Details of the closed-door meeting held with Presi- dent Muhammadu Buhari and a four-man team from the south-West on November 20 are beginning to emerge.
The Nigerian Tribune can authoritatively reveal that the need for the devolution of powers from the centre to the federating units as well as the imperative of a true federal constitution may have topped the agenda of the meeting.
Neither the presidency issued a statement on the nitty-gritty of the discussion nor did the Yoruba leaders provide an insight into the parley held at the State House, Abuja, penultimate Friday.
The team from the south-West comprised the former interim national chairman of the all Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande; a former governor of Ogun State,
Chief Segun Osoba, a renowned medical practitioner, Dr Yomi Finnih and Prince Tajudeen Olusi from lagos State.
The meeting came on the heels of the recent endsaRs protests against police brutality by Nigerian youths across the country, which was hijacked by hoodlums who wreaked havoc in many cities, especially in the nation’s economic heartbeat, Lagos.
Investigation revealed that the delegation wanted the president to facilitate the process of addressing the defects in the present federal system of government that constituted the clog in the wheel of progress and development of the country.
It was gathered that the leaders reportedly used the visit to explain to the president that the existing federal structure was seriously defective, just as the 1999 constitution needed to be replaced with a framework that will be based on the popular aspirations and yearnings of the critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
Central to the demand of the leaders, according to checks by Nigerian Tribune was the necessity to have a constitution that will return Nigeria to the status of true federation with powers devolved appropriately to the adjoining units in a coordinated arrangement.
Their argument is that under the new structure, no constit- uent unit will be deprived of their legitimate and constitutional powers, resources, functions, responsibilities and other statutory rights and privileges.
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All these, they said, would be in the overall interest of all stakeholders, especially under a proper federal system with a coordinate arrangement.
Most stakeholders across the country have been consistent in their demand for restructuring, devolution of powers with the consensus that the centre was not just too powerful but also that the structure was against the fundamental principles of federalism.
The issues of restructuring and power devolution formed part of the major resolutions of delegates at the 2014 national conference.
Coincidentally, a special committee set up by the APC with the Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai as chairman, also recommended restructuring in its final report, which has so far not been acted upon by the authorities.
Further checks showed that the leaders might have raised the issue of the massive destruction of public property in Lagos by criminals that hijacked the EndSARS, with the state government estimating the loss at more than N1 trillion.
Though it could not be immediately confirmed, findings indicated that the south-West leaders might have used the opportunity of the visit cum meeting to make a case before the president for a special status for Lagos, the former federal capital and the commercial nerve centre of the country.
While the leaders were said to have reminded President Buhari of his relations with the South-West, Nigerian Tribune gathered that the leaders showed concern over challenges created in the country and indeed globally from certain unforeseen circumstances, especially the coronavirus pandemic and the attendant economic recession ravaging most countries.
The leaders also emphasised the need for President Buhari to return to an agro- based economy that was the pride of the country pre-1960 until the oil boom fluted the country’s focus.