YORUBA Unity Forum (YUF), the umbrella body of all Yoruba groups, has kicked against the proposed creation of additional 30,000 polling units by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), saying it was a plot designed to make the Southern Nigeria irrelevant in national elections.
This was contained in an address by the deputy chairman of the body, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi (retd), at the general meeting of the forum, held on Thursday, at Ikenne home of the Awolowos, Ikenne-Remo, Ogun State.
Gbonigi said the reconfiguration of the number of polling units in each state, which gave North the additional 22,000 polling units and the South, with about 8,000 additional polling units, was unacceptable, describing it as a fraudulent way of manipulating the outcome of the elections by some desperate politicians.
The body called on INEC to, as a matter of urgency, reverse and abandon the exercise in the overall interest of the nation.
The forum noted that the exercise was one of the strategies by the northern politicians designed to create a bank of votes for the North to deploy during presidential elections or when a referendum is needed to decide fundamental national issues.
“As the 2015 general election draws closer, we are beginning to witness maneuverings from desperate politicians from some parts of the country, aimed at fraudulently manipulating the outcome of the elections.
“This plot was designed to marginalise Southern Nigeria and make it totally irrelevant in national elections.
“YUF,on behalf of the South-West, has rejected the additional polling units and the reconfiguration of the number of polling units in each state.
“Our position was clearly stated at the SNPA press conference in Abuja on September 10. We are also working with the South-South and South-East under the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly to get INEC reverse and abandon this exercise,” he added.
The body also admitted that the country was in crisis due to high incidence of poverty, insurgency, high unemployment rate, unabated corruption and nefarious activities of armed Fulani herdsmen and urged the Yoruba nation to be proactive in addressing all these challenges, to preserve the people and the nation.
YUF also constituted a Think-Tank that would serve as the nerve centre for policy analysis and strategy for the Yoruba nation, under the chairmanship of Senator Femi Okurounmu.
Other members of the Think-Tank were Senator Tony Adefuye (deputy chairman), former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworoola Bucknor-Akerele, Professor Opeloye, HonourableMoshood Salvador and Mr Emmanuel Adelana as members.
In her welcome address, the Yeye Oodua and the matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty, Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo, called on all Yoruba groups to come under the umbrella of YUF to present a common front in the overall interest the race.
Chief (Mrs) Awolowo, who is the chairman of the body, expressed displeasure over disintegration among the Yourba race, insisting that the people must speak with one voice to promote the unity of the land.
She noted that there were many fake apostles of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, admitting that only a few were upholding the ideals of the late Premier of the Western Region.
“I am appealing to all Yorubas, irrespective of religions or political affiliations, to come together and speak with one voice on matters affecting the race.
“There should be no division among us. We must think twice about the future of the race. The progress of Yorubaland must be paramount to us. Let us put sentiments apart and embrace peace,” she said.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, jointly signed by Mama Awolowo and Bishop Gbonigi, the forum urged the Federal Government to subject the outcome of the national conference to a referendum.
SOURCE: NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
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