“He raised some key issues affecting our constitution, which are leading to societal inequality. But I would like to highlight a few issues Baba raised, because there is no better time to do that than this occasion of his 85th birthday to talk about some of the ideals he stands for.
“One of his strongest beliefs is that power should be used to benefit the people. In so doing, he advocated for fiscal federalism, restructuring, state police, and others. I also agree that there is a vital link between these three constitutional issues and the ‘people first’ type of governance. For example, our fiscal federalism involves understanding, which government functions should be centralised and which should be decentralised.
“You will agree with me that if some of the functions of the Federal Government are decentralised and put in the purview of the state, the people will begin to spend more time focused on getting their state governors to function more effectively. This is part of the article Baba presented in 1977.
“A case in point is the recent amendment in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, devolving power generation.
“Generation, transmission and distribution are being devolved to the state. So, here in Oyo State, citizens ask why they don’t yet have a state-generating and transmitting power supply. So, it is a shift in focus to the level of government, which is closer to them.
“Also, with restructuring, we can see states devolving powers to local government areas. But what we have right now is the Federal Government directly funding local government areas as if they are answerable directly to the central government. So, these are some of the examples of the things Baba spoke about in 1977.
“Some of you also know that we tried to get state Police and former Governor Gboyega Oyetola and now Minister of Blue Economy was part of the struggle, but we could not and decided to form Amotekun. And Jide [Sanwo-Olu] said he would use the Neighbourhood Watch. That is the beauty of the devolution of power and true federalism.
“For over four decades, Baba Akande has been exposing these issues and it is not too late to take actions that show we are learning from history.”
Governor Makinde equally admonished politicians to always emulate leaders of impeccable characters like Chief Akande, who have left lasting legacies both in actions and thoughts, for the benefits of the people.
He added that one of the best ways to celebrate icons and honour their legacies is by examining their thoughts and implementing such thoughts in a way that will benefit the people.
“Indeed, one of the best ways of celebrating our icons and honouring their legacy is by examining their thoughts and actions and implementing them in a way that will benefit our people.”
“I am very happy because when Professor Olu Aina came forward, he said they are already setting up a Foundation in honour of Baba Bisi Akande. Some of us like to set up honour for ourselves.”
“So, this is a lesson for us in public positions right now. If you do well, you will see people who will rally around you and ensure that your legacy lives on. May the Almighty God continue to bless and keep Baba for us in good health,” he added.
Also speaking, the Vice-President, Senator Kashim Shettima, who was represented by Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum, in his lecture entitled; “The Leadership Question: Prospects For Nigeria”, charged all Nigerians to take responsibility of leadership, as it is a collective effort to move the nation forward.
President Bola Tinubu, who spoke through the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, also lauded the effort, remarkable and outstanding contributions of the celebrant, Chief Akande, to democratic governance in the country.
Earlier in his welcome address, the chairman, Board of Trustees, Adebisi Akande Foundation, Emeritus Professor Olu Aina, OFR, said the gathering was to celebrate an acknowledgement of a life dedicated to service, leadership, and unwavering commitment to the betterment of the society.
In his response, the celebrant, Chief Akande, appreciated the honour bestowed on him.
The event had in attendance ministers, governors of the South-West states, former governors, traditional rulers, political stalwarts, captains of industry and top government functionaries in Oyo State, among other dignitaries.