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Pelumi Olajengbesi, human rights lawyer and one of the counsels to detained Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday ‘Igboho’ Adeyemo, has reacted to a statement credited to Prof Banji Akintoye that there will be no election in Osun and Ekiti states in 2022.
Akintoye, a historian and leader of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, a Yoruba socio-political group, had on Friday said that there won’t be any governorship election in any part of Yoruba land in 2022.
Akintoye said the next elections the Yoruba would participate in would be in their own country after having successfully seceded from Nigeria.
The academic also noted that Adeyemo would soon be released from detention in Benin Republic where he has been held since July 2021.
Olajengbesi in a statement on Saturday said that Nigeria practiced constitutional democracy and no individual or organisation can upturn this.
According to him, while Akintoye’s views does not portray what many had taken it to be from the surface, the position does not fully align with Adeyemo’s belief that only a constitutional means can guarantee secession from Nigeria for the Yoruba people.
Olajengbesi said, “I have read the statement credited to Prof Banji Akintoye that there will be no election in Osun and Ekiti states in 2022 and I want to immediately react and condemn such in totality.
“It is crucial to understand that Nigeria practices constitutional democracy and no individual or organisation can upturn the constitution. The demand for an independent Yoruba nation cannot be realised through anarchy but by a procedure recognised by law.
“I note that the strict reliance on law as well as respect for all facets of fundamental human rights were equally issues stressed by the noble professor in his statement.
“It is my honest belief that these issues are the pivotal points he seeks to pass to all in his statement.
“However, all important issues which stand on their merit were marred by prof’s declaration that elections will not hold in those two states.
“Hence, I find it pertinent to address this distractive and combustive declaration in order to mislead the public.
“It is also pertinent that Prof Akintoye should always put into consideration the entire Yoruba people and make sure that an important statement such as this does reflect the aspirations of the people.
“I make bold to say that such statement cannot reflect the position of Chief Sunday Adeyemo who believes change can only be achieved through constitutional means.
“Indeed, Prof Akintoye is very much displeased as most citizens are about the sad realities that have become the very reflections of our social polity. He expressed his displeasure in his observations about flagrant disregard to human rights. He, however, neglected to consider that human rights must be addressed holistically and one of those rights is the right of a person to vote or be voted for.
“These rights cannot be set aside and denied entirely for any reason. Rather, we must encourage our people to work within their communities and local governments and states to ensure that whilst we agitate for justice and equity, we must also come to equity with clean hands.
“Without belabouring the matter further, we do know that Prof Akintoye has noble intentions and would never intend for his words to promote anything other than peace, harmony, justice, fairness and equity in all Yoruba populated states and by extension in all the states making up the federation of Nigeria.”