Adebanjo: Buhari Not More Northern Than Sardauna


• Says restructuring key to Nigeria’s unity
Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
Leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Tuesday in Ibadan said President Muhammadu Buhari could not be more northerner than the late Sardauna of Sokoto , Ahmadu Bello, who believed so much in  restructuring of Nigeria in his life time.
Adebanjo said restructuring is key to the nation’s unity notwithstanding the hard-line posture of the current leaders of the ruling party in the country.

Adebanjo, who said he was equally surprised that the former interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, could speak against restructuring, went down memory lane yesterday.
The elder stateman, who spoke at the fifth Chief Babatunde Oduyoye birthday lecture, said at the time when Akande was Governor of Osun State on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD), the party agitation then was sovereign national conference that would have built a pathway for the restructuring of the country.

Akande, had during the meeting of the APC South-west stakeholders at the executive chamber of the Oyo State governor’s office in Ibadan two weeks ago, said restructuring was not the APC language and that what the entire group wanted was devolution of powers to the state and local governments.
Making reference to the comment, Adebanjo said restructuring is not a strange word in Nigeria and that it is the only way for Nigeria to practice proper federalism.

Adebanjo said: “Don’t allow yourself to be confused. They are now mending their stand. Yes, we agreed on restructuring, restructuring is not a strange word. Forget restructuring, insist on federalism. You can’t federalise the country now without restructuring the system.  It’s not a strange word because I heard Akande saying go and ask people who are calling for restructuring.
“Restructuring was the basis under which Akande became a governor. I was the chairman of the party (AD), the campaign then was sovereign national conference to be able to restructure the country to federalism. We filed that resolution in every state House of Assembly at that time. What then is the problem?

“And when they said they don’t understand restructuring, I said if you don’t understand restructuring, you understand the constitution Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sarduna of Sokoto and Nnamdi Azikiwe agreed to; that is what we are asking for. Why do we say we want to go back to what your grandfathers agreed to? You said no. Is Buhari more northerner than the Sarduna? That is the problem. Please let us explain this thing to our people. Nobody wants to separate the country. It is their propaganda to hit us, and we are going to stop it.”
Adebanjo said intellectuals in Nigeria had gone to sleep and failed to challenge the government on issues that would bring progress to Nigeria.

“There’s no reason why Nigeria should go astray except the intellectual themselves are not up and doing and that is what I believe. Many of you are not up and doing. Intellectuals that we know in the early 1950’s, they guided the society. The Action Group (AG) to which I belonged, the intellectual were the brains behind it, and others, but the intellectuals are now silent.

“The moment you are given a government appointment, you turn your intellectualism upside down and you begin to practise what you never preached, that’s unfortunate. I only hope you’ll take note because as we are going, you are the people coming and if it had been the practice of what we knew, we should go and rest with people like you coming up, doing the right thing,” he added.