By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
As the race to the May 29, 2023 handing over date is fast approaching, President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to pass on to the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu the documents produced by the National Conference convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan on the need to restructure Nigeria.
This was the contention of the President of the Oodua Progressives’ Care Initiative, OPCI, Chief Maruf Olanrewaju, while speaking at an interactive session in Ilorin the Kwara State capital.
Olanrewaju said that this becomes necessary because as valuable as the document is to a cohesive Nigeria, President Jonathan could not go ahead to implement the recommendations asking for restructuring of the country contained in the document, because it was too close to the 2015 general elections.
Worse still, he said, the former President, who was seeking a re-election lost out in the exercise, but passed the document containing the recommendations to President Buhari, expectedly, to put in place machinery to implement the restructuring.
Olanrewaji said that there would be no end to agitations along ethnic and tribal lines until Nigeria is restructured, insisting that the time is now.
He averred that tagging people terrorists for agitating for the provision of the needs in their respective zones might not be totally apt, adding, “When a system denies a people their rights for too long, they might resort to agitations.”
Talking about OPCI, Chief Olanrewaju said, “Ours is about Yoruba agitation. That is why we called it ‘Oodua’. Fighting for the rights of Yoruba on one hand and Nigeria in general.
“Agitations by ethnic groups are occassioned by the demands for their rights. If that person that is crying foul is not listened to, he can resort to any means to press his demands. We have cried enough, we spoken enough and one thing we are saying is; restructure Nigeria.
“Now it is late for President Buhari to do the restructuring, but let him give the restructuring document prepared by President Jonathan’s National Conference to Tinubu as part of his (Buhari’s) uncompleted projects. We wil therefore wait to see whether President Tinubu will do it or not.”
Olanrewaju was of the view that the advent of modern governance has denied the Yoruba nation its uncommon style of administratiom now known as government.
He enthused, “Governance in Yoruba is ‘ijoba’ meaning; ‘ijo awon oba’ (gathering of the kings), but it is a different story.
“Today, there’s no clear-cut roles spelt out for our monarchs in governance. No matter the status of a king in Nigeria today, he is under a local government chairman, which is totally alien to the Yoruba culture and tradition. Yoruba is rich, even in the areas of modern civilisation.
“The first economy in Nigeria is Yoruba, the first lawyer, engineer, the first modern road system, electricity, pipeborn water and public buildings first started in Yoruba land. Even governance began in Yoruba land and the early agricultural development to power governance and good economy began in Yorubaland.
“We had Cocoa House, housing estates, industrial estates, early factories, hospitalities and modern recreations began in Yorubaland. We were number one in all.”
The OPCI chief added that but for the Western type of governance, Yoruba traditional administration had its security style which surpasses the modern one, because of its intelligence gathering method and regular consultations with oracles on all matters.
“Even today, oracles are no longer consulted before kings are chosen and crowned. Some today Obas in Yorubaland dont know how to consult oracles to solve traditional issues. Sone call themseves emirs, some wear turbans instead of crown. This is the damage modern civilisation has brought to us, but we will struggle to revive it someday.”