A professor of history and elder statesman, Prof Banji Akintoye, has advocated true federalism as the only weapon that can wipe out poverty and marginalization in the country.
According to him, the late Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo was able to make a remarkable difference in the lives of the Yoruba people due to true federalism that he put in place then.
The elder statesman, spoke in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital yesterday during a programme organised by Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, to mark the 110th birthday of the late Yoruba leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
The former federal lawmaker spoke on the lecture entitled: ‘ Awolowo’s Heritage and Many Challenges of our Time’.
Akintoye said Governor Kayode Fayemi will surpass Awolowo’s achievements in the cardinal sectors like education, health, social investment and rural development, if given the same environment to operate like the late politician.
He said: “I am proud that we have a governor who shared the same dream with Chief Awolowo here in Ekiti. Someone who believes in the culture of honesty, hard work, education and who was committed to protect it.
“I am confident that he will do better than Chief Awolowo if Nigeria can return to true federalism that was enjoyed in the first republic.
“Governor Fayemi was passionate about the development of Ekiti and that is why we must support him not only to govern us here but to get a higher position at the centre, so that all the progressive values Awolowo lived for can begin to radiate round the country”.
In his speech, Afenifere leader, Senator Ayo Fasanmi, commended the southwest governors and the electorate for protecting the region by voting for President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential poll.
The elder state man said Afenifere will continue to fight against injustice in the region and protect the corporate interest of the people at all times.
In his speech, Governor Kayode Fayemi, urged the southwest to continue to play active role in the leadership of the nation, using its strong education and exposure.
He said Awolowo remained the greatest Nigerian patriot and leader ever existed in the history of the country due to the vision he had for the nation and tremendous positive impacts he made in the lives of the people.
“We must reenact some of those values Chief Obafemi Awolowo fought for. The values of honesty, hard work, visionary and other heritage. ‘If we must bring back our values, we must be at the place where decisions are taken, that is being with a progressive government at the centre. We should even seek higher leadership here in the southwest under that government.
‘For me, this time remains the best to make a difference in the lives of our people. Ekiti people are treated as peripheral Yorubas who because of decency always lost some of the things due to it to other States in the zone.
From now, we must speak out and demand what is due to us in a descent manner that we had always been known”, he said.
Fayemi added he does not align with the widespread notion that elites are always anti-people, saying Awolowo’s political progressive doctrine preached that elites must work and defend the poor masses.