Nigeria’s Break Up Won’t Benefit Anybody – Odia Ofeimun

By Sunday Isuwa
The private secretary to late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Odia Ofeimun,
has said Nigerians must work out how to live peacefully together
saying the breakup of the country would not pay anybody in spite of
agitations by some people.
He declared this, Thursday, in his remarks at ‘Awo Conversations: an
overview of his vision, his politics and his philosophy’, organised by
the Awolowo Foundation, for youths across the country, held at the
Ikenne home of the late sage.

According to him, “the reason Nigeria can’t break is not because the
“forces” to tear it apart are not there or strong enough but its
continued existence as one entity rests on the “deep, long and
unbreakable” chord that binds the Nigerian tribes together”.

He maintained that the people of Nigeria share a strong bond and
affinity both historical and cultural and noted “if Nigerians could
honestly find out about their history, they would discover the bond of
unity and similarity among them and none would sincerely wish for a
break up”.

The poet, however, revealed that contrary to the misconception that
Chief Awolowo smashed the terms of “Aburi Accord” when General Yakubu
Gowon and Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu returned to Nigeria from Ghana, it was
the minority people of midwest, south-south and the north who put
pressure on Gowon to jettison the accord bordering on “resource
control and regional autonomy.”

Describing the late premier of Western region as a true advocate of
true federalism, Ofeimu noted the exclusive legislative list was
deliberately beefed up in favour of the federal government, which led
to the weakness of the federating states.

“One of the fears of the people working against the restructuring of
Nigeria is that they worry about where their allocations will come
from to run their states.

“But I tell you if the Niger Delta region was allowed to control their
resources 100%, the federal government will still have fund to run its
affairs.

“I just want to refer you to Chief Awolowo’s book titled Strategies
and Tactics of the Republic People of Nigeria, where the late sage
analysed how true federal system could work”. Ofeimun submitted.

Contributing, , the executive director of the Foundation, Dr. Tokunbo
Awolowo-Dosumu, said since no Nigerian was worthy enough to clinch Awo
Leadership Award in 2016, the Foundation decided to put the event
together in order to inculcate Awolowo’s values, philosophy and vision
in the youths.

Also speaking, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, recalled that
all the programmes of Awolowo were philosophy backed. According to
him, “the philosophy behind the then free education was not to read
and write, but to create an egalitarian society whereby everybody will
have equal opportunity. It was in this line that free healthcare
policy and rural integration was conceived to ensure the people were
developed”.

He, therefore, said the forum was necessary to interact with the
younger generation so that the principles of the late sage could be
discussed with a view to expand the scope of the youths on the need
for individual development.

Other eminent personalities at the event included Professor Banji
Akintoye, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe, Senator
Anthony Adefuye among others. ELANZANEWS.

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