Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, has restated that restructuring of the Nigerian entity remains the only elixir to putting paid to underdevelopment of the nation.
Babalola lend his credence to the call by the Afenifere and other regional groups on the need to return to the days the country thrived under a regional system of governance that allows for independent and rapid development of each region in the country.
On the increasing poverty level in Ekiti State, Babalola urged Governor Kayode Fayemi to look inwards and develop the tourism potentials of the state and noted that the abandoned Ekiti Parapo War Heroes Museum at Okemesi Ekiti was enough to transform the economy of the state if well harnessed.
Babalola spoke in Okemesi Ekiti, in Ekiti West Local Government Area of the state, on Tuesday, during the unveiling of a Statue and Garden built in his honour by a group of many who had benefitted from his philanthropy, named Afe Babalola beneficiaries worldwide.
Addressing the gathering, Babalola said: “I want to emphasize that the only change that can change the country for better and pave way for the evolution of the of one nation is the change that changes the structure of Nigeria.
“It is the duty of government to provide road, electricity, airport, rail line and other infrastructure, but unfortunately all these are not there resulting in spiral unemployment , poverty and criminality.
“Restructuring remains the change that will make politics less attractive, make each state develop and curb criminality.
“It is the change that will make every component of Nigeria to develop their resources, provide employment, eradicate poverty, and make individuals to become true Nigerians.
“It is restructuring that will curb over concentration of power at the centre and reduce corruption, promote harmony and unity,” he said.
While laying wreathe at the Ekiti Parapo Heroes Museum at Ita Balogun in Okemesi in honour of fallen heroes, Babalola commended the war commanders that prosecuted the Kiriji War between 1877 and 1886, saying their efforts liberated Ekiti from Ajeles from Ibadan.
“It is shameful that these heroes who fought for the unity and amalgamation of Ekiti were not being celebrated. The tourism potentials in this town alone , I mean those relics we gathered from the warfront can turn the economy of this state around.
“Today, the only thriving industry in Ekiti in particular is politics, while other sectors are neglected. The government must invest in this sector and turn around the economy of our dear that in line with the dream of the founding fathers of the state”, he said.
The Oowa Ooye of Okemesi, Oba Adedeji Gbadebo and the Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti, Oba Ademola Ajakaye and the initiator of the project , Mr. Morakinyo Ogunniyi, lauded Babalola’s giant strides and contributions to the state to develop in every facet .
Oba Gbadebo said the only way to sustain the legacy of those who fought for the liberation of the state during the war , is to create a museum where their statues can be erected to teach generations yet unborn on virtues of sacrifice and community development.
“When Ekiti was being oppressed , these commanders were gathered together by Fabunmi Okemesi from all the then 16 kingdoms in Ekiti.
They went to the warfront with Ibadan and won. Though, they fought alongside Ogedengbe from Ijesha. These people must be celebrated , because if heroes of yesteryears are not celebrated, it will be difficult to make new ones”, he stated.