By Sunday Ani, Lagos
Former General Secretary of Afenifere Ayo Opadokun has called on all serious-minded political groups in Yorubaland to bury their differences, make room for reconciliation and close ranks to be able to confront the many challenges the country currently faces.
He advised that the political misadventures, miscalculations, and unprincipled politics of some Yorubas in the past should be forgiven in the overall interest of the Yoruba people. ‘The situation is dire and we must fend off, in one accord, those who have contempt for our nationality values. It has been done before; it can still be done,’ Opadokun said.
He made the appeal in a statement made available to the Daily Sun in Lagos to mark the 70th anniversary of Afenifere. He stressed that contrary to the views held by many that Afenifere is a cultural organisation; it is actually a movement of people, who want the best for ordinary citizens, and are committed to providing better quality of lives for all persons.
He reminded the various political platforms in Yoruba nation to appreciate the fact that their focus must be on how to legally and legitimately secure freedom and liberty for the Yoruba to be able to pursue their individual and group ambitions so as to showcase their talents and ingenuity. ‘This will benefit them and the society at large as Nigeria returns to federal constitutional governance, which can guarantee all Nigerians fair play, justice, equity, and respect as well as protection, defence and consolidation of the rule of law,’ he said.
The former spokesman of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) decried the worsening insecurity in the country attributing it to the current political structure which has left so much power in the centre. ‘The ongoing unbelievable national insecurity and the undisguised empowerment of non-state actors who have become more potent and dominant than the Nigerian security apparatus are clear indications of the negative consequences of centralization and unitarisation of the Nigerian State. The unhidden nepotic presidential appointments to sensitive offices, like the National Security Council, NNPC, Nigeria Customs, Immigration, and Nigeria Ports Authority among others in clear violation of the federal character principle make the current setting unsustainable,’ he stated.
He, therefore, stressed that the only solution to the current security situation in the country was the immediate dismantling of the current political structure, and subsequent restructuring to reflect what the nation’s founding fathers agreed upon. He described the current national structure as unsustainable, saying it is a pretentious unitarism and centralised governance, which gives one ethnic nationality undue advantage over others; a development he said could only permanently endanger the Nigerian project to which all nationalities should have ordinarily and willingly subscribed to.
He challenged those who have opposing views to the necessity for federal constitutional governance in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria to a realistic comparative analysis of a unitary and federal system. Such analysis, he insisted, should be in an enlightened setting devoid of wanting to please the current power holders.
‘There are enough credible and educative authorities that have intellectually provided superior rationale necessitating the choice of federal constitution in any heterogeneous geographical space or country like ours,’ he stated.