By Chuks Okocha
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday rejected the All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on Restructuring, which was headed by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Nasir el-Rufai, describing it as an attempt by the APC to manipulate and frustrate the clamour by majority of Nigerians for a genuine restructuring of Nigeria’s federation.
The PDP further described the committee as part of the plans of the APC to replace the 2014 National Conference Report with its committee’s report on restructuring.
The PDP explained that the move would be an unpardonable assault on the sensibility of over 200 million Nigerians, whose collective interests were contained in the 2014 conference report.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, amd El-Rufai reiterated on Saturday that restructuring is the only to make the country work better for everyone.
The two governors spoke in Kaduna at the 50th anniversary of the Centre for Historical Documentary and Research, otherwise known as Arewa House.
But a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, alerted Nigerians on what he described as a fresh ploy by some ambitious APC leaders to blackmail the legislature and create an impression of commitment to restructuring, just to beguile the people and soften the ground for their personal presidential ambitions ahead of 2023 elections.
Ologbondiyan said: “Our party stands at the forefront of efforts for genuine restructuring and hold that the authentic materials for a genuine restructuring are contained in the 2014 National Conference report, wherein, Nigerians, across all the divides, collectively provided a road map out of our constitutional quagmires; and not a partisan report by the APC.
“It is therefore unacceptable that the 2014 National Conference report, which embodies the desires and hopes of over 200 million Nigerians, has been shelved by President Muhammadu Buhari, since his predecessor in office, President Goodluck Jonathan, personally handed it over to him in 2015 for implementation inline with the wishes and aspirations of the people.
“Our party, therefore, charges President Buhari to bring out the 2014 National Conference Report, dust it up, and present it as an executive bill to the National Assembly to guide the desired amendment to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) with regard to restructuring.”
The PDP insisted that the partisan whims of one party, in a multi-party country of over 200 million people, cannot override the decisions that were meticulously reached by the majority of Nigerians at the national conference.
The party, therefore, cautioned the APC to note that Nigerians are not interested in their deceptive antics but in a genuine effort towards a holistic amendment process that would restructure the country in the areas of true federalism, devolution of powers, electoral reforms, and unbundling of critical items in the exclusive list.
According to the PDP, “it is rather unfortunate that those who hid in their shores to dismiss and blackmail the PDP on restructuring are now coming out today to sell cosmetic and partisan notion of restructuring to Nigerians as a decoy to further their selfish political ambitions.
“If the APC is indeed sincere, it should call on President Buhari to immediately do the needful, today, not tomorrow, by presenting the 2014 National Conference report to the National Assembly as an executive bill on restructuring as desired by Nigerians.”