In an advertorial in The PUNCH published Friday, November 20, 2020, 75 prominent Yoruba elders of Voice of Reason (VOR) group – a Yoruba socio-cultural group, called on the Fulani-led regime headed by dictator General Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the punitive and coercive Fulani federalism before 2023 presidential elections or risk the birth of Oduduwa Republic. 

The agitation for separation is becoming more and more rife and deafening. Sixty years of Nigeria’s independence has produced nothing but misery, misfortune, and madness. Each day brings a new horror. Nigeria is no more a failed state but a dead country. 

The state of Nigerian federalism is characterized by punitiveness whereby the national government resorts to the use of threats and punishment to suppress and oppress state and local actions that run contrary to its policy preferences. The national government is reputed for its coercive federalism through the use of force to bend state and local governments to its will.

Punitive punishment has become the weapon of mass oppression of the Buhari regime. Any semblance of democracy has been erased and turned Nigeria into a primitive society. Under Fulani punitive and coercive federalism, protest is illegal. Criticism is seditious. Freedom of speech is a crime. Peaceful assembly amounts to felony. Few weeks ago, Seun Kuti was barred from holding a meeting at The Shrine. In fact, The Shrine was sealed for some time. 

Orwell’s Animal Farm was better organized, better managed, and better governed than Buhari’s Nigeria. Nigeria is run by a president who lacks the requisite capacity for high performance and moral to turn Nigeria around. The leadership lacks a specific vision of what Nigeria ought to be and what it should be. The leadership harbours disdain, disaffection, and hatred for non-northern ethnic groups. 

The nepotistic, moribund, and incapacitated leadership renders the country fragmented, divided, polarized, stunted, dangerous, and unliveable. Nigeria's situation has been made unbelievably worse by misguided leadership, misgovernance, systemic corruption, economic mismanagement, declining investment, collapsed infrastructure, lawlessness, hopelessness, political tyranny, and violent violations of human rights. 

The Fulani federalism has failed to serve as a protection against tyranny. Power is over centralized and over concentrated into the hands of few Fulanis at the centre. Innovation in law and policy is stifled. These and many more fuelled separatists agitations. It cannot be business as usual.  

The restructure VOR is calling for is not a cosmetic restructure. A restructure that will make way for a new constitution. A restructure that will address thorny issues such as revenue sharing formula, devolution of power, control of mineral resources by states, states’ autonomy, state and local government police, federal appointments, federal institutions, federal agencies, the over bloated federal bureaucracy, the bogus salaries, allowances, and frivolous perks of members of National Assembly and other reforms in all areas that will make federalism an effective workable system. If the Northerners continue to resist, retreat, and refuse restructure and reforms, then Yorubas will have no choice but to leave Nigeria.

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