Awo: The Heart Where Determination Meets Destiny

By Adedara Oduguwa

Our mother, The Executive Director, The Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Amb. (Dr.) Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu; Co-panelists, Chief Moderator, Gentlemen of the Press, and very distinguished ladies and gentlemen. I must say I am honoured to be here today.  My mission is to talk about Chief Awolowo humble beginning, what I tagged ‘The heart where determination meets destiny’. I was told I have 10 minutes, but pardon me if I spend more. Nothing in this speech should be left untouched.

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Highlights

  • Birth
  • Education
  • Business
  • Politics
  • Legacies
  • The Youth

Birth

Chief Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo like many born in his time was born into a completely less-privileged environment where almost everything was done crudely. Ikenne in 1909 was synonymous to a village where the only thing that existed was a church spearheaded by a Reverend. And the only available means of livelihood were ‘farming and trading’. Awo was born specifically 109 years ago into a more primitive environment than most parts of Nigeria. I believe it was Awo, ‘the Name Awo’ that permanently changed the Geographical status quo of Ikenne. Awo’s father was a farmer while his mother was a trader. He was enjoying everything until his father’s death in April 1920, when Awo was barely 11 years old.

Awo from the beginning knew what he wanted, unlike many of my generation, who see every path as road. He had said in his erstwhile letter to Chief Adeola Odutola (of blessed memory) on March 25th, 1943. Quoting the 34 years old Awolowo:

“One great ambition of mine since my boyhood days is to be a lawyer, a politician and a journalist, rolled into one. I cherish politics and journalism as a career; and I desire advocacy as a means of livelihood. For you will agree with me that a politician or journalist who has no money with which to support himself and family comfortably, is like a blade which has no razor.”

What Awo expressed in that letter was ‘definiteness of purpose’. I am not going to bore you with details of the letter. But want us to take note of his ‘trio ambition’. What happened to him after the letter? Was he able to become his ambition? If yes, how and why?

Business

Chief Awolowo was not born special. He was a great hustler and a street boy who was ready to risk all except his integrity in order to survive. He started his own struggles much younger than many of us. At the age of 11, he struggled through primary school at Wesleyan School Imo, Abeokuta. He then became a pupil- teacher, a trader, a school clerk, a stenographer, a money lender, a transporter, a produce buyer, a unionist, name it, he experienced it all. As a 25 year old Reporter while in Ibadan, Awo wrote an article in 1934. This was published by the Nigeria Daily Telegram. The article was Awo’s reaction to the bad condition of the Ibadan Library. The authorities (colonial government) did not take kindly to it.

Today, we are not under the British colonialism. We are under self-imposed colonial masters found in our politicians, who are hell-bent to silencing our collective opinions ‘under the anti-hate speech regulation’. To this we have to say no! Young Awo experienced the ‘loss’ aspect of business repeatedly for many years. His business loss was much to the extent that most of his properties were auctioned ‘including the house we are today’. Until luck shone on him again, he recovered and was lucky enough to recoup this particular property.

Education

Awo did not have it easy with education when compared to most of us. He was so financially handicapped from age 11. He worked as houseboy, hewed firewood, pupil teacher, clerk, transporter and trader in order to be educated. He attended several schools in Ikenne, Abeokuta, Ibadan and United Kingdom. He got his first degree; a Bachelor of Commerce through correspondence from the University of London, where he had enrolled in 1927. He then proceeded to the UK in 1944 to study law at the same (University of London) and was called to the Bar on 19th November, 1946 at age 37.

It must be reemphasized that Awo suffered a lot of huddles before acquiring his educational ambition. Crashes in business, auction of his properties to pay debts, disappointment from Chief Adeola Odutola among other.  By the time he was to travel to England to read law; he was already 35 years of age and father of 3 children. His wife, our mama, was also carrying the pregnancy of late Mrs. Ayo Soyode (Nee Awolowo), mother of Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo. Thanks to that wonderful woman, our mama, the ‘Jewel of Inestimable Value’, who was absolutely understanding and supportive.

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Do you all still remember the trio ambition of Chief Awolowo?

He dreamt to be a lawyer, a journalist and a politician.

He was already a journalist before he travelled. Now he is a lawyer and on the verge of becoming a politician.

Politics

Young Obafemi joined The Nigerian Youth Movement at the age of 27. The NYM was an off-shot of Lagos Youth Movement founded by H.O Davis, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Odemo Samuel Akinsnya, Ernest Okoli and the likes. But before NYM was Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) formed by Herbert Macaulay in 1923.

In Politics, 27 years old Awo had admiration for four people. In Chief Awolowo’s voice;

“…There were four persons you could admire a lot in those days; they were in order of merit so to say: Ernest Ikoli, Samuel Akinsanya, H.O Davis and Azikiwe. Whenever I heard in Ibadan that any one of them was going to address a meeting at Glover Hall. I used to travel to Lagos to listen to them. So great people.” While he referred to Sir Herbert Macaulay as father of all.

Before Awo delved into active politics, he was learning from the political titans of his time. People who were themselves leaders in their chosen careers and politics. He was ready to learn and listen to wise counsels. He was not looking for money from his mentors, but value. He was absolutely ready for the challenges ahead. He had equipped himself mentally, financially and spiritually. Unlike in my generation, where quick-fix remains the only option to political and economic prosperity and fraud, the only means to livelihood. We must change our focus!

Now let me talk about the part of Awo that almost 70% of the people here know. Awo co-founded Egbe Omo Oduduwa in 1949, a Yoruba socio-cultural organisation (what can be likened to Afenifere of today), he was aged 40. Founded Action Group in 1951, he was aged 42. According to him on Action Group:

“There were seven other people apart from myself at the founding of Action Group… I invited over 60 people but only seven turned up. I sat in the meeting of seven with myself. We were 8 and we decided to form a party with a difference, not just a talking organisation. Talking and shouting, publishing articles in the papers and doing nothing. It must be a party of action. That was why we decided to be ‘Action Group’. But the basic philosophy of Action Group was to be socialism. What does socialism stand for? It stands for education. It stands for health.”

I have quoted Chief Awolowo here, because shortly after this period, specifically 1952 -1959, the AG had become the only party in Western Region of Nigeria and Awo served first as leader of government business, 1952-1954 and Premier of Western Region, 1954-1959. He was aged 43 and 45 respectively. You will all agree with me that this man called Awo was very organised and determined.

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 His Legacies

The Action Group successfully implemented her manifesto by introducing a number of firsts:

  • Introduced and successfully implemented the first free primary education program in Africa and also gave 200 scholarships to University College of Ibadan students. Amazingly, only 300 students were being admitted by the University College of Ibadan at the time, previous colonial government had only given 10 students scholarships per year. Chief Awolowo changed the status quo by giving 200 (66.6%) of the students population scholarships, per year.

This act is first in Africa!

This was on for 25 years in the AG and UPN controlled States.

Today, didn’t they promise us ‘change’? What did we get? What is the present cost of education; monetarily and qualitatively?

  • Introduced and successfully managed the first free medical service programme in Nigeria for children up to the age of 18.
  • Established the first television station in Africa (NTA Ibadan).
  • Built Liberty Stadium, first of such modern sports facility in Nigeria.
  • Introduced and successfully implemented the first minimum wage policy in Nigeria.
  • The Cocoa House
  • The Industrial Estates
  • The Agricultural Institutions and so on.

From this background, Awo or the Action Group did not give the masses reasons for non-performing. Instead, they did everything that was humanly possible to avoid such disgraceful excuses. A reason why we are all gathered here to celebrate this rare-gift of Africa, 31 years after his demise.  It is worth to note that the free education programme that Awo introduced was a programme that was toilsome implementing.

First, because of lack of resources and second because of lack of understanding. The Western Region Government did not have a kobo to implement this policy and parents most especially in Badagry and Ilaro felt once their children go to school, who would assist them in the farm? And how could they donate parcels of land and proceeds from their cocoa to fuel education? But, due to the doggedness of Awo and his disciplines, the Western Region was liberated from ignorance and forever, the Region became a model for education in Africa.

For me, as a student of history and die-hard follower of Chief Awolowo’s ideals, I believe the period of 1952-1959 was the best in his many struggles. We all know what happened after independence. Due to the political conspiracy, he was jailed by the opposition, rose to become a federal Minister of Finance and first civilian deputy chairman in any military government in Africa, the first non-president to be awarded ‘Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’ (GCFR) the highest honour in the land.

Lest I forget, do you still remember Awo’s trio Ambition? Yes!

A Journalist: He wrote several articles, worked in various newspapers and founded ‘The Nigerian Tribune in 1949 (oldest surviving private Nigerian newspaper) at age 40.

