SEVERAL pan-Yoruba groups numbering 57 and comprising O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC), Oodua Nationalist Coalition (ONAC), Agbekoya, South-West Students Coalition (SWSC), Oodua Liberation Movement (OLM), Oodua Self Determination Alliance (OSDA), Itsekiri Salvation Front (ISF), Network of South West Vigilante (NSWV), South West Professionals (SOWPROF), among others have vowed to ensure that the 2023 presidential poll produces a candidate that will restructure the country and resolve the lingering national question.
The groups equally vowed that the exercise must produce a Yoruba candidate or risk popular uprising.
This was just as they said that political parties should know that the 2023 general election would be different as it would not be about the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) or the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but about the general public.
The group asserted that it would take over the process and the campaign to ensure that the will of the people triumphs in the entire Yoruba territories.
The pan-Yoruba groups gave this position in a communiqué issued and signed by Sunday Akinnuoye, Femi Agbana and Mrs Ganiat Toriola at the end of the parley which held on Tuesday in Lagos and was attended by over 300 delegates.
They noted that they were aware of presidential aspirants, including the APC national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, but quickly warned that multiplicity of presidential candidates in Yorubaland would be counter-productive.
The groups argued that the Yoruba people must make the choice of who should represent their interest at the national level and not for the candidates to impose themselves as representing the Yoruba slot.
The groups said, “We shall ensure this does not happen. The Yoruba people must decide their presidential candidate and work genuinely for him.
“We wish to see the national question resolved immediately 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, Yoruba land will rise up to mobilise for any candidate that genuinely wants to restructure Nigeria in the first six months of the post-Muhammadu Buhari era.
“We have resolved to ensure only one credible Yoruba candidate emerges; a decent person that we can hold to his or her words; a responsible family man who fears God and respects the people; a candidate that is of high moral standing who is genuinely committed to resolving the knotty national question.”
According to the pan-Yoruba groups, presidential aspirants in Yorubaland usually rely on money not ideas, positing that political leaders had emerged with absolute contempt for the people, making it difficult for them to address the fears and aspirations of the people.
The groups, however, vowed that they were determined to ensure that the next election is not influenced “by the oppressors; not by the oppressed, not by the slave owners but by the enslaved with a new defiant spirit of resistance against unjust system.”
Speaking further, the groups vowed that any presidential candidate emerging from the South-West would meet the fury of the people if restructuring is not considered as the topmost priority.
“We want to assure Nigerians that the people can change the narrative of the 2023 election. This is possible. “We can reignite the flame of liberty using the massbased approach beyond political party divide,” the group said.