The Oodua Action Movement (OAM), a body in association with other Yoruba self-determination groups, representing the Yoruba People of the South West of Nigeria, has petitioned the President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to take action on the demand for self determination and autonomy for Yoruba race.
Through one of its Solicitors, Oranmiyo Biobakun, the group noted that on September 23, 2020, OAM sent a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari demanding for self-determination and autonomy for the Yoruba people from the Federal Government of Nigeria in accordance with the resolution and provisions of the United Nations Charter.
However, the group lamented that President Buhari has not responded to the letter.
It stressed that the General Assembly Resolution 1514 (1960) states that “all peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they may freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
Besides, Article 1(2) of the Charter stressed the need to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace
In addition, Article 20 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights pointedly states that “All peoples shall have the right to existence and also have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination.
“They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen.
“Colonised or oppressed peoples shall have the right to free themselves from the bonds of domination by resorting to any means recognised by the international community.
“All peoples shall have the right to the assistance of the State Parties to the present Charter in their liberation struggle against foreign domination, be it political, economic, or cultural”.
OAM said the letter was a formal request to the government of Nigeria sequel to the popular clamour for self-determination and autonomy of the constituent nationalities, which comprised the Yoruba people of the south-west, the people of the Middle-belt, and the Biafra people of the eastern region.
It pointed out that the Yoruba, which comprised of over 60 million population have expressed their desire to peacefully leave the purported amalgamation midwifed by the British in 1914.
The purported amalgamation the group emphasised did not involve any of the constituent regions of the nationalities making up Nigeria.
The petition further reads, “suffices to state that the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 does not provide for any procedure to opt out of the British amalgamated units called Nigeria.
“Usually, most modern constitutions contain provisions for referenda or plebiscite, which often forms the platform to gauging the interest of the people as recognised under international law. This was so because the constitution was written by one person and bequeathed to the nation by the military junta.
“Accordingly, the federal government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari has refused or neglected to respond to OAM’s September 23, 2020 letter.
The group noted that presently, the youths have taken over major cities in the southwest and the east regions suggestive of a long-drawn faceoff with the government on variety of obvious socio-political issues, wanton killings, killing of farmers by herdsmen, raping of women and girls by Boko Haram who are from the ethnic origin of President Muhammadu Buhari, increasing and deadly brutality by the police controlled by the goons of the president.
The body therefore sought a peaceful and roundtable solution in the circumstances, noting that the body language of the presidency and its officers suggests an uncompromising stance.
In addition to this, was the recent massacre of the youthful peaceful protesters by the combined team of the police and the army.
The group called on the African Union and the ECOWAS to rise to the festering civil strife that seems to be looming in Nigeria.
It noted that “an upsurge of refugees from Nigeria to any African nation at this period of deleterious global economic meltdown will be catastrophic.
“Thus, the economic implication of a civil strife in Nigeria is better imagined than experienced. We are not oblivious to the disdain some Nigerians are being treated even by neighbouring African countries. It will therefore be good for African leaders to eschew sentiments and intervene in this matter now. Your noninterference may result to unimaginable huge number of refugees that the ECOWAS countries would have to deal with if active interventions are ignored.
“It is in view of the above that we are appealing to you to use your good offices to encourage a roundtable meeting between the federal government and the representatives of OAM at probably the secretariat of the ECOWAS in Accra, Ghana.
OAM expressed the belief that the intervention of ECOWAS’s President would bring succour, not only to the good people of the Southwest but also to other regions clamouring for self-determination and autonomy.