By Ismaila Akanji, Ibadan
A former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd) has called for a comprehensive restructuring of the nation to ensure the progress of the country.
Akinrinade spoke while delivering a lecture entitled” Which Way Nigeria” at the installation of Chief Afolabi Odelana as the 6th Chairman of The Challenge Club of Ibadan.
He called on the practice of true federalism in Nigeria as a means to prosperity for both the country and her citizens.
“Rather than working on the next mega party or rearranging the sitting and feeding order in a sinking Nigeria-Titanic, what is now imperative is for the Nigerian nation to sit together in order to chart a new course for the Nigerian people and nation.
“With economic sabotage bringing the country to its knees [with pipeline vandalism in the South South costing Nigeria approximately over N100b to date in the last 24 months] and with centrifugal forces seizing hold of the nation’s security from all directions [with Fulani herdsmen menace alongside infiltrated foreigners], the omens are very dire indeed.
“We the Yoruba People are rightly concerned about our nation within a Nigerian construct. We are concerned that power in Nigeria is too concentrated at the centre. We have a Federal Government that is too powerful, overbearing and with vast resources at its disposal than it has the capacity to manage. All the powers and authorities at the centre are now being used to hold the rest of Nigerians as slaves in our own country. This makes devolution of power a very important national issue and this is central to what we Yoruba people demand.” He said
Akinrinade said nations do not just happen by historical accident. Rather men and women of vision and resolve build them, adding that Nation building is the the product of conscious state craft,not happenstance.
He said the impact of poor governance architecture on our polity has been unmistakable in the increasing erosion of elements of federalism in Nigeria since 1966.
“While a proper political structure does not automatically amount to good leadership, it is clear that appropriate structure can facilitate the job of an average leader who believes in the rule of law” he said.