By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
Dr (Chief) Ramon Adegoke Adedoyin, the Maye of Ife Kingdom is an educationist and a successful businessman. Atobatele, as he is fondly called, is the President, Oduduwa University,Ipetumodu, Ile-Ife;The Polytechnic,Ife, among other educational institutions he founded within and outside Nigeria. On the separatist agitations by some groups in the country, he propounds a theory:”Nigeria Empirical Formula 2017″, which he believes can end the agitations and restore Nigeria to the path of taking her rightful position as the giant of Africa.
Evil starts from somewhere, so we have to be very careful in Nigeria. Even those of us who were young during the period of Biafra, I remember clearly that they said we should dig holes and hide inside them to avoid being killed by fighter jets. So,this issue of war being talked about, we have to be careful. If we want to break up, it must not be by war,and according to my own formula, we can break sensibly without shedding blood or firing one single shot. In the USA, states operate on their own and they have one central President. The driver’s licence of the state of Delaware is different from that of the state of Illinois and they operate separately. We can also be united as a country and every state, every region can operate on its own.
What informed this concept?
The concept came because of the people agitating for a separate country such as Biafra. But that is not even enough, you know it has always been Biafra! Biafra!!Biafra!!! But look at the North, the northern people will be the last people to agitate for separation. This worries me because the general belief is that they don’t have anything in the North. So,if the North could now start talking about separation,then we have problems on our hands,if we don’t take quick and wise decision.
But there has always been this belief that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable,why are you talking like this now in 2017?
Yes.This is because the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable. I don’t support separation. But my belief is that if we don’t restructure as people are saying, there will be problem and we will still come back to restructuring. So, my theory is to ensure that we achieve that purpose without firing a shot anywhere. For instance, we already have six zones. So, instead of allowing this matter to degenerate to war, I think the best thing will be to understand ourselves and resort to what I call NIGERIA EMPIRICAL FORMULAR 2017.
But some people believe if we restructure today, we will still have to repeat the restructuring tomorrow, because we have several ethnic groups in Nigeria?
We have been living peacefully in the South-West, despite various multi-ethnic languages, same for other regions. What you are advocating is peculiar to the South-South. With this formula, everybody does his own thing and that could be the solution. When we published this theory, I checked people’s comments like, ‘Which Adedoyin is this?’ ‘Where is he coming from?’ ‘You better face your school’ and so on and so forth. The Igbo people are just pouring abuses here and there. They say they don’t want any empirical formula, that all they want is Biafra. But with my formula, we are not breaking, and the name Nigeria will still be there. However, the problem has always been with the presidency. That the President must be Yoruba; he must be Hausa/Fulani; he must be Igbo. With this formula, all of us will be President one after the other. Also the critics are asking how Nigeria will be developed if we have President on yearly basis? With this formula, ours will just be a ceremonial President. He will have no executive powers, He will not construct roads, He will not be saddled with any projects, He will build no schools. We just have him there, whenever we want to commission project, he will just come and commission it and go. Already we have Vice Presidents in each of the six regions who are powerful and who ensure that the zones are running smoothly.
With your regional formula, there will be problem of who controls the resources?
There will be no serious Federal Government in my theory. Rather, each region, depending on whatever you have and you want to assist the presidency with, you can donate 5%, but the donation should not be less than 1%. So, the 1% or 5% is not for any road, not for development purpose, it will just be for the running of the presidency, and you know that in the presidency, people just travel around to commission projects and pay courtesy visits. That is what the money is meant for, because there will be nothing for the presidency, it will not attract tangible resources. It will not be attractive. For instance, as the President of Oduduwa University, what am I doing? What is my role? I’m just overseeing things. When whoever is the President is coming, he comes in good clothes, rides good cars, that is all. He has nothing to do with even where he comes from. If he comes from the South-West, for example, he has nothing to do with the region. The only thing he gets from each region is 1% – 5% of their resources, or their declared incomes. It’s going to be a good idea, all these agitations, problems will stop.
With our present structure, how do we dissolve into your formula in such a way that it won’t create crisis or like you said, without firing a shot?
