Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Tuesday declared that the festering issue of farmers/herders clashes cannot be wished away in the ongoing efforts of the legislative arm of government to review the 1999 constitution.
Governor Akeredolu spoke while receiving members of the Senate Committee led by the Deputy Senate Majority Leader and Senator representing Ondo North Senatorial district, Prof. Ajayi Borrofice.
Other members of the committee on the entourage include Senator Biodun Olujimi; Senator Nicholas Tofowomo; Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi and Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele.
The Senators are in Ondo State to hold a public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended).
Deputy Governor, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa; Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Bamidele Oleyelogun; and members of the State Executive Council joined the Governor to receive the lawmakers.
Akeredolu lamented that the people are losing confidence because a number of issues have been allowed to fester for too long.
While reiterating his unwavering commitment to the unity of the nation, Akeredolu noted that issues of insecurity and true federalism have affected many things in the country, including the trust of the people.
He said: “I kept making a case anytime I have the opportunity. My circumstance can not make me believe in secession. My wife is from the South-East. My sons married from other regions outside South-West.
“But strong points have been made. Everybody wants to see fairness, federalism. Those are the areas. Is this how to run a Federal Government? Is it an inclusive one? How do we have fair representation? People are worried.
“This constitution review, your efforts, I pray it should be accepted. Our people believe that there must be dialogue. People are saying we want national dialogue. How we convoke it, I don’t know. I believe those are issues we must look at”.
Akeredolu, who said the people are already on the edge, added that the issues of farmers/herders clash cannot be wished away in the course of the public hearing.
“It is not easy to wish herders/farmers clash away. Our people are on the edge. What are we saying about the police? Are we stressing multi-level policing? Are we talking about state police? I believe opportunities are there for us in this country.
Earlier, Borrofice described the constitution review as a crucial exercise, especially at a time the nation is confronted with many issues.
He identified the issues of ethnic nationalism and restructuring, which are at the front burner, as part of the reasons the exercise becomes important this time.
The lawmaker also hailed Akeredolu for the judicious use of the state’s resources despite shortage of fund.
“We are aware of what you are doing in the state. We know what it means to run a state when the funds are not there. We are happy that you are using what you have to deliver for the people. Don’t expect everybody to praise you,” he said.
He said the committee is committed and determined to carry out the review of the constitution.