I make bold to say that many of the planks on which the Afenifere concept of restructuring rests are now totally outdated. A good example is return to regionalism.
For instance, ask 100 Ekitis today if they would like to head back to Ibadan as their regional headquarters and you are lucky if 25 say yes.
Let us further situate this thesis with quotes from Segun Ayobolu’s article on the back page of the Nation of 2 November, 2018 captioned: Oyebode, Basorun and restructuring.
“Chief Basorun’s brutal frankness on the issue of going back to regionalism illustrates the formidable political and emotional obstacles to attaining that objective. Femi Orebe summarizes his views thus: “For instance, he asks: in the Northwest, will the man from Sokoto or Kebbi, or the one from Zamfara want to come and report in Kaduna, his new regional hub? We, in Lagos, he says emphatically, will never like to go to Ibadan nor would people in Ogun, Ekiti or Ondo. When you go to the East, he continues, are you saying those in Abakaliki will now go to Enugu, or Benin to go and report at Port Harcourt; states in the North East to all head to Maiduguri and those in North-central to go and report in Jos? Regionalism, he concluded, will just not work. Rather, the six geopolitical zones should be included in the constitution to serve as units of sharing preferment”.
Again, Orebe captures the sheer originality and audacity of Chief Basorun’s thinking specifically here on enhancing the financial viability of states and local governments: “It is his considered view that with the huge amounts daily going to owners of oil blocks in the country, and with every oil block making a minimum of N4 billion daily according to a former senator of the Federal Republic, government should embark upon a complete redistribution of oil blocks such that one each goes to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. Specific functions, he suggested, must be set for the revenue accruing from these, just as there should be an agency, domiciled in the office of the Vice President, to monitor and oversee compliance. Also, 10 per cent of the funds must go to the local governments to energize them and rapidly increase economic activities at the local government level”.
Incidentally, radical human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has also consistently advocated the allocation of oil blocks to the states rather than individuals in the interest of justice and equity as well as to enhance fiscal capacity at the levels of governance closest to the people. With creative thinking and the requisite political will, remarkable progress can be achieved under the present constitution without incinerating the valuable experiences – good and bad- of the last nearly two decades of slowly but steadily deepening practice of democracy and federalism in Nigeria”.
THAT AFENIFERE, FOR SELFISH REASONS, MAY NOT LEAD YORUBA INTO INTERNAL SLAVERY.
I shall soon be writing fully on Afenifere and the very distinct possibility of it leading Yoruba into internal slavery, turning Yorubas into nothing more than an outsider in political reckoning in the country , all for the selfish interest of its members.
Today Yorubas are in charge of some key ministries and agencies of government but since the holders of these key appointments are not the sons and daughters of these our past political heavy weights, Afenifere sees them as less than Yoruba, and are, therefore, dispensable even where one is the husband of Awo’s grand daughter. It will matter nothing to them if Osinbajo is supplanted by an Igbo as long as their ego is massaged. This is how far contemporary Afenifere would go in ditching Yoruba just so they can, in their twilight years, exit the political Siberia they now populate in a region where we used to swear by their names. It is, to them, of no consequence, if the Yoruba nation , once again, becomes of little or no political relevance in the country. For this and other reasons best known to them, they are prepared to work their hearts out for Atiku’s victory even if it would mean returning Yorubas to the unenviable status we had during the inglorious years of both the National Party of Nigeria
and the PDP. No Yoruba would easily forget that these elders had to go on begging pilgrimages to the Villa for any Yoruba to be appointed into any non constitutionaly prescribed post, a good example being the appointment of Chief Seinde Arogbofa’s brother as a tokenist Chief of staff by President Jonathan. This will be the result of their eagerness about restructuring to prove, I think, that they are more Nigerian than Igbos who are rallying around Obi, Atiku’s Vice Presidential candidate whilst they, in turn, are fighting Osinbajo to the death. But to be acceptable to their new suitors, it is not even enough to canvass restructuring everywhere you find them; they must also expel any of their members who did anything to make the suitors doubt their fidelity to PDP since Atiku must have insisted on nothing but complete loyalty. That is the fate that recently befell Omisore who, together with a few other Yoruba PDP members they had to , willy nilly, romance for their promiscuous relationship with PDP to materialise in 2014.