A Lawyer: He became a lawyer at the age of 37. And rose to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Highest rank in the Legal profession.

A politician: He became leader of Government Business and Premier of Western Region at the age 43 and 45 respectively. Arguably, even in death, Awo remains the most celebrated political figure in Nigeria.

When Awo was asked about secret of his many successes, he replied:

“I do say many years back that my success depended on three Things: The grace of God; a good wife and Spartan self discipline”. However, one could see patience, self-determination, focus, gradual step, timeliness, proactiveness, high-sense of accountability, passion for service, fear of God, contentment and preparedness in Awo’s story. In other words, for my generation to succeed, these highlighted ‘secrets of success’ must seriously be taken into consideration.

Awo contested for the Nigerian presidency in 1959, re-contested in 1979 and 1983 respectively but was rigged out on the three occasions. We deprived ourselves the opportunity of being served by the best among us. The price we still pay today. Awo died peacefully on Saturday, May 9, 1987. But his educational legacies, economic foresights and first-class political sagacity continue to live with us.

The Youth

What do the youth have to offer?

Are we truly unprepared?

Are we truly Generation Yahoo-Yahoo?

Awo got nothing from government or private individual(s), he strived to thrive and here today, he is being celebrated, even 31years after his departure.

Will the youth wake up, stop complaining and act, like Awo did?

The time is now!

The future is yours for the taking.

Like the Doctor cum Singer, Beautiful Nubia puts it “if you don’t liberate yourself, no one will”. Once again, I welcome you all to the home of ‘the Nigerian Political Moses’ and wish you a wonderful deliberation ahead. Thank you and God Bless.

 

References

Awolowo, O. (1960).Awo: The autobiography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo Burial pamphlet (May 1987)

Oduguwa, A.S. (2012) Chief Obafemi Awolowo: The political Moses. North America (United States of America: Trafford Publishing.

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CHIEF AYO ADEBANJO LAUNCHES HIS AUTHOR-BIOGRAPHY TODAY

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Chief Ayo Adebanjo launches is author biography today. Baba AA will be 90years of age in April 10, same day I will be 33. Something must be said about baba.

In 2013 , specifically in August when I came back from England after my MSc. Degree. I just finished publishing my book on Chief Awolowo. I met with my big brother and uncle Ayo Ozugbakun. I met uncle Ayo on the possibility of getting people to attend my big moment. He recommended that for anything on Awo to fly, Chief Ayo Adebanjo must be carried along.

He gave me his contact and I called baba. Unlike others ,the new generation of politicians, baba invited me to his Ijebu home (Ogbo Ijebu) and we had deep tete-a-tete on my new book and the Nigerian political Moses- Chief Awolowo. I have met Chief Lateef Jakande in previous week of my meeting with AA. Baba suggested I should meet with Chief Laniun Ajayi of blessed memory which I did.

With Chief Adebanjo, there is no such word as diplomacy, protocol or pretence. He says things the way they are and live a complete circle of healthy live. He is undisputedly a philosopher with sound mind. He believed in Awo ideals just same way he believe in Jesus. Even in death, he is still loyal to his political leader who schooled him on both moral and political ideologies.

Today, I joined the Yoruba nation and Nigeria to celebrate this man, our baba at 90. As a member of Afenifere and son of Chief Adebanjo, I wish baba good health for the remaining years ahead. We are so proud of you Sir.

Heartily congratulations!

INTRODUCING MO IBRAHIM

The tale of an incorruptible self-made man
By Adedara Oduguwa

“I’m trying to change things… unless we change the way we run our countries, govern our people, allocate resources and create a fairer system that is more transparent, we really cannot move forward.”_ Mo Ibrahim

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Introduction
For more than a decade I have been reading happenings around the African telecom Tycoon including what makes him thick and mighty. My dig into his privacy opened my eyes to his early beginning, preferences, value system and priority. The Sudanese born father of three is everything that could be described as intelligence, integrity, humanity, brave and bold. It is not in my culture to concentrate my time writing about people without full knowledge of them. As I picked my pen 5am today (Nigerian time) I believe the adventure worth it. Reading about this man from my handle would only make you to appreciate hard work, integrity and bravery. You will also realize making it tomorrow is a function of your action or inaction today. As yesterday is a function of today. Read this article only when you can concentrate. If you are busy, try not to read this piece. I am sure the little adventure worth it.

Who is Mo Ibrahim?
Ibrahim was born on the 3rd of May 1946 in northern Sudan, of Nubian descent, the second of five children, four of whom were boys. His family moved to Alexandria, Egypt when he was young, and father Fathi was employed there by a cotton company, and his mother Aida was very determined that they all get a good education (Ken,2011). Like many of us in Africa, Mo Ibrahim was not immuned against a much disadvantage society where nothing seems working. At his birth he met poverty caused by unemployment, poor leadership caused by wrong choice of leadership, diseases as a result of poor basic health programme, poor communication network as a result of deficient government policy that scored communication low in its scale of preference. And then, he was determined to transform African’s telecommunication.

Education
Ibrahim earned a bachelor’s degree from Alexandria University in electrical engineering. He returned to Sudan and started working for the telephone company, Sudan Telecom (Russell, 2009). He moved to England and earned a master’s degree from the University of Bradford in Electronics and Electrical Engineering, and a PhD from the University of Birmingham in Mobile Communications (Penn News, 2011). In 2007 Ibrahim was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and in 2011 an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn News,2011).

Career
Between mid 1970s and early 1980s, Ibrahim worked as a lecturer in the University (University of Greenwich) teaching undergraduate students telecommunication courses. In 1983, he quit the academic profession and takes up the position of a technical director of Cellnet. Cellnet was a subsidiary of the British telecommunication giant, British Telecom (BT) and was responsible for handling the latter’s wireless operations.
Having gained enough experience in the field of telecommunication, he left his job at BT in 1989 to set up his own firm, Mobile Systems International (MSI). A consultancy and software company, MSI basically dealt with designing mobile networks. During the late 1990s, he realized the lack of pan-African mobile phone network. Aiming to fill in for the need, he created MSI Cellular Investments, in 1998, which was later on renamed Celtel International. Unlike his other ventures, Celtel was an operator and not a design consultancy.

What was unique to Celtel was its approach of being a no-bribe company (any amount above $30,000 must be approved by the company’s board of directors). Ibrahim decided that no bribe would be given or accepted by either him or the co-founders. The approach was one-of-its-kind as almost all African companies engaged in bribery in their dealings. Celtel was a major success, effectively changing the scenario of mobile communication services. It went on to become the largest service provider in Africa, offering coverage in more than a dozen countries. Ever since its emergence, the number of mobile phones in the continent grew from 7.5 million users in 1999 to 76.8 million users by 2004. In 2000, he sold MSI to Macroni for about $900 million. At that time, the company had 17 subsidiaries and a workforce of about 800 people. Its employees held about 30 per cent of the company shares.

In 2005, Ibrahim sold Celtel to Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company for a whopping $3.4 billion. Though Ibrahim himself was not keen on making the deal, he bowed down to the pressure of the shareholders. Subsequently, after selling Celtel, he channelized his energy and vision towards investing and philanthropic activities. In 2006, he founded the Mo Ibrahim foundation, with an aim to improve the governance in African countries.

Mo Ibrahim Foundation
Founded in London, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation established a rating system for the governing bodies through the Ibrahim Index, thus promoting increased accountability within the African companies. In 2007, the foundation launched the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The award is conferred annually to African leaders who meet the standards set by the foundation. Its first recipient was former Mozambique president, Joaquim Chissano. The Mo Ibrahim Prize is worth $5 million. Additionally, a life stipend of $200,000 per year is paid to the recipient. In totality, the prize has become the largest individual prize in the world. Since 2010, he has been an active supporter of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. The commission is a United Nations initiative and aims at spreading the benefits of broadband services to unconnected people.

Recognitions
• Ibrahim has been bestowed with honorary Doctorate degree in Economics by the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
• In 2011, he received the Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
• He has been the proud recipient of a number of awards including GSM Association’s Chairman’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2007, the BNP Paribas Prize for Philanthropy in 2008 and the Clinton Global Citizen award in 2010.
• In 2012, he was conferred with two awards: the Millennium Excellence Award for Actions in Africa and the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award. In 2011, he received the Africare Leadership Award and Kiel Institute Global Economy Prize.
• In May 2014, he was presented with the Eisenhower Medal for Distinguished Leadership and Service. Following month, he was bestowed with the Foreign Policy Association Medal.

Family
Ibrahim married Hania Morsi Fadl (now divorced) in 1973. Together, the couple is blessed with three children, a daughter Hadeel Ibrahim who serves as the executive director of Mo Ibrahim Foundation and two sons Hosh Ibrahim, (an actor by profession) and Sami Ibrahim.

