Adebanjo: Military De-structured Nigeria

  •  Buhari’s body language encourages herdsmen, farmers clashes

Segun James

Elder statesman, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has said Nigeria is suffering from the de-structuring inflicted by the military. He noted that unless the country returns to the pre-independence constitution that brought the various people together, it might indeed be heading for disintegration.

Speaking on ARISE TELEVISION, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Group, Adebanjo stressed that what the country needs now is to go back to the basic when states controlled their natural resources and paid royalty to the centre.

 This way, he stressed, the centre would no longer be attractive and each region or state would develop at its own pace according to the resources available.

“We had three regions before independence and the Action Group (AG) led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo was advocating at that time that all the federating units should be autonomous with each developing at its own pace while limited powers are given to the centre. But Awolowo was labelled a sectionist and a tribalist by those who today are now agitating for resource control, and by that time, they were all carried away by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s slogan of ‘One Nigeria’.”

He said he felt disappointed when another elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, accused him of pushing a Yoruba agenda, “but what we are saying is that let’s go back to the constitution we had at independence. That is the constitution our leaders jointly wrote.

“That is what the restructuring is all about. I think Yakassai is one of the progressives in the North that I know. I am surprise that he could go that way. The question that I ask him is ‘what type of constitution did we have when he was the Parliamentary Secretary during Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s government? Is that the Yoruba agenda when we agreed at the National Conference of 2014?

“What I am asking for is let us implement the 2014 National recommendations where all political tendencies were fully represented including Muslims, Christians, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and professionals like lawyers, doctors, the youths and the old. I say it without contradiction that Nigeria can never compose an array of such people again.”

 He lamented that what the military bequeathed to Nigeria today is not democracy but civilian government. Adebayo said this is the reason why the call for restructuring the country has become very strident in recent time.

“When the military struck in 1966, they introduced one line government, and that was the structure they brought. From then, nobody is free to do anything, because military governors report to one person.”

The Yoruba leader stressed that the closest thing to restructuring the country was the 2014 National Conference, and that implementing the recommendations of the report would put the nation on the right path.

 On why the president might never implement the conference  recommendations, Adebanjo posited that when former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, gave him the report of the confabs, he (Buhari) showed no enthusiasm.

“Buhari is not serious about keeping this country together by ignoring restructuring.

He was particularly hard on President Buhari whom he accused of being a sponsor of the activities of the Fulani herdsmen who have been invading farms all over the country with impunity.

“What do you need an AK-47 for? We know them; we have been living together, so when did the use of AK-47 begin?” he queried.