Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
The bulk of Nigeriaâ€™s oil money goes to northern part of the country with successive military regimes unduly favouring a section of the country at the expense of other geopolitical zones in the land, hence the need for the nation to restructure if there must be equity, justice and fair play.
With the above position, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, MondayÂ joined the agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria.
Alaafin spoke at the launch of a biography and postscript titled: â€˜Samuel Ladoke Akintola in the Eyes of History,â€™ written by Femi Kehinde.
At the event, Alaafin traced the historic feud between the late Akintola and the late Obafemi Awolowo, noting that the first federal governmentâ€™s interference in state affairs happened during the dispute between the two Yoruba politicians, which led to the crisis witnessed in the South-west and ultimately in the death of Akintola.
According to Alaafin, the North was favoured in terms of revenue allocation because while more states and council areas were created in the region, other regions were yet to enjoy similar opportunity despite being federating units.
He said: â€œThe first time that the federal government would interfere in state affairs began when the government at the centre interfered in the feud between Akintola and Awolowo. The government, in support of Akintola, declared a state of emergency in the old Western Region, snowballing into serious crisis.
â€œThe army came and took side during a coup that led to the death of Akintola. Aguiyi Ironsi that took over, abolished the regional system through Decree 34 of 1960. He also scrapped the term federal republic and replaced it with republic of Nigeria.
â€œThe northerners felt that with the new system, the Emirs would no longer be able to operate within a republic like before. Their belief was that Ironsi came from a culture that opposed their belief. This led to a counter coup of July 29, 1960. I am trying to tell you why we have to restructure Nigeria.
â€œGowon that came later, returned the term Federal Republic of Nigeria but not the region. Lagos is about 20 million people going by the first census conducted and Kano was next. Within the next 10 years, Kano was split into about 44 council areas but Lagos remains with 20 council areas.
â€œJigawa was created from Kano and given 19 council areas. This means that the bulk of what Nigeria realises from oil goes to the North. If we are in a region, the government of that region can create council areas but because we depend on a monolithic manner of financing the states, we are in problem. Have they been able to publish the people who own the oil blocks in Nigeria?â€
Alaafin said the bulk of the owners of the oil blocks come from a certain area of the country, expressing his displeasure that government had displayed insensitivity and unrealistic approach to the yearnings of the oil producing area.
â€œThey cannot fish or practice agriculture so they have to agitate. The Oyo State Government cannot pay teachers and civil servants because what is coming to its coffers from the federal government is minimal. Our revenue has been taken over by the federal government. What the federal government collects in Value Added Tax in an area in Oyo State in one month is more than what it collects in Adamawa State in three months. Yet, the federal government takes all away,â€ the monarch said.
Present at the event were former Governors of Oyo State, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo and Adebayo Alao-Akala. Among others were Justice Ladiran Akintola and the late Bola Igeâ€™s daughter, Funso Adegbola. Dele Momodu delivered the lecture while the book was reviewed by former Governor Abiola Ajimobiâ€™s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Festus Adedayo.