- By Raji Adebayo, Ibadan
The Yoruba leaders under the umbrella of Yoruba Leadership and Peace Initiative yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, urged the Federal Government to begin the process of implementation of the 2014 national conference.
While emphasising Yoruba unity, these leaders resolved that Nigeria is overdue for restructuring, urging the Federal Government to ensure it reviews the government structure before the 2019 general elections.
Speaking at meeting, Chief Bode George, former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) National Coordinator, Otunba Gani Adams, Secretary General, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Otunba Kunle Olajide and other speakers at the conference throw their weight behind restructuring of the country.
According to George, the mistakes of the past should not be allowed to be repeated and truncates the unity of Yoruba race, adding that the thoughts of former Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, should be revisited in administering South West states.
In his own submission, Daniel threw his weight behind restructuring of Nigeria while making case for the consideration and implementation of the report of the 2014 national conference by the Federal Government.
Also speaking, the traditional ruler in Osun State and Owa ‘Tapa of Itapa Ijesa, Dr. Olapade Agoro, however, urged the Yoruba race to stand with the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, especially at this trying period in the nation.
The convener of the retreat, Otunba Deji Osibogun, noted that after several years of debate on how to bring the Nigerian people together to agree on the modalities for restructuring the polity, the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo convened the National Political Reform Conference in 2005.
“But the initiative did not douse the agitation, prompting the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to convene another national conference in 2014. The 2014 dialogue was acknowledged tk have made very far reaching decisions on thd required constitutional reforms tk effect the desired restructuring.
“Not only did the conference address major issues of concern such as devolution of power, relative autonomy, resource control and fiscal federalism, among others, participants from all over the country unanimously agreed to the final report of the conference, which was submitted by Justice Kutigi to the Federal Government.
“Today, there is no doubt that there is a national consensus that Nigeria is overdue for restructuring. Therefore, we urge the federal executive and legislative arm of government to begin the process of implementing, or reviewing for implementation, the report of the 2014 national conference and ensure that it is completed before the 2019 general elections.
“The report is a working document already at hand. It contains the considered opinion of the people of Nigeria, represented by participants from various sections of the country on the issues concerned. It cannot be pushed aside or dumped in the ashes of history.”
At the meeting were member of the Senate of Nigeria for Ondo State from 2007 to 2011, Senator Bode Olajumoke; a legal luminary, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN); and Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Mr. Olawale Oshin.
Others were Proprietor, Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof Jide Owoeye; a retired archbishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu; Chief Tokunbo Ajasin, the scion of former governor of Ondo State, the late Pa Adekunle Ajasin.
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