Mo Success’ Secrets
The man who is considered the most powerful black man in Britain and is credited with transforming African continent identified empathy, recognition of difference, integrity, transparency, honesty, hope, conviction, hard work, giving and mother. These ten points were highlighted by this great man. Undisputedly most clean African’s businessman.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present Prof. Mo Ibrahim (my fifth mentor) to you!

AARE ONA KAKANFO: IS OTUNBA GANI ADAMS WORTHY?

By Adedara Oduguwa

(19.10.2017)

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After 19 years of the demise of Aare (Oshorun) Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (who died on the 7th July, 1998), in a suspicious and mysterious circumstances, a new Aare Ona Kakanfo had emerged in Otunba Gani Adams on the 16th of October, 2017. Announcing this, the Alaafin of Oyo, Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi said “Adams is equipped by God with the vitality of youth, agility of the long distance runner, unblemished patriotism, and the wisdom of Solomon. His antecedents in the promotion of Yoruba culture are unquestionable and he has a clear vision of where the Nation (Yoruba) should be in its culture reawakening both at home and oversea.” This news was thrilled with mixed reactions. While some quarters of people believed Mr. Adams doesn’t merit the new title, many others feel otherwise. Who should be crowned Aare Ona Kakanfo? What are the qualities expected in the Aare Ona Kakanfo? Is Aare Ona Kakanfo another spiritual or ceremonial title? Is the title reserved for a political gladiator or Military Strategist? Is Mr. Adams the most qualified candidate for the title?

Besides, many had argued that these questions are not quintessential anymore since Mr. Adams already emerged the new Generalissimo of Yorubaland. This pool of view questioned his worthiness, pedigree and merit. However, no matter the scales of measurement in this regard, what is vital is the requisite antecedent necessary for chosen a person as Aare Ona Kakanfo,  as enunciated by the monarch among which included; Manliness, courage and patriotic zeal. The three virtues respected in Yorubaland are benchmarks for selecting Yoruba’s Generalissimo. Hence, it would rather interest anyone to ask, using this scale, is there any Yoruba man that matchup with Mr. Gani Adams among the present crops of Yoruba citizens around? Disappointedly, No one!

Aare Ona Kakanfo is not title for a gentleman, orator, intelligential, moralist, aristocrat, politician, richest, humble, man of peace, famous, loved, respected, godly character and obedient fellow. The title is reserved only for the courageous, obstinate, radical, rascal, patriotic, crazy war monger, fighter, hardworking, discipline, wise, strategist, youthful, powerful, feared, deadly, destructive character, demonic and a title reserved for the greatest Yoruba tactician. Aare Ona Kakanfo is what an IG is to the Police force and Field Marshal is to the Army. Unlike other titles in Yoruba land i.e. Lisa, Balogun, Otunba, Losi, Apena and Oliwo that demands such unquestionable characters from their occupants. The title is not another ceremonial title that makes a person to be respected and famous. The core of the title is service, commitment, nobility and patriotism. No Aare Ona Kakanfo is expected to concede defeat, no matter what. If such happens, the Generalissimo is expected by tradition to commit suicide. Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba is expected to be committed to the Yorubas than to Hausas, Ibos or even Nigeria. He is expected to fight and fight only for the Yorubas. He is selected with selfish tenets of defending the Yorubas by all means and at all cost. Such man should not be cowed by strength of any superior army in the universe. He must be bold, courageous, fearless and dedicated to the defending Yoruba race from any foreign power that becomes a threat to Yoruba Sovereignty. Aare Ona Kakanfo shouldn’t know the laws but must know the boundaries. He should be ready to command his armies to fight in every three years (in those days) on command of the Alaafin and come back victoriously. It’s a title with physical and spiritual responsibilities, only meant for a warrior.

History of Aare Ona Kakanfo

Traditionally, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland is the head of the 70 Esos (the Alaafin Special Military Force) and the head of Yoruba Army. The title is reserved for the greatest Yoruba warrior in those days. Aare Ona Kakanfo of old were made to pass through rigorous spiritual cleansing such as shaving the head after which two hundred and one (201) Gberes (incisions) are made on the bald head with two hundred and one (201) different lancets. Specially prepared ingredients from two hundred and one viols are rubbed into the cuts, one for each. Consequently, the Aare Ona Kakanfo, after passing through this ritual becomes completely fearless, courageous, stubborn, obstinate and perhaps mean. Aare Ona Kakanfo is never a title for an ambitious politician, but for men of undiluted patriotism. Historically, there have been fourteen Aare Ona Kakanfos before the emergence of Otunba Gani Adams (from Ondo State). They include;

  1. Kokoro Gangan (Iwoye)
  2. Oyatope (Iwoye)
  3. Oyabi (Ajase)
  4. Adeta (Jabata)
  5. Oku (Jabata)
  6. Afonja (Ilorin)
  7. Toyeje (Ogbomoso)
  8. Edun (Gbogun)
  9. Amepo (Abemo)
  10. Kurumi (Ijaye)
  11. Ojo Aburumaku (Ogbomoso)
  12. Latoosa (Ibadan)
  13. Ladoke (Ogbomoso)
  14. Abiola (Abeokuta)

Majority of the underlisted were brave warriors, committed Generals and fearless entities. However, during old Oyo Empire, Oyo indigenes or residents were never made Kakanfo because the Aare was not to give way to anyone, not even the Alaafin, if the need ever arose. By virtue of his office as Commander of the Yoruba nation’s Army, Aare Ona Kakanfo of old were required to go to war at least once in three years on the orders of the Alaafin. He must only return dead or alive within three months. That is, he is to return home victorious or be brought home as a corpse. Aare Ona Kakanfo must not suffer defeat and comeback home alive (if defeated). He is admonished by law to commit suicide when such happened. Ironically, as powerful and revered the office of Aare Ona Kakanfo is, majority of the title holders died mysteriously. Specifically, none of the last five Aare died peacefully (Kurumi, Ojo Aburumaku, Iyanda Asubiaro Latoosa, Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola). Obviously, this is more than just coincidence but fate.

Why Obasanjo Missed it?

Since demise of Aare MKO Abiola, a number of undisclosed persons have shown interest in the title. Chief among which included Chief [General] Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Obasanjo, a man who had led Nigeria more than any Southerner since creation of Nigeria in 1960. Obasanjo, popularly called General Obasanjo by profession, was a trained and successful Army General. Who had won a number of wars for Nigeria on many occasions, the most prominent was the Civil War (1967-1970). By birth and profession, Obasanjo was qualified to be the next Aare of Yoruba land, since he hailed from Abeokuta, Ogun State and a former Army General. However, on moral grounds, he missed the title. Why?

Obasanjo can be said to be one of the most successful politicians in Nigeria but his success was self-bound. He would rather be self-centered and support his Northern friends than any Yoruba man. Throughout his 11 years or so in Government (13 February 1976-30 September 1979 military head of state, and 1999-2007 Civilian President), Obasanjo more than any has contributed to the disunity of our people than any other. With his relatively long stay in Government, what has he done for the Yorubas? Further, Obasanjo joined the Northerners in 1979 to rig elections against the modern father of Yoruba nation after Oduduwa, Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo.  Therefore, with such antecedents he missed the title of defender of Yoruba sovereignty. In fact, the Alaafin was right to have rejected all his lobbying from 1999 to date until the emergence of Otunba Adams.

The likes of Obasanjo would sell the Yorubas completely to our enemies if perchance, he was made the Aare Ona Kakanfo just as illustrated in the Proverbial Yoruba Ronu by Chief Hubert Ogunde referring to Ikeji Oye, who sold the Yorubas into Slavery. What was lacking in the revered General and the only Nigerian who had ruled this country three consecutive times was patriotism. Obasanjo can never be loyal to the Yorubas. Some of the Yoruba Obas also accused him of arrogance and hatred for anything that is Yoruba. Vindicating them, recently, the entire Yoruba people started the new song of Restructuring; Obasanjo as usual became the first to be against it. According to him, ‘what do they mean by restructuring… in fact, there is nothing to restructure.’ Such person is not fit to be Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land. He is completely an Hausa man but born in Yoruba land. Don’t get me wrong, it is not bad to love your friends and Nigeria. Charity they say begins from home. You cannot ignore your family and embrace your neighbours. That is not ignorance but hypocrisy!

