News

Yoruba Leaders Summit : ‘Restructuring Is The Only Solution To The Nation’s Problems. {Photos}

• APC Govs Absent.

• FG To Return Nigeria To Regional System.

• Beware of Enemies Within, Fayose Advises Yoruba Leaders.

Yoruba leaders on Thursday, September 7, 2017, rose in unison in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Thursday demanding for the immediate restructuring of the country.

Ekiti State Governor Chief Peter Ayodele Fayose is the only one present among other Governors from the region, others are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and they sent their representatives.

Fayose is a member of the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The gathering witnessed the presence of non-Yoruba leaders from the South Eastern part of the country, among whom were Dr Walter Ofonagoro, General Ike Nwachukwu, Dr John Nwodo, Chief Alex Anozie, Zik Obi, Representative of Akran of Badagry, Senator Okon Aniete, and Dr Sylvannus Ebigwe.

‘Restructuring, the Summit believes, is the only solution to the nation’s problems.

In a communique at the end of the one-day Summit, the leaders, also demanded a return to regionalism as witnessed in the First Republic.

The leaders also canvassed unity within the Yoruba race.

The attendance list was impressive: Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Femi Fani-kayode, OPC Coordinator, Otunba Gani Adams, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Professor Banji Akintoye, Senator Gbenga Kaka, Ambassador Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, and Ambassador Yemi Farounbi.

Others included Chief Olu Falae, Chief Niyi Akintola SAN, Senator Kofoworola Buknor-Akerele, Dr Fredrick Fasehun, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, Chief S. K. Onafowokan, Chief Idowu Sofola, SAN, and Chief Micheal Ade Ojo (Elizade).

Also present were Chief Segun Adegoke, Chief Kola Omololu, Chief Areoye Oyebola, Dr Doyin Okupe, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Dr Amos Akingba, Professor Remi Sonaya, Chief Tokunbo Ajasin and Honourable Wale Oshun.

Virtually, all Yoruba groups were represented and spoke in unison about the future of the nationality within the Nigerian federation.

The communique was signed by both the summit chairman, Aare Afe Babalola and the chairman of the planning committee, Dr Kunle Olajide, and was read by Afenifere spokesperson, Mr Yinka Odumakin.

In it, the Yoruba leaders warned that Nigeria “is moving dangerously to the edge of the slope” and required urgent remedial actions to restructure it from a unitary constitution to a federal constitution as was the case at independence in 1960.

It read further:

“Summit recalls with nostalgia, the great strides made by the Yoruba nation in the years of self- government up until the abrogation of the federal constitution in 1966 evident in mass literacy, novel infrastructural strides and giant leaps in all spheres of human development.

“Summit noted that the crisis of over-centralisation has led to mass misery across the country with poverty levels at 72 per cent, unemployment rate at 65 per cent, internal immigration and internal displacement, security threat in form of Boko Haram, herdsmen and organised crime.

“Summit convinced that Nigeria is careering dangerously to the edge of the slope except urgent steps are taken to restructure Nigeria from a unitary constitution to a federal constitution as negotiated by our founding fathers at independence in 1960, it was resolved as follows:

“That Yoruba are clear that restructuring does not mean different things to different people other than that a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria can only know real peace and development if it is run ONLY along federal lines.

“That the greatest imperatives of restructuring Nigeria is to move from a rent-seeking and money sharing anti-development economy to productivity by ensuring that the federating units are free to own and develop their resources. They should pay agreed sums to the federation purse to implement central services.

“That the federating units- whether states, zones or regions must themselves be governed by written constitution to curb impunity at all levels. Nigeria shall be a federation comprised of six regions and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“The Federal Government shall make laws and only have powers in relation to items specified on the legislative list contained in the constitution of the Federation. The Regions shall in turn be composed as states.

“Each Region shall have its own constitution containing enumerated exclusive and
concurrent legislative lists regarding matters upon which the regions and the states may act or legislate.

“Contiguous territories, ethnic nationalities or settlement shall be at liberty through a plebiscite, to elect to be part of any contiguous region other than the region in which the current geo-political zone or state boundaries places them.

“The power to create states shall be within the exclusive powers of the region which shall be obliged to create a state provided a plebiscite is conducted, following a request by an agreed percentage of the residents of the ethnic nationality within a state.

“The procedure for conducting a plebiscite and the percentage of any ethnic nationality shall be out in the regional constitution. The power to create local governments and assign functions to them shall be vested in the states.

“That these agreed positions of the Yoruba taken today shall form the basis of negotiations with our partners in the Nigerian project for a United Nigeria based on Justice, peace and fair play.”

