By Peter Anosike
Saturday, December 2, 2017, was historic for non-Yoruba indigenes living in the South West. That being the day they convened in their numbers in Ota, Ogun State, to chart a common course
Speaking at the inauguration of the group that goes by the name Non-Yoruba Indigenes Empowerment Initiative (NYIEI), its chairman, Chief Chris Orie, said the vision “is to unite all non-Yoruba indigenes in South West to speak with one voice,” adding that grassroots mobilisation of all non-indigenes in South West and empowerment are paramount to the organisation.
He described NYIEI as a child of necessity, pointing out that there are issues and anomalies the group stands to address within the domain where they reside, particularly as it concerns multiple taxation, non-recognition of their input, marginalization among others:
“The population of the non-indigenes is overwhelmingly within 50-60 per cent in some of the South West states. It is obvious that with this population, it is likely possible for any politician to emerge a winner in an election without votes of non-Yoruba indigenes counting for him.
“The greatest undoing of the non-Yoruba indigents as a whole has been the case of lone ranger approach. We have for decades tried in vain to draw the attention of successive governments in Ogun State, and other South Western states to our plight by our petty, parochial and like I always say sectional politicking. But with NYIEI on board today, we the non-Yoruba are saying goodbye to our weaknesses and failures and welcome to our strength and victory.”
Leader of NYIEI, Chief Anslem Njoku, said the purpose of the non-indigenes coming together “is to ensure unity among them. The non-indigenes need to speak with one voice and live in harmony with their host communities. The coming together would promote peaceful co-existence between the non-indigenes and their host community.
“I want to say that Yoruba land is a blessing to us, the non-indigenes. Most of us who have become somebody today come to Yoruba land with nothing. If you are the most hardworking or the most intelligent person in the world but the environment is not conducive, there is nothing much you can do.
“Whatever achievement that non indigenes are making in the south west is not just because we are hardworking or that we are intelligent, conducive environment plays a major role. Our host community has provided a conducive environment for us. We have to reciprocate by organizing ourselves so that there would be harmonious relationship between us and them.”
He said the next step would be the launching, which would be done in all the states in the South West.
Leader of Hausa community in Lagos, Alhaji Adamu Isa-Likali, stated that he has been working with Osun State government and Lagos to see that there is peace and harmony among the non-indigenes. He promised that NYIEI would bring all the tribes together in 2019.
He added that they have demonstrated such move before following a peace forum organised at the National Stadium on October 1, 2017, in Lagos.
Chief Agamah Emmanuel, a member of the organization from Benue State, pointed out that NYIEI is not all about Igbo, Yourba and Hausa but cuts across all the tribes apart from Yoruba: “The body is bringing the entire Nigeria together and it is going to bring unity.
“When we come together in unity, it will make us to speak with one voice. And when we speak with one voice, our voice would be heard. When it is heard, there will be force, which can make the authorities reckon with us. The major challenge in Nigeria is division. When people say they belong to North South or North West or other tribes, NYIEI wants to address such situations.”
The group appealed to non-Yoruba indigenes in the South West who are not members to join them. To the government, NYIEI said: “The organization wants to state unequivocally that the non-Yoruba indigenes in South West will remain law abiding and will continue to contribute our quota towards the economic and political development of the South West region.”