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Falana, Mimiko, Ofeimun urge restructuring, say Nigeria is not taken seriously

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Human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) (left); Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos, Prof. Olufunke Adeboye; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; the celebrant and foremost Nigerian poet, Odia Ofeimun; his daughter, Omoye Ofeimun; Mrs. Taiwo Ajai-Lycett and Keynote Speaker, Prof. Biodun Yeyifo, during the 70th birthday celebration of Ofeimun, with the theme: ‘Taking Nigeria Seriously: A Conference in Honour of Odia Ofeimun,’ in Lagos… yesterday. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM


Intellectuals, scholars and academics from within Nigeria, Africa and as wide as from North America and Europe, including two past governors, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo State) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun State), yesterday gathered to wish Odia Ofeimun, a writer, a happy 70th birthday.

He also had his friends in the literary community as well as the politicians in attendance.

At the event tagged, ‘Odia Ofeimun at 70 conference,’ with “Taking Nigeria Seriously” as theme, Aregbesola, the Minister of Interior, who chaired the opening, said that the value of an individual is determined by the balance between what the individual adds over what he or she takes out of it.

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He said: “A nation’s wealth, therefore, consists in the aggregate surplus of input over output. An individual’s economic value then is clearly the surplus of what he or she contributes over what he or she takes.”

The human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), stated that for the country to progress, Nigerians must come together to fight the status quo established by the ruling class.

Falana noted that achieving social justice is a struggle that everyone needs to be engaged in and fight for., saying: “We need to fight for a new Nigeria, just like members of the ruling class are fighting to sustain the status quo. Also, we all revolutionists must come together to wage a battle that will dismantle the oppressive status quo for the interest of our people.

“Those who are at the helms of affairs in the country have never taken Nigeria seriously. They don’t believe in Nigeria but the likes of Ofeimun want Nigeria to occupy a prominent place in the comity of nations,” Falana said.

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Also, the immediate past governor of Ondo State, Mimiko, said the country might not move forward until it is restructured and its component and sub-nationality have some level of autonomy.

“If people like Odia Ofeimun are still optimistic in this country, why shouldn’t we?”

Ofeimun, who said that the government was not alive to its responsibility, hence the alarming rate of insecurity and other vices in the country, said: “All Nigerians should learn to take their country seriously and that is why many of the problems we have exist. We grumbled about Nigeria but we don’t analyse Nigeria enough. We don’t have an organised government that will give us enough information for the purpose of changing the country.

“We need information to understand the country well enough to be able to change it. We need a government that can give us healthy information. This is a country that does not have a correct data of its citizens. This has made planning impossible and people who do not plan, plan to fail. This has been happening for too long.”

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