In his welcome address, Dr Olajide said that the summit was put together to do a honest review of the past, an appraisal of the future as well as a telescopic view of the future

“The ship of the Nigerian State is floundering. It is in fact heading towards a titanic rock and Nigerians from all parts of the country must rise up to halt the drift. All Nigerians must speak up. Silence cannot be golden at these times and silence in this time is crime against humanity.

“This summit is not a gathering of a political party. It is not a religious gathering, but it is a gathering of Nigerian patriots of Yoruba extraction determined to give Nigeria a new lease of life. This gathering hopefully will be a breath of fresh air for a country suffocating in distress,” he said.

READ MORE:  Governor Abiola Ajimobi Speaks On What Is Impending Nigeria’s progress.

Aare Babalola noted that Nigeria witnessed its greatest and fastest economic, political and educational development during the self-government and the First Republic.

“Each of the regions was fairly autonomous and could legislate over a number of items which have today been taken over by the Federal Government.

“None of the constitutions fashioned out by the military reflects the ideals which informed the making of the 1954, 1960 and 1963 Constitutions. What the military did to those constitutions weaken the component states, destroy or impair their power to develop and sustain themselves.

“It is therefore correct to state that the military and their civilian apologist either by design of by accident have planted the seeds of national disintegration and disharmony,” he said.

Awolowo Dosumu, recalled the strides of the defunct Western Region during the seven years her father the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was premier, urging the country to bring back the magic by reintroducing the constitutional structure that aided that administration.

She said: “We are here, therefore, to declare our resolve to regain our giant development strides, which were the envy of our compatriots in other regions of Nigeria and which were admired and, indeed, emulated by other developing nations who today have, embarrassingly, streaked past us into the modern age.

“Chief Awolọwọ never took a stand on any issue, particularly weighty matters like the Nigerian constitution, blithely, frivolously, or based on mere sentiment. He was always painstaking and rigorous in arriving at his chosen position. He always put such decisions to tests such as – is my position feasible? Is it right? Is it good? Is it in the best interest of all?

“Once he was convinced that the answers to these questions were in the affirmative, he remained fearless and resolute, no matter the size or weight of the opposition. Although he appeared to suffer defeat and frustration, repeatedly, in the course of his political career, he is today totally vindicated on all counts.

“His prescriptions for development have received endorsement in recent times even on the global stage. As a matter of fact, it is we, for whose future he sacrificed so much, who would be the ultimate losers if we fail to take up the baton he has passed to us and run with it,” she said.

Oba Ogunwusi canvassed honesty of purpose, unity and maturity by the leaders in their pursuit of their objectives.

He said: “I want to appeal to us all to pursue restructuring with all honesty and in a manner devoid of politics and with focus on the future of our youths. This is because seven out of every 10 Nigerians are youth. It is also important that we guide our utterances to ensure that our call for restructuring should be done within the ambience of peace.

“With peace, we can successfully redeem our rights because we are leaders in all ramification. Nothing is impossible with patience,” he said.

Chief Nwodo, who is the President General of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze, and the leader of the South-South delegation, Chief Charles Horsefall, declared support for restructuring and true federalism.

The Ohanaeze leader cited the successes of The Netherlands and California to indicate what would happen in Nigeria if states are allowed to develop at their own pace and utilise the resources within their territories.

Fayose urged Yoruba elders to be wary of voices of dissent on the restructuring discourse from the South-West, stressing that the some Yoruba leaders had always constituted stumbling block to the achievement of collective goal.

His words: “I am here to speak the truth. They can only throw away my submission, but not my person. All former Yoruba leaders, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, late Chief Ladoke Akintola and Chief Adegoke Adelabu, did their best to ensure Yorubaland attained greatness. It is now left for us to pick up the challenge from where they stopped.

“Some of our leaders are selfish in thinking and even agitation. A Yoruba leader who had the privilege to rule Nigeria failed to honour late Chief MKO Abiola. The man who died for the cause of Yoruba.

“Let’s look back, I am afraid if he would not come out tomorrow to speak against what we are gathered here to discuss.

“There is no alternative, no part two to restructuring. We have to go back regional administration. One of our leaders once threatened us that we should not speak about regional government. That is why I maintain that we should not blame some governors who are absent here. There is limit to governors’ powers. The president is like a lion. If he does not want governors to speak on a matter, he roars and that is it.”

The South West Governors sent representatives. The Commissioner for Integration, Adebola Adeife, represented Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun; Commissioner for Special Duties, Ogunsola Toogun for Osun’s Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Bimbo Kolade, represented Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, while Professor Wale Ademodu stood in for Mr Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.

According to Ademodu, the people of Ondo State under the leadership of Akeredolu agree to restructuring, without which Nigeria could be heading for rocks.

