Jan. 20 (THEWILL) – A coalition of several pan-Yoruba and civil society groups has launched the campaign for a minimum of 40 million voters in the former Western region comprising the current six South Western states with Delta and Edo States. The group also targets the Yoruba people in Kwara, Kogi States.
The project, according to the group, is driven by the quest to explore the full political strength of the Yoruba nation and also to tell the world what “we can do with the people of the people of the ancient Western region”. .
In a statement on Thursday, the Alliance for Yoruba Democratic Movements (AYDM) said the campaign was not affiliated with any political party but aimed to energize Yoruba people and people in the former Western region to be able to get what they want using their population. strength as currency.
The group said the project will further affirm the strength and dominance of the Yoruba people and open up understanding about the actual population of the people of the ancient Western region.
AYDM is a coalition of 88 pan-Yoruba civil societies and groups launched in Lagos at the end of December last year.
“People are strength. For more than half a century, the Yoruba people and the ancient western region, including Edo and Delta, as well as Kwara and Kogi states, have been undercut in terms of numerical strength. It started with the 1952 census conducted by imperialist forces which gave numbers to nationality groups according to their own interests,” AYDM Secretary General, Mr. Popoola Ajayi, said in the statement issued on Thursday. .
The group said that in the 1980s the South West was producing millions of voters but the numbers had steadily declined in arithmetic progression.
He said the underestimation of the electoral strength of the South West is partly responsible for the inability of the people to seize power and lead the country to address the grievances of various restive groups.
In the 2015 elections AYDM said less than 20% of eligible voters in this focal point registered, in 2011 the percentage dropped to 18% while in 2019 the number of registered voters was lower than about 17% of eligible voters. “This has put the region at a very serious disadvantage,” the group said, adding that it is ridiculous that Lagos, with a population of around 18 million and 10 million eligible voters, got less than 1.8 million votes in 2019. The group said that it is difficult for politicians to mobilize the population to obtain voter cards and that the best option is a mobilization project carried out by non-state actors who enjoy the trust of the organization calling them to register.
AYDM said it plans to complete the establishment of state structures in all relevant states by the end of February 2022 with a mandate to mobilize active and docile Yoruba in rural and urban areas, including peasants , workers, farmers, students, rich and poor who have developed cold feet against the electoral system due to years of exploitation and poor governance by those elected to lead the people.
The group said its position is based on the possibility of holding the next elections and the need for the former Western region to have an appropriate response to the situation.
“We are aware of the internal and external threats to the upcoming elections and even that the elections have been discredited and threatened by the social ills and misfortunes caused by the exploitative ruling class. This means that people in the South West should have a master plan that includes an appropriate response to the upcoming elections if elections are held in Nigeria,” AYDM said.
Some members of the Alliance include, but are not limited to, ANACOWA, representing Okada Runners in the South West, Agbekoya, South West Professionals (SOWPROF), South West Farmers Solidarity Front West (SWFSF), O’odua Nationalist Coalition (ONAC), South West Automobile Technicians Association, (NATA), O’odua Peoples Congress, (New Era), Covenant Group, (CG), South West Vigilante Groups, (SWVG ), O’odua Peoples Congress, (Reformed), Yoruba Women Congress, (YOWEC), Apapo O’odua Koya, (AOKOYA), Oodua Students Coalition, (OSC) and many groups from Itsekiri, Edo, Kwara States and Kogi.