Excellences, we the delegates and Leaders of Afenifere (Egbe Ilosiwaju Yoruba) are here: We have with us long-established political leaders of the South- West including the Asiwaju and our “heritage Governors”!
We come to rejoice with Your Excellences, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for your recent re-election for a second term in office. We are proud of our contributions to your victory through the Yoruba Summit Conference held at the University of Ibadan International Conference Centre on January 29, 2019. There, we passed a well-applauded motion urging all the people of Western Nigeria origin of voting age to vote for your re-election by virtue of your people-oriented and welfarist APC political programmes and performance. We are happy the people complied. Attached to this script is a copy of our motion for your support and congratulatory message published in the Nation newspaper on 28th May, 2019.
We are also here to commend Your Excellency for your recognition of June 12 as a landmark in the political history of Nigeria and for naming the National Stadium in Abuja after Chief M K O Abiola, the hero of Nigeria’s pro-Democracy struggle.
We are equally glad to note and commend Your Excellency for your efforts to empower the 36 States in Nigeria to have control of the Police as a measure of improving security and for your giant stride in the field of Agriculture, social intervention, revival and modernization of rail transportation, continuing efforts to complete the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway among other achievements.
B: ISSUES OF PARAMOUNT INTEREST TO SOUTH-WEST NIGERIA.
Please permit us, Mr. President, to submit our humble request of the following 5 major issues of paramount importance to South-West Nigeria in particular and the unity, progress and happiness of the entire country in general.
1: Security: The huge cost not withstanding, it may be considered worthwhile to take a bold step in combating crime and improving on security by improving on the apparent shortage of the manpower in the Nigeria Police Force and by extending control of the Police from the State to Local Government level. By this, we humbly suggest that Mr. President should reflect deeply and consider recruitment, training, equipment and deployment of Nigerian Police on the basis of 774 Local Governments listed in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Added to this is training the general public on the need to improve on their individual vigilance and awareness of movement of strangers passing through or moving into their neighborhood. Imbibing such a habit and practice will be a tremendous help or service to the Police and other Security Agents as regards “intelligence” support especially now that most people have access to individual means of communication (telephone handsets).
Mr. President Sir, please permit me one more observation on the issue of SECURITY. In apparent desire to supplement your efforts, the newly-elected Governors of Western Nigeria extraction, have this very day, Tuesday the 25th June 2019, held a meeting in Ibadan to map out strategies to eradicate kidnapping and violent attacks. They and other states will surely need more financial subvention and support.
2: Education: “Free Universal and Compulsory Education” had been practiced with remarkable success in some parts of Nigeria in the past. Mr. President may consider re-introducing the programme and make it compulsory at all levels and all over the country as a lasting gift to Nigeria in his final term in office. Such a bold step though very expensive will revolutionize and catapult the entire nation to the NEXT HIGHER LEVEL.
3: Youth Employment: One of the obvious advantages that will accrue from Education Programme referred to in para 2 above which will include Basic, Technical, Skill Acquisition, Digitalization and ICT Programmes will be to open wide gates to Youth Employment in Nigeria and in the Diaspora.
Thank you, Mr. President, for re-introducing HISTORY in our school curriculum. By doing this, you have told us fellow-Nigerians a proverb of world-famous Roman Senator, Lawyer and Orator MARCUS TULIUS CICERO. He said and I quote “NOT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE YOU WERE BORN, IS TO LIVE THE LIFE OF AN INFANT FOR EVER!”
4: Federalism: We seriously recommend clinging to the spirit and letters of our Federal Constitution. This is one sure way of achieving the desired goal of unity even in diversity, mutual respect, tolerance and giving true meaning to the opening phrase of our Constitution that is, “WE THE PEOPLE”.
We will be a greater nation if we sincerely practice true Federalism and THINK and ACT as NIGERIANS rather than as champions of the smaller units we were born into. Our big size is an asset worthy of preservation.
Good examples of big size, hard work and prudent spending are the USA, China and India. It is not with violence or hate speeches but with mutual trust, self-respect and tolerance that we will speedily achieve the lofty destiny of this great country – NIGERIA.
5: Power Supply and Agriculture: We have already commended your Administration on its remarkable achievements in the field of Agriculture. But the country asks for more, especially in the field of afforestation, irrigation and revival of those agricultural products like Cocoa, Groundnuts, Cotton, Palm Products and processing them for domestic consumption and export as Malaysia which borrowed seedlings from us has now gone far ahead of us.
As to Electricity, we are aware of your efforts which must be more than doubled to improve on the pace of industrialization, productivity and more comfort for all Nigerians.
C: Prayers: Finally, we are here to thank God on your behalf and to intensify our prayers for your greater achievements in all your efforts to eradicate corruption, improve on security and the good luck to have equally dedicated, disciplined and transparent co-workers so that you will leave a legacy that Nigeria and indeed the entire world will never forget. I have been asked to pray for you in Yoruba that “IWÁJÚ LOJÚGUN NGBÉ. ÀSE YÈ NI ALÁKÀN NSE PO”. Olootu Ijoba, Muhammadu ǫmǫ Buhari wà á șe àșe yè, wà á șe àșe yorí sí rere!! This means you will EXCEL and be PROGRESSIVE. I will add a prayer you are more familiar with and say,“Ihidina siratal mustakim” May the Almighty and Merciful God guide all of us to the right way to greater success and happiness.
Amen and Amen.
Long live the President!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!
Sen. Olabiyi Durojaiye spoke on behalf of the Afenifere,