Adebanjo Disagrees With Bisi Akande On Restructuring
Leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, on Tuesday in Ibadan said he was surprised that the former interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, could speak against restructuring.
Adebanjo, who spoke at the fifth Chief Babatunde Oduyoye Birthday Lecture, said at the time Akande was the governor of Osun State on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy, the party’s agitation then was sovereign national conference that would have built a pathway for the country’s restructuring.
During the meeting of the APC South-West stakeholders at the Executive Chamber of the Oyo State Governor’s Office in Ibadan a few weeks ago, Akande had said restructuring was not the APC language and that what the party wanted was devolution of powers to the state and local governments.
Making reference to the comment, Adebanjo said restructuring was not a strange word in Nigeria and that it was the only way for Nigeria to practice true federalism.
He said, “Don’t allow yourself to be confused. They are now mending their stand. Yes, we agreed on restructuring, restructuring is not a strange word. Forget restructuring, insist on federalism. You can’t federalise the country now without restructuring the system. It’s not a strange word because I heard Bisi Akande saying go and ask people who are calling for restructuring.
“Restructuring was the basis under which Akande became a governor. I was the chairman of the party (AD), the campaign then was sovereign national conference to be able to restructure the country to federalism. We filed that resolution in every state House of Assembly at that time. What then is the problem?
“And when they said they don’t understand restructuring, I said if you don’t understand restructuring, you understand the constitution the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and Nnamdi Azikiwe agreed to; that is what we are asking for.
“Why do we say we want to go back to what your grandfathers agreed to? You said ‘no.’ Is (President) Muhammadu Buhari more northern than the Sardauna? That is the problem. Please, let us explain this thing to our people. Nobody wants to separate the country. It is their propaganda to hit us, and we are going to stop it.”
Adebanjo added that intellectuals in Nigeria had failed to challenge government on issues that would bring progress to the country.
“There’s no reason why Nigeria should go astray, except the intellectual themselves are not up and doing and that is what I believe. Many of them are not up and doing. Intellectuals that we knew in the early 1950s guided the society. The Action Group to which I belonged, the intellectuals were the brains behind it, and others, but they are now silent.
“The moment you are given a government appointment, you turn your intellectualism upside down and you begin to practise what you never preached, that’s unfortunate. I only hope you will take note because we are going, you are the people coming behind and you should do the right thing,” he added.
At the event, the former Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, said restructuring and devolution of powers mean the same thing.
Credit: Punch News