By Stella Obi
The call for restructuring of Nigeria was on Thursday, re-echoed at the symposium organised as part of activities to mark the first year coronation anniversary of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Sen. Lekan Balogun, Alli Okunmade II .
The event was held at the Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan.
Three discussants, Dr. Yemi Farombi, Alagba Adedayo Alao and Dr. Saheed Adetunmbi Ige, who dissected the topic of the symposium; “Ibadan Treasure of the last Empire and the Challenges of Urban Development” delivered by Mogaji Prof. Aderemi Raji-Oyelade, insisted that nothing worthwhile could be achieved under the present structure of the country.
At the programme which was chaired by the Maye Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senior Chief Lekan Alabi, Ibadan sons and daughters both at home and in the diaspora converged to honour the 42nd Olubadan, whose reign in the last one year was described as splendid.
In the view of Alao, who opened the discussion, he gave kudos to the ancient metropolis for being the saviour of the Yoruba race, recalling the gallantry of Ibadan army in the war against the Fulanis in the late 19th century which permanently put paid to the invading expedition of the marauders.
He used the occasion to advice the Nigerian government to study the political system of Ibadan through which it won its various wars during its formative years and today is becoming a giant and formidable metropolis with the most stable traditional ascension system in the continent of Africa.
Dr. Ige in his submission lamented the dearth of commensurate development with the size, history and population of the ancient metropolis just as he challenged the sons and daughters of the land to focus on everything that could bring about development to the metropolis, stressing that the height strained today in all spheres of live could not be divorced from the individual and personal efforts of some Ibadan Indigenes.
The scholar also lamented the growing population of out-of school children in Ibadan, recalling that the education need of every child in the past was a collective responsibility of all. The current situation of people not caring for one another, according to him, portends danger for the future.
Dr. Farombi, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the Philippines who gave the aggregate opinion of the discussion stated it emphatically that “there can not be a beautiful Ibadan under the present Nigerian structure”, adding “if Awolowo did not control his resources, he would not be able to build Housing Corporation and all those other things he did while in government”
He commended the founding fathers of the ancient metropolis and the former political leaders, who out of genuine commitment to service made sure that Ibadan of today is the educational, cultural and art centre of Nigeria.
In the absence of restructuring, the broadcast veteran asked that the sons and daughters of the land must work on how to economically reposition Ibadan and ensure business thrives so as to support the huge population. He remarked that Ibadan “is a home to every Yoruba person which is why hardly would anybody of note in all the adjoining states not have residence in the Oyo State capital”.
Farombi said: “Generally, we find in Ibadan steady growth without a commensurate spike in infrastructural and corporate development. The geographical fact that Ibadan borders a megapolis like Lagos and yet remain a cosmopolis is both a challenge and a burden for urban development”.