Diversifying into agriculture part of restructuring, Afenifere tells Osinbajo •‘It’s not about sharing more money to states’

Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Monday, said diversifying Nigeria’s economy into agriculture is part of restructuring the country needed to do as canvasssed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, but quickly dismissed other view by Osinbajo, which tried to “reduce the whole issue to taking more money from the Federal Government to the states.”

The group said this on Monday, in its reaction to Professor Osinbajo’s remark that it would not make any difference if states were given half of the resources of the Federal Government and that what Nigeria needed to do was to diversify to agriculture.

“Yes, fiscal federalism is part of the argument, but the issue goes beyond the monthly Federal Allocation Committee.

“The central plank of restructuring is for Nigeria to go back to the true practice of federalism, wherein mineral resources that abound in all states would be freed from the exclusive list, so that states would move into prosperity and not be reporting at Professor Osinbajo’s office for bailout from a centre that only corners what belongs to the states,” Afenifere said.

The group further added that : “They would also have enough to contribute to sustain the occupiers of Abuja and the functions that are allowed to them.”

Afenifere, in a statement made available to the Nigerian Tribune, in Lagos, by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin, said while it understood that the professor might “have come under pressure to lend his voice to the upholders of the status that has brought Nigeria to this sorry pass,” admonished him to be sure footed on the subject before he spoke next time.

Speaking further, Afenifere lamented that the country was reeling under crime today as the single police being maintained with the taxpayers’ money had proved incapable of dealing with the situation, pointing out that Police Commissioners now lamented at the scenes of crime these days, as they were part of passers-by terrified by the horror of crime.

“It is clear we need multi-level policing to combat crime and have effective policing.

“From the federal down to states and local governments today, we are bogged down with overbloated bureaucracies that consume as much as 90 per cent of available resources and with little or nothing left for development.

“We must address how long we want to travel with this culture of waste and to see if we cannot develop better governance with a manageable architecture.

“The question of diversification is a point that advocates of restructuring have canvassed, as it makes no sense for a country as vast in resources like Nigeria to depend on a mono-product economy. It is part of restructuring we are talking about.

“The restructuring package has a whole wide range of issues that have to do with justice administration, electoral system and its cost implications, conflicts arising from clash of cultures and how to deal with them to ensure peaceful co-existence,” the group said.

Afenifere,  while noting that Nigeria was fast falling apart, also observed that all genuine patriots had come to a consensus that there was strong need to restructure the country to arrest the drift.

“Yes, there is a minority that is insisting that we must continue the way we are, the way the minders of some empires that have disappeared from the wired map did. The vice-president is free to cast his lot with this group even when silence could have been golden, but he should at least try to acquaint himself with the issues so people are not wondering what are we talking and what is he saying.

“We use this development to advise all those who seek high offices to ensure they are not far from issues that shape their political environment and pay due attention to civic education,” Afenifere said.