The federal government was yesterday urged to adopt true federalism in a bid to establish regional autonomy that would enable federating units to cater for themselves.
Yoruba leaders gave this advice yesterday in Lagos at the 2023 Goke Omisore Annual Lecture (GOAL) with the theme, “Southwest Regional Integration: The DAWN Commission Approach” organised by The Voice of Reason (VOR
Leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, recalled the contribution of the late Obafemi Awolowo to develop the Western region, saying that the late sage fought against the colonial unitary constitution.
“Awolowo told the colonial masters that they cannot rule Nigeria with the unitary system of government,” he said.
The Afenifere leader opined that the lack of the adoption of true federalism would deter the growth of the country, calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to adopt a constitution that would embrace federalism.
“All the theories Awolowo propounded are still practicable today. Let’s forget self-aggrandisement. Let the new president change this constitution to the federal system where each region would develop at its own pace,” he said.
While delivering his speech as the guest speaker for the lecture, the Director-General of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), Mr Seye Oyeleye, lamented the lack of unity of the Yoruba.
“We see ourselves as people from different states rather than as Yoruba. It is becoming a taboo to appoint someone who is not indigenous to a state into a political position, no matter how deserving the person is.
“The shocking part is that even within some states in the South West region, we now discriminate between the ‘home based’ and the ‘Lagos based’. The ‘home-based’ team believe they are more deserving of political appointments than their kinsmen who are ‘Lagos-based’.
“We are all witnesses to these anomalies among us and they reinforce what I said earlier that we cannot rely solely on our common language, history and geographical location as the binding force of Yoruba nationalism,” he said.
He called for unity among Yoruba leaders to pursue the goal of advocating for federalism
The panelists: Mr Tope Fasua, Dr Segun Aina and Mr Olusoji Awogbade all called for the development of the western region during the panel discussion.