Ayo Adebanjo: Let’s Reshape Or Divide Nigeria


Nigeria should be reshuffled, Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo has said that if Nigeria is not restructured, it is going to be ‘to your tents O Israel’, as Nigerians will have to go back to their different places to mind their business.

In an interview with VINCENT KALU, the elder statesman stressed that the presidency must come to the South in 2023, insisting that the North cannot have its way.

Within the week, the Northern governors with their traditional rulers met and concluded that they were not in support of the Southern governors who canvassed for rotation of the presidency. What does this portend?

It means that they want us to live in Nigeria on their own terms, where they will be the rider and we will the horse, and they want others to be the underdog.

I have said it before and I repeat, most of the Fulani people are not honest, particularly those of Buhari’s school of thought. We are going to resist it and they will see.

You say their position will be resisted, but if they insist, what will happen?

It is the breakup of the country, that’s all. I have said it severally, either you restructure the country to federalism, where everybody is an equal partner, or it will be ‘to thy tents O Israel’; whereby the country fragments and everyone goes his way to mind his or her business.

Who will accept to be an underdog? And that is why Buhari has refused to do anything to change this constitution.

I have been telling him, if you are honest, change this constitution, which was made without the consent of the people. You loaded everything against the South and you want it to continue.

READ ALSO: Kanu, Igboho: Southern, M’Belt Groups Criticized Buhari Speech

When you came in as military ruler, you made your laws and later, your people made a constitution and changed all the things that our founding fathers agreed to before independence.

I have said, if that is difficult for you, let’s sit and agree on how to move forward because we can’t continue on the condition you imposed on us. It is the hypocrites pressmen and hypocrites Yoruba who pretend not to know what is happening.

The North knows what they are doing. All the times we have been saying, we don’t want this constitution because it is oppressive and one sided.

Is it not a strong statement for the president to come and disabuse our minds? But he is not bothered. I’m a full advocate of restructuring, and I don’t want secession.

I want cooperation and the president hasn’t invited those of us talking about restructuring to hear what we are talking about if he claims he doesn’t understand what it means, but he wants to continuously force the constitution on us because all the paraphernalia of security is in his hands under the constitution.

The Fulani controls the army, Navy, Air Force, police, DSS, Customs, Immigration because the constitution is in his hands. It will not work. If he likes, let him kill everybody in the South; it can’t succeed.

The president wants to disunite and dislocate Nigeria by still allowing this constitution that is contrary to the agreement reached by the founding fathers for everybody to live together.

This time that the Northern governors were meeting, all their traditional rulers were there. This is how they are ganging up, and I refer you to what Ango Abdullahi said in 2014 before the election, ‘that it is their turn and when we have it, we have it for keeps.’

I have published it and he has not denied it. Buhari is only acting a script agreed to by the minority Fulani who are ruling the country and those of us who are opposing it, they say we want to secede. That is balderdash.

I have said it and I’m saying it again that Buhari is the number one enemy of Nigeria, for refusing to restructure the country, and he is the one encouraging the Nnamdi Kanus, the Sunday Igbohos.

This position of ‘no rotation’ and ‘there must be rotation,’ will it not fragment the country?

I’m not blabbing. The Fulani are the same, whether in APC or in PDP. The game they are playing now is to divide others and tell you they are for you, but in the end they will vote another Northerner.

Can you imagine PDP of all parties zoning the president to the North? They agreed on rotation principle for equity and fair play.

Then, behind the scene, the APC will say okay, we are zoning to the South and they will vote for the Fulani candidate.

So, the South will be watching?

Yes, if they are stupid enough. I’m say- ing it aloud and clear, they should resist it and say no. What is the ground of the PDP saying they are zoning the president to the North? They are not doing politics of principle, no ideology behind it, just self serving.

Even the Igbo that I’m defending are not helping matters. When the APC said they were going to support Tinubu, they were deceiving him.

Now to cover their deceit, they said they were going to zone it to the South, and they are giving it to Tinubu, but the same party is encouraging Fayemi, encouraging Amosun and encouraging the vice president, and they are talking of bringing Goodluck Jonathan to go and repeat in order to divide the South. It is all lies.

They have divided the South-East, assuring them also that they were going to be the president, especially those dragging their feet over restructuring. It is all lies. I told you people not to vote for Buhari in 2015 and you refused, where are we now?

All I’m saying is that if the North insists and succeeds in their plans for 2023, it will lead to everybody ‘going back to his tent.’

The British amalgamated us without consulting us, so we will go our separate ways without consulting anyone.

They joined the East and the West because they couldn’t maintain the North because of their poverty and we agreed at independence on certain grounds and conditions. But today, the North has deviated from that and that is why we are in trouble.

The problem we are having now is the constitution drawn up by them and they allocated everything to themselves and they want the South to continue to follow them.

I repeat, we either restructure the country or break the country. Even though the British didn’t consult us before joining us, it is not their fault that the Fulani breached the terms of agreement of living together.

We agreed at Lancaster House on the constitution before independence, which was handed over to us. It is the ability to dominate by a section of the ethnic groups because they control the military and security that is causing the problem.

We don’t have a problem with the British, though they are encouraging them and their collaborators in the South.

Why do you think the North is afraid of rotation of power, restructuring and the collection of the value-added tax (VAT) by the states?

Commodore Olawunmi has told the nation that Buhari wanted to Islamise Nigeria. Didn’t you read it or listen or watch the video clip? Have they come out to refute it? I challenge Garba Shehu, Femi Adesina and Lai Mohammed to refute what the man said.

They must have listened to it; nobody would say half of what the man said without them attacking or refuting.

The United Arab Emirates named some Nigerians sponsoring Boko Haram, but the government doesn’t want to make them public and prosecute them. What is your take on this?

They sent the report to the president. Commodore Olawunmi said some of those they accused of are now governors, senators and in Aso Rock. What is the re- ply of the government? The man was on air saying it.

Has the presidency replied? When it was reported that the DSS has arrested him, they said they didn’t arrest him but were merely asking him questions.

What has happened thereafter? They dare not arrest him because they knew he was speaking the truth. It is the press that re- fused to pick it up from there.

Even media commentators refused to say anything thereafter because there is an Executive Order to close down any unfriendly media house.

People don’t want to talk because they don’t want to die, but Ayo Adebanjo will want to talk and speak the truth because he wants to die and go to heaven. That is why I’m saying what I’m saying.

Southern governors met and resolved to ban open grazing. However, in the states that have enacted anti grazing laws, cows are still seen grazing openly. What do you have to tell these governors?

Still the same thing we are talking about. The presidency came out to counter the law through the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and some Northern governors say they would see how it would be implemented.

The state House of Assembly met and passed law, but the Attorney General has the effrontery to query it and to say it cannot be implemented be- cause the police that should implement the law are under the Federal Government. These people are afraid to talk.

What advice would you give to these Southern governors?

I don’t have any advice for them. Let them play their game as they see it. I did not beg to be in Nigeria because I was not consulted to be in Nigeria. I was born an Ijebu man and a Yoruba man. My father was born before 1914 as a Yoruba man.

So he was not a party to Nigeria. The British bound us together under conditions. The moment you renege on the conditions or agreement to stay together; what next? It is to separate, except our people are afraid to speak because they want to get freedom on a platter, including the Igbo, who are now praising Buhari.

He went to Imo State and some people started hailing him that he has done well.

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