By Ola Ajayi
Ibadan -TWO weeks after a Yoruba summit on restructuring was held in Ibadan, more voices from the region yesterday reiterated the call as traditional rulers, including the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji and governors of Lagos, Oyo and Ogun States said there was no alternative to it.
They made the fresh calls at the zonal public meeting organized by All Progressives Congress, APC, committee on true federalism which held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.
Over 100 memoranda were submitted by various interest groups. They include Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress from Oyo, Ogun and Lagos States, Afenifere Renewal Group, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Atayese and several others.
According to Alaafin who spoke on behalf of other kings, “If we do not restructure like our leaders have said, we should remember that the Union of Soviet Social Republics was set up by force, it collapsed. In Czechoslovakia, they did what we are fighting for, but it collapsed too.
“So, how did we get to where we are now? What happened? How did we come to this situation? Those that are in the army came together and said that they didn’t like the way Nigeria was going, but they did not call anyone in the East. Akintola already knew they even wanted to kill him and they killed some soldiers in the North. We need to repair what is on ground now. That is what our governors are saying we should do. The killings of political leaders was unjust and the blood we shed is still hurting us” he said.
APC can’t turn deaf ears to restructuring – Ajimobi
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State speaking on restructuring said; “The call for restructuring is so deafening that ruling party and government cannot afford to close their ears or see it as mere noise in the market place. Interestingly however, the views about that singular word ‘restructuring’ are as diverse as the people agitating for those making it nebulous. And for any undiscerning mind, attempts to decipher or comprehend ‘restructuring’ in the Nigerian context may result in more confusion and/or outright lack of clear understanding.
“It should, however, be stated that the fact that the call for restructuring under whatever name organize, be it true federalism, devolution of powers, regionalism, resource control or whatever, has again resurfaced in Nigeria, it is an indication that something needs to be addressed on the current structure or arrangement.’
“While I am not totally opposed to the idea of regionalism, I believe that except there are legal caveat, regions may be too powerful and this may further heighten the possibility of secession by a certain region that is tired of continuing with a united Nigeria, for whatever reason.’’
The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Chief Tolu Adebiyi described the gathering as a veritable platform for cross fertilization of ideas so that all opinions and suggestions by all segments of our society. This is true practice of democracy when you give people the opportunity to express their opinions towards contributing to the national discourse.
The memorandum of Lagos State was submitted while James Odunbaku who was among the representatives of Lagos State relived the good memories of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who he said had left legacies that others in the zone should emulate.