Bulletin # 22: Open Letter To APC SW Campaign Council
The SW APC is the current dominant political party in Yorubaland, with an expectation of electorally retaining such dominance through the route mapped out in the Party’s Manifesto.
The Yoruba Referendum Committee recognizes that campaigns for elections have self-directed parameters with appropriate strategies and tactics devised and aimed towards victory. At the same time, we also recognize that Party Manifestos aim at resolving the society’s problematics, where the Party thinks it will be beneficial to all, regardless of Party affiliation. It is therefore our well-considered view that a synergy must exist between the needs and aspirations of the People and the expectations embedded in the Party Manifesto.
The Yoruba Referendum Committee makes bold to state that the weightiest decision expressed in the Manifesto is on Federalism. This is because all other issues or expectations in the Manifesto are tied to resolving the question of Nigeria’s Nationhood, manifested in its State Formation.
Hence this Open Letter to the Campaign Council of the SW APC, based on the following:
(i) Since the end of the Second World War and the establishment of the global liberal political economy dominated by Western Europe and North America, all efforts at human and material development of formerly colonized peoples, despite the “winds of change” spawned by the War, floundered largely because most of the emergent States were and still are unable to address, in a fruitful manner, the question of their State Formation, hence became paralyzed by continuous crises and which, for Africa, has sustained her underdevelopment.
(ii) The exceptions to this “rule” are divided into two: (a) The “Asian Tigers” who were and still are direct beneficiaries of the “Cold War” between the two major Alliances that emerged from the Second World War and through whom their proxy wars were fought and (b) what we now know as the “BRICS” countries—that is, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
(iii) Both are playing significant roles in global political economy such that global developmental trend tends towards either of the two. Therefore, Nigeria has to make a choice between these two roads. Historical precedence and contemporary economic reality will prevent the “Asian Tigers” route, primarily because African economies thrive as dependents on the Western paradigm, and which, by definition, is patently organized for Africa’s underdevelopment; the “Cold War” is over, hence “proxy wars” are no longer feasible or necessary and any wars along those lines will severely and negatively impact the Continent. Hence, the only viable option for Nigeria (indeed Africa) is the “BRICS” route.
(iv) It is noted that the “BRICS” countries were also former colonial possessions, directly or indirectly, to wit: Brazil was a Portuguese colony; Russia, before the 1917 Revolution, was considered as “England’s dumping ground”; India, like Nigeria, was a former British colony; China was occupied by Japan; the story of South Africa is too well-known.
(v) These countries resolved their State Formation by way of Constitutionalrecognition of their foundational premise, the Constitution being the fundamental Law of the Land. Thus, Brazil defined itself as a “Federative” State; Russia, a Multinational people of the Russian Federation; India, with her States identified by their Cultural/Lingualcharacteristics; China recognizing, upholding, and developing a relationship of equality, unity, mutual assistance, and harmony among all of China's Nationalities, regardless of whether they are minorities or not; and South Africa with her recognition of IndigenousLanguages and their importance to economic development. This recognition and affirmation formalized the overcoming of foundational problematics which has now enabled them to establish their own economic and political paradigms.
(vi) ��What could have passed as comparable to this BRICS paradigm was Nigeria’s experience in the First Republic which existed for 6 years, whose foundation was laid in the decade preceding Independence and anchored on a Federal System cognizant of geo-cultural sensibilities. This was the period between 1952 and 1960 which the Yoruba fondly recall as our “Golden Era”. Similarly, the Northern and Eastern Regions had things that engendered development of their Regions.
(vii) The developmental foundation of the “Era” would have, by now, made Nigeria a possible factor in BRICS and by extension, today’s global order. A pointer to this was exemplified by the University of Ife, where Portuguese Language was the first foreign Language of study, based on the recognition of Brazil having the largest number of Yoruba People outside the continent and with a potential economic relationship between Brazil and the Western Region, a sort of precursor to BRICS.
(viii) Since no appreciable improvement(s) have been made to the “Golden Era” since its abolition by military fiat, it simply follows that this deformation must be addressed in such a manner that the necessary foundation will be recreated for a progressive political economy which will encompass those being advocated by the Manifesto and which will become a beacon for the rest of Africa, and set Nigeria on the road to “BRICS”, and more. This necessarily leads to the question of Re-FederalizingNigeria.
(ix) We recognize that this cannot be achieved by fiat. We are also cognizant of the fact that various governments since 1999, including the current APC administration, organized Conferences towards a solution, with nothing to show.
(x) The Central question now to be addressed by the SW APC is how to proceed on a pathway that will set the stage for rapid escape from the shackles of underdevelopment brought about by the abolition of the Federal System anchored on the Regions, even if the Party wants to combine its preference for the National Assembly as expressed in the Manifesto, with the desires and aspirations of the various Peoples in Nigeria with a view towards re-establishing the lost “Golden Era”.
(xi) The route towards this cannot be another round of Conferences. The Yoruba Referendum Committee also recognizes that electoral politics is often a result of the balance of power, embedded in not only electoral campaigns but also in inter and intra-party relationships which may not necessarily embrace the existential aspirations of the Peoples. Despite these, we are calling on your Campaign Council to set in motion, as part of your campaign, a procedure for engagement, between your Party and the Yoruba People.
(xii) This has nothing to do with whether your party wins or loses the elections. It simply means that, as the dominant party in Yorubaland, you have to utilize your powers to ensure Yoruba People (and by extension all other Nationalities in Nigeria) have a say in RE-FEDERALIZING NIGERIA as the way to avoiding all the failed Conferences that had hitherto been the case.
(xiii) Towards this end, the Yoruba Referendum Committee has proposed “Federating Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States into a Yoruba Region in a Federal Nigeria”, through the instrumentality of a Referendum conducted by the Legislatures in these States. This pathway can also be domesticated by other Nationalities or groups of Nationalities in Nigeria.
(xiv) Further, the Committee has defined its vision of a new Nigeria as “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”.
(xv) The Legitimacy and Validity of the Yoruba Referendum (and Nationality Referendums in general) reduces the risk of submerging Yoruba or any other Nigerian Nationality’s existentialism in the balance of power squabbles embedded in the operations of the National Assembly. On the contrary, it will Legitimize the actions of the National Assembly itself.
It is the Committee’s hope that our suggestion will be given the highest consideration.
Yoruba Referendum Committee