While speaking at a public lecture with theme “Welfare Ideology and the Future of Yoruba Nation” to commemorate the 90th birthday of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Akure, the capital city of Ondo State, Falae explained that the 2014 confab report, though never conceded to all the recommendations made for the welfare of the Yoruba people, would actualise 80 per cent of the nation’s aspirations if implemented.
The Afenifere chieftain, who also participated in the confab, noted, “there will be no Nigeria without the report.”
Prior to Falae’s comments at the ceremony, Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, had put forward what it said were measures to enhance the peace, prosperity and sustenance of the Yoruba people across the nation, demanding certain explanations from President Muhammadu Buhari on the persisting herdsmen attacks.
Guest speaker, Prof. Banjo Akintoye, stressed that the Yoruba people across Nigeria wanted to live an independent and progressive life, but the country’s situation had been a major setback.
Akintoye stressed the welfare ideology of the ancient Yoruba society before the first European explorer stepped into the interior of Yorubaland in 1825, to the amazement of a German professor, Ulli Beier, who lived in Yorubaland between 1950 and 1960.
He lamented that the constitutional defects in the country had affected the progress of the Yoruba nation, saying: “Nigeria has been drawing us back, and now we have to take decisions to stop Nigeria from drawing us back,” especially the recurrent herdsmen attacks on farmers.
The guest speaker faulted President Buhari on his declaration in a recent interview with Cable News Network (CNN) in London, asserting that the notorious herdsmen who have been killing farmers across the country, are Libyan militiamen and fugitives trained under Muammar Ghadaffi.
“Why did the government of Nigeria not inform Nigeria about the problem, and why did the government not take action to stop them from coming into Nigeria? Why have some Fulani spokesmen been threatening that they would break up Nigeria if these Libyan militiamen are thrown out of Nigeria?
“How do ordinary nomadic herdsmen afford to buy expensive things like AK47 rifles? How do they get trained to use such weapons? Is any rich or influential person or group supplying them with these weapons, and or training them? If yes, who are these rich or influential persons and what are they trying to achieve?”
He continued: “The president of Nigeria owes Nigeria a clear and certifiable statement on this situation. The president of Nigeria also deserves, and must have, the support of the Afenifere nation, and of other Nigerian peoples, as he investigates these matters, as he explains to Nigeria, and as he strives to remove this immense new challenge from the life of our country.”
The professor tasked Afenifere to “find ways to mobilise unity and strength at home. We Yoruba must conceive the Afenifere ideology anew as the ideology of our whole nation, and not merely the banner of a group, or of a partisan section among us.”
On the proposed grazing reserves, he expressed concerns, saying: “Are they designed by some people to house illegal armies of occupation in the states of the Middle Belt and the South? Are they meant to be also jihadist instruments for forcible islamisation of Nigerians? Or are they designed as weapons of one ethnic group’s conquest of other Nigerians?”
Chief Ayo Adebanjo lamented the defects in the constitution of the country, which led to the restructuring effected by the military after the 1966 coup d’etat to dissipate the independence and sustainability of the erstwhile regions.
“We have been clamouring for change, but the only change which the country needs is the change of the constitution,” he said, noting that the power at the federal level makes the Nigerian president the most powerful in the world at the expense of the federating states.
Adebanjo remarked that President Buhari cannot take decisive measures against the Fulani herdsmen menace in the country because “he himself is a cattle rearer.”
Governor Olusegun Mimiko confirmed the menace of the herdsmen and the impending danger it poses to the peace and security of the nation if proactive measures are not taken to curtail it.
Mimiko stressed that the safety which the Yoruba nation and other states have in the constitution against the new grazing reserve policy is in the Land Use Act that vests exclusive powers in the state governments. “In Ondo State, there is no land for grazing,” he said.
The celebrant, Fasoranti, recounted his experiences during the pre- and post-colonial eras; and his followership of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, noting that Afenifere is the “Soul of Nigeria.”
He appreciated the members of the group for organising such a public lecture in his honour and Governor Mimiko, who named a 42, 000 square metres park after him in Alagbaka; and the Afenifere Renewal Group led by Chief Olu Adegboro for presenting a portrait to him.
Others who attended the event included: Chief Iyiola Omisore, Asiwaju Seinde Arogbofa, Chief Korede Duyile, members of Afenifere and representatives of pressure groups across the country.