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JUNE 12: 23-YEAR AFTER, NIGERIA NEEDS RESTRUCTURING - GANI ADAMS

WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY OTUNBA (DR) GANI ADAMS, NATIONAL COORDINATOR, OODUA PEOPLE’S CONGRESS, (OPC) AT THE CELEBRATION OF THE 23RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE JUNE 12TH 1993 ELECTION HELD AT THE EXCELLENCE HOTEL, OGBA, LAGOS.   

 Today is exactly 23 years after the June 12 election was annulled by the military government led by Gen Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.
 He did not annul the election alone; He did so in collaboration with a section of the civilian population. June 12 drew us backwards.
Lives were lost. Businesses collapsed. Children were killed, adults were massacred.
On July 07 1993, I personally as a young boy was on the streets of Lagos when people were killed by armed security operatives.
This is apart from the cold blooded murder of notable Yoruba and other Nigerian leaders in their homes.
The number is endless: Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Chief Alfred Rewane, Dr Omosola, Alhaja Suliat Adedeji and many others, I am aware as a very active member of the Campaign for Democracy, that many innocent poor people were killed during the June 12 campaign.
Some of them were said to have been dumped in the ocean. Journalists like Baguada Kaltho, Tunde Oladepo were victims.
Some Journalists like Chinedu Offoaro of The Guardian simply disappeared and could not be found till date.
May I call on this important gathering to rise up in a minute silence in honor of the late Chief MKO Abiola and all those who lost their lives to this callous and unspeakable violence unleashed on our people?
May their souls rest in perfect peace; Chief MKO ABIOLA was a man of peace.
He was an apostle of non violence, but the authorities killed him.
 I believe his death was not natural. He did not only loose his wife, he lost his life, and his Business Empire was deeply affected.
You will all remember the Concord Newspapers, the Concord Airlines, the Abiola Bakery and The community Newspapers Chief Abiola set up across the country. All are no more, lost to the June 12 crisis.


 



 

Thousands of people whose lives were dependent in the earnings from these outfits lost their jobs.
Today, I must say that it is not yet UHURU. Some of the major issues we raised during the June 12 campaign remain unaddressed.
One major issue that stare us in the face which we fail to address is the need to restructure Nigeria.
During the June 12 campaign, we protested with leaves on our hands, but they rolled our tanks and armoured weapons to maul us down.
Today, inspire of the horrendous killings, the ideas of freedom have refused to go away.
One of the major challenges is the need to address the structure of the Nigerian state.
First of all, I feel it is important to have a forum like this to speak the truth about the state of our nation, the ups and downs, the challenges, fears and expectations of our people and the tasks ahead.

I must say that leading an organization with a vast and monumental presence in Nigeria and abroad which is OPC AND OPU, gives me the opportunity to relate with the downtrodden, the have-nots and the poorest of the poor in our society.

My position and is not informed by any desire to seek political office.

It is not informed because my party is out or in of power. It is informed by the deep feelings of the millions of people that I lead.

The Oodua People’s Congress, (OPC) is different in many ways from political parties; Leaders of political parties seek political power.

They canvass for votes and do visit communities only once in four years to speak about what they have in stock for the electorate.

Political office holders are paid from the purse and sweat of the public.

They live largely in free houses, they do not pay house rents, and they are fed from the resources of the state.

They are protected with a retinue of police men and women and a network of services the cost of which is shouldered by the people.

The OPC is different in form and content, The OPC is an organization of people, borne out of their own free will, informed by their passion and strength.

As the leader, I do not visit the communities once in four years, I visit the communities on a daily and hourly basis, I do not earn a salary, I do not live on the sweat of my members, we the leaders pay our house rents, we pay our electricity bills, and we feed from our sweat and hardwork.

Membership of OPC is also a lifelong enterprise, unlike political parties.

Leaders in OPC do not seek for political power. We do not live on the shoulders of the people.
We owe our existence to the work of our hands and the OPC is funded by membership and the age long sacrifices our members have made and continue to make.