Omisore , just like Awo would have done , had disdained a situation where an F9 hugging, dancing dude, currently in court on charges of impersonation at a public examination, could have – mother of all abomination – emerged the governor of a state in Yoruba land. That was too much for Afenifere which, on no occasion has considered it worth their while to ever consult on any issue, whatever, with the generality of the Yorubas they claim to represent. I cannot fathom what they will tell Awo. Nor have I come across any document, whatever, confering Yoruba mandate to commit them on any matter on Afenifere. I cannot, for the life of me, see how their manner of operating can be described as democratic. The good thing , however, is that we saw Afenifere do all these things in 2015 and Nigerians know, only too well, how they successfully made President Jonathan’s re-election a roaring success.
All I will be doing in this piece is publish some comments – I call them appetizers – on Afenifere’s current political relevance, or otherwise, to indicate how far Atiku should reasonably depend on them in his life time ambition to be President of Nigeria.
But first, a picture perfect panergyric to how exactly the PDP sees Yorubas, as ably crafted by the indomitable Chief Bode George, the party’s one time poster boy in Yoruba land, until the bubble burst.
Wrote George when he was overlooked for the party’s chairmanship, originally zoned to the Southwest until Governor Wike, then PDP’s undisputed owner, moved, inflicting Secondus: “The Yoruba people have been openly maligned. They have been savaged, tormented, treated with contempt, scurried, scoffed at, humiliated and denigrated by little men whose sun will soon set”.
That is the party our eminent Afenifere elders are happily tying their apron strings to ; but truth be told, Yorubas have not seen anything yet. They should wait till a Yoruba-loathing Obi, as Vice President, takes over responsibility for the Nigerian economy in an Atiku administration, which God forbid.
A WhatsApp chat by Ayekooto Akindele (rendered mutatis mutandis)
Buhari gave South West VP, Afenifere said it is Greek Gift.
He honored MKO Abiola with GCFR and declared June 12 Democracy Day, Afenifere said it is Greek Gift.
He gave GANI GCON, they called it Greek Gift.
He transferred FG Assets in Lagos to Lagos State, it is Greek Gift.
Unlike when Yorubas were at the periphery of political relevance, Buhari appointed from amongst them, ministers of Finance, Works, Housing and Power, Health, Communications, Information, Solid Minerals, FIRS CEO, Chief of Defence Staff etc. To Afenifere these are all nothing.
Buhari approved $1.4b for the construction of Lagos-Ibadan railway. As you read this, work is on going on the following roads which not even Obasanjo did, but to Afenifere they are all Greek Gifts: Lagos- Ibadan Expressway , Ota – Abeokuta, Lagos – Abeokuta, Oyo – Ogbomoso, Ogbomoso – Ilorin. Construction of Osun and Ekiti State link Roads, Lagos- Badagry Expressway, and a big Water Project in Ilesha, Osun state.
Yet all Atiku has promised his PDP friends and Afenifere, in Yoruba land, is a miserable Secretary to the Government of the Federation. And doesn’t Afenifere believe we must roll out the drums?
Sources told Irohinoodua that Afenifere has already taken a position to support the PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 poll. Observers believe that Omisore’s suspension will have no impact, whatever, either on him, or on the elections, especially as Afenifere has lost all political relevance in Yoruba land and Omisore’s decision is well in keeping with the importance Awo.placed on education in Yoruba land .
John M. O. Ekundayo, PhD
The same group took President
Jonathan’s money in 2015 but did not win even in their own wards.The seasonal bazaar is here again and Atiku will be the next victim.
Of what worth is this group? Whoring as the “two shillings” of old?. They burnt their boat when they chose Jonathan in 2015. Encore loading.
Do members of the group still have relevance politically?
Well, Atiku like GEJ, will be hoodwinked into donating humongous amounts of money in order to secure votes in the south west.
Dr Biodun Adu- a London based Consultant Gyaenacologist.
I call them the AFENIFEBI. A group that is in it for themselves and will dance with any wolf as long as the lyrics of the music have dollar in it.
Concluding, if Afenifere’s problem, or better put, main problem is truly restructuring, are they more Nigerian than Igbos or any other Nigerian ethnic group? If Ohanaeze Ndigbo is rooting for Obi why is Afenifere headed the opposite direction , doing everything to shoot Osinbajo down? And have they asked themselves this question?
Or is it simply bad belle or the punishing loss of political relevance in Yoruba land?