Gani Adams on the other hand, has always put all his interests to anything that is Yoruba culture and tradition. Although no one can overlook his excesses. Meanwhile, what qualifies him more for the position as explained by the Alaafin, Iku Baba Yeye include; his manliness, courage and patriotism. Also, this is one man that is known for fighting, radicalism and rascality. As stated in previous section, this qualifies him as the right man for this job. The fact that a lot of people see him as miscreant, hoodlum, powerful, metaphysical  and dangerous, could do nothing to tarnish his image but added to his scale of merit for the title. More so, it is important not to compare Otunba Gani Adams with the likes of Chief SL Akintola and Bashorun MKO Abiola.

By tradition, the duo was never qualified to be given the title. Otunba Adams emergence is timely and right to correct the wrong of the past. Aare Ona Kakanfo is not a position reserved for a gentleman, innocent entity, godly and good fellow. It is a position reserved only for the master of the pulpit. Someone known for seeking peace through chaos and settling dispute through maiming. I have read several degrading reports in which Otunba Adams was previously involved all which further qualifies him for the job. In contrast, on more than five occasions I have met Otunba Adams attending one Yoruba event or the other. In these occasions, Otunba Adams was calm, easy and extremely friendly. I often wondered why Obasanjo and the likes would only want to associate themselves with the Yorubas only when there is vacancy of a Chieftaincy title. I even heard he bided for the Owu crown, but failed. Yorubas are the most intelligent people on earth, we pretend as if we see nothing, but we know everything. We know our friends and also our enemies.

Who is Gani Adams?

Oloye Gani Adams was born April 30, 1970 into the families of Pa Lamidi Adams and Late Madam Dada Adams (nee Aduloju), at Aigidi-Akoko (Akoko North-West Local Government Area of Ondo State). He attended Army Children’s School, Oturkpo, Benue State; Municipal Primary School, Surulere, Lagos (1980); Ansar-Ud-deen Secondary School, Randle Avenue, Surulere, Lagos and later joined an Italian Construction Company, Visinoni Stabilini, Apapa, Lagos State where he learnt the trade of interior decoration. He later resigned from this company to start Gadson interior.

In 1992, due to the bastardization of the socio-political and economic life of Nigeria by the military juntas, Adams became an Active Pro-democratic activist in 1992 (aged 22) an event which led to his membership of Oodua Youth Movement, OYM- a pro-Yoruba self-determination group. He later became a foundation member of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) when it was formed in 1994 (aged 24). This made him the first Deputy National Coordinator of the group in this year. However, in 2003 (aged 33), Otunba Adams returned to school to bag a Diploma in Tourism Management from the International Aviation School, Tema, Ghana. Further, he obtained another diploma in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Lagos State University (LASU) and later a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from the same University.

Otunba Adams as a believer of Yoruba culture and tradition, remains the sole sponsor of Olokun Festival Foundation, the only Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that is dedicated to promoting and preserving Yoruba culture and tradition. Supporting other Yoruba festivals such as: Eledumere Festival, Ijora Lagos; Ajagunmale Festival Lekki Lagos; Osun Oshogbo ; Olokun Festival , Badagy; Oya Festival Kwara State; Oke Ibadan Festival, Oyo State; Oodua Festival Ile-Ife; Olumo Festival , Abeokuta;Obatala Festival Oyo State; Oranmiyan Festival Oyo State; Okota Festival Ondo State; Oro Festival Iseyin Oyo State; Ogun Festival Ikorodu Lagos and  Elegbara Festival Shasa, Lagos State.

Today Otunba Adams is the National Coordinator of the OPC with registered members in 78 countries of the world. However, in recognition of Otunba Adams’ contributions to the development and progress of Yoruba land, the gallant Generalissimo has been honoured with numerous Chieftaincy titles across Yoruba land. Among which included:

Otunba Arigidi Akoko (Ondo State); Ajagungbade of Oodua land (ANTP); Akinrogun of Erin Osun (Osun State);Ajagunla of Aala Land (Kwara State); Arogundade of Ode Omu (Osun State); Jagunmolu Olu-Ode of Ibadan land (Oyo State); Apagunpote of Igbeji land (Yewa Ogun State); Olunla of IIikimu (Benin Republic); Otunba Atayese of Igosun Ekiti (Ekiti State); Baba Isale Oja Daleko Market (Mushin Lagos State);Asoludero of Oshogbo land (Osun State); Arogundade of Oodua land (Ogun State);Apase Oodua of Ojokoro land (Lagos State); Mayegun of Ijanikin; Bobaselu of Ado Kingdom; Seriki Adini of Arigi Akoko land; Akinrogun of Iseyin land; Jagunmolu of Igangan land; baba Oba of Agbamu land;Afetutu Soro worldwide;Aare of Ibese land; Maiyegun of Oworo kingdom;Aare Akogun Atewonro of Ila Orangun; Bobagunwa of Igbehin land; Akinrogun of Ikorodu land;Apagunpote of Isheri Olofin Awori land; Agba-Akin of Ibereko Land; Aniyikaye of Ijero Ekiti land and Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.

Aare Gani Adams has won over 234 local and international Awards. With his emergence as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, it is believed that the Yoruba nation will be united now than ever. Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi, Iku Baba Yeye , Igbakeji Orisa must have listen to the mysterious voice of gods by selecting this one man that doesn’t only fit for the job, but destined for this revered position. It is now the turn of historians to dust their jotters and pick up their pens to document this new account. Tell the Northerners and the Easterners, Yorubas now have a Generalissimo found in Chief Gani Adams! In other words, for the Fulani Herdsmen and the militants who invade Yoruba towns, this might be an end to such unholy occupation.

Congratulations to General Gani Adams!

Congratulations to the Yoruba nation!

Adedara is a culture enthusiast, social commentator and publicist who writes from Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria.

As.oduguwa@gmail.com

 

RESTRUCTURING: A QUINTESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF FEDERALISM

By Adedara S. Oduguwa (08/01/2017)
“… to achieve this laudable programme, APC government shall restructure the country, devolve power to the units, with the best practices of federalism and eliminate unintended paralysis of the centre (Source, APC constitution, 2015)”

dara

How are you today? I hope you are used and coping with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. Just last week, CNN queried about the whereabouts of our ageing and sick president, whose love for power is greater than his love for his health and performance as president of our recessed nation. Some of us are not perturbed, that is what you should expect from khakistocracy (government by the worst citizens). That is by the way. Today, I wish to talk about something that is no longer news for the past two months in Nigeria. In fact, it is trending in equal pedestal with the failing health of our ageing president, whom in recent times has become most expensive museum in the United Kingdom; ‘Restructuring’.
Restructuring has become the latest buzz word in Nigeria’s political landscape. We all talk about restructuring with many of us arguing for or against it without understanding what it connotes. A lot of us think restructuring means ‘suicide for the North and prosperity for the South or secession from united Nigeria and/or absolute control over the federal government ’- No. That’s not what restructuring is all about. In this article, I will take us through the meaning of restructuring, conditions under which a country should have unitary or federal constitution, historical antecedent of Nigeria’s federalism and elements of true federalism.

According to Oxford Dictionary (2017) restructuring is a noun which means ‘the process of organising differently: a plan to strengthen and reengineer a system’. Similarly, restructuring is the corporate management term for the act of reorganizing the legal, ownership, operational, or other structures of a company for the purpose of making it more profitable, or better organized for its present needs (Norley, Swanson & Marshall, 2011). This last definition looks at restructuring from the business angle and not the political sphere in the context of our usage today. Hence, defining restructuring in the context of a country means ‘ resource control, local and state autonomy, a moderately less-powerful central and redistribution of responsibilities (from the lists-exclusive, concurrent and residual) in ways that more powers are delegated to the constituents units in a defined sovereign state (Oduguwa, 2017).

However, there are two groups of scholars on restructuring and federalism. While the first group supported the new buzz word, latter group argued such word is meaningless. Perhaps, it might be worthwhile for us to follow the debate in the following lines by asking what does restructuring mean to Nigerians?

During General Ibrahim Babangida’s 75th birthday (2016) in Minna, Niger State, he said “…devolution of powers…restructuring and devolution of powers will certainly not provide all the answers to our developmental challenges; it will help to reposition our mindset as we generate new ideas and initiatives that would make our union worthwhile. The talk to have the country restructured means that Nigerians are agreed on our unity in diversity; but that we should strengthen our structures to make the union more functional based on our comparative advantages.”

Similarly, former vice-president of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar describes restructuring as “There is no doubt that many of our states are not viable, and were not viable from the start once you take away the federal allocations from Abuja…we must devolve more powers and resources from the federal government and de-emphasise federal allocations as the source of sustenance of states…”

More so, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, former political adviser to former president Obasanjo describes restructuring as “restoration of federalism. The foundational constitution structure to which all Nigerians subscribed as encapsulated in the independent constitution of 1960. This constitution was violated in 1966 and the violation set in motion a chain of events that has culminated in the present abnegation of a 36 states structure against the four regional structures that emanated from the independent constitution.”

