South-West needs federalism to end challenges, Adebanjo tells Tinubu

Notable Yoruba leaders including leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; Director-General of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN Commission, Dr Seye Oyeleye; Chairman of Voice of Reason, VOR, Mr. Olusola Adekanola, and Dr. Segun Aina, on Tuesday, urged President Bola Tinubu to restructure Nigeria insisting that it will address the challenges facing the South-West.

They spoke at the Goke Omisore Annual Lecture (GOAL2023) themed: “South-West Regional Integration: The Dawn Commission Approach”, organised by the VOR in Lagos. 

The event was dedicated to Prince Nicholas Omisore.

While they lamented the current condition of the Yoruba nation, the Yoruba leaders fingered underdevelopment, religious and ethnic disunity, jettisoning the omoluabi ethos and mockery of its traditional institutions on social media as some of the challenges besetting the region.

We lack regional autonomy — Adebanjo

In his remarks, Afenifere leader, Pa Adebanjo said: “The real cause of our problem is federalism and lack of regional autonomy, which is why the DAWN Commission is asking questions.

“Let me state that we have not surpassed the efforts of our past leaders. We can move forward, but not under this constitution.

“The colonialists brought us together without our consent. At the time, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo told the colonial masters that they could not rule Nigeria under a unitary system of government.

“All the theories that Awolowo spoke against are still being practised today. Let us forget aggrandisement, let the President change the constitution to a federal system, where each region would develop at its own pace.”

Also speaking, the Director-General of the DAWN Commission, Dr. Oyeleye said: “From our vantage point at the DAWN Commission, we should focus on three constitutional changes now.

“They include state police, amendment of the revenue sharing formula, and the introduction of a clause to allow states to collaborate for development purposes.

“If we achieve these three, we would have unlocked the next growth phase of Nigeria. I know these proposals are risky ventures – from a capitalist perspective that most of us subscribe to.

“But then, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I admit that implementing and actualising them will not be a walk in the park. But we have done it before and we can do it again.

“Without being immodest, and to the glory of the selfless heroes who laboured at the thankless but most rewarding venture, the DAWN Commission is perhaps one of the best legacies of Yoruba nationalistic effort.”

On his part, chairman of the event, Mr Adekanola said: “VOR was an initiative of late Prince Goke Omisore designed as an advocacy group peopled by accomplished Yoruba intelligentsia to revive the nostalgia and re-enact the glorious accomplishments of our revered late Premier of the old Western Region, Chief Awolowo of blessed memory.”


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