Chief Ayo Opadokun, a former Secretary of the National Democratic Coalition, has advocated for regions to be the component units of the Nigerian federation, claiming that the country must return to true federalism in order to develop.
He stated this in a lecture delivered at the Coalition of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups’ forum in Ibadan. On Sunday, a copy of the lecture was made available to our correspondent.
Opadokun also stated that Nigeria should reverse the Independence/Federal Constitution that it used to become the Giant of Africa after independence.
He stated that each region must decide how many states it will have, and each state must decide how many councils it will have.
“Nigeria, like Germany, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Iraq, India, Malaysia, Russia, Pakistan, and the United States, must now be a federation of regions,” he says.
“The Independence Constitution, on which Nigeria secured her Independence, allocated spheres of influence to the regional and central governments, making the component units independent and equal, while they coordinated at the center on an equal basis,” he said.
“The Central Government did not have authority over the component units.” In practice, the Federal Constitution enabled all governments to compete healthily as they provided services to citizens, utilizing natural and human resources in their regions to raise their people’s standard of living.
“It is undeniable that the spectacular achievements recorded under Federal Constitutional Governance remain unrivaled and unsurpassed milestones of Nigeria’s identity to this day.” For example, the Western Region under Chief Obafemi Awolowo achieved spectacular feats, which he summarized in his valedictory address in 1959.
“The Independence/Federal Constitution, under which Nigeria prospered and was regarded as Africa’s Giant, is the antidote to our stunted growth and political insecurity.” We must return to that Declaration of Independence/Federal Constitution for a reversal of our misfortune.”
He stated that Nigerians must choose between continuing with the unitary system and returning to true federalism before the 2023 elections if the government is acting in the name of federalism.
He also referred to the Federal Government’s refusal to grant Amotekun permission to carry sophisticated weapons in order to protect the Yoruba people as absurd.
Speaking about the country’s insecurity, Opadokun said the Nigerian government had failed miserably in its responsibility to protect the people.
“While the Yoruba people urged their governors to establish a state outfit to provide them with security, the Central Government has refused to grant the states permission to purchase ammunition that will enable the Amotekun outfit to protect citizens.” In contrast, the Nigerian government is prepared to deploy Nigeria Police officers or civilian outfits (such as Tompolo) armed with firearms and ammunition to protect inanimate objects,” he added.
Steve Abioye, Secretary-General of the Coalition of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, also described the refusal to grant Amotekun permission to carry sophisticated weapons as unacceptable.