By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has asked the international community to prevail on the governments of Nigeria and Benin Republic to release Sunday Igboho without any further delay.
In a communique issued at the end of its first annual general meeting, held on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at the country home of its acting leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State, Afenifere described Igboho as a prisoner of conscience and called on all men and women of conscience you ensure Igboho’s release from detention.
The communique signed by the group’s National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, also urged the Federal Government to pay Igboho the damages awarded to him by the Oyo State High Court over the “savage attack” on his person and property.
The group further said the country can never get out of its present logjam, let alone develop, unless there is restructuring.
“The meeting felt that one of the things that has been a great cog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress today was the rubbishing of true federalism. Meaning that true federalism must be allowed to be effectively operational immediately. In other words, states and local government councils must be allowed to enjoy self governance as provided for them in the Constitution.
“Afenifere is convinced that restructuring of the Nigerian state before the 2023 general elections is achievable. It is achievable through the adoption of the reports of the 2014 National Conference and the 2018 Mallam El-Rufai Committee of the APC on true federalism with desirable modifications where necessary.
“In recent times, we have consistently expressed concern on the situation of insecurity in Nigeria today. We have also always recommended what we consider as the ways out of the unprecedented security challenges facing us. In this respect, we strongly call on the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the introduction of State Police equipped with requisite means to enhance security in the states and that of the federation ultimately. The performance of Amotekun Security Network in the South West in conjunction with the Nigerian Police has shown clearly that all the criticisms against State Police are unfounded and self serving.
“The meeting also called on the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu even if on political consideration as happened in the case of Asari Dokubo under the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“Afenifere at the meeting deliberated on the meeting of the South and Middle Belt Forum, SMBLF, held in Abuja earlier this month. The meeting fully endorsed the SMBLF call on all political parties to zone their Presidential candidates to the South for the forthcoming 2023 election,” the communique added
The meeting was attended by some leaders and members of Afenifere from all the states in Yoruba land including Delta, Kwara and Kogi States.
Those in attendance include former Governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo; former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele; Senator Femi Okunrounmu; Chief Supo Sonibare; Chief Sola Ebiseni, the Secretary-General; Dr. Gbola Adetunji; Chief Korede Duyile; Abagun Kole Omololu; Hon. Leke Mabinuori; Chief Kofoworola Doherty; Dr. Ebun Sonaiya; Chief Tunde Onakoya; Senator Femi Lanlehin; Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose; Chief Segun Olawoyin; Deacon Owolabi Oladejo; Chief Olu Pesu; Reverend Goke Omigbodun among others.