Ahead of the 2023 elections, hundreds of South West community based, artisan and civil society groups will meet in Lagos next Wednesday to debate the future of the people of the region.
In a statement on Saturday signed by the Secretary General Mr Popoola Ajayi, the Alliance of Yoruba Democratic Movements, (AYDM) said the gathering will have hundreds of representatives from the states that made up the old Western Region including Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo and Delta States.
Delegates will also come from Kwara, Kogi States, leaders of Yoruba associations living in Niger Delta, South East, South-South, Northern Nigeria and those living in the West African coast.
The theme of the conference is 2023: Democracy and the Future of Yoruba Nation.
The Guest Speakers Chief Ayo Opadokun and Prof Tayo Adesina
The organisers said the event will draw no fewer than 500 delegates from across the South West representing professionals, labour, civil society, manufacturers, students and Pan Yoruba groups.
The summit has been put together by the coalition of several Pan Yoruba groups representing different social, cultural, economic segments across the old Western Region plus Kwara and Kogi States. The group hopes to engage the entire Yoruba territories for mass electoral action” Ajayi said.
The group said since the death of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, interests in elections and public affairs in the South West has declined progressively with its associated dangerous future signposts.
The group said people in the South West are becoming less and less interested in elections which undermines their potential to negotiate power effectively in national and global politics unlike in the days of Awolowo that the people showcased their strength through democratic expressions.
The Pan Yoruba Democratic Movements, (PYDM) was established as a network of social and cultural movements aimed at creating awareness towards improving democracy, electoral fortunes and good governance and development in Yorubaland.
Affiliate members include artisan unions, mechanic associations, Okada Riders Association, Students movement and several Pan Yoruba groups.
In the past few years, public’ apathy dominate the South West political culture. The diminishing interest in governance and collapsing trust between the governed and the drivers of the democratic process are dangerous landmines that can only be rebuilt by the people taking possession of their own future” AYDM said
The group said there is the need for a Non-State Actor’s intervention to create an electoral paradigm shift in the old Western Region and ensure the people determine and take control of their own”
The group said Yoruba territories currently face serious security challenges apart from growing apathy towards Democratic governance which threaten the roots of Democracy in the region”
“There is lack of consultation, less constructive engagement of the Social, cultural and community forces in Yorubaland which widens the gap between the people and those who govern them. There is the historic responsibility to address this fundamental problem” the group said.