Afenifere Charges Yoruba, Nigeria On Peaceful Polls

YorubaThe Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has called for a violent free election, urging the Yoruba nation to help achieve peaceful polls instead of fighting one another.

The group called on the Yoruba people to remember the peace treaty signed on September 23, 1986 in which it was agreed that Yoruba nation would never war against one another.

The ARG, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Olawale Oshun, noted that before the advent of colonisation, Yoruba people had a history of democratic lineage.

The group also stated that democracy, – “as defined by one man, one vote and the majority having their way and minority, their say” – has never been strange to the people.

Part of the statement reads: “We advise all Yoruba voters to use their votes wisely, in accordance with collective peace and progress of the region because traditionally, political leadership has always been germane to the well being of Yoruba people.

“This election has been described as a watershed in many quarters, and could be another defining moment in the history of Nigeria. Therefore, as a minimum irreducible expectation, we demand that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lives up to its promise of conducting perhaps the best elections in the history of Nigeria and ensure the outcome of the elections reflect popular will.

“ARG therefore urges law enforcement and electoral officials to stick to their constitutional duties and resist any temptations for partisanship because any premeditated or contrived action that threatens to derail the ongoing transition process and force a constitutional impasse is an action that will push Yoruba nation to the wall.”

However, the group wished Nigeria a successful and peaceful election process, thanking all Nigerians, including electoral and security officers, for playing their roles loyally.

ARG Demands Public Pledge To Polity Restructuring From Buhari

argThe Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has demanded a public commitment to restructuring of Nigeria’s governance structure from the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).

The demand was made in Abeokuta on Thursday by the Group’s National Chairman, Olawale Oshun, at the public lecture organised by the Ogun State Chapter of the group led by Olusegun Odegbami (MON).

The lecture was delivered by the former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

In his brief remark titled “The Change We Demand”, Oshun said there are “clear and strong indications that there is need for change” and Yoruba people are insisting that “the change that must occur must include some assurances that never again should the issue of equity amongst Nigerian nationalities be blatantly sacrificed as Federal Government has done in recent times”.

“The change that we demand include an assurance to restructure the country in such a way that power will devolve to the most efficient federating unit. The Yoruba people have witnessed how over-centralisation of power has been instrumental to the abuses of power and the institution of ingrained corruption that is destroying our country today,” he said, adding that restructuring must be made a national electioneering agenda.

“ARG uses this opportunity to demand these assurances from the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) This should not be an assurance given in private anymore; let it be an assurance given in public.

In his lecture titled, “Before Nigeria’s oil runs dry: options for development in the Southwest of Nigeria”, Fayemi argued that if the political activism for restructuring of Nigeria’s polity had been ignored as an ethnic agenda, its economic reality, which can no longer be ignored, makes the case of urgent devolution of power.

According to him, the mantra to diversify the economy in Nigeria would continue to fail without appropriate steps to devolve power and entrench fiscal federalism.

“The need to diversify our economy and the necessity of decentralizing the governance are coterminous imperatives.

“Indeed, one cannot occur without the other. We cannot diversify the economy without decentralizing governance.

“Here are four core areas that embody the immense economic potential of the Southwest waiting to be unlocked through diversification and decentralization. These are agriculture, mineral resources, telephony and internet, as well as Nollywood and domestic tourism development.”

Participants at the event also called for “aggressive education”.

Take Boko Haram Threat Seriously, Afenifere Tells South West States

Olawale-OshunThe Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has advised all the residents in the South West of Nigeria to take the threat of “more imminent attacks” by the Boko Haram very seriously, and be vigilant, warning that any attack on any of the states will amount to a declaration of war.

In a statement on Tuesday, the national chairman of the group, Olawale Oshun, asked residents to report any suspicious movement of men and materials that come to their notice to security agencies, monarchs, traditional leaders and the offices of the governors.

In a latest video released to AFP, the Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for the bomb blast and Nyanya Motor Park on April 14 and also made a categorical statement about their resolve to carry out more attacks.

“We are in your city and you don’t know where we are,” the purported leader of the terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, said in the video, threatening “more imminent attacks” across Nigeria.

The bomb attack left 75 persons dead with over 120 injured.

‘Declaration Of War’ 

The ARG said the alert was for traditional institutions, from the highly revered monarchs to the village heads and the clan heads and that it was aimed at also reminding them of their responsibility towards their subjects in this dire time.

“All the leaders of our people at every level would have no reason, through acts of omission or commission, to allow total strangers over-run their domains. The time for the traditional institutions to become active and responsive as the guardian of our values is now.

“The kings and village heads should be ready to accept responsibility for any security failure in their domain, and we dare say that being urban should be no excuse,” the statement read.

The group further warned that a terror attack on the states would amount to a ‘declaration of war’ on the peace loving people of Yorubaland, in as much as the Yoruba people have always been peaceful and are not, whether directly or indirectly, complicit in the collapse of development and security which have been labelled as responsible for the rise of terrorism.

“We need to add that the Yoruba people will neither fold their arms if attacked and will be forced to respond in whatever shape or form deemed fit,” the group stressed.

#StellaGate: Afenifere Demands Probe Into Other Agencies’ Pockets

Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently set up a judicial panel of inquiry that will investigate the cost of governance since 2009 when late President Umar Yar’Adua took ill.

The group, in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Olawale Oshun, argued that the ongoing investigation into procurement of armoured vehicles by the aviation ministry ought to be extended to other ministries, departments, and agencies of government, including the presidency and legislature.

“We are convinced that the revelations coming out of our aviation ministry represent only a tip of the iceberg, a fraction of the widespread disregard for probity and budget-based administration in our public service,” Oshun said in the statement.

The group described the media frenzy about the #Stellagate controversy as “undue focus” and stated that such would only serve to “cover up similar abuses in other Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and also the legislative house in Abuja. Our suspicion is that many other ministers and top government officials are beneficiaries of similar unusual gifts.”

“Just recently, the House Committee Chairman on Public Accounts cried out that budgetary performance of capital expenditure stands currently at 28 per cent; that of recurrent expenditure stands at 72 per cent; while that of the N1.6tn Service Wide Vote, a nebulously defined allocation spent at the President’s discretion, stands at 90 per cent.

“We must not, as a country, fail to extend the ongoing investigation into other MDAs, going by the recent revelation that 2013 budget performance is less than 40 percent and the disclosure of Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko Inde, before the Joint Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation that Nigeria has lost N603.2bn to waivers and exemptions between January and September alone. Waivers were even granted for importation of petroleum products to the tune of N263.8bn.

“We suspect that profligacy of the worst degree since 1999 is staring us in the face and it serves no nationalistic purpose to devote national resources in the presidency and legislature to probe a mere fraction of the problem. What the country needs now is a holistic probe, the type that can engender a comprehensive reform in cost of governance.”

Oshun said a judicial inquiry is necessary to “enable the introduction of proper reforms that would prevent Oduahgate in future.”

“To mindlessly concentrate on the Oduah issue without externalising the inquiry would only short change the country and our search for probity. We urge Nigerians not to wait for another shocking revelation of corruption but to demand for holistic reform of governance,” the statement read.