We hereby present for posterity and for the attention of our long suffering people, and for the attention of local and international community, the position of the Yoruba Self-Determination Groups under the auspices of the Oodua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC) presented at the LAGOS, SITTING OF THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE.
1) After a critical appraisal of the Nigerian state, taking a deep, reflective overview of the history of her economic, political and social growth and taking into consideration the different phases of Nigeria’s development since 1914 when the country was forcefully merged by foreign powers.
2) Noting that before the 1914 amalgamation, the Yoruba peoples and our Itsekiri brothers have lived together as one people with one language, one culture and one history.
3) Aware of our rich past, tropical environment, the streams, forests and woodlands, the animals; and an amazing political structure with its enviable system of governance and ordered society.
4) Aware that since 1914 Nigeria has been wobbling without peace but rather, a country ruled by fear, trepidations, anguish and uncertainties. That given the current situation of inequality, un-abating violence, carnage on our roads, disappearances of peoples, collapse of family values, instability, bombings, kidnappings, unbridled corruption and wanton destruction of our God-given natural environment, the felling of our trees, the suffocation of our plants and animals, of our beautiful birds, the occupation of our country homes by armed, hostile, malicious and murderous herdsmen, in spite of the laws of the land and helplessly folding our hands only to watch in tears and deep pains in our hearts.
5) That the political and economic structures put in place by the Hausa-Fulani since the Uthman Dan Fodio ruthless 1804 Jihad, inherited through the plot of foreign powers, has put the Yoruba people in constant jeopardy. That this skewed structure, in the form of the creation of states, local governments, making of the anti-people constitutions and the seizure of our land, air and sea through despotic laws, made without the input of our people, save selected cronies, have been strengthened by successive military regimes of Hausa-Fulani extraction and the civilian governments who are largely offshoots of the same repressive political structure.
6) That this past century, this system has made our people to suffer horrendous murders, killings and now recently the bombing of our worship places, the hate killings of our people through terrorist acts, in the quest for political and economic domination and manipulation of Nigeria by forces alien to us.
7) That this attempt at constitutional conference/dialogue we view with suspicion given the outcome of previous conferences of 1954, 64, 68, 78, 98 and 2005, yet it offers another opportunity for we the Yoruba people to present our deep feelings to the Nigerian State, in spite of great doubts of the efficacy of the constitution review process, but with the hope, though faint, that our voices would be heard for once.
8) That the classic argument that puts the economy at the centre of all human relations can no longer subsist, that there are timeless values and cosmology that every nationality cherish and wish to protect and build essence and existence around.
9) That the contradictions of Nigeria can be resolved through these suggestions which appear a peaceful model as against the current resort to armed insurgence and mass killings of innocent people, on a daily basis, including women, children, vulnerable and physically challenged people.
On this basis, we the Yoruba Self-Determination groups therefore make the following recommendations to the National Conference/Dialogue committee for the attainment of our peoples’ well-being (Yoruba and our Itsekiri kins) and harmony our territories.
Ø That the present 36-state structure be abolished and the structures and institutions of government devolve into the six regional federation. Each region be empowered to create states or counties and it so pleases.
Ø That the South West Region be made up of the following ,Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun,Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara and the Yoruba speaking parts of Kogi, Edo and Itsekiri part of Delta state.
Ø That the Nigerian Police Force, (NPF) be abolished and in its place should reflect the federal character of the country with a three tier system of small Federal, stronger Regional/ State and Community Police structure.
Ø That South West Region should have control over her Sea Ports, Air Ports, all natural resources on land, sea (offshore and onshore), including but not limited to oil and gas with 15% of net earnings to the federal government for it to be able to discharge its duties to the federation.
Ø That South West and other regions should have their own regional constitutions including the hosting of diplomatic missions as it was the case in the 1950s.
Ø That the South West should have control over Railways, Highways and all other mode of transportation in her territories.
Ø That the region should take charge of the exploration, generation and distribution of energy to meet its needs and requirements.
Ø That regional trade unions should take the place of the present centralized Trade Unions and Professional bodies and Associations.
Ø There should be a regional army with contributions from each of the regions to a federal army. The Federal Government should maintain a small army while the regions should have the number of soldiers it so desire.
That all the Itsekiri land and ancestral territories in Delta and Edo States which have been taken at gun point must be returned to Itsekiri and compensation paid.
That Itsekiri and Ondo oil producing communities be paid a compensation of 1billion dollars being the cost of the agelong destruction of their farmland, their the pollution of their air, and the innumerable deaths that have occurred on these territories since oil exploration began.
That any future consideration for state creation either by the proposed Western Region or any other organ must have Itsekiri as a state.
Ø That the right to self-determination up to the point of secession, as entrenched in the constitutions of some other UN members like the United States, (US) and Ethiopia, should be entrenched in the Nigerian constitution.
We submit that the recommendations of each region be subjected to referendum of ethnic groups living in each of the zones.
We have made these submissions with the highest sense of responsibility for the peace and well-being of our people that are currently in the South West of Nigeria to the Senate of the Federal Republic this day October 17, 2013
1) Oodua Self-determination Committee (OSDC)
2) O’odua Liberation Movement (OLM)
3) The Covenant Group (CG)
4) O’odua People’s Congress (OPC)
5) O’odua Student Alliance (OSA)
6) Itsekiri Nationalist Coalition, (INC)
7) Yoruba Human Rights Research Centre (YHRRC)
8) Yoruba Federalist Coalition, (YFC)
9) O’odua Muslim-Christian Dialogue Group, (OMCDG)
10) Yoruba Farmers and Artisan Coalition, (YFAC)
11) Apapo Oodua Koya, (AOKOYA)
South West Youth |Democratic Front, (SWYDF)
12) Itsekiri Youth Council, (IYC)