The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has said the Yorubas in Nigeria’s south-west now want self-determination, as a way of moving the country forward.
Mr Adams spoke Wednesday at a public presentation of the book ‘Roundtable Discussions on Economy and Restructuring in Nigeria’ organised by the National Pilot Newspaper in Lagos.
He said recent events unfolding in the south-west have made him reluctant to continue pushing for restructuring.
Many believe we (Yorubas) have moved from restructuring to self-determination and that is so, Mr Adams said.
“I support the popular view of the Yoruba that we have graduated from the restructuring that we have been clamouring for since 1991 to self-determination.
“The political group is not ready for restructuring and if Nigeria is not reorganized within the next three years, the future of the country is on the brink,” Mr Adams said.
He added that regionalism and self-determination are two ways to move Nigeria forward and save it from an eventual collapse that might occur through mutual suspicions across levels.
Adebisi Layode, who represented the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, at the event, said restructuring was long overdue.
Making reference to 1977, “when $1 was 32 kobo and £1 45-50 kobo,” the traditional ruler said Nigeria has nose-dived and needs urgent rescue.
“Nigeria is not the same and there is a need for restructuring now more than before,” said Mr Layode, the Alara Ogbaye of Araland, Ile-Ife.
“We need readjustment, we need to reorganise everything, most of our resources are being used in the North. My salary is not up to the salary of a servant of an Emir,” he said.
The book reviewer, Aloysius Okolie, said the book was an outcome of critical contributions at a roundtable on economy and restructuring.
Mr Okolie, a professor of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, added that it is a response to the “declining and debilitating economic conditions of Nigeria which manifests in the form of stunted growth, glorification of poverty, proliferation of malnourishment, malnutrition, and general depreciation.”
The book also discusses restructuring, resource control as ways of salvaging the country, he added.
The book, which has seven chapters and 150 pages, makes a clear distinction between different ideologies that people hold about restructuring, as it does not necessarily mean disembarking.
Mr Okolie said the book also talks about the fundamentals of the Nigerian economy, its current challenges and workable options for revamping the economy.
He said stakeholders need to engage in “continuous engagement so that the country can always adjust to the challenges of a particular time.”
Without adjustment to current challenges, instability, insecurity, and crisis will occur as experienced in Nigeria presently, he said.
Speaking about restructuring, Mr Okolie said the book highlights that agitations for adjustments, reforms, and restructuring are norms in federal systems and most of the agitations are self-serving and ethnic or religious-oriented.
“The book uses empirical history from other countries to exemplify that there is no country without agitations. Agitation, restructuring, and reform are not peculiar to our clime and space. Restructuring is an advocate to redress the perceived anti-democratic antics in the country,” he said.
The professor added that although some people equate restructuring with disintegration, it is more of aligning the deficiencies in governance.
“The book is too relevant to be ignored, and efforts should be made to circulate the book into all spheres of the society to reintegrate their minds on what is and not what was,” he said.
‘Nigeria not working’
Charles Akitoye, who represented the Deputy National Chair of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bode George, said Nigeria’s present structure is defective and requires an urgent change.
“The structure we have now in Nigeria is totally not working, not presentable. Nigeria’s structure is now defective and factors that contribute to this include population.
“If we have to continue to exist together as a country, if we want to grow to the stature of a nation, we must restructure. The restructuring must involve partitioning. If the Yoruba wants to go away, it is part of restructuring,” Mr Akitoye said.
He emphasized that severance is part of restructuring and there is a need to move away from petroleum alone as a source of revenue and give prerogative to other parts of the economy.
“You cannot separate restructuring from the economy. When you make a change, a lot of things must happen,” he said.
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