Friday, 30 June 2017

We won’t restructure Nigeria now, agitators are irresponsible _ APC

Nigerians hoping to see a fundamental restructuring of the country in terms of return to fiscal federalism have been told to call off the dream, at least for now.
This was made known Thursday by two top ranking members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). They are  of Kaduna State and national Chairman of the party, John Ogie-Oyegun.

Speaking on Channels live television programme, Sunrise Daily, both officials held that recent calls for a review of the relationship between the country’s federating units were not only opportunistic and hypocritical but also irresponsible.

Though no names were mentioned, former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, was the latest to add his voice to the stringent calls for a restructuring of Nigeria. Before him was former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who has openly queried some of the policies of his party, and is believed to be eyeing the presidency in 2019.
El-Rufai was the first to speak. He vehemently opposed calls for the restructuring of the country saying that some of the political leaders advocating for it were hypocritical, wondering why they would call for what they did not believe in when they were in positions of authority.
“Some of those calling for restructuring did not believe in it when they were in power,” he said.
He also dubbed the 2014 Confab report a waste of time, foreclosing his party’s support for any moves intended by the Senate to review the document. “We do not agree to the report of the 2014 Confab because it did not represent the views of our diversity.”
El-Rufai enjoined Nigerians who were eager to experience radical benefits of fiscal federalism to settle for a gradual devolution of power which he considered more practicable in the circumstance that the nation had found itself.
APC, he argued, was already implementing some aspects of the devolution process as the current administration under President Muhammadu Buhari had done more about federalism than the previous administration.
Top of the activities, he claimed, included more transparency in the relationship between the states and the federal government. “Things that were always hidden from state governments are now much more in the open,” he said.
Hinting at his party’s readiness to pursue devolution of power as a more viable option, he pointed out the necessity of creating a state police saying, “A centralized police system is inappropriate for a country as big and diverse as Nigeria.”
He added that it was best that most of the criminal laws are put under the control of the states.

And while speaking on the country’s education system, the governor noted that state governments should not be involved with primary education because it was better managed at the community level. The national minimum wage, being part of the exclusive list might go, if the governor had his way.
On his part, the APC chairman, Odigie-Oyegun, agreed with most of the arguments laid out by el-Rufai, the only point of departure being his view on the Confab report.
While the governor openly betrayed his party’s position on the issue, the party chairman diplomatically acknowledged that the position of the Senate was already public and that APC would try and deal with the issue.

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