A coalition under the aegis of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) has raised the alarm over alleged plans by those championing and agitating for secession of Yoruba land from the rest of Nigeria to cause violence and chaos in the South-West and other parts of the country with the ultimate objective of truncating the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
YAF alleged that some disgruntled persons in the South-West and their allies in other parts of the country and outside, had been engaging in “clandestine activities” aimed at causing violence and sparking off killings, arson and mayhem that would undermine the electoral process and ultimately truncate next year’s elections throughout the country.
The Forum disclosed that the violence, which had been planned in two phases to coincide with the campaigns by political parties in the six South-West states, also had the objective of “re-enacting the arson and killings that characterised the unfortunate “Operation Wetie” violence that took place in the region in the First Republic” and it’s to be spread to the North by the Northern collaborators of the planners to spark off reprisal violence and killings.
It further said it learnt that the masterminds of the violence had begun the distribution of arms to their foot soldiers posing as Yoruba Nation agitators, cultists and other hoodlums in the South-West in their alleged plans to instigate violence and cause chaos in the region and subsequently all over the country.
The Forum specifically fingered self-exiled Prof Banji Akintoye and his group, Yoruba Self-Determined Movement (YSDM) of being behind the alleged plan to use the agitation for Yoruba Nation to instigate violence and chaos in the South-West.
YAF National Coordinator, Adesina Animashaun, made these allegations at a well-attended press conference in Lagos on Friday.
Citing Akintoye’s recently reported utterances that his group of agitators would achieve the secession of Yorubaland from Nigeria in a few months time, YAF said the statements by the self-exiled leader of agitators for Yoruba Nation should be taken seriously as indications of the violence and evil he and his followers had been planning to forcibly stop the conduct of next year’s polls in the six states of the South-West geo-political zone and beyond.
According to the Forum, “It is a known fact that the agitators for the phantom Yoruba Nation, who are known to be sponsored from within and outside Nigeria, have sinister and very dangerous agenda towards the country, particularly as it concerns the 2023 general elections. There are plans by these groups of Yoruba Nation agitators to cause violence and mayhem during the political campaigns scheduled to kick off on September 28, 2022.
“These groups of Yoruba Nation agitators have lined up various rallies and protests in all the six South-West states to coincide with the political parties’ campaigns with the sole aim of disrupting the political process, instigating violence and chaos, and truncating the conduct of next year’s general elections
“It has come to YAF’s notice recently that some so-called Yoruba Nation champions and agitators as well as disgruntled politicians, working in cahoots with their allies in other parts of the country, have been planning violent and unpatriotic activities in the South-West with the ultimate ulterior motive of truncating the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
“Of course, a grand conspiracy by some individuals, politicians and groups to undermine the country’s electoral process exists; the pointers to that are very clear. Already, the continued insurgency in the North-East, farmers-herders’ skirmishes in some parts of the country, resource conflicts in the Niger Delta, violence in the South-East and banditry in the North-West and secession agitations in the South-West are all indicative of the plans by some unpatriotic elements to truncate the conduct of next year’s polls.
“Recall that some unpatriotic elements have consistently been making aggressive efforts to disrupt the electoral processes, just to cast a pall of doubts on the conduct of the 2023 elections.
“Already, there are emerging indications that plans to assassinate key actors in the political sphere, especially in the South-West and truncate the electoral process have recently become rife and now being crystalised with the commencement of political campaign activities.
“The major aim of this is to create panic, fear and anarchy and ultimately scuttle the forthcoming elections in many states of the Federation and destabilise the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“YAF indeed has information at its disposal that there are renewed plans by some Yoruba Nation agitators, politicians, their supporters and armed thugs to cause violence and mayhem in the South-West, and subsequently instigate reprisals in other parts of the country.
“The recent activities and utterances of a self-acclaimed Yoruba leader, Professor Banji Akintoye, currently living in self-exile in Benin Republic, are clear indications of the evil plans of the so-called Yoruba Nation agitators for the South-West and Nigeria as a whole.”
It added, “Akintoye’s recent letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, on behalf of the Yoruba Self-Determined Movement (YSDM) that the South-West wanted a “peaceful break away” of the Yoruba nation from Nigeria, and asking the President for support for the South-West people to secede from Nigeria is a ruse, a ploy and a smokescreen to hide his group’s real intention of destabilising the country. Infact, the letter has sharply divided the people of the region and now even causing some disquiet amongst the Yoruba.
“The same Akintoye also said recently that the Yoruba would pull out of the Nigerian Federation in October 2022 and won’t participate in the 2023 general elections. We don’t know when and where the Yoruba or even their leaders sat down together to take such a decision. YAF believes these are just the figments of the imagination of the phantom Yoruba Nation champion and his band of agitators.