Further, my good uncle and friend, Chief Supo Shonibare argued “restructuring means independent self-sustaining federating units.” In the same vein, Chief Frank Kokori opined “In Nigerian terms when people talk about restructuring, they say they need true federalism. I don’t know what true federalism is because federalism is federalism… because of the military incursion into politics in 1966, Nigeria became a unitary government. So they were not following the tenets of the constitution that allows for devolution of powers to the federating units… If we had real federalism, there will not be agitations.”

Also, Chief Guy Ikokwu puts it straight “let’s return to regionalism with six zones as federating units.” In the words of Chief Edwin Clark “There is need for restructuring, there is need to go back to the kind of government we had before and after independence until the soldiers struck.” Addiitonally, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife said “If we don’t get Nigeria restructured between now and next year, we may lose this country… founding fathers agreed on… regionalism and true federating units…”

According to a PDP governor, Dr. Ayodele Fayose “The APC governors not just been saying it; Aregbesola said it; Ajimobi and a host of others in the APC have said it; and now they have it as a group and we support their call for restructuring. But the problem I have is that the presidency is deaf to the voice of reason.” Moreover, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed allegedly said “We can’t make progress under current structure. No progress can be made under the current political system, which operates like a military unitary system.”

According to Prof. Wole Soyinka “I don’t understand Obasanjo’s language and Buhari’s language-we cannot continue to allow a centralization policy which makes the constituent units of this nation resentful; they say monkey dey work, baboon dey chop. And the idea of centralizing revenues, allocation system, whereby you dole out; the thing is insulting and it is what I call anti-healthy rivalry. It is against the incentives to make states viable.”

More so, Chief Ayo Adebanjo in what he entitled as ‘no restructuring, no Nigeria’ said “we are going for disintegration. That is what I am sorry about. You cannot keep the country together like this. You would continually be suppressing there and suppressing there. The Southern Kaduna affair, the people there shouted against regionalism, because of the oppression there. They said the Fulani were oppressing them. If you look at the recommendations of the 2014 National Confab, we said any area that has economic interests are free to stay together after a referendum of 71 percent. That was how we brought in regionalism. We did all that to make sure we stay together. If you look at the agitation of the South South, South East, they are not even insisting on restructuring; it is restructuring within Nigeria or outside of it. We even understand that some radical Yoruba have drawn the map of Oduduwa Republic and all that but we are keeping them down.”

In what can be described as the most constructive argument in favour of restructuring, erudite Emir of Kano and former CBN Governor Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said “ If you really reflect on the problems of this country, it seems to turn common sense on its head. You sometimes wonder if anyone needs to tell any group of people that if you are a poor country, you do not need 36 governors, 36 deputy governors, with members of house of assembly, commissioners and advisers, special assistants, a president, a vice president , 36 ministers, special advisers, federal legislature and so on. Simple arithmetic will tell you that if you have that structure, you are first of all doomed to spending 80 or 90 percent of everything you earn maintaining public officers. It is really common sense but it seems to be a problem for us to understand it.”

In contrast, there are other people who believe that the word ‘restructuring’ is meaningless. The leader of this group is former President Olusegun Obasanjo who argued that“There is nothing wrong with Nigeria, but a lot wrong with Nigerians. The answer to most of our problems is mindset change and change of mentality. If we need any restructuring, it is the restructuring of our mindset and mentality.”

Similarly, APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi said restructuring is in the party’s manifesto but would be difficult to implement now. In his words “I don’t think it would be a wise move to add the challenges of restructuring if you have not dealt with the problems that affect the average Nigerian. So when people are hungry, when people are losing jobs, when people’s salaries are not being paid I think any responsible government would consider this to be a priority even while it still believes in the restructuring of the country. The issue of restructuring is never a gimmick. It is in the manifesto of our party.”

Similarly, Arewa Consultative Forum argued “Arewa Consultative Forum wish to lend its voice to the debate as to whether or not to restructure the Federation of Nigeria. However, ACF has observed with regret that in most cases, the discussions are taking place without regard to our present democratic structure, as the issues are in some cases presented as ‘demand’ by one group or the ‘other’. Unfortunately, in most cases they are followed up by some ultimatum to the government to accept of face deadly consequences. It should be clear to all the agitators that restructuring a complex, big and diverse country as Nigeria is a serious business that must take account of the views of all its citizens, and not just of those that shout the loudest. More so, such discussions must be free of threats, intimidation or blackmail from any group or individual. A genuine restructuring must therefore be just, fair and equitable to all. ACF therefore calls for a due process through our present democratic structure rather than just crass agitation, if we are to achieve true federalism.”

In what may be described as the most inflammatory statement of all time, Coalition of Arewa Youth said “The Yoruba are the most ungrateful stock in Nigeria. Having given them power on a platter of Gold in 1999 as a way of compensating them for the June 12 Saga, it is quite worrisome and unfortunate that they have lived up to their legendary reputation of backstabbing and betrayal by supporting divisive calls for restructuring or dismemberment of the nation against the will and desire of the north (The Trent, June, 27: 2017).”
In what looks like the position of Buhari led administration, Acting President and Senior Advocate of Nigeria , Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had argued “ …even if states are given half of the resources of the federal government, the situation will not change. The only change is to diversify the economy… it is a false narrative that nations formed the way ours was formed is bound to fail. Term mere geographic expression is not original to Nigeria. It is also false narrative that we are better off when ethnic groups are on their own. While different groups have strength we are better united. It is also not true that those who make marginalization charges are altruistic. Often what they are saying is ‘I am marginalized, appoint me’.”

However, from logs of definitions given to restructuring, one could clearly see the quintessential elements in these descriptions; “devolution of power, fairness, constituents units autonomy, resource control, regionalism, state police, de-emphasise federal allocations and true or real federalism.” These elements, no doubt are subset of the set federalism. In other words, Nigerians talk of restructuring as a result of an adulterated federalism. Hence, next section of the article would do justice to historical antecedents of Nigeria’s federalism and conditions under which unitary and federalism are suitable.

Literarily, federalism is a system of government in which government have powers to delegates the power to other elected member of the states (Gauge, 2014). In federal system of government, constituent units enjoy some rights as are available to the independent states. Also, power is jointly shared between the state and federal governments. Unitary system of government on the other hand is that form of government in which power is vested in one single central authority (as found in military government) and where there is no devolution or delegation of power to the constituent units (Oduguwa,2017). However, of the UN 192 member states, 165 are governed as unitary state (UN, 2017).

Examples of countries that presently practicing federalism include; Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Comoros, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and Venezuela (Aberdeen Business School, 2014).

While countries that practices unitary system of government includes; Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Donetsk People’s Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luhansk People’s Republic, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Namibia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niger, North Korea, Northern Cyprus, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somaliland, South Korea, South Ossetia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Transnistria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Also unitary monarch states include; Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Denmark, Grenada, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, United kingdom and Vatican City (Aberdeen Business School, 2014).
However, what is obvious is the fact that more than three quarter of the world operates unitary system of government. What is vital to understand is the reason of adopting unitary or federal in these countries. In the book entitled ‘Thoughts on the Nigerian Constitution’ (1966), Chief Obafemi Awolowo listed conditions under which unitary and federal constitution are suitable. What we must know is that there is no good or bad system of government depending on the circumstances of the people in terms of culture, diversity, boundary, size, religion and other socio-economic factors. In stating his argument, Chief Awolowo argued;

“… in any country where there are divergences of language and of nationality-particularly of language- a unitary constitution is always a source of bitterness and hostility on the part of linguistic or national minority groups. On the other hand, as soon as a federal constitution is introduced in which each linguistic or national group is recognized and accorded regional autonomy, any bitterness and hostility against the constitutional arrangements as such, disappear. If the linguistic or national groups concerned are backward or too weak vis-à-vis the majority group or groups, their bitterness or hostility may be dormant or suppressed. But as soon as they become enlightened and politically conscious, and/or courageous leadership emerges amongst them, the bitterness and hostility come into the open, and remain sustained with all possible venom and rancour, until home rule is achieved. Also, a federal constitution is usually a more or less dead letter in any country which lacks any of the factors conducive to federalism.

Hence, the following conclusions can be deduced;
1. If a country is unilingual and uni-national , the constitution must be unitary;
2. If a country is unilingual or bilingual or multilingual, and also consists of communities which, over a period of years, have developed divergent nationalities, the constitution must be federal, and the constituent states must be organized on the dual basis of language and nationality;
3. If a country is bilingual or multilingual, the constitution must be federal, and the constituent-states must be organized on a linguistic basis;
4. Any experiment with a unitary constitution in a bilingual or multilingual or multinational country must fail in the long run.
We are now in a position to asseverate , categorically and with all the emphasis at our command, that, since Nigeria is a multi-lingual and multinational country par excellence, the only constitution that is suitable for its peculiar circumstances is a federal constitution.” p49.

