•Assures FG considering el-Rufai committee report
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has joined the renewed debate on restructuring, aligning with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s position that Nigeria needs good and accountable governance, more than the rhetoric of restructuring.
The party said as part of its practical approach to implementing restructuring, its committee’s report on restructuring is being considered by the federal government.
Against the background of renewed debate on restructuring particularly between Osinbajo and the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the ruling party said the calls for restructuring by many politicians are 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 by its acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabene, APC said the country will never succumb to ethnic champions who promote campaigns to break up 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,” the party 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 achieved 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, the party 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 former Senate President, David Mark, superintended over the federal legislature for eight years but never sponsored a single bill on restructuring.
APC added, “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.”
APC said, “Just 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.
“This remains the focus of the current administration as seen by the several social intervention programmes currently being implemented.”
The ruling party assured Nigerians that the President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration is committed to implementing a new national minimum wage.
In addition, it said the administration is 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 that the Buhari administration has 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.
It said that a Committee on True Federalism chaired by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, had recommended 24 items including, creation of states; merger of states; delegation principle; fiscal federalism; devolution of power and resources between state, federal and local governments in federating units, which summarizes the views of Nigerians.
According to APC, the Buhari administration believes that good, sincere, focussed, and purposeful leadership at all levels will propel the country to its deserved heights.