The Yoruba leaders, including Chief Ayo Adebanjo and former Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Modupe Adelaja criticized the security architecture of the country, especially a police system where most parts of the Southwest are policed by persons who are not familiar with the terrain.
They argued that there is no way the Southwestern part of the country could be policed from Abuja.
He emphasized the need for decentralization of the police force, demanding that the states should have their police force to enable them to tackle the security problems plaguing the states.
Chief Adebanjo who spoke at the 25 anniversary celebration of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) observed that the only solution for Nigeria to be saved from bandits and criminals is to institute state police, insisting that “there is no way Southwest can be policed from Abuja or Southeast be policed by persons from Southwest and vice versa.”
Similarly, former Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Adelaja, the spokesman for the Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumankin aligned with the stand of Chief Adebanjo, saying that for the states to handle their policing affairs remains the way to go. Earlier, the guest lecturer Professor Babatunde Babawale of the Department of Political Science University of Lagos urged the OPC to go back to the days of forging alliance with other ethnic nationalities in other to achieve its objectives.
He said that 25 years after the establishment of the OPC, the fears of ethnic marginalization had continued, but called on the OPC to stay along the part of the culture and work for the enthronement of social justice.
Earlier in his address, the leader of the OPC and the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland Chief Gani Adams, re-echoed the urgent need to restructure Nigeria.
He called on the Federal Government to take steps to restructure the country now, warning that if nothing is done in the next few months, the association would have no better choice than to take a political stand.
He lamented that the way Nigeria is structured would lead the country to nothing but disaster, especially as the OPC leader reminded all at the gathering that the birth of the organization was as a result of the struggle for the revalidation of June 12, 1993, presidential mandate of the late MKO Abiola. Chief Gani Adams said that the OPC has demanded a total restructuring of the country, but till date, the government had done nothing in that direction.
His words: “And, unfortunately, we have not seen any tangible evidence or sign that we are moving in that direction, with all of us knowing that the way the country is presently structured can only bring nothing but disaster.
“For those who have followed this agitation on restructuring is for the government to implement the recommendations of the National Conference convoked by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“It is in this light that I say that if in the next few months there is no tangible evidence that the country will be restructured, then OPC will become partisan.
“The details we are still keeping to our chest. But with a membership of over six million, even if it is members of the legislature at the states and federal levels that we can produce, we will be in a position to influence what happens in the government at all levels. Time for “Siddon look” is over.”
The Aare Onakakanfo stated that OPC has grown from the previous outlook of largely illiterate members who were hitherto regarded as backbenchers. He revealed that about 30 percent of members of the National Coordinating Council (NCC) were graduates, while over 96 percent of Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) members are graduates.
He disclosed that in the last two months, the police hierarchy has engaged OPC in talks, which he said would unfold in the next six weeks.