However, argument of Chief Awolowo in Calabar Prison in 1966, remain the contention today. The Nigerian nation has failed tremendously in horizontal and diagonal directions and actors have not only exhausted their talents and strengths but are as well confused. It is not for the president or any of his agents to tell us what is right in the midst of wrongs. We are no nonentities! If call for federalism should fail, what alternative is in place? This concern leads us to the vital elements of federalism as agreed by the founding fathers in October 1st, 1960:

(1) Head of State: There should be only one head of State for the whole of the federation, whose office should be purely ceremonial
(2) Head of Government: The Head of Government in the Federation or in a constituent state should be directly elected by the registered electors in the Federation or State.
(3) Appointment of Ministers: Ministers may be appointed from outside, or from among the Members of Parliament.
(4) Entry into the Civil Service: The Civil Service should be divided into classes –such as Professional Scientific, Technical, Administrative, Executive and Clerical; and entry into each class, other than the Professional, Scientific, and Technical classes, should be competitive examination… Promotion within each class should be by merit. All employees of statutory boards, corporations, commissions, or bodies, shall be deemed to be members of the Civil Service for purposes of first appointments and promotions.
(5) Constituent States: The organisation of the country into constituent states should be on linguistic basis; provided however, that:
(i) No one or two states shall be so large in size and population as to be able to overrule the other states and bend the will of the federal government to its own; and
(ii) No state shall be so small as to be unable to maintain its independence within the sphere of functions allotted to it.
(6) Human Rights: Fundamental human rights should be entrenched in the constitution ; and there should be provisions to the effect that nothing in the constitution or in any law should derogate from such entrenched human rights, except in time of war and emergency, and in so far as is necessary to secure respect for the rights of others.
(7) Normative Social Objectives: The constitution should declare and entrench normative social objectives which the Federation should pursue in the fields of economic, politics, education and health.
(8) Separation of Powers: There should be separation of powers amongst the three organs of state, namely: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
(9) Organic Laws: As far as possible, provisions should be made in the constitution concerning the detailed structure of each of the three organs of the state.
(10) Division of Functions: The constitution should make express provisions for:
(i) Exclusive Federal Legislature functions;
(ii) Concurrent legislative functions; and
(iii) Residual functions to be vested in the state legislature.
(11) Jurisdiction of Federal Commissions: The following bodies should , in the discharge of their respective functions, have jurisdiction in all parts of the Federation:
(i) The Public Service Commission;
(ii) The Judicial Service Commission; and
(iii) The Electoral Commission.
(12) Code of Conduct: A code of conduct should embodied in the constitution which shall prescribe Rules of Discipline by which ministers and other specified functionaries , in all the branches of each of the organs of the State , shall be bound and guided. Appropriate sanction against any violation of the code should also be provided for in the constitution.
(13) Qualifications of Judges: Only a barrister or solicitor who possesses one or more recognized university degrees with at least second-class honours in one, and has at least 10 years’ practice at the bar, or in the alternative , 5 years’ practice at the bar plus 5 years’ experience as a magistrate or court official, should be appointed as a judge.
(14) Franchise: Electoral franchise throughout the federation should be based on universal adult suffrage.
(15) Common Roll of Voters: There should be one common roll or register of voters for all elections in all parts of the federation.
(16) Structure of parliaments: The federal Parliament should be bi-cameral; whilst the state legislatures should be uni-cameral.
(17) General Elections: General elections to the federal and state legislatures as well as the elections of the Heads of Federal and State Governments should be held every Five Years on the same day throughout the federation.
(18) Registration of Political Parties: Political parties should be registered with the Federal Electoral Commission (Now Independent National Electoral Commission); but only a political party which is national both in character and operation and whose membership is open to all Nigerian citizens should be so registered.
(19) Election of Candidates: Every candidate for election, whether or not he is opposed by any other candidate or candidates at such election, shall be voted for.
(20) Membership of Legislature: Every member of the Federal or State Legislature should be directly elected by the electors in the constituency which he represents.
(21) Automatic Loss of Seat: A member of parliament who resigns his membership of, or is expelled from, the political party on whose platform he was elected into Parliament shall automatically lose his seat in Parliament.
(22) Unrestricted Eligibility: Every Nigerian citizen should be qualified to stand for election in every part of the Federation.
(23) Dissolution of Legislatures: All Federal and State Legislatures should stand automatically dissolved Thirty Days before the expiration of Five years from the date on which the immediately preceding General Elections were held into the said Legislatures. No legislature shall be dissolved otherwise.
(24) Equal Legislative Powers: The two Federal Houses of Parliament should have equal legislative powers.
(25) Secularity of State Legislature: The Federal Parliament or Government should not have the power to suspend or perform the functions of a regional legislature or Government in any circumstances, save when the Federation is at war.
(26) Dissolution of Local Government Council: The State Legislature or Government should not have the power to suspend or dissolve a local government council in any circumstances, during the council’s statutory term in office.
(27) Local Government Councils: Elections to local government councils should be conducted every three years, and at least three-fourths of the members of any such council should be directly elected by the registered voters in the area of the council.
(28) Alteration of the Constitution: Any provision of the constitution, made in pursuance of this and the forgoing twenty-eight basic principles, should be entrenched, and should be altered only by the people in a referendum (Awolowo, 1966).

However, the forgoing highlights are basic elements that must be present in our Federalism. More so, what Nigerians should understand is that federalism (restructuring) is not injurious to any of the federating units. In other words, true federalism means prosperity, equality, fairness, development and transparency for all the regions, religions, clans and people in the union or boundary of a nation. Many people kick against federalism because of greed and ignorance. Nevertheless, a true patriotic Nigerian should not hesitate to ask;
Why are some people afraid of federalism? Why is President Buhari, Acting President Osinbajo, Obasanjo and others against true federalism? What are we going to lose if we have federalism? Why is APC not ready to implement its manifesto on federalism as written in the party’s constitution? If the present system (unitary in practical terms) would work, when will that be? If we duly reject federalism (since national assembly and presidency have rejected it), what alternative do we have? Is federalism same as secession? These are vital questions we should ask ourselves before we start to make unholy comments on restructuring.
Before I go, it is necessary to link what is happening presently to views of the founding fathers on the entity called Nigeria:
Sir Ahmadu Bello once said “The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great-grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities of the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us, and never allow them to have control over their future.”

Similarly, Chief Awolowo in a speech he delivered in London, November 3, 1961 said “If rapid political progress is to be made in Nigeria, it is high time we were realistic in tackling its constitutional problems. Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English’, ‘Welsh’, or ‘French’. The word ‘Nigerian’ is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not.”

Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe once said “My parents are natives of Eastern Nigeria, the arsenal of republicanism in Nigeria. Although I am Ibo, yet I speak Yoruba and I have a smattering of Hausa. I am now Premier of Eastern Nigeria, the land of my fathers, which lies five hundred miles from the place of my birth in Zungeru, in Northern Nigeria… Each of our three Regions is vastly different in many respects, but each has this in common: that, despite variety of languages and custom or difference in climate, all form part of one country which has existed as a political and social entity for fifty years. That is why we believe that political union of Nigeria is destined to be perpetual and indestructible.”
Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, speaking at the Legislative Council in 1948 said “Since 1914 the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any sign of willingness to unite, Nigerian unity is only a British intention for the country.”

In contrast, by 1957 (three years to Nigeria’s independence) Sir Balewa made a U-turn “I am pleased to see that we are now all agreed that the Federal system is, under present conditions, the only sure basis on which Nigeria will remain united. We must recognize our diversity and the peculiar conditions under which the different tribal communities live in this country.”
Chief Alex Ekwueme said in 1992 “Ours is hardly a Federation except in name.”
Chief Adekunle Ajasin was reported to have said “Our Federalism is upside down. We are not practicing Federalism in Nigeria.”

Therefore, all over the world, views and aspirations of any group of people who felt marginalized is heard through referendum. This should be same with Nigeria. Unity or union is negotiable. I urge our learned Prof. of law and Acting President of Nigeria to be civic and put sentiment or personal interest aside, on issue of federalism. In practical terms, what we practice today is not federalism and whether we like it or not, if we continue to live under this structure, failure is inevitable. Also, I urge all Nigerians to seek knowledge, and rise up to their responsibilities and civic obligations. You don’t need to be a lawyer before you know and understand the Nigerian constitution. It is your civic right!

