Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President David Mark are among other politicians chided yesterday by the All Progressives Congress for becoming latter day advocates of restructuring.
The party accused the duo of Atiku and Mark, both presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of doing nothing on the matter when held top political offices for eight years.
According to the APC, the call for the restructuring of the country has become an opportunistic ploy to which politicians latch on exploit for selfish political motives and not necessarily for its realism and practicability.
Reacting to the renewed debate on restructuring by political office seekers, the ruling party urged Nigerians to be wary of those it called latter day converts to the matter of restructuring who are exploiting the issue for populist political campaigns.
APC’s Acting National Publicity Secretary Yekini Nabena said in a statement that Abubakar and Mark held sway in government at various times, but did nothing on the issue of restructuring.
Nabena said that what is paramount right now is the issue of good governance, honest management of public resources, deeper fiscal Federalism and a clear vision for development, adding that 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.
The statement reads: “The renewed restructuring debate particularly between the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and one of his predecessors, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has been trending in the media.
“Prof Osinbajo in his well-articulated response to Alhaji 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. The All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot agree more with Prof. Osinbajo.
“It must be said that the calls for restructuring by many politicians is 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.
“For instance, Alhaji Atiku was Vice President and Chairman of the National Economic Council throughout the eight years of the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. 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.
“As Vice President, Prof Yemi 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. Commendably, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to implementing a New National Minimum wage.
“Also, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) scheme, comprising: GEEP MarketMoni, GEEP FarmerMoni and GEEP TraderMoni is being executed by the Bank of Industry and providing interest-free loans to petty traders and artisans across Nigeria.
“With the inception of the President Buhari administration, 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.
“Recall that the APC set up a Committee on True Federalism under the Chairmanship of the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. The Committee submitted its report to the immediate-past National Working Committee, making its recommendations on twenty four items that Nigerians expressed views to balance our federation.
“These items are: creation of states; merger of states; delegation principle; fiscal federalism; devolution of power and resources between state, federal and local governments; federating units; form of government; independent candidacy; land tenure system; local government autonomy; power sharing and rotation; resource control; types of legislature; demand for affirmation for vulnerable groups — people with disabilities, women and youth; ministerial appointment; citizenship; state constitution; community participation; minimum wage; governance; judiciary; state re-alignment and border adjustment; circular status of the federation and referendum.
“A practical approach to implement the Committees Report is being considered by the Federal Government.
“The APC believes that good, sincere, focussed, and purposeful leadership at all levels will propel the country to its deserved heights. Sincere efforts towards achieving True Federalism are more important than politically-exploited populist rhetoric which achieved nothing.
“With emphasis on practicability, constitutionality and reality, we are confident that True Federalism or restructuring as some will like to call it will be better achieved under the President Buhari-led APC administration.”