Restructuring: Afenifere takes on Bisi Akande
Chief Bisi Akande flanked by Senator Bola Tinubu and the Vice President, Osibanjo
The Afenifere Renewal Group, (ARG) has expressed deep concern on what it described as a disquieting position of the Yoruba leadership in the All Progressive Congress, (APC).
In a statement issued and signed by Hon Wale Osun, ARG faulted a statement credited to Chief Akande which it said was not in line with the position the Yoruba people.
“The Yoruba people are now at a crossroad. Its leadership under the former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande, at the Ibadan meeting of selected leaders of APC, took a position on Constitutional reforms in Nigeria that is completely at variance with the decision of their followers in the same Party”, the statement, titled, `Yoruba people at a crossroad’, said.
It went on: “On Monday, September 18, 2017, the All Progressives Congress held a conference at the University of Ibadan on the issue of constitutional reforms in Nigeria. A similar conference was held in Akure four days after and the clarion call emanating from the two conferences of the party in the zone was for a wholesome restructuring of the system and structure of our politics and governance. That decision certainly transcends the call for mere devolution as it raises the fundamental need for a change in structure of government in order to make even the issue of devolution a sustainable process.
“How the leaders of our party in our zone whose followers spoke in definitive language can back away from such a decision is totally unacceptable and even in the realm of spirit, not to talk of physical realm, the tail can never wag the dog. And they are the ones we expect would negotiate on our behalf!
“On the same day the western leaders met, northern leaders rose from a meeting in Kaduna and Daily Trust reported of the meeting that ‘the North tilts toward return to regions’.
“It is necessary to clarify that a federation which Nigeria purports to be should comprise of a central government and federating units that are in parity and are mutually agreed as to which powers each should exercise. It is therefore in a federation that you speak of restructuring which is that there is a demand for change in the way things are done. When you speak strictly as was the Ibadan outcome you are asking the Almighty Central government in a Unitary system to allow other levels of government exercise some powers and at its pleasure. The crisis in Nigeria today can only be resolved when all Nigerians have a say in which powers to allow one another.
“For the avoidance of doubt restructuring entails much more than devolution and it includes the Constitutional reform that will enable the sustainability of the power sharing agreed to. For instance the Yoruba people at all conferences held to date, including those that led to the production of Yoruba Agenda, the Summit and the All Progressives Congress conferences on restructuring (respectively held in Ibadan and Akure), agreed that there is need to return to regions as federating units, and that each federating unit would have its own Constitution that would guide how all its internal governance is enabled, particularly other levels of government lower than the federating unit level.
Nigerians would agree on what percentage of resources generated by federating units are paid as tax to the federal government and the Yoruba people have indicated that for a virile Central government, taxes paid to the Central government by the federating units should be not more than thirty five percent of all accruals. Only Constitutional reform or restructuring can facilitate this, mere devolution of power cannot. And who is devolving the power by the way.
“We, and I mean Yoruba people, are progressives and by culture welfarist and have remained largely so in politics and civic engagement. We certainly would contest the ground and state categorically that there is no other side in Yoruba land on the issue of the clamour for restructuring. If it is anyone’s intention to create the other side on this issue that is Germaine to Yorubaland and overall peace of our country, the person is free to do so.
“But the history of Yoruba land stands on a clear and firm ground on the issue. It should be a great tragedy if elected and appointed Yoruba office holders cannot and will not stand up for and in Yoruba interest, the same interest they espoused to catapult themselves into office. What then defined the NADECO struggle which claimed lives and liberty, if not the need for the restructuring of Nigeria?”