Finally, we should stop spreading hate speeches about restructuring, even if you are benefiting from the present government. Whether you are APC or PDP or private person, it is imperative for all of us to work very hard in unison to push Nigeria to higher grounds, where prosperity, fairness, equity, social justice is not only possible but the only option available among alternatives. That is only possible through federalism!

Integrity: Mother of Goodwill, Father of Immortality

By Adedara Oduguwa
(04/15/2017)
If there is any message I will like to pass today, then the message would be: integrity mother of goodwill, father of immortality. Integrity is not having less or more of the purchasing power. It is not a state of controlling both human and material resources neither a state of affluence or influence (power or authority), far from it. According to Anderson (2012) success will come and go, but integrity is forever. This statement completes the witty saying that to have integrity is to live forever. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. It is characterised by being rectitude, honourable, trustworthy, morally upright, sincere and noble. Further, men of integrity keep their promises, maintain societal values, and are protected by God and honoured by immortality. A man of integrity is unreasonably reliable and dependable. You can live for as long as you can, without integrity the future is dashed.
Biblically, Daniel, Joseph, Peter and Abraham were described as great men of integrity. They lived a life not only exemplary but honourable, rooted on moral grounds, positive, temptation resisted , determination to put others first, partner with progressive minds, value other’s opinion, thankful to God, accountable, incorporate other’s idea to give meaningful result and acknowledge other’s contributions.

On the 3rd of July, 2016, a case of integrity was reported in the media about Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim Ogbanago, a security guard who works at Nigeria’s top financial company, United Bank for Africa (UBA), has received recognition for returning a sum of $10,000 to the bank. On twitter that same day, several people called him names such as fool, the boy is too good, were (mad- man) and so on. In relative line, the CEO of the bank Mr Tony Elumelu wrote:
“When I heard about this story, I knew I had to meet the man who despite facing rising petrol & transportation prices and “tomato ebola” returned such a huge sum of money without recourse to himself.”
“It was a pleasant surprise to hear him tell this story and about how he came to be in the board room with us. Even more surprising was hearing him speak about his passion for governance and integrity in leadership.”
“Mohammed Ibrahim Ogbanago is an exemplary ambassador of the UBA spirit and it was fulfilling to meet and reward him for his conduct.” (Source Pulse,2016).
Consequently, at the 2017 UBA CEO Awards, Mohammed Ibrahim Ogbanago was given a cash prize of $5,000 by the Governor of Adamawa State; $10,000 by the Governor of Bauchi State; a promise of N5,000,000 by the Deputy Senate President, and this was topped off with an award of excellence by the bank. This made him to earn trust and recognition for himself, his family and his well wishers. Mr. Ogbanago is today richer than his HOD as a security officer. That is the reward of integrity. Ironically, for the past months, the Nigeria’s legislature, executive and judiciary have failed this same integrity test repeatedly. Just yesterday, an heroic welcome was given to an high profile international criminal and ex-convict, when he was conferred a Chieftaincy title of “Ezi-Oyi Anioma”, Meaning “a good friend of Anioma nation’ (Leadership, 2017).” This act is not only shameful but demeaning on our ethos and value system.

Integrity is often not celebrated in this part of the world. Dishonesty, deceitfulness, duplicity, untruthfulness and deception remain our pride. It is electrifying how many young Nigerians are prepared to steal from the national treasury if opportune in protest against yester-night generation who they claim mortgaged their destiny for worldly diadem. I want to tell you friends, two wrong does not make a right. Certainly, this older generation has failed us! We cannot afford to fail the coming generation. What we therefore need is determination, sacrifice, can do and faith in a fruitful effort. The future is not doleful but bright!

On daily basis, thought of my dream Nigeria continuously flash into my subconscious mind. A Nigeria where sale of generator-set is impossible. A Nigeria where the poor and the rich will seat together in equal parity. A Nigeria where meritocracy not democracy rules. A Nigeria where budget paddling is not attractive. A Nigeria where life is meaningful and abundant. A Nigeria where Nigerians are the most respected people of the World. A Nigeria where freedom of speech is priceless. A Nigeria where judiciary and legislature are not instrument in the hand of the executive. A Nigeria where education is freedom from mental slavery. A Nigeria where policemen and teachers are honoured and well paid. A Nigeria where integrity is all that matters. A Nigeria where mediocre (a Billionaire without pedigree) cannot be voted for as local government councilor. A Nigeria where power truly resides with the people. A Nigeria where soldiers are not life-abusers but its protector. A Nigeria where capital punishment is a reward for public theft and rehabilitation a reward for petty-stealing. A Nigeria where SMEs contribute 70% to the GDP and foreign exchange earnings. A Nigeria where a minute darkness due to electricity is not only impossible but a taboo. A Nigeria where British and American will come to work in other to earn a living. A Nigeria where N1 is equal to $400. A Nigeria where corrupt public officers enthroned their family name into eternal damnation from public offices. A Nigeria where public hospitals have over 200 Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines and 20 patients to a medical doctor. A Nigeria where politicians do not tell us what they want to do during campaigns but what they do daily before it. A Nigeria where integrity not money wins elections. A Nigeria where neither APC nor PDP can survive as political party. A Nigeria where the youth are more important than the aged. A Nigeria where the road are free of potholes and dungeon holes. A Nigeria where there is optimum employment. A Nigeria where graduates are respected and employable. A Nigeria where the president do not selection INEC chairman, Inspector general of police, Antony General of the Federation, EFFC/ICPC chairmen and so on (to allow for true independence of these bodies). A Nigeria where food, health and education are subsidized for all. A Nigeria where social amenities are priority of our capital expenditure. A Nigeria where the president is truly for all and not for selected few. That is my Nigerian dream.

Did I hear ‘impossible?’ It is, through integrity! I will define integrity as ‘audacity of purpose’. It is the ability to remain firm, strong, trustworthy and do only what is ‘right for the people’ not what is mandatory. Further, I see integrity as a path to eternal prosperity, triggered by passion and unreasonable faith in God and not man, to cut any finger disrupting collective progress and roast it in the prison of justice. It is the ability to stand outside the fence of norm, the confidence to say No! No!! No!!! To anomalies irrespective of who the culprits are. Integrity is a death warrant! The will to die physically for immortality! Integrity is sacrifice! The strength to give all to nobody but everybody! Integrity is contentment! High probabilistic tendency to say no to financial, emotional, physical, mental, academical, political and economical temptation. Integrity is not a state of perfection! But a path to it. Integrity is not power! But the route to affluence. If you want to live forever choose integrity!

It is sad that after approximately 57years of her independence, Nigeria remain a shadow of her reality. Family background contributes immensely to present societal loss of value. A child in his/her teen now thinks of owing a luxury car and not the future. The church talk only of offering and tithe (usually ill-gotten monies) forgetting salvation and corporate social responsibility (CSR), setting new scriptural standards. Schools have become name centers with teachers who are themselves pupils in developed economies. The nucleus home environment is characterized by mothers who curse their children anytime they break a plate. Children choose their bosom friends based on bohemia and delinquency statures. This frustration becomes multiplied when the society now writes wrong as right and right as wrong.
Where is the future? Becomes a rhetorical question only to be answered by INTEGRITY! Let’s ask ourselves, what do we gain from insincerity?

OLAOLUWA

An untold story of a determined Carrier (Kaya)
By Adedara Oduguwa
ola
Today, I wish to talk about someone whose story and history should be added to the subject-History (hard work), which should be taught in homes and schools. This story is important today especially at a time when young people in Sagamu, Ogun State, Western Nigeria and Nigeria continually vote bohemia, delinquency and short-cuts as the only route to financial liberty and prosperity. More so, the societal value is increasingly depleting as what is used to be ‘culture and family home training’ which provides for ‘native intelligence’ in the growing youths is swiftly replaced by ‘hastiness of result’ exhibited by modern day parents.
 
Modern day parents were children of those days, who choose completely to bohemia, delinquency and corruption themselves but only to be cornered by the reality of life. These breed of parents felt their mission statement ‘getting rich quickly without consequence’ was not achieved due to their own parents who were absolutely not in support of such devilish way of getting wealthy. Little do such parents (modern parents) know they have failed the society for importing such holocaust into our community sphere.
 
Besides, when parents refuse to be responsible at the home front, after given birth to mushroom of kwashiorkor, haggard looking children and introducing them to life-destructive hazards (prostitution, fraud or stealing) due to fending for themselves, then it becomes expected for such to think of it ‘getting rich quickly without consequence’.
 
But then, a young man in the early 90s proved such thinking wrong by gallantly walking the work into his destiny and speaking from the dark of his existence that ‘ Life and determination is all that is needed to make a difference’ , not money nor fame! By name, he is Olaoluwa, born in the early 1980s, into the family of a great hunter father and mother who was a fufu (cassava flour) trader.
 
