Yoruba nation holds summit, demands restructuring by Muyiwa Adeyemi

Yoruba leaders, traditional rulers and various interest groups yesterday demanded for an immediate restructuring of Nigeria towards regionalism as contained in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions.

They also rejected the 1999 Constitution tagged, “unitary” and blamed it for the socio-economic and political crises bedeviling the country.

However, they demanded for a true federal constitution that will represent the feelings and demands of various ethnic groups that made up the country.

The summit, held in Ibadan, also had in attendance delegations from Ohaneze Ndigbo and South South leaders that supported restructuring.

Part of the decisions reached at the summit tagged Ibadan declaration included: “That the states shall be entitled to manage all resources within their boundaries and the revenue accruing therefrom.

‘’The issue of the entitlement of littoral states to offshore resources and the extension of such rights from the continental shelf and rights accruing to the Federal Government shall be determined by the National Assembly.

“The sharing ration of all revenues raised by means of taxation shall be 50 per cent to the states, 35 per cent to the regional government and 15 per cent to the government of the federation.”

Besides, under the proposed constitution, the summit also agreed that the power to create states shall be within the exclusive powers of the region and the power to create local councils and assign functions to them shall be vested on the states.

It also agreed that Nigeria should be a federation comprising six regions and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

The summit also proposed that each region should have its constitution and all regions and states must generate their own written constitution “to curb impunity at all levels.”

Setting the tone for the summit, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), who chaired the event, said, “The truth is that today there is a strong wind of restructuring blowing over the country. It is not just string a wind, it is a hurricane restructure. The loud voice of those who desire a united and strong country which would metamorphose into a nation is that the country should be restructured.”

Leading over 30 traditional rulers to the summit, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye urged Yoruba to embrace peaceful dialogue in achieving their desire in the federation. He said, Yoruba are not known for violence and urged the leaders to be truthful and not use the agitation for restructuring for selfish and personal agenda.

The National President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo who was accompanied by Chief Walter Onafogoro, Chief Ndubisi Kanu and General Ike Nwachukwu said the leadership of South East came in large number to support the summit, because since 1963, Nigerians have not had opportunity to produce their own constitution.

Chief Albert Horsefall, who represented the South South leaders said the region was in support of the motion to restructure Nigeria because that had been the position of that region since their clamour for resource control started.

He said that the South South is tired of producing the wealth for the nation without having any commensurate development to show for it.

Other speakers at the summit included: Governor Ayo Fayose, Chief Femi, Fani-Kayode, Prof. Remi Solaya, representatives of governors from Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo states among others.

Originally published in The Guardian on September 8 2017. https://guardian.ng/politics/yoruba-nation-holds-summit-demands-restructuring/

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