As reactions continue to trail the resolutions reached by the Southern Governors Forum at the end of their meeting last Monday in Lagos, a coalition of Yoruba groups under the aegis of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) has sued for peace among Nigerians.
YAF in a statement issued by its Coordinator Adeshina Animashaun said that the tension being generated by the resolutions of the Southern governors’ meeting with the rest of the country has become a cause for concern amongst all Nigerians.
Already, Northern governors and elders, youths as well as various groups have rejected the position of the Southern governors, particularly on power shift and other demands made by them last Monday in Lagos.
The Yoruba coalition, however, alleged that certain actions by some powerful politicians and individuals in the various Southern states since Monday when the Lagos meeting ended could spark off “serious tension” amongst the different ethnic groups making up the Nigerian Federation.
According to YAF, these powerful politicians have been putting pressure on the traditional rulers and civil society groups in their individual states to organise similar meetings to that of the Southern governors and issue communiques supporting last Monday’s resolutions in Lagos.
The coalition cautioned that the utterances of some of the civil society groups already recruited by these powerful politicians “have left so much to be desired as their statements on the issue border on threats to the rest of the country.”
YAF expressed concerned about the implications of the threats already being issued by some of these civil society groups and individuals to the rest of the country over the Southern governors’ demands.
It warned that such utterances from such groups and individuals and the reactions being generated were beginning to heat up the Nigerian polity and “knowingly or unknowingly, preparing the fertile ground for another round of protests and violence in the country.”
The coalition warned that the existing peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the country in recent past should not be disturbed or threatened by issues that could be amicably resolved.
The coalition stated, “The brouhaha the Southern governors’ resolution from their Monday meeting has sparked off between the different sections of the Nigerian polity is, as we said earlier, a matter of serious concern to us, the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF).
“YAF has observed a flurry of activities and desperate attempts by some powerful politicians and individuals to further aggravate the ongoing debate and eventually create tension in the polity ahead of the 2023 general elections. We have it on good authority that these powerful politicians and individuals have been on the throat, so to say, of some traditional rulers in the South-West states, in particular, to compel the royal fathers to convene a meeting and issue resolutions backing the decisions they took last Monday in Lagos.
“Similarly, various civil society groups in the South, YAF learnt, are being pressurised to meet and issue communiques supporting the Southern governors’ position on the various issues they raised last Monday in Lagos. The utterances of some of these groups have left so much to be desired as their statements on the issue border on threats to the rest of the country.”
It added, “YAF’s concern is mainly about the implications of this rash of veiled threats swathed in reactions and opinions coming on a daily basis from the groups and individuals from various sections of the country. We want to warn that this latest development is beginning to further heat up the polity and, knowingly or unknowingly, preparing the fertile ground for another round of protests and violence in the country.
“YAF believes that the recent peaceful atmosphere prevailing in different parts of the country and being enjoyed by the majority of Nigerians should not be threatened or disturbed by issues we can all resolve amicably as a united entity. Posterity won’t forgive us if we allow the ongoing brouhaha to degenerate to any untoward or unthinkable situation.
“YAF, therefore, appeals to Nigerians from all sections of the country to remain calm and allow peace to reign supreme throughout the nation. We should all eschew provocative statements and actions concerning the ongoing debate about Nigeria’s political future.
“It is YAF’s considered opinion that rather than to continue to bicker unnecessarily, Nigerians should see the bigger picture and espouse worthy causes that will ensure the continued survival of the Nigerian nation.”
The coalition also used the occasion to commend security agencies for their “professional handling” of last Saturday’s Yoruba Nation mega rally in Lagos, noting that if not for them the state would have erupted in another round of violence.
The coalition also enjoined all “Yoruba youths to continue to eschew violence and resist being used by unpatriotic elements masquerading as Yoruba self-determination promoters to destroy our cherished motherland, the South-West and the Nigerian Federation at large.”