By Seyifunmi Odunuga
The Ooni of Ife and Arole Oodua, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has tasked Nigerian leaders to rise and tackle the challenges facing the country, saying “we don’t have any other place than Nigeria as the nation belongs to all of us.”
Speaking at a conference, Ooni Ogunwusi said “the Honorable Speaker spoke first, welcomed all of us, followed by the Senate President. We all know the positions of these honourable in this country. The Senate President is the number three while the speaker is number four. The Senate President spoke as well and you can see that they are all saying the same thing.”
Ooni Ogunwusi stressed, “the gatekeepers of our dear nation are here, Service Chiefs are here too and if you look at this hall, on the average, the age bracket of everyone is between 50 to 60 years. Anybody can challenge me if I’m wrong.”
“The youngest serving governor in Nigeria today is 46-year-old and we all know the demographic of this country. Above 50 years, all the way to the independence is less than 30 per cent but between the age of 18 and under 14 years old, are more than 70 per cent and we are talking about security here. Who are the active participants? Whenever we have a breakdown of law and order, it is the average age of 18 to 39 and that is the truth. Are they ghosts? The answer is No. They are human beings. Even our law and Constitution would say at some points that very active civil servant should leave above the average age of 60-year-old because they know the reason. It is because they are getting tired. Maybe the judiciary extends to 70, some 65, they would even say 35 working years or 60 years of age, whichever comes first. We all know this law but every time number 2, 3, 4 are saying the same things, the way the Emir says it and the participants are not faceless, they are not ghosts.”
The royal father maintained: “it is very idiotic and stupid for us to be doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. We will continue to get the same results. Let us be very truthful and honest to ourselves in this country. We all know the problem but how are we taking care of the people in that age bracket? We are not engaging them at all but whenever we want to go for any political post or appointment, we go back to them; we know the goods, the bads and the ugly in their category.”
“As traditional rulers, we are the most active in our system. Let us tell ourselves the truth, they are hungry and angry. I will be very happy, if anybody here can raise his hand that he can go to his Constituency or local government, and stay there in peace for one week, including gatekeepers, Senate President or Speaker. You all left the traditional rulers and district heads (the baales) to continue to stay with the people and you are saying all is well in this country.
“We are the ones facing the youths and we know their problems. We’ve been talking every time but you sit in beautiful offices and you all think all will be well. As beautiful as this building is, if the foundation is wrong, the entire building will collapse because the foundation has a problem.”
Ooni Ogunwusi stressed that “in this gathering, the Senate President mentioned the key factor, the collapse of the local government. It has completely collapsed because that is the only arms of government that is the foundation of the country, you don’t have any other foundation. You are building on a castle that has been completely broken down. We have 774 local governments and several wards, where do we have the wards being brought together?
“The local government constituency is underfunded, you don’t even reference them for anything, you don’t care about their administration. Where do we get it wrong in this country? We all have faults, all of us here. It is getting worsen day by day. The youths are now bold and ready to face anybody because they are hungry and angry. Let us change our strategies and styles. Let us engage a lot of youths in very relevant organisations and understand the local government administration, governance within every district and category of the localisation of this country. We need to continue to engage them in every program we do in this country. You’ve neglected that category completely, they are not even represented here. So, what are we going to come out here to talk about? We should be serious.
“We should talk very seriously about the issues of security in this country. National security is not the problem of the service chiefs, lawmakers, and the executive arm of government, it is the problem of all of us. How many of this active population that is under you that you are taking care of? What is the essence of you being a politician that you can not move around freely? You can not! Do you think Abuja or Lagos is only Nigeria? Out of the 36 states we have in the country you neglected them and you are making law and administrating? What are you administrating?
“These people are not ghosts. They are agitating left and right. We need to engage them and separate the corn from the chaff. We know the good and the bad among them. We can easily separate them by engaging them, draw them closer.
“I will give you an example from my community. Ife-Modakeke war has been the strongest communal clash in Western Nigeria. It has been for a very long time, but what did I do? A very practical example. I decided to engage the youths so that I can separate the bad from the good. Something happened recently. We almost had another breakdown of law and order. At the borderlines of the two communities, some people were shooting sporadically and the two communities started moving away from the boundary line, agitating the war has started again. I had to come out and call the youths around that we need to do these deals in the night. Let us go to the boundary and we realised that the youth of the two communities were trying to protect their respective territories. They were just raising artificial noise.
“If we engage rightly, the active people, it will be a lot easy for all of us. On this note, I want to thank the organisers. Let us stop talking and take the needed actions. Enough is enough.
“God bless us. God bless Nigeria”.