Yoruba Referendum Committee’s Response To Sw Apc.

By FEMI ODEDEYI
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The Yoruba Referendum Committee notes the position of the SW APC on the various questions bedeviling the Nigerian State and its categorical opposition to “secession of the Yoruba” from Nigeria as a possible solution. We also note the Party’s projection and promotion of “True Federalism and the reallocation of resources and authority that comes with it will empower the states to solve localized issues before they spread and transform into national ones and empower grassroots economic development and political reforms that will stand as bulwarks against the terrorism and criminality now experienced in too many parts of the nation”.

While awaiting the position of SW leaders of other Political Parties, we want to state the following:

(A) A Federal Constitution, and therefore a “True Federalist State” is anchored on the RECOGNITION and IDENTIFICATION of the CONSTITUENTS in their Regional, Lingual, Territorial, or Cultural IDENTITIES which in the case of Nigeria, are the INDIGENES of their territories.

(B) In this category of Federalist constructs based on the IDENTITIES of their Constituents are AUSTRALIA, CANADA, BELGIUM, GERMANY, and SWITZERLAND, whose FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONS are anchored on the IDENTITIES of the Constituents as stated hereunder:

(i) AUSTRALIA: An Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia: “WHEREAS the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established.”

(ii) CANADA: CONSTITUTION ACT 1867: “An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the Government thereof; and for Purposes connected therewith. (29th March 1867). WHEREAS the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom:”

(iii) BELGIUM: “TITLE I: On Federal Belgium, Its Components and its Territory: Article 1: Belgium is a federal State composed of Communities and Regions. Article 2: Belgium comprises three Communities: the Flemish Community, the French Community, and the German-speaking Community. Article 3: Belgium comprises three Regions: the Flemish Region, the Walloon Region, and the Brussels Region. Official or national languages (Article 4): Belgium comprises four linguistic regions: the Dutch-speaking region, the French-speaking region, the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital and the German-speaking region. Each municipality of the Kingdom forms part of one of these linguistic regions. The boundaries of the four linguistic regions can only be changed or corrected by a law passed by a majority of the votes cast in each linguistic group in each House, on condition that a majority of the members of each group is present and provided that the total number of votes in favor that are cast in the two linguistic groups is equal to at least two thirds of the votes cast.”

(iv). GERMANY---PREAMBLE: “Conscious of their responsibility before God and man, inspired by the determination to promote world peace as an equal partner in a united Europe, the German people, in the exercise of their constituent power, have adopted this Basic Law. Germans in the Länder of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia have achieved the unity and freedom of Germany in free self-determination. This Basic Law thus applies to the entire German people.”

(v) SWITZERLAND---- TITLE ONE. GENERAL PROVISIONS: "Art 1. The Swiss Confederation: “The People and the Cantons of Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden, Glarus, Zug, Fribourg, Solothurn, Basel Stadt and Basel Landschaft, Schaffhausen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden, St. Gallen, Graubünden, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, Geneva, and Jura form the Swiss Confederation........Right to culture(Art 2): It shall promote the common welfare, sustainable development, internal cohesion and cultural diversity of the country.....Subsidiary unit government (Art 3). Cantons: The Cantons are sovereign except to the extent that their sovereignty is limited by the Federal Constitution. They exercise all rights that are not vested in the Confederation….. Official or national languages (Art 4). National languages: The National Languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh."

(SOURCE: “https://www.constituteproject.org)

(C) In each of the above examples, it is observed that their Constitutions neither DENY nor NEUTRALIZE the Regional, Lingual, Territorial, or Cultural IDENTITIES of the CONSTITUENTS. Nigeria’s case cannot be different.

(D) For Nigeria to deny INDIGENESHIP as the basis for FEDERALISM will result in continuous existential crisis until one ETHNO-NATIONALITY is able to SUPPRESS all the others OR ALL NATIONALITIES come round to mutual RECOGNITION and a TRULY FEDERAL CONSTITUTION is endorsed.

(E) Therefore, the YORUBA REFERENDUM COMMITTEE is asking the SW APC to ENDORSE the Yoruba Referendum Bill already submitted to the Governors and Houses of Assembly for consideration and ratification.

(F) The ANNEXURE to the Bill presents the template for “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 or Zones, as Federating Units and from whom a Head of State will be selected or elected as the primus-inter-pares with an agreed term”.

(G) The YORUBA REFERENDUM BILL is the avenue towards THE resolution of the apparent division within Yorubaland, addresses issues germane to TRUE FEDERALISM, provides the basis for the call by southern governors for a “National Dialog”, establishes the parameters for a “New Federation” answering General Obasanjo’s call, becomes the agreed CONSENSUS as demanded by Governor Akeredolu, Femi Falana and others and addresses the SW APC’s call for TRUE and GREATER FEDERALISM with a MULTI-NATIONAL STATE.

(H) This will be the Yoruba contribution to the internationally accepted and recognized core concept of governance for a Multi-National, Multi-Ethnic, and Multi-Cultural geo-political space and a beacon for other Nationalities, not only in Nigeria, but also in Africa.

(I) The QUESTION posed in the YORUBA REFERENDUM BILL aims at a decision by the Yoruba as to whether the Yoruba States should form a Region within a Federal Nigeria or NOT.

(J) A “YES” vote will confirm the ANNEXURE to the Bill as the basis for negotiating with other Nationalities as well as with the Nigerian State through the Constitutional Commission. A “NO” vote will present opportunities for its champions to provide alternatives towards resolving the Yoruba National Question.

We believe that your commanding role in the Yoruba Political Architecture allows you to formally pursue the course outlined above.

Thank you, sirs.
Editorial Board
The Yoruba Referendum Committee.