May I say that on this basis, I have direct link with my members who are in their millions?

I know the way they fell, I know what they want. It is in this context that I wish to address the debate on the issue of restructuring of Nigeria.

I say categorically that restructuring was one of the propelling factors that led to the formation of the OPC.

It is amazing when people talk as if they do not understand the form and content of restructuring.

Nigeria came into existence without the free and informed consent of the ethnic groups that make up the country.

 In 1914, the amalgamation of the nationalities was done by fiat.

There were no consultations, there were no debates. The opinion of the people was not sought.

It was an imposition. One of the most essential ingredients of human freedom is the right to choose. Nigerians were denied this opportunity.

May I add that there are three ways a country or nation could emerge?

It is either through imposition, conquest or mutual agreement.

Imposition is usually without the force of arms, but with some elements of force or fear instilled by the dominating group, while conquest is with force of arms.

The best nations that have survived the social maelstroms are those founded on trust and mutual debate.

Nigeria emerged through a combination of imposition and conquest.

Long before the emergence of the Nigerian state in 1914, the Yoruba ancient nation flourished.

The Yoruba nation is one of the most urbanized in Africa. As far back as the 11th century, Ile Ife for instance had a population of about 70,000 people.
The Oyo Empire represented one of the most formidable political institutions Africa ever saw.
There was a monarchical system of government in place.

There was the Habe Kings in Hausa land long before the 1804 Jihad.

There was the Bornu Empire owned by the Kanuri. The Benin Kingdom was well established long before 1914.

The Igbos had their own territories and Kingdom, The 1914 amalgamation only brought, albeit by force, the various ethnic groups together by force of arms, to satisfy British imperial interest.

It should be noted that by the time the British wanted to leave in 1959, three regions were in existence in Nigeria.

These regions to some extent were an aggregate of the three most notable nationalities.

It is on record that today, most of the outstanding achievements recorded by Nigeria were those achieved by regional leaders of the time.

With the coming of the military in 1966, Nigeria started building a garrison structure.

Nigeria started building a house from the rooftop, The concept of Confederacy was dismantled to give room to states that are mere satellites of the centre. The states are nothing but rookies of the Federal Government.

The most profound institutions of government are concentrated in the hands of only one man:

Police, Army, Immigration, Customs, Federal Civil Service, Fire Service, even issues as minor as registration of companies and plate numbers of cars are tied to the almighty Federal Government.

The economy is tied to the Federal Government. The education systems and the Universities are controlled by the Federal Government.

For instance, the Federal Government took over by force, the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University in 1976, by force.

The educational programmes are designed by the Federal Government.

The authorities of the Ife University for instance cannot decide what they want to introduce their own academic standards without resort to the National Universities Commission, (NUC).

This has killed competition and liberal rivalry necessary for academic breakthroughs.

It is shameful that the Federal Government even attempts to control the Primary Education, through SUBEB, listing funds from Abuja to villages in Ondo, Bornu and Sokoto States.

This is ridiculous.
The State governors are mischievously referred to as the Chief security officers of their respective states when in reality, they are mere figureheads.

They are not in any position to determine which police commissioner should come to their states.

They are not even in any position to determine which Divisional Police Officer would be in their local government of origin.

This has led to unending surge in crime and social and cultural disequilibrium.

There is no need to remember Nigerian leaders that the time to restructure Nigeria is now.

Those who want the system to remain they way it is are beneficiaries of the decadence.
They want a system that is bogus and not accountable to the people, a system that is opaque and moribund.

We want to build strong individuals without building strong institutions.

Let it be known that my position and the position of the over 5 million members of the OPC is that Nigeria must be restructured.

It is better we do it now before it is too late, the bell is ticking.

Thanks for Listening
God Bless you all

Otunba (Dr) Gani Adams
National Coordinator Oo]dua People’s Congress
Chief Promoter Olokun Festival Foundation
Chairman Gani Adams Foundation
Convener Oodua Progressive Union.

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