Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), yesterday expressed his worry about the present deplorable socio-economic condition in the country, blaming the Federal Government for its rudderlessness, improper governance and undue distance of President Muhammadu Buhari from the masses.
The legal guru said this while speaking with journalists after the inauguration of a multi-million naira Vice Chancellor’s Lodge he built and donated to the management of the Ajayi Crowther University (ACU), Oyo where Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the Alaafin of Oyo Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the Bishop of Lagos Most Reverend Dr. Adebola Ademowo, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo, the ACU Vice Chancellor Professor Dapo Asaju and many other eminent personalities were in attendance.
Olanipekun who described the idea of selling the nation’s asset as uncalled for, urged those angling to buy the assets to loan the Federal Government money to turn the assets around. Besides, he said he was uncomfortable with the way President Buhari had created a wide gulf between himself and the Nigerians.
To the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the nation was not being governed properly in line with the type of change agenda the ruling All Progressives Congress sold to Nigerians before the 2015 election, arguing that President Buhari was dabbling into some affairs that were irrelevant to his administration.
He said: “We need to plead with Mr. President that he needs to engage with Nigerians more. Me I don’t want to be hearing what the president says through the aides every time. I want to hear the President myself. And my children and grandchildren want to hear what the President is telling them. That was how people like us grew up. I listened to and heard the likes of Awolowo speak; I heard Akintola and others, not the tales from Femi Adesina or Shehu Garba.
“The President must engage and feel the pulse of the people. I insist again that there is too much distance and too much gap between the government and the governed.
“You cannot teach an old man how to use a left man. I am not interested in any political office and I am not begging for any position, but I insist and I have a right to insist that Nigeria must be governed properly. I am saying that today, Nigeria is not being governed properly. There is rudderlessness on the part of the government both at the federal, state and local government levels. They are leaving things that they should do undone.
“The other day I heard Mr. President saying he would support the National Assembly to make the local governments independent of the state government. What is the business of the Federal Government in that? Local Governments are under and belong to the state government. Why is the Federal Government that is overburdened not concerned about its plight?
“We are not even running a federal system. What we are running is hydra-headed unitarism. So, why is the Federal government now saying we have a lot of items on the exclusive legislative list like tourism, fishery, agriculture etc? What has the Federal Government got to do with that? So, why is the Federal Government not encouraging the States to be more independent? Why is the Federal Government not going to the real definition of real federalism? That is donation of residual powers by the federating units through the Federal Government, not the other way round.
“Why is the Federal Government not talking about security and to that extent, I am talking of state police, university police. Why is the Federal Government not talking about liberalising INEC and making it more independent? Why is the Federal Government not talking about building institutions more than individuals?
“What we have in Nigeria today is powerful individuals not powerful institutions. And the powerful individuals, if care is not taken, they are already becoming lions and when lions roar, they will lionlise and you know what will happen. They will devour. And I hope those individuals who are richer than Nigeria, don’t devour us. A time will come when Nigeria will start borrowing from them to survive. A time will come.”