We read the statement of Afenifere group in response to the comments credited to Mallam Mamman Daura. To say we are embarrassed with the position of Afenifere, regarded as the apex socio-political organisation of all Yoruba people, is to say the least.
The Yorubas, by nature, are not known to play the victim card. We are a people who believe that we have the necessary competence and exposure to compete with anyone and everyone.
Do we not have the Asiwajus? Do we not have the Osinbajos? Do we not have the Fasholas? Do we not have the Fayemis? Do we not have the Aregbesolas? Are they Are embodiments of competence? Are they not potential star-Presidential materials?
For years, we have been quite vocal in criticising the federal character principle because we believe it confers undue advantages on a particular section of the country. It’s due to this same believe that we have condemned the principle of zoning in the past, because we believe that it breeds and promotes mediocrity and pave the way for incompetent individuals to emerge at the helm of leadership.
But how come we are now condemning the very idea we have promoted in the past? Is it because we no longer have excellent and outstanding individuals in the South West? If Mamman Daura said we should prioritise competence instead of zoning, why should that bother us? Don’t we have an array of competent individuals we can showcase in South West to rival any other region? If we have condemned zoning in the past, why do we appear to be pushing for it now? What are we afraid of really?
The South West, as we know it, understands that democracy is a competitive ideology which provides a platform for those who believe in the supremacy of their ideas to thrive and win. We do not believe that any region has attain that wisdom yet to thwart the collective experience of the caliber of political heavyweights that the South West parades. To now shiver over a non-issue like zoning, just like Afenifere has done, is tantamount to expressing a vote of no confidence of our political leaders.
Assuming, without conceding, that there is an ulterior motive behind Mamman Daura’s call for zoning to be abandoned in favor of competence, Nigeria’s history has shown that no section of the country can pull wool over the face of the other. Whatever is hidden would sooner come to light. And if anyone would become Nigeria’s president, either based on zoning or competence, we all would undoubtedly have a say in how that would play out. So Afenifere would do well to organise so well in such a way that when the conversations about who succeeds President Buhari starts, the voices of Yoruba leaders would count and be counted.
We are not a petty people, and Afenifere as a respectable umbrella association of indigenous Yoruba people of Nigeria would do well not to make us appear as such. What we know and considered important is that the South West is an important political bloc that has all the wherewithal to partake in the politics of Nigeria. We should be prepared to match other regions in terms of whatever yardsticks are set for political competition in this country. Raising needless alarm and making panicky statements are embarrassing to all true Yoruba sons and daughters.