A separatist group from the South West, the Yoruba One Voice (YOV) has emerged and has joined forces with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in calling for boycott of this year’s 60th Independence celebrations.
The two separatists groups also insisted that there must be a referendum on the future of Nigeria before the 2023 general elections.
In a joint statement by IPOB and YOV on Thursday, the two groups warned that it would embark on more legal protests if their requests were not met.
The statement was signed by Dr Sina Okanlomo, International General Secretary of Yoruba One Voice (YOV) and Mazi Chika Edoziem, Head, Directorate of State of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Part of the joint statement reads: “from all indications, the current leadership of Nigeria is not, and has never been committed to the fundamental objectives and directives of the principles of statehood, policies of Federalism as enshrined in Chapter II of the Constitution that it derived its powers from.
“Our peoples are tired of the terrorism, insecurity, hopelessness, injustice, killings, unemployment, inequality, corruption, scandals, violence, oppression, extortion, and repression.
“Whereas, our peoples are entitled to their inherent inalienable rights to Self-determination and dignity of their persons in accordance with Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human and Peoples Rights of 1948; Article 20 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Article 1 of the International Convention Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
“Our aspiration is to build a viable, democratic and stable Nation for our Peoples and in this regard, we demand that there must be a referendum, so that our peoples can freely and fairly make a democratic choice, whether they want to continue with Nigeria as presently configured or seek their right to Self-determination before the 2023 General elections.
“In order to prevent an implosion of sorts, we, on behalf of our people, therefore demand a proper referendum/plebiscite, to be conducted between now and the 1st of October, 2021, in accordance with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ all over all over the world under The Law as provided in the AU and the United Nations charters, to be supervised by Both The AU and the United Nations.
“Copies of this jointly signed Release”, the statement added “have been sent to these world bodies.
“If, as we believe, our people choose Self-determination, The Next Natural Step would be the immediate activation of the processes and modalities, beginning from the 2nd of October, 2021, for the creation of the Odùduwà and the Biafran Nations out of the present but otiose Nigerian experiment, which started in 1914.
“We shall begin the mobilization of our respective peoples toward the actualization of the quest for freedom and life more abundant at a certain date in the future, when peaceful negotiations for applicable terms of separation would have been concluded with our respective residual ethnic nationalities and neighbors.”
Addressing the President Muhammadu Buhari Government, the two separatist groups said, “We wish to place on record our hope that Major General Buhari and his Fulani peoples of West Africa will heed this peaceful democratic demand in a timely manner.
“In the event our Forthright and Steadfast advocacy is denied, our peoples are hereby notified to commence preparations for series of passive activities that will demonstrate our resolve to be in control of our affairs. “Towards this end, our peoples are hereby called upon to undertake the following:
1. Stay away from participation and involvement in any sham or nebulous October 1, 2020; 60th independence anniversary activities as may be mounted by the Unitary Government of Nigeria.
2. In specific terms, we hereby call on the peoples of our territories, and indeed all peoples of Nigeria yearning to be free from internal colonization to be prepared to Stay-At-Home on October 1, 2020.
“No one among us should play along with any celebration of 60 years of an imbalanced unequal country. Staying-At-Home means keeping safe and away for the inhuman and inhumane character of the present regime of Major General Buhari.
3. Our peoples in the diaspora are hereby enjoined to organize flag flying carnivals and peaceful rallies on October 1, 2020 in all cities across the world. A joint Biafra/Oduduwa event marking the beginning of our journey to freedom is to be celebrated into the following weeks. The whole world ought to witness a rekindling of self-awareness and our pride of place among the community of civilized peoples of the world.
4. All our peoples are to be on standby in readiness for further calls for peaceful and legal demonstrations of our resolve to be free from the failed Nigerian state. These calls will continue to be made for as long as it would be needful, up until our goals for self-determination are achieved.
We salute all of you our compatriots here at home and across the world”, the statement added.
On the need for a referendum, the groups said, “it is now time to boldly jettison the 1999 Constitution of the Federal (actually Unitary) Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which was not a product of the collective will of the Peoples of Nigeria. The said Constitution was decreed into existence by the General Abdulsalami Abubakar administration, after the annulment of June 12, 1993 general elections, which was won fair and square by the late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and the attendant contraptions that followed suit.
“The 1914 forced amalgamation of the different Nation states which made up Nigeria and the successive years of exploitation of the peoples of the Southern parts of Nigeria by firstly the British Colonialists and thereafter by a Feudal minority of the Northern part of Nigeria which has entrenched poverty, underdevelopment, mediocrity, unemployment, wanton killings, terrorism, inequality, insecurity, injustice, ethnic Bigotry, religious fanaticism and breach of fundamental human rights.
“The golden years of Nigeria were when we had the three regions, viz; Northern Region, Western Region and Eastern Region, with each region having its own Constitution which recognized the diversity in the culture, religion and peoples of Nigeria.
“Nigeria attained her independence from the British Colonialists in 1960 and became a Republic in 1963. We practiced Parliamentary system of government. There was an unfortunate military intervention in our national politics in 1966 and this was the time that a command structure unitary system of governance was smuggled into our politics, without the express consent of all ethnic nationalities.
A bitter Civil War was fought from 1967 to 1970 with millions of our people from Biafra massacred.
“Since the end of the war, the old eastern region has not been fully reintegrated into Nigeria. The declaration of no Victor, no Vanquished by the General Yakubu Gowon administration, was a mere lip service proclamation.
“Successive military dictators ruled Nigeria from 1970 to 1979 when Nigeria introduced a purported Presidential System of Government in name, but which is unitary in character and practice.
“The 1979 Constitution which was decreed into existence by General Olusegun Obasanjo was in operation from 1979 to 31st of December 1983 when Major General Muhammadu Buhari truncated our democracy.
“Nigeria has been operating a supposed Presidential system under the 1999 Constitution with successive Government’s from Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to the current President; Major General Muhammadu Buhari. The presidential constitution, which is unitary in character, has failed the Peoples of Nigeria. We, The People, did not write this constitution.
“It is too expensive, wasteful, and has not represented the yearnings and expectations of the oppressed peoples of the Oduduwa and Biafra nations”, they contended.