The way I have researched, it is such that the regions are like countries of their own. We already know our region, the South-West, and others know there. So whatever each region has is theirs, just like a country on its own. But we are doing everything together; that’s why I said the name should change from Nigeria to United Regions of Nigeria. It is as good as breaking, but breaking such that there are no problems. You see, Nigeria has a structure already. We have the President,the ministers,we have the parliaments,we have the states and so on and so forth. Now,you know when we say South-West, it is not just one state, it is about six states, so the six or seven states are just as good as one country on its own. So, whatever they do among themselves, they can have their parliaments, they can have their Presidents, so the Vice President is indirectly their President, according to the formula, because the country must donate somebody to the top for the ceremonial position of President. The regional Vice President will carry two functions now; he wears two caps, but the word President must not be used so as not to create the wrong impression that it is an independent country. That Vice President is the President of that region. I believe politicians can look for one name for this theory. I know in Ghana, for example, they have regions, they have President and Ministers and so on, but the regions are not independent. This time around, if the Hausa/Fulani are asking the Igbo to leave the North, next time, it may be the turn of the Yoruba to be asked to leave the North. The same with the Hausa people in the West; they will ask them to leave.
Who then controls the police and the military?
You are taking me back again. There is a region, so it must have its own police, its own soldiers, its own everything; the President will just be ceremonial. There will be no Nigeria Army again,no Nigeria Police, and so on. Rather what we will have is South Western Region Police. Even in America, you have all these states and they have their own police. But the problem with Nigeria is that, you know that they are talking about state police, they believe that a state like Lagos can be so powerful because it has money to attack the federal police. But these days, such thinking is no longer relevant. It is going to be as beautiful as what you have in the United States of America because some states will be very powerful and very rich. Look at what is happening in Lagos because of the money they are getting. Some regions will excel..
What if there is external aggression,like people attacking from Republic of Benin or Cameroun or from wherever? How do you handle such a problem?
That is why we are united. Immediately attack region alerts other regions, they donate soldiers because Nigeria is still there, United Regions in Nigeria. But my only fear with the theory is that we can also face ourselves. If there is an election in a region and there is a dispute, others may intervene.
As the proponent of the theory, what is the way out?
What is the best way to stop two friends from fighting?
When the regions understand themselves very well, then they become more friendly. And they must have built checks and balances or mechanism to resolve a problem like this.
There will likely be boundary problem when the regional issue come into being,
Now, there is still a problem with this your concept. Look at some powerful people in the South-West, particularly from Abeokuta. The scenario also exists in other regions that can effectively use the police and soldiers to perpetuate themselves in office. How do we resolve this kind of problem?
In the regions, there will be commissioners with portolios, regional commissioner for this and that. You wouldn’t say ministers here. In those days, what happened in this kind of situation was that all regions were answerable to the Federal Government, but in this case, the Federal Government is completely toothless, it can’t do anything other than just visiting and commissioning projects in the regions. You see, somebody will just be there as President and enjoy himself fabulously for one year with the donations from other regions because he is not going to do anything.
The glory of Nigeria is in her strength. Don’t you think the formula will water down the strength of Nigeria?
The strength is still there because we are still the same united Nigeria, but the problem is that some regions can choose to call themselves other names and not the the older regional names I am talking about, and this could pose a problem. I’m raising some of these possible problems so that Nigerians can take note of them with a view to finding solution to them. It is a good concept, if it can be implemented.
Some federal universities have increased their tuition fees. What will happen in Oduduwa University?
We will simply look at the laws of demand and supply and take our decision. For instance, a course like Mass Communication, we will just add little the fee. If you Google the cheapest universities in Nigeria, I think the first name that will come up is Oduduwa University. The issue is that money is not a determinant of the success of students in their courses of study. Where they pay N400,000 like ours, and the quality of professor who teach them is the same, others charge over N1M. Meanwhile, our products will be far better because of the experience we have on this job. I have been doing the same thing for close to 40 years now, you cannot compare me with non-professionals who just came to invest in the sector.
There are graduates all over the place and no jobs. What are you doing to tackle unemployment?
We have started a Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies which our students pass through to acquire skills before they graduate so that when they leave here, they can survive without necessarily searching for jobs. We have organized it in such a way that we are put them together in fours or fives to see if we can loan them money to start off their businesses. A student must have contributed N25,000 to attend the centre and each year for four years, and, on graduation, we will give him back the money, that will be N100,000.Then we will see how to add to it based on the skills he has acquired.