February 29, 2024

Tinubu to Nigerians: I won’t rush to restructure

I’ll justify the trust Nigerians place on me – Tinubu

File: President Bola Tinubu

•Says Akeredolu was a fearless defender of truth
•President is Aketi’s brother, friend — Akeredolu’s widow

AKURE— President Bola Tinubu has assured Nigerians that his administration will restructure the country as promised earlier, but noted that a good foundation must be laid.

Tinubu gave the assurance during a visit to the National Leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, Ondo State on Wednesday.

After the closed-door meeting with some selected leaders of the group, the National Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr Jare Ajayi, quoted the President as having assured Nigerians that he would still restructure but that certain structures need to be put in place.

Quoting the President, Ajayi said: “On the issues of restructuring, the President said that he is aware of the need to restructure Nigeria but that a good foundation must be laid before bringing the restructuring in place such that if it is done in a rush without a proper foundation, the restructuring may collapse very soon but it would be done.

“He (Tinubu) said that when he took the oath of office, he (Tinubu) pledged his allegiance to Nigeria, that he knows what he is facing.

“Tinubu said: “I prayed for it, I danced for it, I campaigned for it and I got it. I know the enormous responsibility. So, don’t pity me, Baba (Fasoranti), just sit down and relax.

“He (Tinubu) assured Nigerians that he understood the struggle and that he is trying to build the structures that will not be reversed.

“The President said that the structure he is trying to put in place in Nigeria economically, socially and politically would be such that it would bring Nigeria back to where it is supposed to be.

“On the hardship Nigerians are facing, he (Tinubu) appreciates the pains Nigerians are going through and said that very soon, Nigeria will overcome it; that is a matter of time. He said that the kind of the policies government is implementing will bring positive solutions to the challenges.

“He said that Nigerians should grow our foods. That we should eat the food we grow. Doing so would wean us from depending on foods from foreign sources.”

Afenifere insists on restructuring, true federalism

Responding, Pa Fasoranti said: “Your performance so far has shown that you understand the full gravity of your mandate which is to show the Nigerian people that a good government is possible.

“In Yorubaland, we do not seek for any special treatment or unfair advantage. We know you are our own, but you now belong to all Nigerians. Your mandate was freely given by the people of Nigeria and blessed by God. Therefore, Mr President continue to govern fairly and courageously and with the fear of God. That is what we expect, that is what we know you will do.

“You know that since the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, the Yoruba people, led by Afenifere, have been at the forefront of the campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria.

“It is now incumbent on you to address this issue of constitutional reforms with courage, fairness and determination.

“We know we cannot return to the past, but we have to seek a future where regional competitions would bring out the best in our country as it did during the First Republic.

“We seek, therefore, a true Federal Republic that would reflect fiscal federalism. We believe a review of the 2014 National Constitutional Conference would help you in charting the course.

“For the people of the South-West, restructuring also has a more pressing meaning. Today, Nigeria has a population of 200 million which would double in the next 25 years to 400 million.

“However, the South-West is facing an avalanche of migration from the other zones of the country to the extent that in 25 years, if the current trend continues, the South-West would be home to 50 per cent of the population of Nigeria.

“We need to be prepared so that our region would not be overwhelmed by imported challenges.
“We want each of the geopolitical zones to have greater responsibilities for security, food production and infrastructural development.

“Since the removal of fuel subsidy, which was costing Nigeria $10 billion yearly, the state governments have been receiving hefty allocations from the Federation account.

“Mr President should persuade the governors to allow this change of fortune for the states to reflect at the grassroots so that life can be better for our people. They should not just buy rice and yams for the people.
“Mr President, thank you for this visit. You owe a duty to posterity to serve Nigeria with all your strength and wisdom.”

Akeredolu was a fearless defender of truth —Tinubu

Earlier, President Tinubu, during his visit to the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye, to commiserate with the people of the state over the death of the former governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, said that he (Akeredolu) left a void that will be difficult to fill.

Tinubu said: “This sentiment should inspire us to live each day with purpose, to pursue our goals with determination, and to leave behind a legacy that will be remembered fondly by those whose lives we have touched

“He truly embodied courage and fearlessness, especially in his relentless pursuit of good governance.
“I can only describe him as a fearless fighter, his unwavering commitment to the welfare of his people and his courageous nature will always be remembered.”

Speaking during his visit to the family of the late governor in his Owo home, the President described him as a fighter and fearless defender of truth.

The President, who had a closed-door meeting with Mrs Akeredolu, also visited where the late Governor was laid to rest.

President is Aketi’s brother, friend—Akeredolu’s widow

Speaking after the visit, Mrs Akeredolu appreciated the President for the condolence visit.
Mrs Akeredolu said: “As you are aware, President Bola Tinubu paid his condolence visit to my family. Present at the visit are my children and extended family members.

“On behalf of my family, I appreciate Mr President. We understood he couldn’t attend the burial ceremony due to the dictate of Yoruba culture. He couldn’t have attended the burial of his younger brother.

“Coming today is a big deal because we are in a better atmosphere. We are deeply grateful to Mr President for coming. He’s indeed, Aketi’s brother and friend.”