As part of their continuous peaceful campaigns against groups agitating for violence in the Southwest, a coalition under the aegis of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF), on Monday and Tuesday, stormed Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State and Osogbo, Osun State capital, respectively, to sensitise the people of the two states on the need to maintain peace in the run-up to their governorship elections.
YAF also took its sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns to other parts of the two states, urging the people to reject anyone promoting violence during the forthcoming governorship elections in the two states.
The members of YAF, who have been going round states in the South-West in the past one year to draw the attention of their Yoruba kinsmen to plans by some disgruntled elements to cause violence and chaos in Yorubaland, urged the citizens of both Ekit and Osun states to prepare to go out and exercise their civic rights of voting for their individual preferred candidates on the days scheduled for the governorship elections.
While the Ekiti State governorship election has been scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hold on June 18, 2022, that of Osun to elect a new governor will be conducted on July 16, 2022.
YAF therefore urged the electorate in the two South-West states to ignore agitators and all those threatening that there won’t governorship elections as scheduled by INEC in the two states.
The coalition also described as “devilish” alleged plans by some Yoruba secessionist groups to work for the break-up of Nigeria, warning that this could lead to a second civil war in the country.
It also faulted calls by some Yoruba leaders for the dismemberment of Nigeria and secession of the South-West region from the rest of the country.
The Coalition, known for its vehement opposition to the alleged secession plans by some other Yoruba groups, stressed that the unity of the country remained non-negotiable.
It, therefore, called on the Federal Government and the various security agencies to take urgent decision to put in place adequate security measures to ensure the forthcoming elections in both Ekiti and Osun states are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere devoid of any violence.
YAF National Coordinator, Adeshina Animashaun, who led other members during the visits of the Coalition to the two states, appealed to the government, security agencies and other major stakeholders in the South-West to rise to the challenge of ensuring a peaceful, free and fair elctions in Ekiti and Osun states.
The YAF members carried several placards, pasted posters in various places and distributed handbills with various inscriptions and messages in both English, Yoruba and other local languages to the people in towns and the grassroots communities across the states calling for peaceful and violence-free elections in both Ekiti and Osun states.
Some of the inscriptions on the YAF placards, posters and handbills read: “The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace,” “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote. Go out and vote,” “YAF says ‘No to election Violence,’ “A peaceful atmosphere, brings peaceful co-existence,” “Your vote is your right,” “Don’t be used by politicians to cause unrest during forthcoming elections,” “Use your vote wisely,” and “United we stand, divided we fall. Let’s vote for a united Nigeria.”
Other placards and handbills of the Coalition also read: “Agbajo Owo Lafinsoya,” “Ile Oodua a gbe wa o,” “Let’s make 2023 a reality, avoid violence,” “Be agent of peaceful elections, kick against thuggery,” and “Reject political thuggery, support peaceful polls.”
YAF also urged the government, security agencies and other stakeholders to urgently move to thwart any plans by anyone or group of persons and their sponsors to cause chaos in the two states during the forthcoming governorship polls.
Animashaun restated that the aims and objectives of those kicking against the conduct of the governorship polls in the two states were mainly to cause violence, chaos and to destroy Yorubaland.
“Those people by their nefarious and unpatriotic activities are bent on bringing hardship and disaster to the peace loving people of the South West,” he warned.
The YAF coordinator noted that the ultimate plan of those clamouring and campaigning against the governorship elections in the two state was to execute their selfish and devilish secession agendas well as the dismembering of Nigeria.
Animashaun, therefore, stressed that YAF would never support any person or groups promoting violence and clamouring for the secession of Yoruba land from Nigeria.
He vowed that the Coalition and YAF members would not be part of any arrangement that the people, governments of the South-West states and Yoruba traditional rulers have not endorsed.
The YAF coordinator also reminded those threatening to stop the forthcoming governorship elections in both Ekiti and Osun states that such violent act is criminal, treasonable and punishable under the law of the country.
The Forum, however, used the occasion of the sensitisation rallies in the two states to caution the various groups championing independence of their various ethnic groups, warning them not to allow themselves to be used by unpatriotic elements, who are only interested in the dismemberment of the country, to hide under them to engage in any treasonable acts aimed at throwing Nigeria into violence and chaos.
According to the YAF coordinator, “Let’s continue to celebrate peace in our country by ensuring that the labours of all our past national heroes, who have given us the freedom we’ve been enjoying in Nigeria do not go in vain. Let’s ensure there’s peace before, during and after the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.
“As Nigerian youths and people, we cannot afford to take our liberty for licence to engage in violent acts that can be injurious to Nigeria’s continued existence. Rather, we should at all times strive to play our role patriotically in order to make Nigeria a better place for ourselves and generations yet unborn. We must not allow anyone, no matter how highly placed, to use us as political thugs to perpetrate electoral fraud and violence. Let’s be very wise and vigilant this time round.
“It is only when our country progresses in everything in an atmosphere of peace that the whole world can be proud of us. No nation progresses in a chaotic atmosphere and under insecurity imposed by some aggrieved citizens. So, to those of us who constitute the electorate in Ekiti and Osun states, let’s ensure we maintain peace while we vote in exercise of our constitutional right and civic responsibility.”
YAF also enjoined all Nigerians to eschew all divisive tendencies in order to preserve and continue to build the country under a peaceful and progressive atmosphere.
It added, “Peace and righteousness do a great deal of good to any group of people and nations, and this we believe should continue to bind the conscience of every Nigerian.
“We should, therefore, not give any room to unpatriotic men to destroy the good legacies and country bequeathed to us by Nigeria’s founding fathers. We must strive to be among those superior characters to hold the balance of power to keep our great nation up to a high standard of civilization. Second-rate men and women must be effectively checked and kept at bay to save our dear fatherland from collapse.
“It is, therefore, important to once again remind us all here that our country can only be great again if we all reorient ourselves and reason together as Nigerians and not as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba; not as Northerners or Southerners, Muslims or Christians.
“For us as a group of patriotic citizens, we’ll never waver in our consistent pursuit of a peaceful and united Nigeria.”