A leader of the socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo has said that the future of the country could not be guaranteed unless it is restructured.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, he said: “I don’t mince words by saying that without restructuring, there will be no Nigeria.”
The Afenifere chieftain said the success recorded by the country in the past was a consequence of the structure it had at independence.
His words, “The condition which the founding fathers of the country, Sardauna of Sokoto, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, gave us at independence is not what we are using now. When we are canvassing for true restructuring, we are only asking for a return to what the founding fathers gave us. Why should there be a quarrel over that? Even those who are followers of Sardauna are now saying no restructuring and they occupied positions under that system.
“It should be clear to Nigerians that any Northerner that is opposed to restructuring will confirm our position that they want to dominate. They want unity on their own terms, not on an agreed term of the component people. As I often say, they want the unity of the horse and the rider; where they will be the rider and we the horse. It will not happen. If they insist on that, they should be sure that it will be the end of Nigeria.”
He added, “if the Northerners want the Sharia legal system, they can have it in their area because it is their wish. But it is wrong of them to attempt to force their culture on the rest of the country. It is for this that we need to restructure the country so that every region can develop at its own pace.”
Shedding light on how restructuring the country could be achieved, Adebanjo said the adoption and implementation of the report of the 2014 national conference of 2014 would facilitate that.
According to him, “If President Buhari is serious about Nigeria’s unity, he should implement the 2014 constitutional conference.”
He explained that the conference report addressed all the issues plaguing the country, adding that it was in the best interest of the country for the current government to implement the report.
He said, “The conference had an assemblage of some of the finest people in the country. Every ethnic nationality was represented. We had traditional rulers, lawyers and top professionals. Every shade of opinion was represented at the conference. So, if the President is as concerned about the development of the country as he makes us understand, he should implement the report.”
The Afenifere leader said he and those pushing for the restructuring of the country were not against the unity of the country.
He said, “We are not opposed to unity at all. As I often say, we are the champions of unity. Anybody opposed to restructuring the country that will make us return to a truly federal constitution, is an enemy of Nigerian unity because we can’t have unity under this constitution. If anybody is realistic, if any Northerner or anybody from any part of the country believes that they want a united Nigeria, then we should come together under agreed terms.
Chief Adebanjo, speaking on efforts to unite the Yoruba race, said it was an idea that Afenifere leaders were committed to.
He said, “That is what led us to (Senator Bola) Tinubu. With all the misgivings and all that he did, many people were wondering why we went to him. But we know that those who are using him, those he joined against our wish don’t like him but they want to dominate Yorubaland. And the moment they finish him, and send him to the ground, they will just be kicking those of us in Yorubaland. That is why we went to Tinubu. We are working hard for Yoruba unity. That is the only thing that can save us from Fulani domination. No matter the pretence of the Fulani, their agenda is to dominate Yorubaland. And I challenge them, if they are not pretending, let them restructure the country.”