The same Bible in Psalms 30:5 says …’weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning’. We thank God that after 25 years of struggle, the joy has finally come. Therefore, for those of us that have been keeping the hope alive, I will like us to rise and observe a minute silence in honour of all our past heroes that paid the supreme price for today’s democracy

In times past, forums like this really helped to keep the memories of our heroes alive. It has also helped in addressing several burning issues that have been affecting our nation. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the epoch-making event, let us look beyond the past and focus all our efforts in righting the wrongs of past leaders.

All over the world, issues of security, good health, education, enduring social infrastructure and stable economy always take the centre stage. However, in Nigeria, there have been raging issues and debates on restructuring.


The way we clamour and struggle to have this day as our Democracy Day, we need to make the sacrifice, struggle and make a case for restructuring.

We need to stand firm and raise our voices in support of restructuring. If Nigeria is restructured, the federating units or states will develop equitably at their own pace.The enormous power at the centre will be reduced and Nigeria will be better for it. Here is my thought and that of other prominent Nigerians that have been propagating this lofty idea across the country.

Before ending this speech, I must comment on the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ law recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. Honestly, it is a good beginning for young Nigerians to participate in governance at various levels.

It is a wonderful idea whose time has come but it is not enough. And this is where the restructuring idea I talked about earlier comes in. Obviously, we have a vibrant youth population in the country who are ready to go places but how do they attain public offices when the environment is not conducive?

Pitiably, we operate in a polity that rewards indolence and criminalises creativity.We have a system that encourages self-induced vices. Money politics and godfatherism still dominate our political space. Our democracy has been so monetised to the extent that to sane Nigerians, it defies logic. The resultant effect of this is that electoral malpractices become the order of the day.

From delegate election during party primaries to general elections, victory is for the highest bidder. During the 2015 elections, a particular party collected N27 million from each presidential aspirant. The same monetised process has started in the build-up to 2019 general elections.

So, how do our youths survive in this shark-infested money politics environment? If in the 21st Century, our youths are still struggling with basic things of life such as water, electricity, food, education, housing, health, security etc, how do they get the empowerment to face the gargantuan and financially-tasking electioneering process?

The following leaders – Emmanuel Macron of France (40 years), Matteo Fiorini of San Marino (40 years), Juri Ratas of Estonia (39 years), Leo Varadkar of Ireland (39 years), Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck ofBhutan (38 years) and Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand (37 years) – attained leadership positions in their countries without going through the daily hardship Nigerian youths go through.

If they hail from Nigeria, I am sure some of them will still be going from one office to the other, looking for job. Many Nigerian youths are better than these leaders but the system here has conditioned our youths to live a beggarly life.

This is where restructuring comes in. For 25 years, Nigerians waited for justice to be done on the June 12 injustice. Today, we are happy. I say it with all authority today that whether now or later, this country must be restructured.Nigerian youths must insist on this for the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ law to have a good effect.Therein lies our march towards greatness as a progressive country.

I thank you for listening. God bless you all

Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams

The Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land

National Coordinator, Oodua Peoples Congress

Chief Promoter, Olokun Festival Foundation

Chairman, Gani Adams Foundation

Convener, Oodua Progressive Union Worldwide.

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