The Yoruba have told potential delegates to the forthcoming National Conference to demand regional autonomy at the forthcoming national conference.
Those who will be representing the race at the proposed confab were told on Wednesday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, not to betray the cause of the Yoruba race.
The Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Hon. Wale Osun, who spoke at the Yoruba Constitutional Conference held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, asked would-be Yoruba delegates at the confab to be guided by the demands of the race .
Former Minister of Defence and a prominent Yoruba leader, General Alani Akinrinade, also urged President Joinathan to expunge the idea of no-go-area in the modalities of the conference.
Osun told the gathering attended by traditional rulers and notable Yoruba leaders including Olabiyi Durojaye, Alani Akinrinade, Segun Odegbami, Iyiola Oladokun, Niyi Akintola, SAN, Bisi Adegboye, Tunde Fagbenle, Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo among several others that irrespective of platform a delegate emerges, every Yoruba delegate would be regarded as Yoruba ethnic nationality.
According to him, “we affirm our resolve to regard any Yoruba nominee, irrespective of nominating platform, as Yoruba ethnic national and all potential Yoruba delegates should know and be fully aware that whichever platform threw them up, the consequences of betraying the Yoruba cause would be dire.
“We would not, because we disagree with many of the modalities, play into the hands of detractors by abandoning the conference as being suggested in some quarters, but, those wishing to mainstream or sell their kith and kin should better not accept their nominations, this should be taken as a forward warning”, the ARG leader said.
He described the event as essentially a stepping stone to the proposed National Conference, stressing that “our expectation today, is that our joint deliberations will guide and lead us in determining and redefining our stance about the proposed National Conference.
“The Yoruba Constitutional Conference, being held here today, is a further signpost of the collective wishes and desire of the Yoruba people. This space is a demonstration that Yoruba people do move in the same direction to achieve common goals and objectives.
“This is indeed one of our strengths as a people. Among us Yoruba, there are settled issues as far as our collective destiny and direction of travel is concerned.
Those issues speak to our core values and fundamentals, which essentially prescribe that the pathway to our freedom and glory as a people, resides in our being able to fully determine and pursue our development as a people, without any imposed hinderances or constraints.
Akinrinade reiterated that “the unity of Nigeria is negotiable. It is the reason we are meeting. The Yoruba had always wanted a Nigeria accommodating all the ethnic nationalities, but, we must create a nation where no one is oppressed”.