Separating Us From South West an Infringement on Our Right – Okun People

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The Yoruba speaking people of Kogi State known as Okun people, has expressed their desire to leave the north in both political and boundary descriptions.

The Okun people said that their separation from their kith and kin in Ondo, Ekiti and Kwara states is an infringement on their right to self-determination, hence their desire to be reunited with their Yoruba kind in the South West.

The people spoke under the aegis of Okun Liberty Advocacy, OLA, yesterday after a meeting of the organization in Aiyetoro Gbede, Ijumu council area of Kogi State.

President of the group, Chief Emmanuel Otitoju who said the group has studied the present mode of the country, also seek for referendum in the proposed conatitutional review by the National Assembly, as well as protection of minority groups in the country as observed in South Africa..

He said, “We have studied and alligned with the positions of the Okun Development Association’s, (ODA) memorandum sent to the National Assembly for constitional review and restructuring.

“And our positions are as follows: that our separation from our kits and kin in the South West has inhibited our growth and development for a tortuous century thus far. therefore, we demand that the boundary be readjusted to relocate our people and territory back to where we belong in South West Nigeria.

“We the entire Okun people express support for the loud and necessary call for the restructuring of Nigeria to bring about a truly Federal Republic with the following elements: That the Nigeria nation be structured to have a central government with the current six (6), or more, geo-political zones forming the federating units as regions, operating as co-ordinate rather that subordinate structures.

“That each region shall control the economy and government of its area and contribute to running the federal government for the responsibilities allocated to it. whist there will be a federal constitution, regions shall also have their own constitutions to address their peculiar environments. clearly defined exclusive and concurrent responsibilities shall be agreed between the regions and the federal government.

“Each region should consist of internally agreed number of states or provinces based on political peculiarities. states or provinces shall therefore be the federating units of each region in which there will also be exclusive and concurrent responsibilities between them.

“That there shall be a revenue sharing formula in which the states and regions make contributions to fund responsibilities allocated to the federal government.

“To reduce the cost of governance, to significantly increase effectiveness and to make governance closer to the people, a parliamentary system of government is advocated as the best for Nigeria.

“There shall be only one legislative assembly (unicamera) at national level, one at the region, and the current state houses of assembly, all operating on part time basis.

“To ensure fairness and uphold human rights for minority nationalities who have been separated by artificial boundaries from their kith and kin, a referendum shall be conducted to enable such nationalities to choose which local government area, state and region to join as long as their present location is contiguous to the LGA, State or region they want to join.

“The Okun people of Kogi state reaffirm their Yoruba origin. it is incontrovertible that their culture and values are the same with those of the Yoruba in the Southwest of Nigeria with whom we share territorial contiguity and economic relations.

“We, therefore, put forward as our core demand, the readjustment or relocation of Okun people‚Äôs political and land boundary from the north-central zone (region) to the southwest zone (region) of Nigeria. In joining the south west zone (region), we demand that Okunland be incorporated as a state (Okun state) since we have all it takes to be a viable one.

“In case of limitation placed on the number of states per zone (region), or some other considerations, and we cannot be a state of our own, we shall prefer to come into the south west in a union as one state, with the core Yoruba of Kwara state with whom we were in the same state from 1967 to 1991.”

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