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Statement by the Yoruba Referendum Committee

By Egbe Omo Oduduwa
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(1) Whereas the Yoruba Nation (and other Nations inside Nigeria) experience constant and relentless negation of their preferred mode of existence thereby depriving them of their capacity to address their existential paradigms within the global order.

(2) Whereas there are different currents of opinion within the Yoruba Nation at home and the Diaspora on what should be the Yoruba Response to her social, cultural, and philosophical alienation by the Nigerian Post-Colonial State.

(3) Whereas these differences of opinion exhibit the overall Yoruba preference for multiplicity of views and opinions, reflected in several Yoruba aphorisms, all combined, giving a specificity to Yoruba Existentialism.

(4) Whereas this Cultural Existentialism, embedded in the resolution of social contradictions and translated onto the economic and political spheres through the establishment of a Social Democratic, Welfarist Region experienced during our “Golden Era”.

(5) Whereas the Yoruba Nation has the capability to resolve the current differences through the combination of her Cultural experience and the internationally recognized Referendum mechanism, already utilized in many instances all over the world, including Scotland, which played a major role in the colonization of Nigeria by the United Kingdom.

(6) Whereas the Referendum is the most peaceful way to establish the maxim that Sovereignty resides in the People, the source of all political power.

(7) Whereas worldwide and locally, precedents exist where issues of fundamental nature are decided by direct reference to the People rather than their elected representatives, representing a better measure of the decision of the people and therefore legitimacy.

(8) Whereas such was the position in 1963, when a Referendum was used to determine the separation of the Mid-Western Region from the Western Region and in 1959 to determine Union of Cameroons with Nigeria and 1961 when Northern Cameroons voted for Union with Nigeria and Southern Cameroons for Union with (formerly French) Cameroun.

(9) Whereas in the UK in 2014, the people of Scotland Nation had a Referendum to determine if they wanted to be separated from the United Kingdom and in 2016 the EU Referendum took place and the people of the UK voted to leave the EU.

(10) Whereas the Nigerian Post-Colonial State cannot feign ignorance of this universal truth and therefore cannot deny the Peoples the right to exercise their Sovereignty; nor seek to invalidate it merely because there are Yoruba elected officials in the State Houses of Assembly, the National Assembly as well as elected and appointed officials of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State.

(11) Whereas the Yoruba in Kogi and Kwara States have expressed their desire for a Referendum to determine the acceptability or otherwise of their desire to become part of the Yoruba National Geo-Political space.

(12) Be it noted, and it is hereby noted, that the YORUBA REFERENDUM COMMITTEE says that the Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti State Houses of Assembly owe it a duty to the Yoruba Nation to re-establish the Sovereignty of the People by passing this Bill for a Referendum into Law.

DRAFT BILL FOR A REFERENDUM LAW
A Law of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Ogun State House of Assembly, Osun State House of Assembly, Oyo State House of Assembly, Ondo State House of Assembly and Lagos State House of Assembly for the holding of a Referendum on the proposal to Federate Ekiti State with Ogun State, Osun State, Oyo State, Ondo State and Lagos State and constitute same into Oduduwa Region of Western Nigeria, within the Federation of Nigeria.

A: REFERENDUM ON FEDERATION OF EKITI STATE WITH OGUN STATE, OSUN STATE, OYO STATE, ONDO STATE AND LAGOS STATE AND CONSTITUTION OF SAME INTO ODUDUWA REGION IN A FEDERATION OF NIGERIA.

1. On the…………. Day of ……… 2021, a Referendum shall be held in Ekiti State, Ogun State, Osun State, Oyo State, Ondo State and Lagos State of Nigeria on:

(i) Whether the Governments of Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ondo and Lagos States should negotiate with each other with a view to forming a FEDERATION of STATES to be known as the ODUDUWA REGION OF WESTERN NIGERIA and (ii) whether the said REGION should negotiate with the Government of Nigeria and the remaining 30 states or any group of states that have also agreed to Federate and the administration of the Federal Capital Territory to achieve AUTONOMY/SELF-DETERMINATION for the said REGION within a Federation of Nigerian Constituent Units.(ANNEXURE)

2. The questions or propositions to be voted on in the Referendum and form of the ballot paper to be used for that purpose are to be in the form set out in the schedule herein contained.

3. Those entitled to vote in the Referendum are the persons who, on the date of the Referendum, would be entitled to vote as electors at a local government election in the electoral area/ward of the State in which they reside and/or carry out business.

