Pa Ayo Adebanjo, recently stepped in as new leader of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere after Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the former leader stepped aside due to old age. He spoke with SEYE OLUMIDE on the dangers ahead, if President Muhammadu Buhari refuses to restructure the country before another general elections hold in 2023.
• If my son is a presidential candidate under this Constitution I’ll oppose him
What are your plans to lead Afenifere?
If it is another organisation, then you can ask such question. In Afenifere, the struggle continues because we are an ideologically based platform. There is nothing I am doing that my predecessors didn’t do. I am acting under the instructions of my predecessor(s). We are using a collegiate system and there is nothing I did that they didn’t approve. I am not doing anything strange; it all goes along with what Afenifere stands for.
There may be development and advancement but it must be in line with the ideology of the organisation.
There is no change of direction. We stand firmly on true federal system of government, good governance, free education, free medical services, integrated development, full employment and others.
What strategies will you deploy to achieve the ideology of Afenifere, for instance, there is a suggestion that you might need to engage the current National Assembly on how to get Nigeria restructured?
We cannot change our strategy until the country is restructured to true federalism; that stand is clear.
And please don’t say some people are saying we must engage or go through the National Assembly to get Nigeria restructured, who are they (lawmakers)? The National Assembly is a product of this fraudulent 1999 Constitution and that’s our own stand. Is the National Assembly not a product of this Constitution? Is that not the Constitution we all are saying is fraudulent? How can a fraudulent product produce a purified product? It is illogical. If they pretend not to understand what restructuring means, then they should take us back to the Independence Constitution. And I always challenge them to tell us if the 1999 Constitution is made by the people? Our case is this, it is not our Constitution, it is a military Constitution imposed on Nigerians.
The National Assembly, as it is currently composed cannot give us restructuring, I have said it openly many times. On the question of restructuring, I have challenged the Spokesman to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina that when Buhari promised restructuring in 2007, Afenifere campaigned for him. When Buhari contested along with Pastor Tunde Bakare, who was his running mate in the 2011 Presidential election, he (Buhari) promised restructuring and to confirm that go and listen to the latest sermon of Pastor Bakare, where he challenged President Buhari openly, saying, ‘I told you before and we had agreed on it before. I told you that restructuring you should do but you didn’t do it.’
Even under this government, to show you how Buhari is taking us for a ride, they promised restructuring and it was on that basis the former governors of Lagos, Ogun and Osun states, Bola Tinubu, Segun Osoba, Bisi Akande and others naively aligned with Buhari in 2015 to form All Progressives Congress (APC). But has the country been restructured? After they won the 2015 election, the ruling party set up the Nasir El-Rufai Committee on restructuring but what has happened thereafter? My conclusion is, Buhari is the only person opposed to a united Nigeria.
Even the northern elements are talking of restructuring. The whole country is now talking about restructuring, except President Buhari.
How would you situate your call for restructuring and the position of some Yoruba in APC that presidency must come to Southwest in 2023?
It is incompatible. Somebody came to my house recently to appeal to me to support Tinubu’s presidential ambition for 2023, but I said that presidency is not on my floor for now. This people can sacrifice anybody to become president of Nigeria. The presidency is not on my plate now and I repeat it, if you make my son a presidential candidate under this Constitution, I will oppose him. Do we have a country? There is no country and when there is no country why are you talking about the presidency? I am anxious that this country will not break up, especially with all the self-determination agitations all over the places. We need to settle down and discuss how to live together and the terms of our unity. It is after then we can elect the person to become president. All the inequalities we are complaining about are because of this fraudulent Constitution.
Do you know that there were more local governments in the South than in the North? Many people are just ignorant of this, even university dons. They don’t understand what federalism means, otherwise these cabals wouldn’t have had the temerity to be using this Constitution to cheat and oppress us. They created more local governments in the north than the south; what was the yardstick? It is arbitrary.
I will show you the fraud. The population and number of Lagos and Kano used to be the same, but by the time the military came they created Jigawa from Kano and created more local governments. Jigawa and Kano now have up to about 77 local governments while Lagos remained 20. They now said we are going to share revenue based on the number of local governments. You see the fraud. In the distribution, the north is now collecting more money from revenue sharing to which it contributes less to the national purse in terms of resources.
It is under this same fraudulent Constitution they…