Lagos lawyer, Mr Femi Falana and the national coordinator of O’odu People’s Congress (OPC), Chief Gani Adams, on Wednesday, in Lagos, held divergent views on the modality to restructure the country.
Both spoke their minds at the 50th remembrance of the first military governor of Western region, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, with a special lecture entitled: “The Future of Nigeria: What Place for the Values of Loyalty and Sacrifice as Demonstrated by the Late Lieutenant Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi.”
Falana, who was represented by Mr Wahab Shittu, while agreeing on the need to restructure Nigeria, said it would be more appropriate for Nigerians to first restructure themselves, their attitudes, value system, among others, before they set out to restructure the country, otherwise restructuring the country would be meaningless.
“We need to first restructure ourselves, restructure our attitudes, our value system before we can achieve total restructuring of the country,” he said, just as he listed core values such as accountability, transparency, sacrifice, display of courage, element of loyalty as displayed by the late Fajuyi as part of what individual Nigerians needed to put the country back on track.
But Chief Adams, who was a member, 2014 National Conference, however, contended that it was the political restructuring of the country that should come first, which would make every other things fall in place.
“In as much as I agree with Mr Femi Falana on the need to restructure the country, it is my strong belief that if we don’t restructure our country politically, there is nothing that can be achieved.
“Restructuring the country politically would correct our attitude, value system and our orientation. Our people believe and always say charity begins at home. I was first born and belonged to Arigidi, my home town before becoming a Yoruba and a Nigerian. If I am not a good Arigidi man, I can’t be a good Yoruba,” he said.
Adams, who also paid glowing tributes to the late Fajuyi, describing him as a hero, further argued that the only way to move the country forward and stop all sorts of agitation by the MASSOB, the Niger-Delta Avengers, was for it to go back to regionalism.
This was just as he recalled the landmark achievements recorded within just six years, without oil, when the country practised regionalism before the military took over the reigns of power in 1966, adding that, “there was need to go back and operate regionalism in the country.”
Speaking further, Falana, in his keynote address, while recalling that the excuse of those who took over from Major General Aguiyi Ironsi was that he (Ironsi) had taken the country to unitary system as against the practice of Federalism, said sadly, what evolved thereafter and now was unitarism, where more powers were at the centre.
The Lagos lawyer, however, noted that with the poor economic situation the country had found itself, the government was being forced to restructure, by implementing parts of the recommendations of the 2014 national confab.
“The Federal Government has been compeled to stop funding of pilgrims to Israel and Mecca, it has embarked on creation of grazing reserves. The fundamental objectives and directive principle of state policy is being implemented in the N500 billion fund,” Falana said.
“With poor funds, the Federal Government is likely to devolve more powers to the state,” he added, noting the building of airports by states and light rail and the fourth Mainland Bridge by Lagos State government, Falana said, were clearly on the exclusive list as clear examples.
Discussants, including Professor Bankole Sodipo, Soji Omole and Chief Ziggy Azike also contributed, paying glowing tributes to the late Fajuyi’s gallantry, selflessness, among others, describing such as highly commendable of a hero.