As another political dispensation starts today in Nigeria, the Founder and Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Afe Babalola (SAN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the country and revert to true federalism.
In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, Babalola, who has consistently called for restructuring, said if this is done, the country’s problem will be a thing of the past and its lost glory will be restored.
He said: “I want President Buhari to adopt the biblical injunction to first seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all other things will follow. He should seek restructuring of the constitution and our problems will evaporate.”
Comparing the country’s past with the current situation, and explaining why he believes restructuring is the only way out, he said: “Our naira was stronger than the dollar. At some point in the past, it was 95 kobo to a dollar, but now it is N365 to $1. Begging was an abomination, but now it is the order of the day. Go to any ceremony whether in the church, the mosque or any social gathering, they are there in quantum plying their trade.
“Life was safe on the road, in the house and on the farm, but now, insecurity is a recurring decimal in the country. Farming was then the mainstay of the economy, but now it has been abandoned. Unemployment was unknown, but now most of the graduates churned out by the country’s tertiary institutions are largely unemployed as a result of which many of them have become okada riders,” he said.
He also explained that decades ago, food was in abundance, but that importation of food has taken over, adding that kidnapping and armed robbery only existed in the dictionary back then, but that they were now becoming stark and worrisome realities.
The senior lawyer said cattle rearers were once friendly and were only using sticks to control their animals, but that they are now armed with sophisticated weapons like AK 47.
“Political office holders at all levels earned only sitting allowances, but now, politics has become the only lucrative business in town. Our university degrees were respected all over the world, now they are derided and despised by many of the blue-chip companies which prefer employing overseas-trained graduates.
“Local government councils were effective as they had enough funds to run their affairs, now the funds that trickle from the governors can barely pay salaries of local government workers. The first republic was the golden era characterised by prosperity. That was when late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a transformational leader was the Premier of Western Region and led the way with the transformational agenda while other regions followed suit,” he explained,
He said at the time, Nigeria grew in leaps and bounds, “but for coup of January 15, 1966, Western Region and indeed the whole country would have caught up with England and other countries in Europe. It was the constitution foisted on us by the military that derailed the development and became the harbinger of all the ills listed above,” he added.