By Ola Ajayi
Ibadan—THE Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, has joined other eminent Nigerians across the country who are making persistent calls for restructuring noting that the present structure will never allow states under it to thrive or make any meaningful progress.
The prominent Yoruba monarch said this yesterday in Ibadan at a book launch in honour of the former Premier of Western region, Late Samuel Ladoke Akintola which held at the International Conference of the University of Ibadan.
At the biography and postscript entitled, “Samuel Ladoke Akintola in the eyes of History”, which was authored by Femi Kehinde, several important dignitaries attended the book launch.
Among those in attendance included Orangun of Oke Ila, Oba Adedokun Agbolarin, Bashorun Dele Momodu, Publisher of Ovation Magazine, son of late Akintola, Justice Laniran Akintola, Mrs Funso Adegbola, daughter of the former Minister of Justice, late Chief Bola Ige, former Governors of Oyo State, Dr Omololu Olunloyo and Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde(SAN), Chief Bayo Oyewusi, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who was represented by Mr Wole Aina, Dr Akin Onigbinde, former Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly and many others.
Going down the memory lane, Oba Adeyemi said, “The first time that the Federal Government would interfere in state affairs began when the government at the centre interfered in the feud between Akintola and Awolowo. The government, in support of Akintola, declared a state of emergency in the old Western Region, snowballing into serious crisis.
Oba Adeyemi said, “They cannot fish or practice agriculture so they have to agitate. The Oyo State government cannot pay teachers and civil servants because what is coming to its coffers from the FG is minimal. Our revenue has been taken over by the FG. What the FG collects in Value Added Tax in an area in Oyo State in one month is more than what it collects in Adamawa State in three months. Yet, the FG takes all away.”
Still referring to the past, Oba Adeyemi pointed that “The army came and took side during a coup that led to the death of Akintola. Aguiyi Ironsi that took over abolished the regional system through decree 34 of 1960. He also scrapped the term federal republic and replaced with republic of Nigeria.
“The Northerners felt that with the new system, the Emirs would no longer be able to operate within a republic like before. Their belief was that Ironsi came from a culture that opposed their belief. This led to a counter coup of July 29, 1960. I am trying to tell you why we have to restructure Nigeria.
According to the foremost Yoruba monarch, “Gowon that came later returned the term federal republic of Nigeria but not the region. Lagos is about 20 million people going by the first census conducted and Kano was next. Within next 10 years, Kano was split into about 44 council areas but Lagos remains with 20 council areas.”
“Jigawa was created from Kano and given 19 council areas. This means that the bulk of what Nigeria realises from oil goes to the North. If we are in a region, the government of that region can create council areas but because we depend on a monolithic manner of financing the states, we are in problem. Have they been able to publish the people who own the oil blocs in Nigeria?”
Dr Olunloyo said late Akintola was killed along with his generator man.
He explained that the soldiers who eventually killed him had earlier come by 2am but they were resisted. They later went for reinforcement and killed Late Akintola.
He added that Yoruba soldiers were among those that pulled the trigger calling on the children of the fallen Ogbomoso man to remain united.
Otunba Alao-Akala said due to the impeccable character of Akintola, he had always longed to become like him.
The Chief Launcher, Chief Ayorinde said it was a good thing that “our fathers were political gladiators. But this our new generation has agreed to bury the past and worked together. That’s why we are happy to have the daughter of late Chief Bola Ige here.”