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We must restructure or forget one Nigeria, Southern leaders tell FG

Ooni

It was history in the making on Thursday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, as various ethnic groups in Southern Nigeria including Yoruba, Igbo and Niger Delta people joined forces together in Ibadan to say that the only way to avoid disintegration of the country was for the Federal Government to heed the calls for restructuring.

They made the calls at a summit tagged, “Ibadan declaration” which held at the Mainbowl of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Ibadan.

The summit was attended by frontline elites including traditional rulers, top political office holders, regional group leaders and opinion moulders’ from Southern Nigeria who came in large numbers from South West, South South and South East.

The long list includes the Ooni of Ife, Oba Eniitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, President General, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Olu Falae, former Minister of Education, Prof. Babatunde Adeniran, Governor of Ekiti state, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Chief Afe Babalola, (SAN).

Others include, former Minister of Information, Prof. Walter Ofonagoro, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Ike Nwachukwu, former media aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe, former leader of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, daughter of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, former Governors of Ogun and Ondo States, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.

The list also include Senator Gbenga Kaka, former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Prof Idowu Sofola, President, Yoruba Council of Elders, Mr Wale Oshun, Orangun of Ila, Oba Wahab Oyedokun, Oba Lekan Balogun, Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Latifu Adebimpe, Ashipa Balogun of Ibadanland, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, retired archbishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi who was represented by Bashorun of Oyo, high Chief Yusuf Ayoola, Mr Babatunde Oduyoye, AD chieftain, Dr Yemi Farunmbi, foremost Yoruba leader, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Chief Adeniyi Akintola(SAN), Gani Adams, Oodua Peoples Congress, Chief Labake Lawal, embattled Iyaloja of Ibadanland, Otunba Adebola Olaife represented Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and many others.

Governor Fayose in his characteristic manner did not mince words as he told the gathering that the architects of Yoruba problems are its leaders telling them point blank that “You, our Yoruba leaders are the problems we have. You see those our forefathers like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Samuel Akintola and others have done their best. It is now left for us if we cannot continue on the good legacy they left behind.

“If a leopard has dogs at its back like soldiers, it will fight and die like dogs. But, if it leads dogs, they would fight together and win. You our elders should fight like leopard. Friendship does not want truth. Where we are now, we, Yorubas, are our own problems. This kind of a meeting that is well attended by kings, reputable leaders of Yoruba. After now, you see one of our leaders on television saying, restructuring is not the way out.

There is no sense in such talks. A good leader should be on the side of the majority of people. Some of those people were not supposed to have come from Yoruba. They are selfish; they only think of themselves.”

Mr. Fani-Kayode, in his own words said, “Today’s fight is a real one. They have turned us into slaves in this country. Let’s stop pretending. We Yoruba are very restrained, civilized, educated, very accommodating and liberal and sometimes, that is used against us. The situation whereby we are second class citizens is unacceptable to me and to majority of Yoruba people.

“We knew what happened to Awolowo, what happened to Abiola and Obasanjo when he was there. They brought Sharia, Boko Haram. It’s time for us to think again. We should do restructuring. If they say they don’t want restructuring, then we call for Oduduwa Republic, end of story.”

Chief Albert Horsfall who represented the South South said: “We of the South South have for several years run the economy of this country; we provided the engine room that runs Nigeria yet we are still expecting to have a privilege to run our own affairs.

“We do not want federation based on unitary system. We are not mad; we are agitating for our rights. Civilization came to this country from the shores of South South. Restructuring must start from the South South. What we understand by restructuring is that you provide your resources and control it.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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