The Chairman of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo on Tuesday declared that Nigeria is ripe for restructuring to enable both the centre and the federating units run the way they should in a proper federation.
Chief Adebanjo who stated this in Ibadan while speaking at the 50th birthday lecture of Hon. Babatunde Oduyoye in Ibadan also lashed out at those claiming that proponents of restructuring in the country have failed to agree on a proper definition of what they want.
The Afenifere Chairman pointed out that what that what those calling for “restructuring want is simply a return to the 1963 constitutional arrangement which allowed regions to explore their own resources and contribute a portion of their revenues to the centre.”
Chief Adebanjo in his lecture titled “Imperatives for Nigeria’s Survival and Development” stressed that anyone can use any word or phrase to express the need to change the structure of Nigeria, adding that “what is important is that the country is ripe for restructuring to enable both the centre and the federating units run the way they should in a proper federation.”
“Restructuring is not a political philosophy but the language of the moment which expresses what Nigerians want as a matter of urgency. What we simply want is a return to the principles of federalism as practiced in 1963.”he said.
The Afenifere Chieftain disclosed that “words such as restructuring, devolution of power, resource control, state police and others are all embedded in true federalism which Nigerians yearn for.”
Butressing the agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria Chief Adebanjo said the ” practice of true federalism will enable each region look inward and develop better ways to improve the standard of living of its people rather than taking all that belongs to the federating states and sharing and sometimes squandering.”
Speaking further, Chief Adebanjo s
declared that he supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption in principle, and that that he will score him 100 per cent for embarking on it but that his approach to the fight against corruption is allegedly selective as the rule of law must reign supreme in a democracy.
A University of Ibadan Don, Prof. Bayo Okunade in his lecture said
the nature of Nigeria’s federalism has always been identified as a problem but that the call for restructuring has never been elevated as an issue on the national agenda.
Professor Okunade while stressing that ” restructuring is capable of solving the country’s problem to a large extent,” added that “unless it is handled properly because of its complexity, it can become counter productive and that all components of the country must participate to make it a success.
Prof Okunade maintained that Nigeria does not have to disintegrate or go to war before citizens find better ways to live together in love as one country.