Friday, 9 June 2017

Lessons from the 2014 Conference.



                          By Bayo Ogunmupe
    At the second edition of Chris Ogunbanjo Lecture Series earlier this month, the guest speaker, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola drew the attention of Nigerians to the lessons from the 2014 National Conference. In his testimony as a conference delegate, Ogunshola said restructuring was discussed along with rezoning to the four regions which existed before the 1966 military coup.
    The lecture marked the 93rd birthday anniversary of Chief Chris Ogunbanjo. It was held at Metropolitan Club, Victoria Island, Lagos. According to Ogunshola, the North opposed restructuring at the conference. This means, he said, resource control, restructuring and the part- time legislature have to be negotiated if any meaningful agreement could be achieved on the issues.
    Present at the dialogue were the management expert, Dr Michael Omolayole; former ambassadors: Tayo Ogunsulire and Dapo Fafowora. Ogunshola explained that opinions were diverse as to how to achieve true federalism. He said Southwest delegates had gone to the confab to demand six federating units, with each zonal government being able to decide  how many states and local governments it finds suitable . Even then, this position was not unanimous. The Southeast delegates were also not unanimous on their demand for six federating units.
    Chief Ogunshola averred that all the three Northern zones were unanimous on the rejection of a return to regionalism. The north was frightened by being marginalized as certain groups are being marginalized today. He added that some publications circulated at the conference argued that the population of the Northwest zone and its land area would qualify it to be more than Southeast and Southwest zones combined. Another issue Ogunshola shared intimate information is the call for the creation of state police. Accordingly, he said, some delegates showed fears but the conference eventually resolved in favour of state police.

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