Some concerned renowned socio-cultural leaders and elder statesmen on Saturday said Nigeria is bleeding from bad leadership and poor policies.
According to The Punch, they also said, Nigeria was long overdue for restructuring while warning the Federal Government.
The issue of insecurity and socioeconomic situations of the country which they tagged deteriorating were also mentione by the statesmen as they stressed that the government must not take Nigerians for granted.
Present at the virtual programme which had the theme, ‘#EndSARS consolidation of handshake across the Niger: An interactive session with Iba Gani Adams and Igbo/Yoruba champions’ were:
Leader of the Afenifere socio-cultural group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; a former vice-presidential candidate and Serving Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church (formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly), Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare; a former presidential candidate and political economist, Prof Pat Utomi; and the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland land, Gani Adams.
Others were political scientist, Mr Akin Osuntokun; and singers, Onyeka Onwenu and Eedris Abdulkareem.
Chief Dele Momodu, Publisher of Ovation Media Group, and Maazi Ezeoke moderated the session.
In reaction to the development, Afenifere chieftain, Adebanjo, said the President, Major General Muhammdu Buhari (retd), had chosen to “remain stubborn despite calls by several elder statesmen and sections of the country” that Nigeria was due for restructuring.
An autonomous region was the concern he raised, while stressing that the country must return to the 1960 Independence Constitution.
In his words, “My view is that we don’t look into the past. The way forward is for us to join hands together for the unity of this country. It is not the question of self-determination that we are after. Anybody opposing restructuring is an enemy of a united Nigeria.
“Buhari is an enemy of the country by not restructuring. If we don’t restructure, this country cannot stay. I am not opposed to self-determination but self-determination is the last resort. We are not going to beg to be a part of Nigeria.
“The government of the day should be reasonable enough to restructure this country on the basis of true federalism. From the outset, we have insisted that we cannot keep this country together in a unitary system of government.
“A lot of problems we are having now are self-inflicted by the northern hegemony. Is Buhari more Fulani than the Sardauna of Sokoto? If we don’t understand what restructuring is, let us go back to the Independence constitution.
“The problem we have now was brought by the military – the military gave us this constitution and imposed state and local governments arbitrarily. Hence, people are cheated. The present system we are using was created by the military. All the leaders of this country have been telling Buhari, restructure this country. He remained stubborn and what we have are killings.
“I won’t live in this country under this constitution. I like to warn the Igbo that they are deceiving them that they will give them (Igbo) presidency. They are also deceiving (Asiwaju Bola) Tinubu. I want to make it clear again that if you make my son the president under this constitution, I will oppose him. I am an embittered Nigerian because of what Buhari is doing to us. If we agree to an equitable deal, there will be no problem. Give us regional autonomy.”
A strong case for restructuring was also made by the Aare Ona Kakanfo, Adams, in his remarks, adding that any region was free to call for a breakup if restructuring was not heeded to.
While speaking further, he said, “When we talk about restructuring without a strategy, it will be very difficult. We will continue crying for restructuring for another 100 years and our institutions will be destroyed. The generation coming behind us may not have the kind of patience that we have. Look at the recent protests they organised.
“They have a seven-point demand – education, health and others. When we say we don’t want this country to break, we don’t want to go our separate ways, the only thing that can grip the North and spike their hearts is to say if we don’t restructure, we will break up.”