- Says FG studying El-rufai panel report
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has joined the renewed debate on restructuring by aligning with Vice President Yemi Osibanjo’s position that Nigeria needs good and accountable governance more than the rhetoric of restructuring.
The party said that as part of its practical approach to implementing restructuring, its committee’s report on restructuring was being considered by the Federal Government.
Against the background of renewed restructuring debate particularly between Vice President Osinbajo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the ruling party said the calls for restructuring by many politicians was often time 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.
In a statement issued by its acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabene, APC said the country will 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.
“Prof. 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. APC cannot agree more with Prof. Osinbajo,” it said.
APC said that past administrations had splashed billions of public funds to convene several national conferences, subsequently left conference reports to gather dust and achieve nothing.
It held that bad governance, corruption, bigotry and other ills remain the limiting factors that continue to hold the country back.
While reacting to Atiku’s campaign on restructuring, APC noted that the former Vice President had the opportunity as Chairman of the National Economic Council throughout the eight years of the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration to bring about the desired order but failed to do so.
Similarly, APC said that the former Senate President, David Mark, superitended over the federal legislative for eight years but never sponsored a single bill on restructuring.
“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,” it said.
APC said that just as Vice President 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.
“This remains the focus of the current administration as seen by the several social intervention programmes currently being implemented”.
The party assured that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was committed to implementing a new national minimum wage.
In addition, it said the administration was implementing the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) scheme, comprising: GEEP MarketMoni, GEEP FarmerMoni and GEEP TraderMoni being executed by the Bank of Industry and providing interest-free loans to petty traders and artisans across Nigeria.
On the issue of restructuring, APC said the President Buhari administration had a well-articulated roadmap on all the issues involved in ensuring a new, well secured, better governed Nigeria with equitable distribution of resources within the component federating units and was being given serious attention.
It said that a Committee on True Federalism chaired by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, had recommended twenty four items including, creation of states; merger of states; delegation principle; fiscal federalism; and devolution of power and resources between state, federal and local governments.
According to APC, the President Buhari-led administration believes that good, sincere, focussed, and purposeful leadership at all levels will propel the country to its deserved heights.