“For us in Ondo State, yes, we welcome the idea of restructuring, if not we go for due process. The idea of restructuring and devolution is a great political idea but we can use economic process to achieve unity in Yorubaland,” he said.

READ MORE:  Instabul Ataturk Crisis Raises Fresh Security.

Toogun said that Aregbesola fully supports regionalism while Kolade said that the people of Oyo State back restructuring and regional integration.

Former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel urged the Federal Government to see restructuring as a unique idea that would determine the development and progress of the country.

The communique reads:

PREAMBLE

Leaders and people of Yoruba nation met in a solemn gathering at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba Ibadan to deliberate on the restructuring agenda and the future of Nigeria.

The summit was attended by Yoruba leaders, governors, parliamentarians, Yoruba social cultural groups, professional bodies, market leaders, youth groups and friends of the Yoruba nation

After exhaustive deliberations by the largest gathering of Yoruba people from the six south-west states, Kwara and Kogi states, the following communique was adopted:

Summit recalls with nostalgia, the great strides made by the Yoruba nation in the years of self-government up until the abrogation of the federal constitution in 1966 evident in mass literacy, novel infrastructural strides and giant leaps in all spheres of human development.

Summit noted that the crisis of over-centralization has led to mass misery in across the country with poverty levels at 72%, unemployment rate at 65% internal immigration and internal displacement, security threat in form of Boko Haram, herdsmen and organized crime.

Summit, convinced that Nigeria is moving dangerously to the edge of the slope except urgent steps are taken to restructure Nigeria from a unitary constitution to a federal constitution as negotiated by our founding fathers at independence in 1960, it was resolved as follows:

That Yoruba insist that Nigeria must return to a proper federation as obtained in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions. This has been our position since 1950 Ibadan conference and developments in Nigeria over the last fifty years reinforce our conviction.

That Yoruba are clear that restructuring does not mean different things to different people other than that a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria can only know real peace and development if it is run ONLY along federal lines.

That the greatest imperatives of restructuring Nigeria is to move from a rent-seeking and money sharing anti-development economy to productivity by ensuring that the federating units are free to own and develop their resources. They should pay agreed sums to the federation purse to implement central services.

That the federating units- whether states, zones or regions must themselves be governed by written constitution to curb impurity at all levels.

Nigeria shall be a federation comprised of six regions and the federal capital Territory, Abuja.

The Federal Government shall make laws and only have powers in relation to items specified on the legislative list contained in the constitution of the Federation.

The Regions shall in turn be composed as states.

Each Regions shall have its own constitution containing enumerated exclusive and concurrent legislative lists regarding matters upon which the regions and the states may act or legislate.

Contiguous territories, ethnic nationalities or settlement shall be at liberty through a plebiscite, to elect to be part of any contiguous region other than the region in which the current geo-political zone or state boundaries places them.

States as presently comprised in the geo-political zones into which they fall, which shall become regions, shall continue to exercise the executive, legislative and judicial functions currently exercised at that level of government.

The States with a region shall determine the items on the legislative lists in the Regional constitution for the purpose of good government and the administration and provision of common inter-state social, economic and infrastructural requirements. Residual powers shall be vested in the states

The power to create states shall be within the exclusive powers of the region which shall be obliged to create a state provided a plebiscite is conducted, following a request by an agreed percentage of the residents of the ethnic nationality within a state. The procedure for conducting a plebiscite and the percentage of any ethnic nationality shall be out in the regional constitution.

The power to create local governments and assign functions to them shall be vested in the states.

States shall be entitled to manage all resources found within their boundaries and the revenue accuring therefrom. The issue of the entitlement of littoral states to offshore resources and the extension of such rights from the continental shelf and rights accuring to the federal government shall be determined by the national assembly.

The sharing ration of all revenues raised by means of taxation shall be 50% to the states, 35% to the regional government and 15% to the government of the federation.

For a period of 10 years from the commencement of the operation of the new constitution (or such other agreed period to be enshrined in the federal constitution) there shall be a special fund for the development of all minerals in the country.

The Government of the federation shall raise this sum by way of additional taxation on resources at a rate to be agreed by the National Assembly.

The National Assembly shall set up a body to manage the funds with equal representation of nominees from each of the Regional governments and shall also set out and specify the guidelines for the administration of the funds exclusively for this purpose. The president of the Federation shall appoint a chairperson for the entity so formed.

That these agreed positions of the Yoruba taken today shall form the basis of negotiations with our partners in the Nigerian project for a United Nigeria based on Justice, peace and fair play.

Chief Afe Babalola (SAN),
Summit Chairman.
Dr. Kunle Olajide
Chairman, Planning Committee.

Photos :

Photo credits : Femi Davies


There is no ads to display, Please add some

You Might Also Like