June 12: We are not fools – Elder statesmen tell Buhari to restructure Nigeria as a sign of his genuineness
– Several elder statesmen have stated that Buhari’s June 12 honours is a political stunt; and called on the president to restructure the country if he is genuine
– NADECO chieftain, Amos Akingba, said the Buhari govt waited for elections to come before conferring the GCFR honours on Abiola, so that they can use it to bribe the Yorubas
– Afenifere’s Ayo Adebanjo insisted that nobody can come and bamboozle the Yorubas because elections are coming
– On his part, Tony Uranta stressed that restructuring the country would show that the president has a mind to do the right thing
Amos Akingba, chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO); Ayo Adebanjo of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere; Guy Ikokwu, president of the Pan Ndigbo National Forum; and Tony Uranta, executive secretary of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), have insisted that no amount of tinkering with the June 12 issue would quell yearnings for a restructured federation, Guardian reports.
The elder statesmen made the comments against the backdrop of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day.
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gathers that they described the move as a political stunt; and insisted that President Buhari must return the country to true federalism.
Akingba stated: “People are claiming that Buhari gave the honour due to 2019 elections. But I think that cannot work in the south-west, because we know our agenda.
“They are not doing Abiola any favour; they are only recognising his sacrifices for the country. And if it is not done right, the unity of Nigeria will be questioned and eventually break up.
“When General Murtala Mohammed lost his life, they named the Lagos state international airport after him. Now, instead of doing the right thing, they waited for elections to come, so that they can use it to bribe the Yoruba.”
He called on the president to send the report of the 2014 National Conference to the National Assembly, and follow up on its implementation. He said that he would vote for Buhari, if he embraces restructuring.
He said: “There is no gift, even as this honour, that will make me change my mind. I will vote for him (Buhari) any day and time, if he embraces restructuring.
“If he is the architect of the regime that champions the return of Nigeria to true federalism and does away with this fraudulent constitution; if he channels this, I will be with him 247.”
Ayo Adebanjo urged the president to show genuineness and rethink his decision, if it was taken for political gains. He also insisted that Buhari must restructure the country before the elections.
He stated: “We are no fools in this country. He should know that many of us have not got cattle brains. We are well educated and we know what we want.
“Nobody can come and bamboozle us because elections are coming. It is just like he said in 2015 that he was a born-again democrat. Now, he has shown us that he is a dictator. We are not moved by it.”
He went further: “It is a welcome idea. And yes, it is a thing that ought to have been done. But that he is now doing it because elections are coming, that does not excite me at all.
“He has been in office for three years. Why did he remember to do it when he realised he was ending his first term in office and needed votes? He thinks that we are so foolish and he can say that he did something for us. As I said, we have not got cattle brains; we have got real brains.”
On his part, Uranta stressed that restructuring the country would show that the president has a mind to do the right thing. He expressed confidence that the demand for restructuring by the southern and Middle Belt zones would remain “paramount and non-negotiable”.