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‘Restructuring should allow states greater freedom’

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President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, said he agreed with some Nigerians clamouring for the restructuring of the country.

Osinbajo, who spoke to newsmen after the Great Nigeria Pastors conference which held at the Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, University Teaching Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, also disclosed that states deserved greater freedom to control their resources, increase their income and internal security.

He said: “Restructuring is very important to us, as a people, and as a nation, but we also have to be careful with what we mean by restructuring.

“One of the issues raised which I agree with is that states should be able to control their resources, control their own security, they should be able to generate more income and exercise greater freedom.

“We discussed about security and we believe we should do more. We agreed that people feel more secured when they can control their security, which brings to fore the issue of state police. It will give them confidence.”

Osinbajo, who expressed optimism about the future of the country, said the forces of darkness were being fought for light to shine.

Earlier, the Vice President was put on the spot by some Christian leaders in the state to explain what they described as “some unsatisfactory events” in the country.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, Nigeria of our Dream, Chairman, Oyo State Chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Taiwo Adelakun, who spoke on behalf of the leaders, specifically told Osinbajo that Nigerians deserve to know the truth about how government was handling some issues that have been of concern to them.

Adelakun asked the Vice President to explain why most of the security heads in Nigeria were appointed from one ethnic group, if the government observed the first stanza of the National Anthem that recognises fairness and justice.

He said Nigerians would want to know what the government that put the fight against corruption as its cardinal programme is doing to fight corruption within its fold and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

“We pastors want to know what the government that put fighting against corruption in the front burner is doing about “Mainagate” and other government officials alleged of corruption.

“Many Nigerians believe that the anti- corruption war is selective and that is why it is not effective.”

He said the recent upsurge in killings and kidnappings by Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast and government’s seemingly lukewarm attitude to checkmating the activities of killer herdsmen, was of grave concern to Christians, adding: “We have been told that Boko Haram had been technically defeated, but they have killed many and kidnapped over 120 people this year alone.”

He also asked the Vice President to speak on the incessant clash among security agencies, citing the instance of the public scuffle between operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and men of Department of State Service (DSS).

Adelakun said while Christians would continue to pray for the release of the Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, who is still being held by Boko Haram for refusing to deny her faith, he urged Osinbajo to assure them that the girl was still safe. 

Before the Vice President responded to the questions, newsmen were asked to exit the hall by the officials, saying they would address them after the meeting.

When asked to respond to some of the questions raised by the religious leaders, Osinbajo said: “This is a meeting of pastors; it is a family meeting, you know I am a pastor and I belong to the Greater Pastor Of Nigeria.”

Setting tone for the conference, Rev Abayomi Kasali said the gathering was to speak truth to the power-that-be, because the Vice President was among them when they were all praying for a Nigeria of their dream.

He said: “Some years back, some pastors will gather in Lagos to pray for Nigeria. We see that things work better in other countries, but not in Nigeria.

“Pastor Yemi Osinbajo was one of us, our prayer was how to change things in Nigeria, but in 2015, God answered our prayers and he became the Vice President. We want to tell him the truth today and he will answer us as a pastor, not as a professor.”


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