Elder statesman and chieftain of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has stated that Nigerian may cease to exist after 2019.
According to him, Nigeria may fail to exist if its leaders fail to embrace the call for restructuring.
He told Punch that it is obvious that the word ‘restructuring’ irritates northern elites except for few of them like Atiku Abubakar, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.), Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), Col. Umar, etc who have been clamouring for it.
“Of course, without restructuring, there might be no Nigeria. It’s as clear as that. I often say that the word restructuring came into our political lexicon after the military coup. Why? When the military came, they suspended the constitution and then created one-line government.
“When they wanted us to return to civilian regime, they didn’t want us to have it under that constitution. In 1993, Abacha made that fraudulent document (constitution), he died and Abdulsalami Abubakar sustained it which was handed over to Obasanjo in 1999. Yet, they are saying we have to live together on the constitution made by the North.
Asked what does Nigerians stands if the country is restructured, he said, “I emphasise arbitrarily. I give you an example. Lagos and Kano had identical population. The military created Jigawa from Kano and then created local governments so much so that from the two states you have over 70 local governments. Lagos still has 20 LGAs. This is one of the inequities in this constitution that the opposition to restructuring wants us to retain.
“There are a lot of bad things in this constitution. We don’t want violence, so let’s sit down together and talk. The military men changed our structure and laid down strange conditions for distributing our revenue, like using land mass, whether productive or not.
“With what is in this constitution now, the North is contributing £1 and they are collecting £1,000. That would be the sum total of the situation. They contribute N1 but they are taking N20,000. They used all the conditions that favour them as the basis for distributing the allocation they don’t contribute to. These are the injustices. You see why the South opposing this constitution. And they are doing that because of the crude oil. Let them refute it.
“They can’t counter it other than to be politically correct because their leader doesn’t want it. And I accuse Buhari that it is because his people are the beneficiaries, that is why he is defending it. They want it to continue, but it won’t continue. And we are in this position again today because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu led the Yoruba into an alliance with APC. At 89, what else am I looking for? I’m only sorry for your generation. When people should do something positive, they are playing with words because they want to cheat you.
“I want you to emphasise that the reluctance is because they want the country to separate or they want to impose unity on us, which I call the unity of the horse and the rider. The North would be the rider and the South the horse. We say no, it will not happen. For a democracy that would work, we need to go back to the constitution we had at independence, which our founding fathers gave us. How can you be cheating me and you want me to keep quiet?”