Erudite lawyer Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to invite talented Nigerian experts to fix the economy.
Olanipekun spoke in an interview with reporters at the dedication of the multi-million Naira Vice Chancellor’s Lodge which he built for the Ajayi Crowder University (ACU), Oyo.
He said: “I am not interested in any political office and I am not begging for any position but I insist and I have a right to insist that Nigeria must be governed properly. And I am saying that today, Nigeria is not being governed properly. There is rudderlessness on the part of the government both at the federal, state and local government levels.
“They are leaving things that they should do undone. The other day I heard Mr. President saying he would support the National Assembly to make the local government independent of the state government; what is the business of the Federal Government (FG) in that? Councils are under and belong to the state government.
“Why is the Federal Government that is overburdened not concerned about his plights? We are not even running a federal system.
“What we are running is hydra-headed unitarism. So, why is the Federal Government not saying we have too many items on the exclusive legislative list, like tourism, fishery, agriculture etc? What has the Federal Governmentt got to do with that? So, why is the FG not encouraging the state to be more independent? Why is the FG not going to the real definition of real federalism?
“That is donation of residual powers by the federating units to the FG, not the other way round. Why is the Federal Government not talking about security and to that extent, I’m talking of state police, strong police, university police? Why is the Federal Government not talking about liberalising INEC and making it more independent?”
Why is Federal Government not talking about building institutions more than individuals? What we have in Nigeria today is powerful individuals, not powerful institutions. And the powerful individuals, if care is not taken, are already becoming lions and when lions roar, they will lionise and you know what will happen. They will devour. And I hope those individuals who are richer than Nigeria, because now they are richer than Nigeria, I pray they don’t devour us. A time will come when Nigeria will start borrowing from them to survive.”
On how to get out of recession, Olanipekun said it was unnecessary to sell national assets.
“ In a country that wants revival, the leadership of that country will identify those who matter. They will identify people of substance who can give their all, not beggars. I don’t want anything from anybody. I don’t even want to be a minister. I don’t pray to become a governor, I am satisfied with where I am. I have helped a lot of people in my area and various other areas. So, it is not my duty to be going cap-in-hand to be going to any Governor’s Office or to any corridor that I want to advise them. A situation where you have legal issues in the country and people like us who have assisted many people to get to seat of power, a situation whereby my friend-governors who have legal problems do not contact me, I don’t think it is my duty to go and beg them to contact me. Who loses? The country loses in such a situation. In a situation where we are talking about economic recession, who are the people who are managing our economy? What do they know about economy and economies? It is not everything about the past governments that are bad. For example, has anyone of us gone back to the archives to scrutinise those General Babangida appointed as ministers? I believe leadership must not be intimidated by some people in the country. Rather call them, use them and tap their brains, tap their resources.”
Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who inaugurated the project, described Olanipekun as a godly man and a legal icon.
At the programme were the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, many top Anglican priests and the Chairman, Board of Trustees, emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo.
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