By Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Editor
- ‘Adebanjo not a consistent politician’
- Varsity chancellor advises Buhari on federalism, restructuring
Eminent journalist and elder statesman, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, has reiterated his commitment to restructuring of Nigeria’s polity.
He said contrary to the insinuation by Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, that he had sold out on the resolution of the national question, he had never relented in advocating for true federalism and devolution of power.
Osoba described Adebanjo as a dictator who will never acknowledge opposing views.
The former Ogun State governor, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said the report on restructuring by the Nasir El-Rufai Committee had been affirmed by the leadership of the ruling party.
Chiding Adebanjo for lacking in skills for dialogue, constructive debate and lobbying, he said: “We adopted the Restructuring Report. President Muhammadu Buhari was present there. But Adebanjo does not like the National Assembly that will work on it.”
The ex-governor advised the Afenifere chieftain to desist from using insulting, abusive and antagonistic language, saying it is destructive and provocative.
Noting that the outspoken Afenifere chieftain had never contested election all his life, Osoba said he should go and test his popularity.
The former governor addressed reporters in Lagos on what he called Adebanjo’s persistent attacks on him, warning that he would henceforth return fire for fire.
He said: “Chief Ayo Adebanjo accused me of being a sellout. I have not sold out on restructuring. I have consistently campaigned for a Canadian or Australian model of true federalism. His attitude is that you must always agree with his own definition. This rigid attitude is contrary to the attitude of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who encouraged debates.”
The veteran journalist also objected to Adebanjo’s attack on Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, noting that someone who fought former President Olusegun Obasanjo to a standstill on the validity of local government creation could not be tagged an enemy of restructuring and devolution of power.
Osoba said Adebanjo had always opposed him, recalling that he objected to his appointment as the Managing Director of Daily Times, his governorship ambition in 1990 and his governorship bid in 1998.
The ex-governor said while the Afenifere chieftain supported Prof. Afolabi Olabimtan against him in the Third Republic, he also supported Dr. Femi Okurounmu against him in 1998.
Osoba flayed the Afenifere chieftain for peddling the name of the late sage while attacking his foes, wondering where Awo appointed him as his Peter and gave him his key.
According to him, Adebanjo is not closer to Awo than himself and his two media colleagues, Peter Ajayi of defunct The Sketch and Felix Adenaike of Nigerian Tribune, who he fondly referred to as the three musketeers.
Osoba said while Awo was an astute manager of men and resources, “Adebanjo has not managed anything. That was the difference. Awo managed people. What has he (Adebanjo) achieved in his legal profession? Any landmark case?”
The eminent journalist also doubted that the Remo-born politician was a consistent progressive, saying he was fond of supporting candidates running on conservative platforms.
He said: “In 2003, when we lost elections, they were gloating. They were making jest of us -myself and Chief Bisi Akande. Otunba Niyi Adebayo even stormed out of their meetings.
“Adebanjo started hobnobbing with Gbenga Daniel in Ogun State, Olusegun Mimiko in Ondo and Olagunsoye Oyinlola in Osun State. Now, he is supporting Seyi Makinde in Oyo State. He said we sold out to President Buhari. But he was campaigning for Abubakar Atiku and he supported Goodluck Jonathan.”
Also, the Chancellor of the Oduduwa University at Ipetumodu in Osun State, Dr. AbdulRahaman Adedoyin, has reiterated the need for true federalism and restructuring by giving the states more powers to control their resources.
Adedoyin, who is the Maye of Yoruba land, made the suggestion in his message to Nigerians on the nation’s 60th independence anniversary celebration on Thursday.
The chancellor suggested that Nigeria should borrow a leaf from the United States of America’s (U.S) type of federalism by not only changing the country’s name to the United States of Nigeria, but also, in practice, by ensuring the country adheres to the true principles of federalism, which allow more powers and responsibilities to the states.
He added that the current system gives too much power to the central government.
According to him, true federalism will ensure that there is competition among the federating units as each state will look inwards and develop at its own pace, like it was done in the early years of Nigeria’s independence when the defunct Western Region had cocoa and kolanut; the Northern Region had groundnut and cotton and the Eastern Region had rubber and palm oil.