Achieving Self-Determination For Yoruba Nation: BULLETTIN #1
This Bi-Monthly Bulletin of the Editorial Board of the YORUBA REFERENDUM COMMITTEE is aimed at examining the course of Yoruba Self-Determination within the context of our historical and contemporary political experiences in the Nigerian Post-Colonial State while also subjecting the same to serious examination to ensure that the preferred PATHWAY is anchored on a solid foundation.
The quest for Yoruba Autonomy/Self-Determination has been reduced to bureaucratic and administrative maneuvering around and about the “Concurrent” and “Residual” lists and the items therein as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution, totally obviating the necessity for the rationale for Self-Determination resulting from our experience with Colonial plunder characterized by the loss of our humanity; our economic, cultural and political realities reeling under continuous pressure from the Unitarization of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State; and the disappearance and relegation of our Language, social and cultural values into objects of entertainment.
“Corruption” had always been cited as the fundamental cause of Nigeria’s Underdevelopment and continuous economic crises. Yet, all regimes (military or civilian) since 1966 had been unable to address this question, with the Nigerian Post-Colonial State continuously doing the same things in the same manner all the time while expecting a different result.
This mandates a different approach towards finding an embracing solution.
And it is in the Re-Formation of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State from a “Nation-State” into a “MULTI-NATIONAL STATE” where the suspended or collapsed humanity of the various Peoples will be renewed afresh through the self-expression of their aspirations and expectations, the minimum conditions for the manifestation of their humanity.
Achieving this reality before the 2023 Elections, with the YORUBA REFERENDUM as the PATHWAY is therefore, a necessity.
We begin with an examination of our current reality.
(A) EXISTING PATHWAYS
1. There is no doubt that there is a preponderance of existing pathways or solutions, based on the assumed or expected fidelity of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State to adhere to any form of development. Our experience since 1966 put a lie to this expectation.
2. These pathways started from the “electoralist” route with the expectation that existing electoral laws can and will be utilized in our favor, especially in relation to the central elections thereby ensuring an electoral victory for the Yoruba in the 2023 Presidential elections even though such elections in the past had been unable to make a dent on the Underdevelopment of the Peoples of Nigeria or the Yoruba People.
3. The electoralist approach to the resolution of the National Question in Nigeria is fundamentally flawed. The permutations of most, if not all Nigerian political elites and their party formations are anchored on this for electoral contests, but the resolution of the National Question in Nigeria or anywhere for that matter cannot be attained by this approach. The Nigerian experience has clearly demonstrated this.
4. Other pathways include the “developmentalist” route, notwithstanding the existing stifling macro-economic regimen, working out of political alliances with the East, Middle Belt and South-South Regions of the country by creating (a) a “southern Alliance Territory” in opposition to the “Sharia North” and (b) an electoral alliance aimed at pandering to the East in terms of her 2023 presidential expectations.
5. While we find the referenced pathways interesting, we are of the opinion that they are all missing an essential element, to wit, our right as Yoruba Nation to Self-Determination is actualized and guaranteed by way of getting the same entrenched in the architecture of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State. Without this important element, none of the above suggested pathways can or will serve our needs.
6. Self-Determination for the Yoruba Nation has no chance of being realized unless the Yoruba and any other Nationalities struggle for it on their terms and in the light of their experience and aspirations.
7. This Self-determination does not admit of an “alliance” unless we are thinking of a combination of forces or an alliance for contest in the next election cycle.
8. We submit most humbly that the most helpful cooperation between those who desire freedom among the Nations of Nigeria is the expression of same in their own Nationality Referendum.
(B) PITFALLS OF THE SW/SE/SS/MB ALLIANCE:
i. Without prejudice to advancing the cause of Yoruba Self-Determination or Autonomy, we make bold to state that the advocacy for Yoruba Self-Determination (and this goes for all Nationalities in the alliance) comes with the issue of addressing the question of the Yoruba Nation within the context of this “alliance”.
ii. This means the “alliance” must come forth with an ALTERNATIVE FORM OF STATE as its raison d’etre, the counter to the Nigerian Post-Colonial State, otherwise, the “alliance” will be meaningless.
iii. We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the Existential Threat to the Yoruba Nation is an issue that can stand and be fought on its own terms and not just because of the "refusal" of two zones or the suspect template of a “Southern Alliance" against a so - called "Sharia Territory".
iv. As a matter of fact, it is ruinous to Yoruba corporate/national interest to anchor the Yoruba quest for freedom within or from Nigeria on that template as it is only the Yoruba Nation that has a near equal demographic balance between Moslems and Christians.
v. Framing Yoruba Self-Determination around either of the above templates is not only counter-productive but potentially subversive as Yoruba territory may become, on the one hand, the battleground between the two faiths while others will be at liberty to deal as they deem fit and on the other hand, a reenactment of the Yoruba experience during the Nigeria-Biafra War where, despite the agreement to remove Northern soldiers from Yorubaland, Biafra ended up invading Yorubaland!
vi. Both “alliances” tacitly recognize the immutability of the “zoning” or “rotation” principle between the “North” and “South” introduced into the operations of the Nigerian Post-Colonial State, since Independence, anchored on the NCNC/NPC Alliance and which had been in operation in its various permutations till date. It is also an expression of the weakness of the demand for Self-Determination in the sense that its purveyors lack the Legitimacy to promote Self-Determination despite their spirited attempts to clothe their pursuits with “Restructuring”, “True Federalism” or " Sovereignty" without proffering an ALTERNATIVE form of State.
vii. The perspective shared in “vi” begs the question as to whether this incapacity, and the knowledge of it, should play any role in its advocacy. That is, the Nigerian Post-Colonial State knows, and the proponents also know, that they, the proponents, lack LEGITIMACY—the only reason why they would opt for an “alliance” to acquire political power, always with promises of actualizing the advocacy, as had been experienced since 1999.
viii. Self-Determination, being a Political Quest, must be anchored on its relevance as a Political pursuit, and this, hinged on its Legitimacy, which cannot be reduced to electoralism even if it may sometimes be necessary to utilize it without its elevation to a Strategic imperative.
ix. Therefore, the immediate task before us is the question of “Legitimacy”; our mere declaration of Self-Determination does not confer Legitimacy on it, more so when Politicians from every Nationality are active participants in the “democratic” or electoral pursuits of the Post-Colonial State by their ever-ready participation in such endeavors.
x. To arrive at a resolution of the “Legitimacy Question” means each Nationality desirous of her Self-Determination must be able to establish the Legitimacy of the demand among themselves, by which the Nigerian Post-Colonial State, and indeed the International community must respond, as we have been witnessing in various parts of the world (Quebec, Catalonia, Scotland, even Kurdistan).
xi. In other words, the Yoruba Nation's quest for Self-Determination has its own raison d’etre as is copiously validated by international Law, Conventions, and other Instruments and must be fought primarily on that basis.
Thank you for reading.
NEXT: THE YORUBA REFERENDUM AS THE WAY OUT