Nigerian parents in the South West who failed to educate their children up to Junior Secondary School (JSS1) risk spending two months in jail if the six states in the region buy into a proposal soon to be tabled by The Yoruba Leadership and Peace Initiative (TYLPI) for the enforcement in the Compulsory Free Unversal Basic Education Act 2004.
The advocacy group comprising prominent Nigerian intellectuals, professionals, technocrats and businessmen, at its 2020 maiden meeting held at the Lead City University, Ibadan at the weekend, resolved to convince the six state governors to implement the law as part of strategies towards boosting literacy level and restoring the region to its leading position in quality education .
The measure is itself part of TYLPI’s wider agenda and bill of activities for the year, to salvage the Southwest from perceived adverse effects of Nigeria’s “inequitable and dysfunctional federal system” and rev up the region’s progress.
The pressure group regretted that the Yoruba people who used to set the pace in development, education and other spheres of life have been relegated to the background especially in education.
It blamed the situation and current insecurity, unemployment, social vices, economic hardship among other crises beleaguring the region on perceived bastadised federalism being in Nigeria.
TYLPI said the over concentration of power at the federal level had promoted inefficiency, corruption, nepotism, and inequity in allocation of resources and appointments thereby breeding a sense of marginalisation, disenchantment, tension and agitation for self determination among sections of the country perceived to be disadvantaged.
The situation, TYLPI said, called for the people of Southwest who are also affected, to evolve innovative ideas and strategies to breaking the yoke and attaining their dream of becoming a 21st century society.
To this end, the state governments and people must prioritize free and compulsory universal basic education it stressed, recalling that this was indeed the plank on which the various developmental strides and landmark progress the region recorded in the first republic was built.
Reviewing preliminary reports of the committees it raised to revitalise critical sectors including education, agriculture and power in the Southwest, the group charged the panels’ chairmen and members to work harder and tapped the expertise within and outside the group so as to produce credible and comprehensive roadmaps that would jump-start the region’s development and restore it to its erstwhile leading position not only in Nigeria but also on the African continent.
TYLPI declared that it would regularly monitor, highlight, commend and offer objective and constructive criticism on policies and programmes of government both internally and externally and vowed to defend the region and its people against anything that could be inimical to their interest.
Although it said it was ready to partner with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission and other groups championing similar ideals, the group emphasized that it would strictly maintain its identity, focus and policy of non- violent advocacy as means of achieving its objectives.
TYLPI urged every Yoruba to rally round and support the Amotekun initiative which, he stressed, must be seen beyond merely providing security for Yorubaland, but as also providing immense possibilities for rapid and holistic transformation and uplifting of diverse aspects of life of the people of the Southwest geo-political zone.
“It goes beyond some people wearing the Amotekun uniforms and blaring sirens. No, we must all support it, we must be involved. Wherever we are, we must be the eyes and ears of Amotekun. We must not see it as being for security alone. It certainly goes beyond that and can be harnessed to further growth in education, the power sector and other. Therefore, in our various corners we must constantly ask ourselves how do we contribute to the success of the initiative with our talents and intellectual resources? TYLPI concluded.
Among dignitaries who attended the Ibadan meeting were: the Vice President, Chief Femi Alafe-Aluko; General Secretary, Arakunrin Olufemi J Adefemiwa; Assistant Secretary, Mr. Oluwakayode F. Adeyemi; Profs Adebisi Sowunmi and Soji Adejumo.
Others were: Chief Babajide Olatunde-Agbeja, Chairman, Education committee; Agbaakin Labi Adeyemi, Treasurer and Mr. Abiola Olagunju, Legal Adviser