Former Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien has accused Yoruba leaders of being biased in their agitation for restructuring of the country, noting that they have been silent all the while their son, Olusegun Obasanjo, was in power.
The former minister said the Southwest leaders have not been so vocal about restructuring during Obasanjo’s tenure but the moment Goodluck Jonathan became president, the agitation became heated again.
He spoke while reacting to last week’s opposition by the Leader, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to a motion, which urged companies operating in oil producing areas to relocate.
According to him, “I begin to wonder whether the South-West is sincere about its agitation for restructuring.
‘’South West leaders, at every forum, over the years, propagated the restructuring of the Nigerian federation but each time an opportunity comes, they renege on restructuring.
“When their son, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was the President of the country for eight years, the clamour for restructuring went dead. That is because they were in control of the unstructured federation, with its attendant benefits to them.
“As soon as they lost control of the federal government, the restructuring jingles came alive throughout the period of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. The jingle sounded so loud that a national conference was convened in 2014.
“A good number of delegates supported restructuring. We ended up recommending that the country should be restructured. Luckily for us, after the conference, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, revived the call.
“Last week, South West leaders all spoke in favour of restructuring. But when the opportunity came on the floor of the House of Representatives to commence the process of restructuring, another leader from the area, Gbajabiamila, kicked against it.”
He expressed surprised at Gbajabiamila’s position, adding, “I was surprised to hear the House of Representatives last week reject a motion which had asked oil companies to relocate to their areas of operation.
“The argument by the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, was that the oil producing areas are unsafe for the oil companies to relocate.”