Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, his counterparts, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) and the Alaafin of Oyo Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III on Monday insisted that the present composition of government must be restructured.
They spoke in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital during the All Progressives Congress (APC) South West Zonal public meeting on true federalism.
The meeting had in attendance party members, traditional rulers and civil society groups from Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states.
Ajimobi who spoke through his Deputy, Chief Moses Alake said that the call for restructuring was an indication that something urgently must be done to address the popular agitation.
He said, “It should, however be stated that the fact that the call for restructuring under whatever name organize, be it true federalism, devolution of powers, regionalism, resource control or whatever, has again resurfaced in nigeria, it is an indication that something needs to be addressed on the current structure of arrangement”.
Ajimobi said he was oppose to the issue of regionalism but believed that except there are legal caveats, regions may be too powerful and that may further heighten the possibility of secession by certain region that are tired of continuing with a united Nigeria.
Ajimobi noted that the local government should be totally subjected to the state irrespective of the region.
“Under this arrangement, local government will be operating completely under the states while revenue allocation formula should be reviewed upward in favour of states to about 35 percent.”
Amosun said that the people of his state have also lend their voices to the issue of restructuring.
Represented by his chief of staff, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, Amosun noted that it was important that people should decide how they want to be governed since government is all about the people.
He said, “On this note, permit me to say our state (Ogun) is very much with our other sister states in the Southwestern Nigeria as per our aspiration and yearning.
“We (in Ogun state) strongly believe in fiscal federalism, we believe that each state should have control of its resources, we beleieve in state police, and basically all the issues we are here to discuss.”
Representative of governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye said the state was in support of restructuring, adding that the position of the recent Yoruba summit in Ibadan remains the position of Lagos state government.
In his own contributions, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamide Adeyemi III said it is sacrosanct to restructure the country as soon as possible to avoid what happened in Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) and other countries such as Romania.
Alaafin said the present structure where state with the highest population (Lagos) with over 20 million people is having only 20 local government while Kano with 6 million population is having 44 local government areas is unjust and unfair.
He noted that those in power should heed the calls from various quarters to restructure the country, warning that countries such as USSR and Romania were once in this kind of situation but the leaders turned deaf ears to the call which led to forcefu break-up.
Oba Adeyemi said, “What I am saying is that, if we did not restructure Nigeria what happened in USSR may happen, USSR was break with force. Romania also was divided through force. That is the way their leaders were doing.
“36 states workers are not being paid, the governors cannot pay them. What cause these was the killing of political leaders in the first republic which was sectional and unjust.
“Ironsi scrap the Federal structure and replaced it with unitary, since then we have not come back to true federalism. Until we go back to the glorious days of marketing board, there is no need for Federal Ministry of Culture, Federal Government has no culture.
“Lagos has 20 local government areas with 20 million people, Kano has 44 local government with 6 million people, where do they do that throughout the world. Just like Kano, Jigawa state has more local government than Lagos state”.
Other groups that supported restructuring at the event included; NURTW, TUC, NLC, Afenifere, Atayese, Yoruba sumit group and others.
Present at the meeting were Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State who is the Chairman for the Oyo, Ogun and Lagos meeting, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Micheal Adeyemo and the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji.