A coalition under the aegis of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) has enjoined Nigerian youths to embrace peace and eschew acts that can lead to the disintegration of Nigeria, especially as the 2023 general elections approaches.
YAF also kicked against violent agitations for the secession of Yorubaland or any other part of the country from the rest of Nigeria.
It also urged the youths to avoid breaching the existing peace or aiding groups and individuals acting under the guise of agitating for secession to destabilise the entire country.
The Forum, which congratulated Nigerians on this year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations, commended all citizens for standing firm and resolute on peaceful co-existence inspite of the significant peace and security challenges confronting the country in 2021.
YAF also praised the nation’s security agencies, the service chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), tradititonal rulers throughout Yorubaland and Leaders of Thought in Nigeria as well as the International Community, for ensuring peace reigned supreme at all times in the South-West geo-political zone and the entire country throughout 2021.
It further appreciated the contributions of traditional rulers and the Leaders of Thought in the South-West towards the continued corporate existence and unity of the Nigerian nation.
The Forum urged all citizens to continue to tread the path of peace by cooperating with the government in its efforts to tackle the current insecurity in some parts of Nigeria.
YAF, which stated these at a well-attended press conference in Lagos on Wednesday addressed by its National Coordinator, Adeshina Animashaun, further said Yoruba and Nigerian youths should, however, exercise great caution and vigilance to avoid aiding unknowingly or being used surreptitiously to destabilise the country by unpatriotic groups and individuals posing as ethnic champions.
It added that all Nigerian youths must avoid partaking in any unpatriotic activity that could threaten the peace of the country and contribute to truncating the 2023 polls, stressing that this would have serious consequences for them as individuals and Nigeria as a country.
The Forum rather enjoined the youths to join hands with the authorities and cooperate in ensuring that elections hold and they are able to register and vote for their preferred candidates at the polls without violence or killing of anyone.
YAF advised Nigerian youths to maintain peace and eschew violence, urging all citizens not to be deceived by those claiming to be fighting secessionist causes.
It also appealed to Nigerians, the international community and other major stakeholders in the country to rise to the challenge and ensure no individual or group violates the peace or instigate violence in any part of the country, especially ahead of the 2023 polls.
The Forum further commended the security agencies and international community for their role in ensuring peace reigns supreme in Nigeria throughout 2021 inspite of the threats posed by secession agitators, militant groups and violent individuals planning to cause chaos and endanger the lives and property of the people of Nigeria.
According to YAF, “As Nigerians, we should all observe this special month with gratitude to Almighty God for seeing us through the year and also with pride in our dear fatherland, knowing full well that this is a significant period for the whole of Nigeria in particular and humanity in general.
“This, of course, is an auspicious time of the year and we salute all Nigerians for choosing to maintain peace inspite of all the threats to the nation’s security and shenanigans by various centrifugal forces operating in different parts of the country. May the peace and prosperity of Nigeria never cease, and may we continue to rejoice in the blessings that God has bestowed on our dear fatherland. Amen!
“YAF celebrates the desire of all patriotic Nigerians towards the maintenance of security and peace. Long live Nigeria! We thank all Nigerian citizens, the various security agencies, the Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police and heads of other para-military services for the invaluable role they have been playing since the beginning of this year in ensuring a secure and peaceful country.
“YAF also commends the international community for their support to the government and people of Nigeria throughout 2021. They should continue to give their support to the legitimate Federal Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“YAF further enjoins all Nigerian youths to continue to maintain peace by ignoring seccession agitators and their sponsors.
“As Nigerians, we should not just exhibit our pride in the Nigerian nation just during Christmas period only. The feeling of being patriotic and proud Nigerians should occupy our minds at all times.
“We should not expect to develop our pride in Nigeria after she has become great. Rather, we should know that Nigeria can only become great when we sincerely contribute individually and collectively to her continued peaceful corporate existence and even take pride in it.
“Let’s continue to celebrate peace in our country by ensuring that the labours of all our past national heroes, who have given us the freedom we’ve been enjoying in Nigeria in the past six decades, do not go in vain.
“We must not take our peculiar situation for granted. Rather, we should at all times strive to play our role patriotically in order to make Nigeria a better place for ourselves and generations yet unborn under a very peaceful atmosphere.
“It is only when our country progresses in everything in an atmosphere of peace that the whole world can be proud of us. No nation progresses in a chaotic atmosphere and under insecurity imposed by some aggrieved and unpatriotic citizens. All citizens, particularly the youths, must eschew activities aimed at undermining the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
“George Washington, the first President of the United States of America, says, “The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregard the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
“YAF strongly believes that it is only when we work together peacefully as a people, a united nation that Nigeria can move forward and get to our desired destination.
“The people of every nation collectively determine their own destiny, but the clever the people, the better the fate of their country. We as Nigerians hold the destiny of our dear fatherland in our hands and whatever we do with it determines our collective destiny.
“Peace and righteousness do a great deal of good to any group of people and nations, and this we believe should continue to bind the conscience of every Nigerian, especially as we inch towards the 2023. We, therefore, enjoin all aggrieved Nigerians to register to vote in the 2023 general elections in order to right any perceived wrong. This will give every citizen the civic right to cast their votes for their preferred candidates.
“YAF, therefore, advises all Nigerian youths to support all efforts to ensure absolute peace in Nigeria. We appeal to the individuals and groups agitating for secession to sheathe their swords and rather join hands with other patriots to work for the peaceful development and growth of Nigeria.
“We should, therefore, not give any room to unpatriotic elements to destroy the good legacies and prosperous country bequeathed to us by Nigeria’s founding fathers. We must strive to be among those superior characters to hold the balance of power to keep our great nation up to a high standard of civilisation. Second-rate men and women must be effectively checked and kept at bay to save our dear fatherland from avoidable collapse.
“For us as YAF, it is, therefore, important to once again remind all citizens that our country can only be great again if we all reorient ourselves and reason together as Nigerians and not as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba; not as Northerners or Southerners, Muslims or Christians, under a peaceful atmosphere.
“As a group of patriotic citizens, YAF will never waver in our consistent pursuit of a peaceful and united Nigeria.
“Merry Christmas and happy New Year celebrations to all Nigerians in advance!”