Afenifere: Restructuring Nigeria Before 2023 Polls Achievable

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James Sowole

A Pan-Yoruba Socio-Political Organisation, Afenifere, yesterday, reiterated its call for restructuring of Nigeria, saying it was convinced that restructuring the country was possible before the 2023 general election.

According to the group, one of the things that had been a cog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress was the rubbishing of true federalism.

Afenifere maintained this position in a communique issued at the end of its first Annual General Meeting in 2022, held at the country home of its Acting Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State and signed by its Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi.

The communique stated that, true federalism must be allowed to be effectively operational, saying, “In other words, states and local government councils must be allowed to enjoy self-governance as provided for them in the Constitution.

“Afenifere is convinced that restructuring of the Nigerian state before the 2023 general election is achievable. It is achievable through the adoption of the reports of the 2014 National Conference and the 2018 Mallam El-Rufai Committee of the APC on True Federalism with desirable modifications where necessary.

“Before and after independence, various efforts have been made to have a country, Nigeria, that everyone would be proud of. A country in which every one lives a happy life and there is life more abundant for all.

“Afenifere, however, has no doubt whatsoever that the country can never get out of its present logjam, let alone, develop, unless there is restructuring.”

Deliberating on the security situation in the country, Afenifere said the performance of Amotekun Security Network in the South West in conjunction with the Nigerian Police, has shown clearly that all the criticisms against state police were unfounded and self-serving.

It stated further: “In recent times, we have consistently expressed concern on the situation of insecurity in Nigeria today. We have also always recommended what we consider as the ways out of the unprecedented security challenges facing us.

“In this respect, we strongly call on the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the introduction of state police equipped with requisite means to enhance security in the states and that of the federation, ultimately.”

Describing Sunday Adeyemo Igboho as a Prisoner of Conscience, Afenifere called on all men and women of conscience, particularly, the international community to which human rights and freedom were abiding faith, to prevail on the governments of Nigeria and Benin Republic to release Sunday Igboho forthwith.

It stated that, not only should Adeyemo be released, the federal government should also pay Sunday Igboho the damages awarded him by the court following the savage attack on his person and property.

In the same breath, Afenifere called on the federal government to release Nnamdi Kanu even if on political consideration as happened in the case of Asari Dokubo under then President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The meeting was attended by leaders and members of Afenifere from all the states in Yorubaland, including Delta, Kwara and Kogi.

Among those in attendance were a former governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo; former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofo Bucknor-Akerele; Senator Femi Okunrounmu, Chief Supo Sonibare, Chief Sola Ebiseni, the Secretary General, Dr. Gbola Adetunji, Chief Korede Duyile, and Abagun Kole Omololu.

Also present were Hon. Leke Mabinuori, Chief Kofoworola Doherty, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, Chief Tunde Onakoya, Senator Femi Lanlehin, Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose, Chief Segun Olawoyin and Deacon Owolabi Oladejo, Chief Olu Pesu and Reverend Goke Omigbodun, amongst others.

Adebanjo welcomed Members and congratulated them for surviving the turbulent 2021.