A foremost Nigerian legal practitioner, Afe Babalola, has ‘absolved’ President Muhammadu Buhari of culpability in the spate of killings and the state of insecurity around the country.
Instead, he blamed the military for altering the political structure of the country, saying the action had resulted in conflicts occurring in the “forms of herdsmen killings and Boko Haram insurgency”.
Mr. Babalola spoke in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State on Thursday while receiving an award of ‘Sir Ahmadu Bello Platinum’ by the Northern Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN).
He said the military coup of 1966, which ushered in a “lopsided unitary system” in the country and abrogated the regional system, was responsible for the “unwholesome scenarios playing out”.
“The essence of government is to guarantee the security of lives and property of the people. President Buhari is not to blame for this insecurity but the military,” he said.
“Before military took over in 1966, Nigeria was operating regional system with each region growing and developing faster at its own pace.
“These regions were closer to the people. Killings or insurgency were alien to our culture then. Nigerians love one another, though they were divided politically.
“I want to say that if those regions were allowed then, the country would have had a nation or nations that are well developed today.”
The proprietor of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, lamented the state of governance in Nigeria.
“Many pensioners have died having been owed several years of pension arrears,” he said. “Even those in the service were owed seven or eight months salary arrears, so just like I said earlier, our leaders have turned us into beggars.”
Mr. Babalola also noted that his university has the vision to build the youth into a reliable future leaders.
“There are many rich people in Nigeria who can establish this kind of university with the vision to bring quality education as well as moral and cultural values to the doorstep of Nigerians,” he said.
“If we have this kind of university in each of the six geopolitical zones or every state, Nigeria will change for better.
“Go to the North and propagate the ideals which my university stands for. Nigeria must be united at all cost for us to make a headway and overcome all our challenges.”
Leading the council to make award presentation, Steven Bidemi, said the award was in recognition of Mr. Babalola’s contributions to humanity and the unity of the Nigerian nation.
“At a time when Nigerian youths are facing relegation from the scheme of things, Babalola continued to exhibit youth friendly vision which gave us a renewed hope as leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
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