“ooduapathfinder” recognizes the “Ogbeni” and “Arakunrin” appellations as manifestations of the Yoruba in both of you. Therefore, your membership of your Party’s committee on Restructuring demands your engagement with the Global Yoruba Nation as this exercise is not only about particularities of governance, you being Governors of specific Yoruba geo-political spaces, but mainly existential for Yoruba people; for the Yoruba must have a say, as a Nation, if they are going to be Nigerians or not. Fortunately, we have been making this advocacy as True Federalism for Nigeria, since the days of Egbe Omo Oduduwa and the Action Group. Thus when your Party came up with this committee to address or achieve it, such engagement is mandatory. Hence, the following points to consider:
(1) We do not subscribe to the notion that there is nothing like True or False Federalism. There is, since a Federation is clearly a voluntary union of more than one entity. Anything outside of this is False Federalism. The question for Nigeria comes to what these entities are ?
(2) These entities cannot be the current “states” since they were created out of some political expediency as a form of administrative convenience and powers cannot be “devolved” to them as a form of Federalism since whatever entity “devolves” such powers already assumes an existence outside the competence of the state hence can also withdraw such devolved powers if and when necessary for its own sustenance thereby nullifying the essence of Federalism in the first instance. Likewise, the entities cannot be the “Zones” since they also exist mainly as referals for convenience purposes aimed at ameliorating the conditions that gave rise to cries of marginalization or inclusion that has characterized the operation of Nigeria since at least 1966. Moreover, the Yoruba Nation may decide to govern itself as Municipalities with a Regional Government thus rendering the paraphernalia of states or zones useless.
(3) We cannot use the United States as our model of Federalism in the sense that the United States came into being as the result of colonization of America by mainly the English people whose internal crisis as to the relationship between their King and the colonies led to the American revolution and subsequently the Union of the Colonies. Thus, the American Revolution was an intra-ethnic War, largely pitting different sections of the English against each other fought on a territory outside of England and created the need for a Territorial Union among the English in America which eventually laid the foundation for a Territorial Federalism of the United States.
(4) Aside from the weaknesses and sundry issues of the Nigerian post-colonial State, certain cross-border protocols suppossedly enable the Fulani herdsmen to override national boundaries. Various Nationalities are thus subjected to unnecessary problematics simply because of cross-border promotion of a particular Ethno-Nationality . This is an opportunity to address the issue, at least as far as the Yoruba Nation is concerned. We cannot ignore our presence beyond Nigeria’s present borders, with all of its social, economic, political and cultural potentials. If protocols can be established on behalf of one Nation for whatever reasons, certainly, other Nations with cross-border existence must be able to harness this reality for their own benefit.
(5) It has been shown that Language plays a foundational and crucial part in social and economic development where those countries deemed developed utilize their natural Languages in their production and reproduction of Knowledge thereby enabling a combined utilization of their social, economic and therefore cultural attributes serving as the basis for any relationship between one people and the other as well as within one people.
(6) Yes, Nigeria has over 300 Languages, the good news is that these Languages come with their natural territories thus making it easier to generate alignments without one necessarily negating the other. These Languages via their territories provides a good ground for a Union or Federation.
(7) Part of the advantages of a Lingual-Territorial(or Nationality) Union include matters of security and economic development, where the existence of such territories will aid in the prevention of country-wide military coups as well as containment of terrorism through a direct involvement of the Peoples either as a purely security issue or a cultural imperative as impediments to the development of terrorism in their Lingual territories. This will also ensure the transformation of military doctrine from one of enforced dominance to one of service mediated by socio-cultural exigencies.
(8) The pre-Independence Conferences anchored by the political parties reflected the importance of the Lingual Territory as the then Political parties were more or less reflective of their Lingual and therefore political origins and influences.
(9) It is within the above context that, as the basis for a True Federal Union for Nigeria, “ooduapathfinder” is recommending for adoption, a slightly abridged version of the Lingual-Territorial Categories(Nationality) developed by the Movement for National Re-Formation, then led by Chief Anthony Enahoro, a personality whose contributions to Nigeria’s Independence cannot be faulted.
(10) The suggested number of Lingual-Territorial/Nationality Categories is 17, of which 11 will be mono-Lingual/Nationality Entities/Region (1) Ibibio ( 2). Ijaw ( 3). Igbo (4). Urhobo ( 5). Edo(6). Yoruba( 7). Nupe (8). Tiv (9). Gbagyi (10). Hausa-Fulani ( 11). Kanuri. The other six (6) of the Regions should be multi-Nationality regions, as follows: (i) Nationalities in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states (i.e. Eket, Annang, Oron, Ibeno, Efik, Ejagbam, Korop, Boki, Bakwara, Yakurr, Yala). (ii) Nationalities in Rivers and Bayelsa states (i.e. Ikwerre, Etchei, Ekpeeye, Engeni, Ogba, Eleme, Ndoni, Ogoni, and Andoni). (iii) Nationalities in Delta State (i.e. Ika, Ndokwa, Warri, Isoko). (iv) Nationalities in West Middle Belt, i.e. Zuru, Kambari, Bariba, Bussa, Karekare, Ngizim, Angamo, Bola, Funne, etc. (v) Nationalities in Central Middle Belt, i.e.: (a) Ebira Group: Ebira, Uku, Ebira-Ugu, Ebira-Panda, Etuno-Igarra, Ebira Mozun, Bassa-Nge. (b) Igala Group (c) Upper Benue Group: Alago Eggon, Gwandara, Mada, Kakanda, Mighili, Bassa-Komu, Ninzom, Arum etc. (vi) Nationalities in East Middle Belt, i.e. (a) Plateau Group: Ngas, Berom, Afezere Taroh, Goemai, Nmavo – Jukun, Amu, Pyem, Youn etc. (b) Taraba Group: Chamba, Jukun, Kuteb, Mambila, Kona, Kunni, Kaanab, Ndoro, Abakwa, Mumuye, Yububen, etc. (c) Savanna Group: Bura, Tangale – Waja, Bachama, Manghi, Kilba, Yungu, Mwanna, Bwazza Mbula, etc.
(11) It will be the responsibility of each of these Lingual-Territories to, within a time frame, devise their own Constitutions for ratification by a Referendum within their Territories. Any negotiations inside and outside the structures of these Lingual Territories(Nationality) can be accommodated within such a time frame especially given the fact that “Restructuring” or “True Federalism” is not a new occurrence in Nigeria’s political experience. A Federal Constitution for Nigeria will be derived from these Constitutions and ratified similarly in the Lingual-Territories(Nationalities). This is not just a technical matter, as a Constitution, being the Grundnorm, the foundational essence of a society, reflects that society’s coming into being for itself, a precondition for social and economic development. It becomes, for the society, the expression of its freedom and a summation of its existential realities which the colonial State had attempted to neutralize. You are aware of the way African countries’ Constitutions are treated with impunity by the rulers of these countries, all because the Constitutions neither reflected nor expressed the existential necessities of the Peoples. This is an opportunity for Nigeria to address this issue.
(12) “ooduapathfinder” recognizes your roles as members of a particular political Party. However, this exercise goes beyond the necessities of a political Party even if such a Party will become the vehicle for the needed Transformation. Your Party’s Manifesto and its 2015 electoral victory provided the necessary Legitimacy for any position you may take or canvass as members of your party’s committee on Restructuring. The Yoruba National expectation is that you become enablers of Legitimizing our aspirations.
Thank you sirs.