Olaoluwa attended St. Paul Primary School Sagamu and passed out with a very good grade even though he was the main hawker of his mother’s cassava flour (fufu). Around Sagamu, especially in Makun area, the name Olaoluwa was household name throughout the early 90s. Among the young people of his time, Olaoluwa was a Yoruba story teller. He would sit the young ones down and fed them with tales of Tortoise and its wife (Ijapa and Iyanibo), Yoruba history and more. One surprising thing about Olaoluwa was his prowess in Yoruba literature i.e Alawiye. His dream was to become a broadcaster. He could read any Yoruba literature fluently without mincing words. His use of antonomasia and onomatopoeia was excellent. As a lover of history, I remember how this young man who was some 5-8 years older than me reads Yoruba story to us. His voice in reading was as candy-coated as that of nightingale. He reads with patience and push. One could guess what motivated him at the time. He wanted to make a difference through making others happy, fulfilling and proud.
 
The society saw Olaoluwa as something close to useless due to his clothe which was as neat as rag and a body-odour unable to be condoled by Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien perfume (most expensive world perfume). Another feature of this great man was how he could walk throughout the street of Sagamu bare-footed. Olaoluwa was strong, physically powerful, fiercely dogged, modest and enterprising. He was such a workaholic that knew what he wanted. And everyone around him knew he was specially made brand.
 
How did I see him? I never felt uncomfortable around him. He was an idea of what suffering could be without parental upbringing. I saw the intellect and determination that pushes this less-privileged young man. I learnt the act of humility, determination, enterprise and service from him. Although, apart from the Yoruba storytelling act, which Olaoluwa would give for free anytime, everything or anything was for a price. He was more of an entrepreneur than a cheerful giver.
 
However, immediately after leaving St. Paul Primary School, his parents called him and told him he could not further due to lackry of fund. Um, he felt so bad and some of us (his history student) felt that would be the end of his journey. Sooner, he recovered from such unpleasant shock, and forged ahead. He worked at Olowo-Ake bakery for a while before delving into business. He started selling bamboo for TV antenna. In those days, there was nothing like DSTV or anything cable but local antenna for Black & White and coloured TV sets. Many houses in Sagamu cannot even be proud of owing a TV set being it coloured or black and white. Modernization was slow but gradual. In 1994, when father was installed as Lisa of Ibido, one could see the transition. I could remember vividly how everyone in Sagamu streets wore buba and sokoto (traditional shirt and rapper) with no single shirt and trouser. Today the story is completely different. Sagamu is today a second Lagos.
 
Back to my Olaoluwa’s story, I remembered how a rich man wanted to send Olaoluwa to school but one of his wives objected to the act. She argued ‘how can you send him to school and sooner, he would be competing with our children’. That’s not so disappointing today. How many of our men of honour or philanthropists can boast of sending orphans and less-privileged to school without a price? We are bad Samaritans.
 
However, after a while in the bamboo (Oparun) business, Olaoluwa felt he could diversify in order to make more money. He must have been inspired by log of the tortoise tales. He was a wise man. Sooner, he had become a major carrier (kaya) at the Awolowo market. In those days, kaya is a work that is reserved for the Hausas. No single Sagamu indigene could be so loose-fitting with such occupation. Olaoluwa, the dogged and focused entrepreneur didn’t think of what people would say. He carried out his job with due diligence and became an expat in that line. He got himself a wheel barrow, later added two and three wheel barrows. He started hiring two out and he was using one by himself. This was within a space of few years. At this point, his weekly income was more than what a secondary school teacher could earn in a month. He came back in one evening and told me he wish to get himself a motorcycle and later a car (taxi). That he would soon retire from being a carrier but would buy more wheel barrows which he intends to give out on rent. His ideas were novel and out of our world. He was so futuristic and determined than many graduates today.
 
Few weeks after this time, he was getting lot of issues with his elder brother Kusimo on rooms. Olaoluwa used to sleep in the passage of their house. So, end come to this on the day he felt he could build himself a house. He talked to Ajingolo (hunter title of his father) about building on the free land at his backyard. His father approved of his quest. In less than a month, Olaoluwa had erected a room and parlour (big enough to be two bedrooms flat in today’s measurement). Wow! This feat got many by shock. I was not surprised because I knew his financial worth. Meanwhile, it was this building that made many to start respecting this great entrepreneur. He was only about 20 years old at the time. He believed he can, and yes, he achieved it. The process of greatness for everyman remains the same. Every great man in history was once a wonderer. Most great people migrated from one occupation to another and eventually get to their destination (destiny).
 
What is more, few weeks after this time, I heard an outcry which made everyone to rush out of their respective homes. Like others, I traced the voice to the street. I saw a mob of people sobbing, jumping up and down. As young man, I was meddlesome to understand what transpired. I asked someone beside me and she said it’s like Olaoluwa is dead! What? I cannot comprehend this until I saw the hearse and his motionless body been whisked out. For few minutes I was emotionally aphonic. That would be the first juvenile’s death experience I had witnessed. I was shocked and disillusioned with nature, the society and his parents. Truly, Olaoluwa our Yoruba Story teller is dead. We were told he died of an internal disease. He was buried and from that point nobody remembers him.
 
Year in and out, Olaoluwa story kept flashing my thoughts. At times, I could feel him and even see him in my psychological mind. What made this man thick? What if he lived for 40, 50 or 70 years? His story was really touching and interesting. More interesting it becomes when many young people of my generation with similar background would argue that they are unfortunate because their parents cannot send them to school or support them in trade. Today, Olaoluwa’s brother after over 20 years of his death remains the landlord of his father’s house and that of his brother. He is in his late 40s or early 50s, yet cannot boast of owing a room of his own. That is life’s irony.
 
Consequently, I extracted the following lessons from Olaoluwa’s reminiscence.
1. No one can kill your dream without your permission. Although, Olaoluwa’s specific dream was to become a broadcaster, his general dream was to be successful in life. He achieved it even at a tender age before death came.
2. Determination is a better weapon than inheritance. Yes, Olaoluwa would have inherited only a room from his father’s four-face-me & face –u room house, but he built his own through hard work.
3. You can change your story without stealing and fraud. The shame in been labelled a fraudster or ritualist is more than been called a carrier (kaya). Dignity and honour is all that matters. At least for your children, if not for you.
4. Handwork is the only solution to financial wretchedness. Being hardworking is all that’s vital. No food for a lazy man. Move with responsible, progressive and honest people. The future belongs to only those who prepare for it.
5. Erase the thought ‘what will people say’ and face your life. Because if you fail or die poor, people will still say you have failed.
Why a story on Olaoluwa?
 
Few days ago, I was in contact with an old secondary school mate. He was now driving a porch car. He was only a secondary school grandaunt who never went further or work with any reputable company. A friend sitted beside me in the car said ‘are you surprised?’ ‘Yes’ I replied. He laughed and said ‘that is just one of his cars he is such a wealthy man now. I like him because he is smart.’ I asked him again, where is he getting this money from in this time of Buhari?’ He smiled and said ‘baba, I know Phd is good o, but don’t get it twisted, you don’t need a Phd to get money. That guy na internet wizard (yahoo yahoo)’. This time I smiled and asked ‘do you envy him? Because I don’t’, I only wish it won’t get late before he realizes it. Then he chuckled and said ‘ko kan aye’ meaning ‘who cares’. He added ‘the only thing I don’t like is the fact that some of them eat faeces from babies diapers with bread. Baba, it is so common now. In fact, they even build houses and buy cars for their parents with that money. Do you know there are lots of secondary school students (fraudsters) who have built houses in GRA?” He submitted.
 
Although it is not my first time of hearing such. I blame parents and the society for accepting such gluttony. More importantly, young ladies who should be in school for purposes of scholastic endeavour or learning a trade are deeply into prostitution due to receiving such support from parents and the society. Well, ignorance cannot positively change a society. Get busy and prove so many wrong. You don’t need to go wrong to get right!
 
What about the Nigerian police? The purpose of establishing it is to help in maintaining laws and orders but in reality, they are themselves law breakers or law breakers protector. They run after the most treacherous in the society and woo them on only for buyoff. Some collects such money they can’t earn as officers in a lifetime. At times, they even sought for parcels of land in the GRA. All criminals are well known to them but only few innocent or deviants (who refuse to pay them) are harassed and arrested.
It is somber how the future bleaks. Olaoluwa, keep resting in peace. We are so proud of you! It is left for you to leave good legacy behind. I will like to leave good legacy as well.
 
God bless the area called Nigeria.
 
Adedara writes from Sagamu, Ogun State.