WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE, ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU, SAN TO THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS COMMITTEE ON TRUE FEDERALISM ON THURSDAY, 21ST SEPTEMBER, 2017 AT THE ONDO STATE INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL AND EVENTS CENTRE (THE DOME), ALAGBAKA, AKURE


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Let me welcome all members of the Committee of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on True Federalism of our country, Nigeria to Ondo State. I salute you for undertaking this critical assignment on behalf of the National Executives of the party at this crucial time. Let me also acknowledge the sensitivity of the National Executive Council (NEC) of our party to the yearnings and feelings of Nigerians by agreeing to set up this committee to visit the people across the length and breadth of the country to collate their positions on the vexed issue of restructuring. This is with a view to fulfilling one of the planks on which the people of Nigeria gave us their mandate. We are grateful to the NEC and the entire leadership of the Party.
I must also acknowledge all critical stakeholders in this project from Ondo, Ekiti and Osun States for their response to the call to participate in this national discourse. I thank God for bringing all of us safely to this venue and, by His grace, we shall also return safely to our various destinations.
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I enjoin all of us to be vigorous and down to earth in our participation in this discourse. This is another opportunity for us as a nation to demonstrate that we can manage our affairs maturely and peacefully resolve all contending issues in the polity. The vociferous call by most Nigerians for true federalism is an indication that something must be done urgently to assuage the nerves of all concerned and navigate the country’s ship from the precipice. We must take steps that will make Nigeria focus on sustainable human, social and economic development. The need to suggest a series of reforms culminating in a new constitutional order cannot be overemphasised. Most Nigerians, Ondo State inclusive, are of the strong view that practical steps must be taken to arrest the current drift. Many Nigerians have openly expressed concern about devolution of powers, what should be the federating units, fiscal federalism, revenue allocation, derivation principles, form of government, creation and/or merger of states, regionalism, state police, federal character, local government autonomy and so on. It will be naïve of any one to regard these issues as imaginary rather than real. This is an opportunity for Nigerians to remove the albatross which the present position in the constitution of Nigerian constitutes on the country.
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Let us seize this opportunity to right the wrongs in the constitution and the Nigerian structure. We all feel better as Nigerians with shared aspirations for progress and development.
May I also appeal to the Committee and, by extension, the party hierarchy to make sure that something concrete comes out of our present efforts at guaranteeing ‘True Federalism’ in Nigeria. We are not oblivious of the fact that the National Assembly and indeed all the legislative apparatuses in Nigeria have a critical role to play in this process. We call on all concerned to allow the true spirit of patriotism and nationalism to prevail at the end of the exercise which we must see to a logical conclusion. Our efforts must not be in vain, the consequences of which we cannot imagine.
Once again, I welcome all of us to this historic occasion and wish us a fruitful public discourse.
I thank you for listening.