By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
An eminent lawyer and founder of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, has restated that restructuring of the lopsidedness of Nigerian structures remain the panacea to solving the hydra-headed problems confronting the nation.
Babalola backed the agitation by Afenifere and other regional groups on the need to correct the imbalance in Nigeria’s structure, saying no nation would have unity and make tremendous change in every facet of its life when injustice pervades the land.
On the increasing poverty level in Ekiti State, he urged Governor Kayode Fayemi to look inward and develop the tourism potentials of the state, regretting that the abandoned Ekiti Parapo War Heroes Museum at Okemesi Ekiti was enough to transform the economy of the state if harnessed.
Babalola spoke in Okemesi Ekiti, Ekiti West Local Government area of the state on Tuesday during the unveiling of a statue and garden built in honour of the eminent lawyer by Afe Babalola beneficiaries worldwide in the town.
Addressing the gathering, Babalola said: “I want to emphasise that the only change that can change the country for better and pave the way for the evolution of the one nation is the change that changes the structure of Nigeria.
“It is the duty of government to provide road, electricity, airport, rail line and other infrastructure, but unfortunately all these are not there resulting in spiral unemployment, poverty and criminality.
“Restructuring remains the change that will make politics less attractive, make each state develop and curb criminality. It is the change that will make every component of Nigeria to develop their resources, provide employment, eradicate poverty, and make individuals to become true Nigerians.
“It is restructuring that will curb overconcentration of power at the centre and reduce corruption, promote harmony and unity.”
While laying a wreath at the Ekiti Parapo Heroes Museum at Ita Balogun in Okemesi in honour of fallen heroes, Babalola commended the war commanders that prosecuted the Kiriji War between 1877 and 1886, saying their efforts liberated Ekiti from Ajeles from Ibadan.
“It is shameful that these heroes who fought for the unity and amalgamation of Ekiti were not being celebrated. The tourism potentials in this town alone, I mean those relics we gathered from the warfront can turn the economy of this state around.
“Today, the only thriving industry in Ekiti in particular is politics, while other sectors are neglected. The government must invest in this sector and turn around the economy of our dear state that in line with the dream of the founding fathers of the state,” he said.
The Oowa Ooye of Okemesi, Oba Adedeji Gbadebo; the Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti, Oba Ademola Ajakaye; and the initiator of the project, Mr. Morakinyo Ogunniyi, lauded Babalola’s giant strides and contributions to the state in every facet.
Oba Gbadebo said the only way to sustain the legacy of those who fought for the liberation of the state during the war is to create a museum where their statues can be erected to teach generations yet unborn on the virtues of sacrifice and community development.
“When Ekiti was being oppressed, these commanders were gathered together by Fabunmi Okemesi from all the then 16 kingdoms in Ekiti.
“They went to the warfront with Ibadan and won. Though, they fought alongside Ogedengbe from Ijesa. These people must be celebrated because if heroes of yesteryears are not celebrated, it will be difficult to make new ones,” he stated.