Governor Olusegun Mimiko has flayed the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari over the poor conduct of elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States, and called for the immediate implementation of 2014 National Confab Report.
Mimiko was addressing the gathering the gathering of Yoruba leaders at the 2nd All Yoruba Summit which held at the International Cultural Centre Dome in Akure, Ondo State.
It is my honour to welcome the distinguished leaders and elder statesmen of Yorubaland to the 2nd edition of the Yoruba summit.
I also want to thank Dr. Yemi Farounbi, our guest speaker for a wonderful speech. It is a thing of joy for us that you have found our state worthy to hold this all-important Summit.
On behalf of the good people of Ondo State, I most humbly welcome you all.
It is heart-warming that after a very long period of time, our revered organizations, the Afenifere, the Yoruba Council of Elders, Yoruba Unity Forum, the Agbekoya, the OPC, the Oodua Foundation, are now all operating on the same page to discuss issues.
This initiative is significant because the Yorubas have finally put a lie to the insinuation that it was incapable of unity.
The Summit is a veritable platform to engage with other ethnic nations in the country, a basis to jointly express our concerns to the rest of the world at this crucial moment of our national life.
The 1st edition of this Summit, held in Ibadan, focused on National Insecurity and the Menace of Herdsmen in Yorubaland. It spoke the mind of our people that those who want to engage in cattle business in Yorubaland should establish ranches.
The unfortunate abduction of one of our revered leaders, Chief Olu Falae put in bolder relief the need for something to be done.
I am highly impressed that the Ibadan edition of Summit did not close without a reminder to the Yoruba people to come together and be our brother’s keeper.
A meeting such as this remains fundamental to the constant examination and re-examination of the Yoruba nation in Nigeria. This gathering is indeed essential for us as a people to think so many things considering the present state of the politics, economy and security of Nigeria.
The security challenges confronting Nigeria are daunting. The Boko Haram insurgency tops the scary security situation of our country.
The scourge has pitted neighbor against neighbor, displaced close to half a million people. The scourge has destroyed hundreds of schools and government buildings and devastated the economy.
According to Netsanet Belay, @amnesty international’s Africa Director for research and Advocacy, “Attacks have claimed the lives of at least 1,600 people since the start of June 2015.
Without a doubt, terrorism has become a major global concern. Day by day, the world is becoming troubled and vulnerable.
Indeed, the world is in a state of severe bleeding. The truth is that terrorism cannot be justified under any guise or colouration.
The theme of today’s Summit is “Economic Downturn and Unemployment in Yorubaland”
At the moment, the country is suffering the adverse effect of the dwindling revenue from the Oil and Gas Sector which overtime has accounted for about 95% of its income.
The economic situation is biting so hard in several States. Allocation from the Federation Account has sharply declined, thereby incapacitating the payment of worker’s salaries not to talk of the provision of infrastructures and delivery of social services across the nation.
If Ondo State was an independent state, by now our deep sea port would be functional and the exploration of bitumen would be on going, all this would create massive employment in the state.
But we face the road block of the Federal Government. Restructuring of Nigeria would solve a chunk of problems we face in Nigeria today.
I don’t have any doubt in the president’s passion for the development of this country, I just don’t agree with his style. That the precarious situation is not about ending was signposted by the adoption, just a couple of days ago, $38 as the benchmark price per barrel of crude oil as a basis for packaging the 2016 Budget.
As things stand, the president is yet to reveal the scope of his economic policy.
- Critical issues of where we are vis a vis the national economy, where we want to be and how to get there…
- Remain conjectural issues as the Federal Government continues in its deafening silence on this supremely critical issue of governance.
Recent events in Nigeria have shown that those centrifugal forces that continually threatened our national unity and cohesion are not fatigued.
Multiculturalism, which the rest of the world has turned to strength, remains a major challenge to Nigeria.
Today, almost everything keeps separating us. Language has divided us, religion has torn us apart and culture has alienated us. Yet, these could be sources of strength and cohesion:
- As long as we deny the need for us to redesign the federation
- Such that we would be able to create multiple centres of development in the true spirit of competitive federalism.
A great piece of documentation remains on the table if the present Federal Government will find the courage to implement it.
This document is the report of the 2014 National Conference.
The Report touches most, if not all, the critical issues that had served as impediments to Nigeria’s rapid development.
The over aching recommendation was the need for Political Restructuring. This is to retain a Federal system of government with States as the federating units, with all the powers and resources thereto. The restructuring would also accommodate the establishment of State Police to enhance national security.
- In the economic domain, exploitation of solid minerals would be taken from the Exclusive Legislative List…
- …such that states would be able to harness the solid minerals in their jurisdictions, thus creating employment…
- …generating more revenue and developing at their own.
It’s evident that implementation of the 2014 Confab Report has the potentials to liberate Nigeria and ultimately, open up the political space. It is only such a courageous move that would extirpate centrifugal forces burgeoning and threatening to tear Africa’s largest nation apart.
The latest is the resurgence of the demand for an independent Biafra. I use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to exercise utmost restraint in managing this renewed agitation which the implementation of the Confab Report would have made otiose.
The 2014 National Conference Report must, therefore, not be allowed to be confined to the dustbin of history as it possesses inherent capacities to replace the centrifugal forces threatening the existence of Nigeria, with centripetal forces that could build a nation.
On the emergent distortion of the electoral process, I have to mention my growing concern across the land on the shenanigans going on in the electoral process under the present Federal Government.
The crisis attending the two gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States say it all. Permit me to say, distinguished leaders of our people, that a representative democracy is as good as its electoral process.
The need to sustain the legacy of free, fair and transparent elections that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan bequeathed to this nation cannot be over-emphasized.
That a President would preside over the type of obvious constitutional abracadabra that Kogi has become is indeed worrisome. Reports of attempts to deny the people of Bayelsa the choice of who to govern them, demonstrated in the results so far released is troubling.
This Summit would therefore do well to call the attention of Mr. President under whose watch all of these fatal threats to our democracy are happening. A stitch in time, they say saves nine.
Let me thank all Nigerians for the honor done to the Awolowo dynasty during the highly successful farewell rites to our great Matriarch, Mama Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo. Mama was indeed a great woman. She was a queen and was buried as such. Now that the “Jewel of inestimable value” has gone to rest, all of us, leaders of the people have a responsibility to keep the flag flying, to keep alive the democratic and development-oriented legacies and ideals of Mama exemplified in our late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
I thank everyone here for your commitment to getting the Yoruba nation to speak with one voice.