APC mulls restructuring

A committee on True Federalism set up by the APC in its report to the immediate-past NWC had made a recommendations on 24 items to balance the federation.

• Says FG to implement el-Rufai panel report

• Ruling party playing politics with it, says PDP

Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, raised the hope on the much-talked about restructuring of the country, as it said a machinery has been set up to work out modality for the implementation of a report on true federalism.

READ ALSO: Okotie declares for presidency, calls for home-grown federalism

“A well-articulated roadmap, considering all the issues involved in ensuring a new, well secured, better governed Nigeria with equitable distribution of resources within the component federating units, is being given serious attention,” the party said in a statement issued by its spokesman, Yekini Nabena, yesterday.

A committee on True Federalism set up by the APC and headed Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, in its report to the immediate-past National Working Committee (NWC) had made a recommendations on 24 items to balance the federation.

The items include creation of states; merger of states, delegation principle, fiscal federalism, devolution of power and resources between state, federal and local governments, federating units, form of government, independent candidacy, land tenure system, local government autonomy, power sharing and rotation, resource control, types of legislature, demand for affirmation for vulnerable groups – people with disabilities, women and youth; ministerial appointment; citizenship, state constitution, community participation, minimum wage, governance, judiciary, state realignment and border adjustment, circular status of the federation and referendum.

According to the party, a practical approach to implement the report is being considered by the Federal Government.

“The APC believes that good, sincere, focussed, and purposeful leadership at all levels will propel the country to its deserved heights,” he said, adding, “Sincere efforts towards achieving true federalism are more important than politically-exploited populist rhetoric which achieve nothing.

“With emphasis on practicability, constitutionality and reality, we are confident that true federalism or restructuring as some will like to call it will be better achieved under the President Buhari-led APC administration.”

READ ALSO: The APC restructuring report

However, Nabena said APC would never succumb to ethnic champions like former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, and others bent on campaigns to breakup the country.

Apparently reacting to the debate between Atiku and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Nabena said: “The renewed restructuring debate particularly between the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and one of his predecessors, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has been trending in the media.

“Osinbajo in his well-articulated response to Atiku, submitted that what Nigeria requires now is not geographic restructuring but good governance, honest management of public resources, deeper fiscal Federalism and a clear vision for development.

“The APC cannot agree more with Osinbajo. It must be said that the calls for restructuring by many politicians is oftentime a populist and opportunistic ploy to latch on and politically exploit simplistic public narratives on the panacea to Nigeria’s problems and not necessarily for its realism and practicability.

“Past administrations have splashed billions of public funds to convene several national conferences, subsequently left conference reports to gather dust and achieved nothing. Bad governance, corruption, bigotry and other ills remain the limiting factors that continue to hold the country back.

“We must never succumb to ethnic champions who promote campaigns to breakup the country into tiny bits or other unrealistic and unpatriotic proposals in the name of restructuring to solve our problems as a country. It is simplistic and unconstitutional.

“For instance, Atiku was vice president and chairman of the National Economic Council throughout the eight years of the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. How did he use his office to correct the imbalance in our federation he expresses today? Senator David Mark was senate president for eight years and never sponsored a motion on restructuring.

“Today, he is promising to restructure the country. We must be wary of latter-day converts to the matter of restructuring, exploiting the issue for populist political campaigns. As Osinbajo submitted, good governance involves transparency and prudence in public finance, it involves social justice, investing in the poor and providing jobs and opportunities for the people, particularly young people.”

However, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one of its presidential aspirants, Senator Mark said Nigerians should not trust the APC on the restructuring of the polity or any other issue..

As far as the PDP is concerned, the APC is merely using the restructuring of the polity as weapon to deceive Nigerians.

The PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, told Daily Sun in a telephone interview that the APC-led Federal Government lacked the capacity to restructure the country or fulfil the least of its campaign promises to Nigerians.

Ologbondiyan noted that because the 2019 general elections was fast approaching, the ruling party was looking for anything that will give them votes.

READ ALSO: Monguno’s timely warning on 2019 general election

“I don’t think anybody should trust them on any issue. They have used restructuring as a weapon
of deception. They have no plan to implement anything. They don’t even have the capacity to implement anything or to fulfil the least of their campaign promise to Nigerians. Why are they dancing front and back? Few days ago, the vice president said they don’t believe in geographical restructuring. So, why the turn around now?

“They are looking for whatever will give them votes, including rigging. So, that promise is another

Greek gift to Nigerians.” Contrary to the notion that he was capitalising on the populist agenda, Mark said he had listened and galvanised the views of various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and submitted that restructuring is now.

According to him: “It is understandable that the APC would accuse me of being a new convert to restructuring in view of their many failed promises to the Nigerian people. I will not make promises like them.My antecedent over the years, especially during my tenure as senate president is a testimony that I will always act in the nation’s best interest.

“My position is anchored on the feedback from Nigerians, and as a leader, in my own right, I have to act in consonance with the wishes of the people.

“My experience in the last few years shows that a leader is only effective if he listens to the people. The issues of insecurity and the dwindling economic fortune of Nigeria makes it imperative that something has to be done by way of restructuring.

“Rarely has our country been faced with such a state of uncertainty, despair, suspicion and division. If restructuring is the answer, why not now?

“I am a pan-Nigerian, I believe in the sanctity of our unity. Anything that will unite and prosper Nigeria would be my interest and concern. I believe restructuring is the way to go.

“For once, Nigerians across the geo-political zones and various ethnic nationalities are of the consensus and indeed united on the subject, restructuring.

“I believe restructuring, if anchored on fairness, equity and justice would strengthen our bond of brotherhood and unity. I will always act in the nation’s best interest.