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The Yoruba Response To Kayode Fayemi (Part 1 Of 3)

By Egbe Omo Oduduwa
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Statement by the Yoruba Referendum Committee

1. As is customary of the Nigerian Post-Colonial ruling elite, Governor Kayode Fayemi simply grafted onto the Nigerian Problematic borrowed expressions of a reality that is incongruent with the experiences of the Yoruba and other Peoples of Nigeria by his deployment of the historically conditioned phrase of “a more perfect Union” in his presentation at the Forum on the 50th Anniversary of the Center for Historical Documentation and Research (Arewa House) on October 30, 2020.

2. A casual check with Wikipedia by Governor Kayode Fayemi on the source and meaning of the phrase would have shown that it was part of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States which states that: “We the People of the United States, in Order to FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

3. Wikipedia continues: “The Preamble was placed in the Constitution during the last days of the Constitutional Convention by the Committee on Style, which wrote its final draft, with Gouverneur Morris leading the effort. It was not proposed or discussed on the floor of the convention beforehand.

4. Furthermore, says Wikipedia: “The initial wording of the preamble did not refer to the PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES, rather, it referred to PEOPLE OF THE VARIOUS STATES, which was the norm. In earlier documents, including the 1778 Treaty of Alliance with France, the Articles of Confederation and the 1783 Treaty of Paris recognizing American Independence, the word "PEOPLE" was not used, and the phrase THE UNITED STATES was followed immediately by a listing of the states, from north to south. The change was made out of necessity, as the Constitution provided that whenever the popularly elected ratifying conventions of nine states gave their approval, it would go into effect for those nine, irrespective of whether any of the remaining states ratified.

5. “The Preamble serves solely as an introduction, and does not assign powers to the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, nor does it provide specific limitations on government action. Due to the Preamble's limited nature, no court has ever used it as a decisive factor in case adjudication, except as regards frivolous litigation”. (All Emphasis Ours)

6. From the above, it is very clear that “A more Perfect Union” was the aspiration for the administration of the TERRITORIES, the States, the former colonies, AND NOT FOR THE PEOPLES OF WHAT LATER BECAME THE UNITED STATES and eventually leading to a STRONGER CENTER; the main reason for this being the already achieved extermination of the INDIGENOUS PEOPLES paving the way for the emergence of the States as administrative entities.

7. For “a more perfect Union” to be applicable to, and meaningful for Nigeria, it must mean the recognition of the EXISTENCE of the PEOPLES in their TERRITORIES, contrary to the experience of the United States; and these anchored on their historical Constitutional journeys in the process of decolonization, expressed in their pre-Independence Political Preferences, manifesting in the Regional Structure, more or less reflecting the Existential Diversity of the Peoples of Nigeria, and which would have been the basis for the pursuit of “a more perfect Union”, especially with the creation of more Regions advocated by the Action Group and which would have averted the Nigeria-Biafra War.

8. This is the REALITY for Nigeria and the PEOPLES of Nigeria, which was neutralized and overthrown by the colonial military and civilian apparatus emerging from the two military coups of January and July 1966 under the guise of fighting corruption and pursuit of “Unity”, both ending up disrupting and negating the wishes and aspirations of the colonized, expressed through their pre-Independence Political Preferences.

9. Since then, the Nigerian State Apparatus had embarked on a systematic Homogenization of the various Cultures resulting in consolidating a STRONGER CENTER , now discredited as being too humongous and a drag on socio-economic development, parasitic on the natural and human resources of the Peoples of Nigeria and creating the avenue for renewed calls for “True Federalism” anchored on “devolution”, “fiscal federalism” “exclusive Legislative lists” etc, all of which Governor Kayode spoke glowingly about.

10. Yet, Governor Kayode Fayemi did not acknowledge the fact that the Yoruba Nation had endured and continues to endure great hardship in her existential coming into being, when, through the “DEVOLUTION” parameters of the 1947 Richards Constitution, the Yoruba Nation experienced her BALKANIZATION, consigning the Yoruba in Ilorin and Kabba Provinces to the Northern Region, and with the Eastern Region acquiescing, excising the Lagos Colony from Yorubaland, both of which ran against popular wishes and aspirations of the Yoruba.

11. The Richards Constitution was replaced by the 1951 MacPherson Constitution which ushered in the era of Federalism of the Regions, reversing the excision of the Lagos Colony from Yorubaland while, the NPC and NCNC refused to allow the conduct of a REFERENDUM/PLEBISCITE among the Yoruba in Ilorin and Kabba Provinces as to their preference as to being part of the Western or Northern Regions thereby ensuring their retention in the North.

12. Since then, the Yoruba People of Ilorin and Kabba Provinces and the Igbomina, all now located in Kwara and Kogi states, have been fighting against this “forced, illegal and Unconstitutional relocation” and are now asking for a REFERENDUM to determine whether they want to be rejoined with their kin in Yorubaland or not, echoing their demands as at the time of the Macpherson Constitution. (To Be Continued)