“Infact, other Yoruba leaders and the people have seen through Akintoye and his group’s tricks and shenanigans.
“The Yoruba people and other stakeholders in the South-West have come to understand Akintoye’s claim that an overwhelming number of the Yoruba wanted the race to pull out of the Nigerian nation because of their “worsening and painful plight” as a ploy and smokescreen by him to achieve some selfish and devilish objectives.
“YAF wants to state without equivocation that the ultimate objective of this ploy by Akintoye and his group, YSDM is to achieve nothing salutary or beneficial to the people of the South-West and Nigeria, but to further their evil design to undermine and bring down the country and the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, out of sheer malice over the forthcoming 2023 general elections.”
YAF further alleged it “has identified some disgruntled elements, particularly the Akintoye group as the core and nucleus of the group of unpatriotic Yoruba individuals and groups plotting against the Nigerian nation and the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. We make bold to say that the group, YSDM is a mere aggregation of disgruntled and unpatriotic individuals, who are always striving to finetune their strategies to cause chaos and the eventual violent secession of Yoruba land and the eventual disintegration of Nigeria.
“Recently, a group of Yoruba Nation agitators carried out a rally in Agege, Lagos. Virtually all the vehicles used during the so-called rally were loaded with guns of different calibres. Many of the hoodlums armed with cudgels and other dangerous weapons and posing as Yoruba Nation agitators, kept shouting that there won’t be any election in Yorubaland and the South-West in 2023. That was a dress rehearsal of their plans to truncate the 2023 general elections, employing violence and chaos.
“YAF has reliably learnt that the masterminds of this planned violence have plans to begin the violence in three states of the South-West in the first phase while the remaining three have been scheduled for the second phase for their nefarious violent activities. Their plan is to ensure that their own rallies as Yoruba Nation agitators coincide with political activities and campaigns of political parties in each of the six states of the South-West.”
The Forum also stated that it “has the details about what these unpatriotic and evil-minded Yoruba Nation agitators, politicians and their supporters intend to do ahead of the 2023 general elections. They have already been mobilised to carry out these acts of violence, in an unprecedented manner. Several groups of Yoruba Nation agitators have already been raised across the South-West states and they are to be reinforced by some other hoodlums. Notorious cult groups such as Eye and Aiye are also part of the plot to cause violence, killings and chaos in the South-west, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“All these unpatriotic Yoruba Nation agitators, disgruntled politicians, their supporters as well as armed thugs want to achieve is to portray the country as very unsafe and insecure. Their major target is to disrupt and eventually stop the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
“Those behind these plans, YAF is aware, have a more sinister objective of destabilising the Nigerian nation for the selfish political end of their sponsors and paymasters.
“The masterminds of these devilish plans are bent on throwing Nigeria into total chaos to fast track the collapse of governments at both the state and Federal levels to enable them to execute their evil plans for the country.
“They are planning to take advantage of the current insecurity across the country to further wreak havoc throughout the country, once again. YAF is, in fact, aware that many of the thugs working for these unscrupulous and unpatriotic Nigerians masquerading as Yoruba Nation champions and agitators already have in their possession illegal arms and ammunition.”
YAF, therefore, urged security agencies to immediately retrieve the arms and ammunition already distributed to thugs in the different South-West states allegedly by the Yoruba Nation agitation groups.
“The fact is that the continued possession of these guns has continued to embolden them in their devilish activities and their current plan for another round of violence ahead of the 2023 general elections proper so that they can use the campaign rallies of political parties to use these stolen weapons to perpetrate further evil, further looting and killings of more innocent people,” it said.
The Forum, therefore, enjoined Nigerians and the people of the South-West in particular, “to resist these unscrupulous Yoruba Nation agitators and disgruntled politicians and stop them from achieving their devilish aims and objectives by collecting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and ensuring that the 2023 general elections hold and they vote for the candidates of their choice at the polls.”
YAF also urged all Nigerians to be resolute in “immediately checkmating the plans of these shameless and unpatriotic agitators and their supporters, who lack the due respect for democracy, by taking the appropriate actions against them to nip their evil plans in the bud.”
The Forum also advised Yoruba and Nigerian youths to maintain peace and eschew violence, urging the people of the South-West and Nigerians not to allow themselves to be deceived by anyone into engaging in violence.
YAF, therefore, advised the Federal Government and the state governors to ensure the deployment of adequate number of security agents throughout Yorubaland as well as the entire country to tighten security and forestall any plan by any group or individuals to instigate violence and cause chaos before and during the 2023 elections.
It added that security agencies should not relent in beefing up security across the South-West and the rest of the country to avert the violence and chaos being planned by some unpatriotic citizens bent on truncating the 2023 polls.