A pan-Yoruba socio-political and cultural organisation, Afenifere Renewal Group, has warned politicians and their supporters against engaging in acts capable of stoking crisis in any of the Southwest states as the 2023 presidential election winds down.
The group stated unequivocally that the Yoruba people will rise up to defend the region from being immersed into unnecessary conflagration by lawless people, who perceive winning the presidential election as their birthright.
The ARG Publicity Secretary in Ekiti State, Prince Michael Ogungbemi, in a statement in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, warned that whoever wants to protest should go to the Federal Capital Territory.
The socio-cultural body spoke in response to the hoopla being raised by some politicians who seek to use violent protests to champion their complaints against the Independent National Electoral Commission over the conduct of the presidential poll.
Raising its voice against such plans, ARG said Lagos State, as a strategic Yoruba land, has not fully recover from the large-scale devastation it suffered during the EndSARS protests that grounded the state to a halt.
Prince Ogungbemi posited that some vested political interests from other ethnic groups hid under the facade of EndSARS to wreak havoc on Lagos, leaving their own states to flourish, saying such won’t be allowed a repeat anywhere in the region.
The ARG spokesperson added that protest remains a veritable condiment of democracy provided it was not ill-intentioned, laced with ethnic colouration and violence, the way the EndSARS protests later unfolded.
“We heard that some politicians are also planning to resort to violent protests over the presidential election, which results had not been finally announced. We suspect that by their tradition, they would want to use the Southwest as a base and we won’t tolerate this this time.
“We are warning that whoever wants to protest should go to FCT where the headquarters of INEC is located and not Lagos. We won’t allow you to destroy our heritage when your own fatherland is in peace.
“We are calling on our people to rise up to their consciousness and understand the antics of these fifth columnists, despite our inelastic hospitality and tolerance.
Prince Michael Ogungbemi
Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, Ekiti State Chapter.