By Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, has said sincere practice of true federalism in the country will end growing insecurity, ethnic mutual suspicion and economic woes.
In a statement, titled: A Nation on Trial of Survival, the first-class monarch posited that Nigeria was at the precipice, judging by the country’s level of insecurity, political upheavals and economic challenge.
The statement reads: “I believe that at the present stage of our country, the greatest act of patriotism to save the country from imminent collapse is the courage to confess the truth that this is not the best moment for the country, politically, economically and, indeed, security wise.
“The situation, unfortunately, has degenerated to the level of both ethnic and religious suspicion to levels that had been unprecedented in the history of the country. The situation in the country is so fragile that one can hardly see any genuine intention in the security agencies, including the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), without reading bias into it.
“I make bold to say that a return to true federalism today is a necessary national imperative. Hence, I personally see the return to federalism that will devolve power to the states as another word for restructuring, which is gaining currency across the country.
“Going back to the principal history of the country before and after the amalgamation (in 1914), the Alaafin remains a major stakeholder on behalf of the Yoruba nation. Because, as the reigning Alaafin, I cannot fold my arms and see that the beautiful structure called Nigeria collapses.
“Suffice it to recall that the principle of self-determination by the federating units was the pillar on which the country was built, especially at the London pre-constitutional conference in 1959; that was the proposal of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the Action Group (AG), which the Sardauna, Sir Ahmadu Bello, shared with him.
“The principle was that areas like Agriculture, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs should be left to the state to develop their regions.
“It was proceeds from agricultural resources that gave birth to the famous Cocoa House, Liberty Stadium and the First Television Station in Africa, among others. The North later too diverted the groundnut proceeds to build the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Northern Nigeria Television, among others, at that time. In other words, competitive development was the bedrock of self-determination.
“Unfortunately, things have degenerated at the moment to the level of seeing any call for self-determination as an act of felony by some people.
“In fact, what had heightened the call for restructuring, self-determination and true federalism in recent time is the general suspicion of either religious or ethnic in some public appointments.
“In this respect, the call for federal balancing, equity and justice in national appointments, including the security agencies, can never be overemphasized. This is the only thing that can restore our confidence in the country of our political fore-bearers’ dream.”
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