A chieftain of the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari is leading the country to war with his dictatorial tendencies and his refusal to restructure the country.
Adebanjo, who was a guest at the Arise Television Morning Show yesterday, was reacting to the observation made by stakeholders at the ‘Never Again’ conference, organised by the Nzuko Umunna to commemorate 50 years after the civil war.
Participants at the conference had advised that the country should work hard to avoid a repeat of the war.
The elder statesman, who spoke passionately, said the president wants to rule the country by force and exclusively, and that does not promote peace.
“What led to the war? The agitation of the Igbos was that they were being excluded from the government of the day; the details are known. What is he doing to erase the impression? He is making things worse; the agitation then was ‘let us have a government where everyone will participate’. So, if Buhari wants us to take him seriously in this country, he should restructure the country now and let us have the constitution we all contributed to, anything short of that, he is leading us to war quietly.”
Adebanjo recalled that when there was crisis in the country in 1952, during the colonial era, the colonialists invited the leading politicians in the country and the parties to London for a conference and they argued among themselves on the kind of constitution they wanted because the MacPherson Constitution was not working. He said the result of that conference was independence, adding that there was peace until the military came in 1966 to disrupt the system and impose the unitary system of government in the country, which made the president powerful.
He said that constitution should be changed, adding that former President Goodluck Jonathan had convened a constitutional conference in 2014 and recommendations were made by prominent citizens whose integrity, professionalism, quality and experience cannot be questioned.
He said the recommendations were presented to Buhari when Jonathan handed over power to him, but regretted that Buhari put the recommendations aside.
Adebanjo said the president had claimed on several occasions that he is a born-again democrat and that he will obey the rule of law, but alleged the president’s actions since he assumed office showed otherwise.
“He is after IPOB for saying they want to get out of the country, and I told him and I told the country that IPOB is not an anathema; restructure the country and they will stay. What is Biafra, Biafra says let us be equal partners in this federation; if you don’t want me to be an equal partner, I want to get out.
“I once challenged Buhari that ‘you are the greatest enemy of unity in this country the moment you don’t go for restructuring because we said we want to live in peace you said no’.”
He called on the president to set up his own national conference if he does not want the 2014 conference.
“If we want peace, we don’t want war, let’s compel Buhari to restructure the country now.”
On the recently launched Operation Amotekun in the south-west, the Afenifere chieftain said the solution to the security challenge in the country is state police, which is part of the ingredient of restructuring.
“That is why Buhari is opposed to it because he wants to rule the country by force. So, those of you who are honest you need to bring Buhari to restructure this country and send us back to federalism; let everybody develop at his own pace. That is the constitution Sarduana, Awolowo and Azikiwe agreed to at Independence.”