4. The Governor of Each State shall appoint a Chief Electoral Officer who shall appoint an electoral officer for each Local Government Area.

5. Each Local Government Electoral Officer shall (a) Conduct the counting of votes cast in the area under his/her authority in accordance with any directions given by the Chief Electoral Officer and (b) Certify the number of ballot papers counted by him/her and the number of votes cast for each question/proposition.

6. The Chief Electoral Officer must certify:
(a) The total number of ballot papers counted for the whole of Each State and (b) the total number of votes cast for each proposition/question for the whole of the State.

7. The result of the Referendum shall constitute the entire position of the people of Ogun State, Oyo State, Osun State, Ekiti State, Ondo State and Lagos State (WESTERN/ODUDUWA REGION OF NIGERIA).

8. In the event of a YES vote on the Referendum, the Governors of each State shall appoint members into a Constitutional Council of Western/Oduduwa Region.

9. The Constitutional Council of Western/Oduduwa Region shall include not more than twelve (12) other members chosen at random throughout the Region and four (4) members from Kwara and Kogi States.

10.The Constitutional Council of Western/Oduduwa Region shall be vested with powers to present and represent the views of Western/Oduduwa Region and negotiate on behalf of the Western/Oduduwa Region with all the agencies of the Nigerian Government and non-Governmental organizations involved in the process.

B: The short title of this Law is “Referendum Law of Ekiti State, Ondo State, Osun State, Oyo State, Ogun State and Lagos State”.

SCHEDULE
FORM OF BALLOT PAPER: Ekiti State House of Assembly, Ondo State House of Assembly, Osun State House of Assembly, Oyo State House of Assembly, Ogun State House of Assembly and Lagos State House of Assembly, have decided to consult the People of Each State on this ………. Day of ………, 2021 on the proposal to Federate the Government of Ogun State, the Government of Osun State, the Government of Oyo State, the Government of Ekiti State, the Government of Ondo State and the Government of Lagos State with a view to constituting a REGION of Western Nigeria within a Federation of Nigeria.

THUMBPRINT in the box containing:
(YES)
1. I AGREE that the Governments of Ekiti State, Ondo State, Oyo State, Osun State, Ogun State and Lagos State should negotiate with each other with a view to forming a FEDERATION of STATES to be known as the ODUDUWA REGION OF WESTERN NIGERIA which shall negotiate with the Yoruba persons in Kwara and Kogi States, whether they want to be part of the ODUDUWA REGION or not; shall further negotiate with the Government of Nigeria and the remaining 30 states and the administration of the Federal Capital Territory to achieve AUTONOMY/SELF-DETERMINATION for the said REGION within a Federation of Nigeria.

OR
(NO)
2. I DO NOT AGREE that the Governments of Ekiti State, Ondo State, Oyo State, Osun State, Ogun State and Lagos State should negotiate with each other with a view to forming a FEDERATION of STATES to be known as the ODUDUWA REGION OF WESTERN NIGERIA which shall negotiate with the Yoruba in Kwara and Kogi States as to whether they want to be part of the ODUDUWA REGION or not, and further negotiate with the Government of Nigeria and the remaining 30 states and the administration of the Federal Capital Territory to achieve AUTONOMY/SELF-DETERMINATION for the said REGION within a Federation of Nigeria.

ANNEXURE
• A Federal Nigeria, through a valid Federal Constitution, to be known as The Union of Nigerian Constituent Nationalities, with a Federal Presidential Council, whose members will be selected or elected from each of the Nationalities as Federating Units and from whom a Head of State will be selected or elected as the primus-inter-pares with an agreed term.

• Western/Oduduwa Region shall be a Constituent Unit of the Nigerian Union.

• Western/Oduduwa Region shall adopt a Parliamentary System of government.

• The Central Government of the Union shall have no power to interfere nor intervene in the affairs of the ODUDUWA REGION, save as shall be agreed to by three quarters of the members of the Region’s Parliament.

• There shall be a Division of the Federal Armed Forces in the Region, 90% of which personnel shall be indigenes of the Region. The Divisional commander shall be an indigene of Oduduwa Region.

• The Judicial power of the Region shall be vested in the Supreme Court of the Region, Court of Appeal, High Court, Customary Court and Other lower courts as the Parliament may establish. There shall be a Court of Appeal in each of the provinces. There shall be, in each province, a High Court from which appeals shall lie to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of the Region.

• Western/Oduduwa Region shall have its own internal security system.

• Each Constituent Unit of the Nigerian Federation shall control primary interest in its own resources with an agreed Tax Model for the Federation.