By Dapo Akinrefon
CHIEF Ayo Adebanjo is a staunch Awosit and a chieftain of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere.
In this interview, Adebanjo takes a swipe at the Northern governors over their call for social media censorship and the north’s refusal to support restructuring.
What is your take on the Northern governors’ call for social media censorship?
They are not being realistic. People don’t need to be surprised anymore because you will notice that whenever people talk about the current administration’s inaction or bad policy, Northern governors always talk in favour of Buhari, they are not taking any objective position. Even when the problems are clear, they start defending rather than trying to correct things.
Imagine them saying there is nothing wrong with SARS. That shows that their thinking is not our thinking and we need to understand that.
Regrettably, some of the leaders in the South, who are so corrupt, are always in support of the current administration in everything because they don’t want to offend Buhari.
If it’s about keeping all of us together, people have been saying that if we don’t restructure, Nigeria will break. Is that not enough for any sincere president to convince people?
El-rufai, among others, has been talking about restructuring, what did you hear from Buhari? Since he won the election promising restructuring, he is no longer talking about it.Why do you the north is against restructuring?
Let me tell you what they will not like to confess. We all know that this present constitution is the constitution of the army, not what we had at independence.
The restructuring we are asking for is not different from what our founding fathers Sardauna, Awolowo and Azikwe agreed to at the independence.
It was the military that scuttled it. Before they went for the conference and agreed that this is the way we want to be governed, they created premiership in 1954 in which you could not centralize the government.
They divided the function of the central government into regions, each region was autonomous and that was what we operated.
What they referred to as the 1999 constitution now, is the constitution of the army.
They now said the revenue allocation will be based on land and population or local government. They now created more local government areas in the north and less in the south.
The population of Kano and that of Lagos is almost identical but look at the number of local councils in Kano compared to that of Lagos. And you now say that the basis for revenue sharing formula will be based on local government areas?
They are saying that the agitations for restructuring is to separate the country.
I want to say this. I don’t want to spite Buhari. I always say that why are you (Buhari) reluctant to go to a pre-independence constitution? Are you more intelligent or more Fulani than the Sardauna, Ahmadu Bello? What Sardauna agreed to is what we are telling him (Buhari) to go back to.
Why should that be a problem if you are sincere, and without any hidden agenda? Anytime you talk about coming together, restructuring, they will disagree.
When Buhari ran with Bakare, restructuring was part of their campaign. During his campaign under APC along with Tinubu they both promoted restructuring.
I can understand that Buhari’s education is not high but he has a professor as vice who ought to advise him. When he chose Yemi Osinbajo as his vice, we expected that all he needed intellectually would be provided by the vice president.
This is the basis, under which, they were elected to office, let us go back to the agreement we had before independence.
Restructuring is not a new baby, go back to the federal constitution, when they want to complicate issues they twist things.
How do you react to the claim by the north that the EndSARS protest was an attempt to change the government?
I have said it before, they (North) always say something to defend Buhari, they always politicize answers because under restructuring they won’t have a chance to steal.
Until you change this constitution, we can’t achieve meaningful progress.
Nobody can monopolize the presidency. How can you say you want equitable Nigeria based on love and justice and exclude a region from been a president.