Tunde Bakare, the general overseer of Latter Rain Assembly, has flayed Northern elders who are opposed to the call for Nigeria’s restructuring.
Bakare spoke on Friday, July 29, 2016 in Ibadan at an event organised to mark the 50th year anniversary of the assassination of the first military governor of the defunct Western Region, Lt.-Col. Adekunle Fajuyi.
He said any anti-restructuring position taken by the North would bring to the court of historical opinion the sincerity of the motives of the perpetrators of the counter coup that led to the death of Fajuyi in 1966.
“The elders of the North, who today are opposed to the call to restructure Nigeria, have deviated from the ideals of the founding fathers of Northern Nigeria like the late Sir Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Balewa. They were forerunners of Fajuyi in the Nigerian hall of martyrdom,” Bakare said.
“Lest we forget, these great Nigerian leaders from the North made it clear in the series of constitutional conferences that heralded Nigeria’s independence that true federalism with regional autonomy was the only condition under which they would exist within a Nigerian nation.”
The cleric added that the call for restructuring was a demand for true federalism.
He said, “It is inconsistent with the interest of the North or the South for the current pseudo-federal structure to persist. If the elders of the North are true elders in this generation, I charge them with the words of the wisest king to ever live which says ‘do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.’
“Our current leaders must find courage in heroic deeds of Fajuyi, they must find courage to restructure and to reconcile aggrieved sections within the nation.”
Guest lecturer, Prof. Niyi Osundare, described Fajuyi as a quintessential Omoluabi and a vessel of true leader.
He called Fajuyi martyr of democracy, saying the late MKO Abiola was his worthy successor.
Osundare also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to identify “implementable” parts of the recommendation of the 2014 National Conference.
“Fajuyi and Abiola were icons of gallantry and extra-ordinary sacrifice whose light shone beyond their ethnic base,” Osundare said.
The poet, who cast doubt on Nigeria’s unity, said, “Those who talk glibly about Nigeria’s unity are under the perilous impression that there is a unity to negotiate in the first place. But a closer look tells us that we are still a thousand miles and a moon from that unity.
“As yet, Nigeria has no unity to negotiate or not to negotiate, which is why President Buhari must not only read the report of the 2014 National Conference, he owes himself and the country a critical duty to read, digest, deliberate on and identify its implementable parts, beyond all partisan and ethno-regional considerations.” He added.