Ahead of the 2023 Presidential election, an alliance of civil society and community based groups in the South West has said it will recruit 150,000 campaign volunteers in its bid to ensure overwhelming votes in the region
In a statement on Wednesday, the Alliance of Yoruba Democratic Movements, (AYDM) said the campaign volunteers will work across the old Western Region including Kogi, Kwara, Delta and Edo States
“Vote is political and economic power. The South West needs to show strength. It is the surest way to inform the local and international community about the real population of our people” the AYDM said.
Some groups in the alliance include The Covenant Group, (CG), Agbekoya led by Chief Kunle Osodi, Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC New Era), Network for Yoruba Alliance, (NEYA), Oodua Students Movement, (OSM) led by Comrade Deji Omotoyinbo among the 121 members of the movement.
The AYDM said it would vigorously pursue it’s earlier position that it’s would support any Presidential candidate picked from the South West.
He said Nigeria faces very difficult times the worst of which is violent terrorism and economic terror inflicted through poverty and lack of access to opportunities.
AYDM in the statement signed by its General Secretary, Popoola Ajayi said the best option for Nigerians is to deepen their capacity to chose their leaders and remove or replace them when necessary which is the essence of democracy.
The campaign volunteers are expected to work three days in a week.
After extensive training on communication,they will be required to visit strategic places, institutions, cities, rural and urban communities including farm and fishing settlements in the remotest areas.
Ajayi said the AYDM will explore the goodwill of the leaders of associations in the alliance who already command respect and dignity of their members
‘In the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Western Region used to be the bride of electoral politics. The region recorded overwhelming votes each time election held. We can do the same again” the statement signed by the AYDM General Secretary, Mr Popoola Ajayi said.
He said the group is working to ensure no fewer than between 30 to 40 millions votes are recorded in the South West plus Kogi, Kwara, Edo and Delta States.
The AYDM came into limelight early this year when it brought together several Pan Yoruba groups that cut across every sphere of human endeavours including Yoruba groups across West Africa, especially in Ivory Coast where the Yoruba population has peaked at 3.5m.
The group hosted a summit in April which drew over 1,500 delegates from across the South West including representatives from leaders of non Yoruba ethnic groups living in the South West.
“Our strategy is to ensure at least 90 percent turn out of residents of South West Nigeria on voting day. Our target is all residents in the South West not Yoruba alone” Popoola Ajayi said
The members of AYDM has now increased to 121 different associations of farmers, students, peasants, community based groups and professional blocs alike.
The AYDM General Secretary said four committees have already been set up which are Committee on Mobilisation; Committee on Media and Public Affairs; Committee on Women and Committee on Youths.