The call for true federalism for a united and developed Nigeria reverberated at the South-west zonal conference of All progressive Party (APC) which held at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan today.
In his goodwill message, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State challenged the leadership of the ruling APC to see constant dialogue and open communication as a panacea to rally understanding and common ground among the people of the region, over the current developments in the nation.
The governor urged party leaders to rally around President Buhari so as to achieve the dream of actualising the desired change promised the people during the campaign period, describing him as. disciplined and simple in outlook and behaviour as well as committed to the Nigerian project.
We should today face reality and in doing so, we have to tell the truth to our people no matter how bitter it is at every point in time, let us have constant dialogue and open communication so that our people will have insight into the happenings in government.
Buhari came as a democratic president when we needed a patriotic leader and I am happy we have such a simple and disciplined individual as a President. But he cannot do anything tangible if we don’t give him the needed support, the President alone cannot fight corruption, we must support him.
Ajimobi called for oil market deregulation in the face of global oil slump as according to him, this had affected the power of each State government to provide basic social infrastructures in their various States.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the State of Osun in his message, lauded the conference as the first gathering after the party’s victory in 2015 and called for an exponential distribution of the proceeds of the Buhari government’s anti-corruption drive.
He said poverty had been prevalent in the region as state administrators lacked financial power to explore natural resources in their domain and had to rely on what he called the ‘paltry handouts’ from the center.
We are sharing poverty, and as much as I support the federal government’s anti-corruption drive, the wealth therein must circulate exponentially as our people that are believed to be working for wage are less in population than those that are not earning salaries, but despite this a greater part of the State earnings are spent on this fraction.
Let us work on true federalism that will aid the development of major means of living and reduce dependency on salaries, earning income must not be a tradition anymore, we must change the culture of money as income and work more on the culture of creating means of earning for others.”
He advocated organization of quarterly workshops to deal with crisis ensuing within the party in the region adding that true and genuine federalism must be demanded.
Prof Ropo Sekoni who was the guest lecturer analysed the challenges of the party as democratic, economic, knowledge- based, environmental and cultural.
He asserted that the party apparatus must meet constantly to assess the gains and loss of the party, as well as challenges confronting each State government with a view to giving adequate suggestions towards resolving such challenges.
In a communiqué read after the conference Dr Bayo Ademodi from Ondo State, it was resolved that meaningful development could not be achieved without restructuring and true federalism, that the South-West APC should inform the populace more on policies and programs of government.
It went further to state that fiscal federalism should hang upon regional integration and advocated free and compulsory primary and secondary education in public schools in the region.
The zonal APC conference had in attendance, Governors of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, his counterpart from the State of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola while the Ogun State Governor was represented by the deputy, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga.
Others include the Minister for Communication, Barr. Bayo Shittu, Minister for Solid Mineral, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Senator Babafemi Ojudu who represented the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and party stalwarts like the National deputy Chairman, Engr. Segun Oni, Senator Oloruninbe Mamowora, Rotimi Akeredolu, Ganiyu Solomon, Adegboyega Kaka, Ayo Fasoranti, Akin Oke Bamidele Olumilua, Omololu Olunloyo, Taofeek Arapaja, Ayo Fasanmi, Henry Ajomale, Olayiwola Olakojo among others.