the Chairman, Yoruba Unity Forum, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi (retd.), has carpeted the one-year-old administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it was full of lopsided decisions designed to favour the northern part of Nigeria while the southern part was marginalised.
The clergyman said it was vital for Buhari to implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference which supporting the call for a restructuring of the country.
Gbonigi spoke in Ibadan at a forum organised by YUF which was also attended by Yoruba leaders like the Deputy Chairman of the association, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu; the Vice Chairman, Sen. Femi Okurounmu; and a former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran.
In his address, Gbonigi condemned Buhari’s frequent trips abroad and the modalities adopted in fixing the pump price of petrol at N145 per litre even as he faulted the President’s response to the murderous attacks by Fulani herdsmen in southern communities of Nigeria.
The bishop also faulted the appointments by Buhari since coming into office, saying they were lopsided against the South.
He said the nation’s economy had performed poorly under the watch of Buhari and noted that instead of attracting major investors, the manufacturing industry had shrunk seriously in the past one year because several companies had folded up.
Gbonigi said, “While the President has made significant progress towards routing the Boko Haram insurgents and restoring peace in the North-East, other insurgencies have sprouted in other parts of the country like the South-South and the South-East, not to mention the new terror posed by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen.
“This is why well meaning, respectable Nigerians have agitated for decades and continue to agitate for a restructuring of the country in order to achieve true fiscal and political federalism. The President’s recent remarks that he would consign the recommendations of the National Conference to the archives and the posture of his party against restructuring show that they are out of step with progressive thinking in the country. Restructuring of the nation would eliminate most of our recurrent problems.”
Gbonigi said although the President’s foreign trips were meant to seek international assistance on the war against terror and to attract foreign investments, the frequency of the trips needed to be questioned.
“The President has travelled overseas in the last 12 months to about 30 countries. Nigerians at this moment of economic and social crises need to have their President stay more at home to attend to pressing domestic problems,” he said.
On the recent increase in the price of petrol, Gbonigi said while the YUF recognised the need for a partial deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, the members of the association were appalled by the “insensitive manner in which the issue was handled.”
On the issue of herdsmen’s attacks, Gbonigi accused Buhari of showing lackadaisical attitude towards the activities of the herdsmen just as he condemned the proposal to establish grazing reserves in the South.
Addressing the composition of Buhari’s government, Gbonigi said it was appalling that out of the 59 appointments made by Buhari, 41 went to the North.
“The key appointments made so far underscore the extent of the marginalisation of the southern part of the country,” he said.
Also, the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has emphasised that only an adherence to the principles of true federalism can solve the problem of workers’ salaries.
Mimiko, in his remarks at a lecture delivered by his wife, Olukemi, at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, said it was high time the country got restructured and adopted a true federal system of government to enable it tackle most of the challenges facing it.
The governor said most state governors found it difficult to pay workers’ salaries because the allocations the states were getting from Abuja currently were not enough to run the government.
Mimiko said, “The situation in our country today is that the totality of our income is not up to one-third of our salary and if we don’t run the government, we will need three-month allocation to pay one month salary.
“We used to have a federal system before the military came but the advent of the military over the years has centralised our resources.”