, Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo and his colleagues and successors. We are more determined to claim the rights of our people for them, and by the special grace of God, we shall succeed.

 

We will therefore work with our people, our leaders, and indeed all men of goodwill across the globe to ensure that we utilise this golden opportunity to chart a new course of peace, progress and prosperity for our people. We will push for the cherished legacy where the people come first, where the virtues of Omoluabi guide our conduct, and where leaders not only truly serve, but are also willing to subject themselves to accountable performance, accountable actions and accountable behaviours.

 

Thank you for your attention

 

Honourable Olawale Oshun

National Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG)                                  

Monday 31st January, 2012

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One Response to “ARG 2012 End-of-Year State of the Nation Press Conference: “A Cry from the Wilderness – The Nation has to Listen””

  1. Tunde Pius AGUNBIADE says:

    A beautiful structured and organised white paper on the past, present and the future of a Nation the Yoruba land in Nigeria. The framework of analysis dip well into the inspiration and aspiration of the Yoruba ethnic Race in Nigeria.  If I may add the issue of proper networking with ourselves within the Region should be another area that we must put more of our energy and action. On how and why we Yoruba need to checkmate the Federal government of Nigeria, on the ongoing and unpronounced agenda of some of our Federating colleagues, secret alliances, should be a matter for urgent call for a semi-Yoruba submit within our geopolitical zone to elevate the fear and ask for explication from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

    I will also suggest within the Yoruba nation and ethnic geo-political zone, that in the future we try and institute a Volunteer service scheme of two to three months, for all Yoruba ethnic group, student from the age of 20 to 30 years to undergo a voluntary service to any place or states within Yoruba land other than his state of origin or place of birthday. To effectively promote those “Omoluabi” attributes that are peculiar to we the Yoruba.

    The full Support to go back to our root and support the initiative of Osun State  to add to all Yoruba student curriculum study, the initiation to”IFA” divination Yoruba Religion of Spiritualism.

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