From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has called on the Federal Government to ensure the release of the Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, and the leader of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, even if it is on political consideration.
The organisation noted that releasing Kanu on political consideration is not unprecedented because the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007 did the same thing by releasing the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Force, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo in such manner.
The request was contained in a communique issued at the end of the first annual general meeting of Afenifere held on Tuesday, at the country home of its Acting Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State.
Afenifere also noted that restructuring of Nigeria into a true federalism is achievable before the 2023 general elections, if President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government would adopt the reports of the 2014 National Conference and the 2018 Mallam Nasir El-Rufai Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on True Federalism with desirable modifications where necessary.
The communique, which was made available to journalists by the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Jare Ajayi, stated that the meeting deliberated extensively on various issues pertaining to the Nigeria nation, especially in the way they affect the Yorubas, adding that “The meeting reviewed the various challenges that Nigeria has been facing since independence. The meeting felt that while the country had never met the dream of its founding fathers, the situation had never been this bad socially, economically and politically. The situation is particularly worse on the security front as no part of the country is safe at any time of the day any more.
After extensive deliberations, Afenifere “considered Sunday Adeyemo Igboho as a Prisoner of Conscience. Afenifere called on all men and women of conscience, particularly the international community to which human rights and freedom are abiding faith, to prevail on the Governments of Nigeria and Benin Republic to release Sunday Igboho forthwith.
Not only that, the federal government should also pay Sunday Igboho the damages awarded to him by the court upon the savage attack on his person and property.
“The meeting also called on the federal government to release Nnamdi Kanu even if on political consideration as happened in the case of Asari Dokubo under the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.”
The communique further stated that “before and after independence, various efforts have been made to have a country, Nigeria, that everyone would be proud of. A country in which every one lives a happy life and there is life more abundant for all.
Afenifere however has no doubt whatsoever that the country can never get out of its present logjam, let alone, develop, unless there is restructuring.
“The meeting felt that one of the things that has been a great cog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress today was the rubishing of true federalism, meaning that true federalism must be allowed to be effectively operational immediately. In other words, states and local government councils must be allowed to enjoy self governance as provided for them in the constitution.
“Afenifere is convinced that restructuring of the Nigerian State before the 2023 general elections is achievable. It is achievable through the adoption of the Reports of the 2014 National Conference and the 2018 Mallam El-Rufai Committee of the APC on True Federalism with desirable modifications where necessary.
“In recent times, we have consistently expressed concern on the situation of insecurity in Nigeria today. We have also always recommended what we consider as the ways out of the unprecedented security challenges facing us. In this respect, we strongly call on the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the introduction of State Police equipped with requisite means to enhance security in the states and that of the federation ultimately.
“The performance of Amotekun Security Network in the South West in conjunction with the Nigeria Police has shown clearly that all the criticisms against State Police are unfounded and self serving.”
The meeting was attended by some leaders and members of Afenifere from all the states in Yorubaland including Delta, Kwara and Kogi. Among the leaders in attendance were the former Governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo; former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofo Bucknor-Akerele; Senator Femi Okunrounmu, Chief Supo Sonibare, Chief Sola Ebiseni, and the Secretary General, Dr. Gbola Adetunji.
The list also comprised Chief Korede Duyile, Abagun Kole Omololu, Hon. Leke Mabinuori, Chief Kofoworola Doherty, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, Chief Tunde Onakoya, Senator Femi Lanlehin, Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose, Chief Segun Olawoyin and Deacon Owolabi Oladejo, Chief Olu Pesu, Reverend Goke Omigbodun, and others.
Adevanjo, however, welcomed members and congratulated them for surviving the turbulent 2021.The meeting also looks forward to a more benign year in 2022.