El-Rufai: Those Opposed to Restructuring Not Representing the North

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Nasir El-Rufai

The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has argued that the northerners who are against restructuring do not represent the north, saying that the draft bill produced and submitted by his committee in January 2018 was stepped down for fear of politicisation ahead of 2019 general election.

He added that some interested members of the ruling party were making frantic efforts to get the draft bill presented to the National Assembly for consideration before the end of the tenure of the present administration.

The governor spoke yesterday in Abuja while fielding questions at a panel discussion of the ongoing 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NESG).

He explained that the Committee made bold recommendations at the time and made a draft bill available for onward transmission to the National Assembly, which every lawmaker could take up and sponsor as a private bill.

He insisted that it is position of the party and the president to see the draft bill passed into law but assured that consideration of the bill would soon take-off.

For him, the consideration could be done in piecemeal, adding that the country does not require an omnibus amendment of the constitution to restructure the country.

He berated fellow northerners who are opposed to restructuring, saying that they are doing so for selfish purpose.

He pointed out that there is a difference between the position of some northerners and the north as a region.

The governor argued that there are over a 100 million northerners whose interest are at stake and maintained that whatever advantages an individual is getting for himself does not apply directly to the entire north.

“We have the highest number of out-of-school children. We have the highest poverty rate. We have the lowest JAMB cut-off rate. So, what are the advantages in the north in the current situation? As the governor of Kaduna State, I have had to look at these issues and try to see how I can get the people of my state up on the ladder. I think you need to differentiate the knowledge from a few and the voice of the silent majority” he said.

El-Rufai, however, regretted that certain people present restructuring in a derogatory way in a manner that portrays all the northerners as backward people.

“The way some people present restructuring is so insulting and derogatory. We should have an honest conversation on what is working and what is not. We don’t have anything to benefit making derogatory remarks on against a particular group of people because of restructuring.

“If there are northern leaders today by virtual of the fact that I am a governor, I must be there. So, who are these northerners against restructuring? Who are they? Who are they speaking for? So, let us have a very honest, unemotional conversation without looking down on people or insulting them or framing them” he noted.

On insecurity in the southern Kaduna, the governor posited that the violence in northern Kaduna is more devastating than the insecurity in southern Kaduna as perceived by the public.

“Though, the violence in southern Kaduna has been over-reported, the insecurity in northern Kaduna—- Birnin Gwari, is more than the ones in southern Kaduna. But the newspapers based in Lagos and Abuja choose to focus on southern Kaduna rather than what is really happening” he said, adding that the crisis is over 200 years old and cannot be tackled in a minute,’’ he added.