Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), a legal icon, has said that it would be wrong to blame President Muhammadu Buhari for the current rot in the system.
Babalola, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), insisted that Nigeria’s problem was deeper than what the citizens often discussed.
Speaking after being honoured by Northern Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Babalola urged Nigerian youths to rise up, unite and rescue the nation from its myriad of challenges.
The founder traced the nation’s problem to the military incursion of 1966.
He was decorated with the Sir Ahmadu Bello Platinum Award as the ‘The Icon of Greater Nigeria’
and Garkuwan Matasan Arewa Najeriya by the youth group.
The Aare Bamofin of Yorubaland charged Nigerian youths to move out of their various regional enclave and form a virile national body.
This, he said, would give them a strong voice.
“The essence of government is to guarantee the security of lives and property of the people.
President Buhari is not to blame for this insecurity but the military.
“Before military took over in 1966, Nigeria was operating the regional system with each region growing and developing faster at its own pace.
“These regions were closer to the people. Killings or insurgency were alien to our culture then. Nigerians love one another, though they were divided politically.
“I want to say that if those regions were allowed then, the country would have had a nation or nations that are well developed today,” he said.
Babalola regretted how Nigerians were dying due to leadership failure, particularly the civil servants and pensioners due to non-payment of their entitlements.
“Many pensioners have died having been owed several years of pension arrears. Even those in the service were owed seven or eight months’ salary arrears, so just as I said earlier, our leaders have turned us into beggars,” he lamented.
Talking about the vision of his university, which was to build the youth into reliable future leaders, Babalola told the group that many of the rich men in the Northern part of Nigeria have the financial wherewithal to establish such a fast-growing university.
“There are many rich people in Nigeria who can establish this kind of university with the vision to bring quality education as well as moral and cultural values to the doorstep of Nigerians.
“If we have this kind of university in each of the six geopolitical zones or every state, Nigeria will change for the better.
“Go to the North and propagate the ideals which my university stands for. Nigeria must be united at all cost for us to make a headway and overcome all our challenges,” Babalola stated.
Mr. Steven Bidemi, the leader of the youth group, said the honour was in recognition of Babalola’ss contributions to humanity and the unity of the Nigerian nation.
“At a time when Nigeria youth are facing relegation from the scheme of things, Babalola continued to exhibit youth friendly vision which gave us a renewed hope as leaders of tomorrow.
“Chief Babalola is a symbol of a true Nigeria where unity, love, integrity compassion and brotherhood take a seat at the high table. He is a true representation of Sardauna’s philosophy which was about religious and ethnic tolerance,” he said.