57 Yoruba groups met in Lagos with a resolve to mobilise the S/West for a pro-restructuring presidential candidate in 2023.
The groups said the people of the South-West will take over the campaign, own the process and ensure the region’s bloc vote like never before.
“We want this election to be different. The campaign will not be by money bags but by the masses, from home to home, street to street and valleys to mountains. Our people will speak with one voice this time” the groups said.
They vowed to ensure that the 2023 presidential election produces a candidate that will restructure the country and resolve the lingering National Question irrespective of political platform.
According to the groups, the 2023 election must produce a pro- restructuring presidential candidate or risk popular uprising, warning political parties that the election will be different as it is not going to be about All Progressives Congress (APC) or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but about the people on the streets.
They stressed that the groups will take over the process and the campaign to ensure the will of the people triumphs in all Yoruba territories.
The meeting was presided over by a prominent journalist, Mr Adewale Adeoye, who said he was invited by the groups to preside over the meeting while the communiqué issued was signed by Sunday Akinnuoye, Femi Agbana and Mrs Ganiat Toriola.
The groups drew representation from the O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC), Oodua Nationalist Coalition (ONAC), Agbekoya, South West Students Coalition (SWSC), Oodua Muslim-Christian Youth Dialogue, (OMCYD), Oodua Liberation Movement, (OLM), Apapo Oodua Koya (AOKOYA), Oodua Self Determination Alliance (OSDA), Itsekiri Salvation Front (ISF), Network of South West Vigilante (NSWV), Oodua Hunters Union (OHUN), Yoruba Automobile Technicians Association (YATA-South West), South West Tailors Union (SWTU), South West Professionals (SOWPROF), Covenant Group and several civil rights groups based in the South West among others.
The groups, Adeoye said, are to meet again in the first quarter of 2022.
He warned that multiplicity of presidential contenders in Yorubaland will be counter-productive.
According to him, the coalition is aware of presidential aspirants like Dr Kayode Fayemi, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Yoruba people, he pointed out, must make the choice of who should represent their interest at the national level and not for the aspirants to impose themselves as representing the Yoruba slot.
“We shall ensure this does not happen. The Yoruba people must decide their presidential candidate and work genuinely for him”, he said.
“We wish to see the National Question resolved before the next election, but given the balance of strength, the presidential election may still hold without the country addressing the critical issue of self-determination.
“If this happens, Yorubaland will rise up to mobilise for any candidate that genuinely wants to restructure Nigeria in the first six months of the post-Mohammed Buhari era”.
The groups said consultation with ongoing with ethnic nations across Nigeria to ensure they speak with one voice during the 2023 election.
They noted that the Yoruba had been taken for granted by the political elite who think the people do not matter.
The groups said presidential aspirants in Yorubaland usually rely on money and not ideas, adding that political leaders had emerged with absolute contempt for the people thus making it difficult for them to address the fears and aspirations of the people.