By NBF News

This might sound strange, but the Yoruba Unity Forum which has Chief HID Awolowo as leader is complaining of marginalization in Nigeria. Chief Anthony Adefuye who is the secretary of the organization told Saturday Sun that the marginalization of the Yoruba started when a Yoruba man was at the helm of affairs in the country.

Consequently, the Yoruba organization would demand from the various presidential aspirants seeking to have audience with the group what would be done to address the marginalization of Yoruba in the scheme of things.

He said no fewer than two presidential aspirants contacted the group recently asking for audience with the leadership of the Forum. He disclosed that the Forum in its last meeting resolved that selected leaders should meet the presidential aspirants and make specific demands in the interest of Yoruba race.

According to him, there are few Yoruba in the military, police, customs and even the civil service.

Adefuye also spoke on effort been made to reconcile the warring factions in the Ogun State House of Assembly and how to settle the rift between Osun and Oyo states over the ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University.

What do you think of state police in Nigeria?
We have always said that each state should have its own police command. We still maintain that the country would be better policed with state police. We can have state police and still have federal police. In America, they have state police and local government police. Even they have institutional police that have the same power like the police at the federal and state levels. The only difference is that they have jurisdiction.

What of the fear that opponents may use state police to harass political opponents?

Are police not being used now to harass opponents? To harass opponents, they use police; they use Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), ICPC and other means to harass opponents in Nigeria. So, adding state police to it will not worsen the situation. It has happened before that the police was used to harass opponents, but using state police to harass opponents can't happen now.

Presidential aspirants were said to be contacting Yoruba Unity Forum which has Chief HID Awolowo as leader asking for support.

Yes. We will listen to them and we want to listen to all the aspirants and agree with them on what we look forward to when they become president. What we don't want is the marginalization of Yoruba people.

What would be your demands from presidential aspirants?

If you go to Aso Rock now, you hardly feel the presence of Yoruba and this we hope to correct by discussing with the aspirants. We will ensure that it is corrected. We don't want marginalization of the Yoruba in any part of governance in the country. We have received reports from our committees on marginalization both in the customs, the police, military and our committee is still looking at various issues and we are still listening to Yoruba all over the country and in the diaspora and in the appropriate time we would present our demands.

Are you convinced that the Yoruba are marginalized in the Nigeria set up?

Yes. We are marginalized.
How is that?
I know very well that some people even though they are in position to employ Yoruba prefer to employ expatriates even in the private sector. In the civil service, you know how prominent the Yoruba were to bring Nigeria to the state we are today. Today, you can hardly feel the presence of the Yoruba in the civil service. We need to look into this and ensure that it is corrected.

This will be part of your demand from aspirants?
It will be part of our demand before anybody who comes to us.

But people will wonder how that is possible because a Yoruba man was president for eight years until 2007.

We are not talking about the time a Yoruba man was president. We are talking about now that a Yoruba man is not the president.

So, it wasn't like that when a Yoruba was president?

The situation developed from the time a Yoruba man was president.

So, a Yoruba man marginalized the Yoruba when he was in government?

Well, if you say so.
How many presidential aspirants contacted the Forum for an audience?

So far, we've had contact with two who wish to come and tell us their programme for the Yoruba people. At our meeting, we have agreed on a date to listen to them. At the appropriate time, we will make contact with them.

There are other issues that would interest the public. It is the crisis in Ogun State where 9 legislators suspended 15 legislators. What are you doing about it?

We are trying to mediate and we have told our committee for conflict resolution to look into the issue and talk to both sides in Ogun State. We don't want to make comments. We just want to intervene and make sure there is peace.

What of the Ladoke Akintola University crisis between Oyo and Osun state governments?

We have done the same thing. We hope to appeal to the two state governors to make an amicable settlement rather than allow a third party to settle it for them.