APC’s Drastic Steps After Obasanjo’s Letter
Nigeria News takes a look at the steps taken so far, following the letter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo never pretended his hatred for restructuring. In fact, he refused to raise such issue in his 13-page-letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
To Obasanjo, what Nigeria lacks is leadership not structure and if the current set of politicians can get their acts together and provide quality leadership, many of the political and economic challenges facing the country can easily be addressed.
During its electioneering campaign, the All Progressives Congress had proposed true federalism with a new structure as being clamoured for by various groups and regions, including Pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere and its Igbo counterpart, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The Arewa Consultative Forum has been indifferent to the issue of restructuring but will not want other regions to dictate to the north if it must happen.
While the noise about restructuring was becoming louder, APC redefined what it meant by its own idea of reform. It said it was different from regionalism as being speculated in some quarters.
The National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun stated then that those shouting about restructuring were doing so for selfish gains.
However, the party eventually set up a committee headed by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to seek the views of Nigerians and come up with recommendations on how the Federal System should look.
In his presentation at Chatham House, London, El-Rufai expressed his personal views on restructuring, arguing that the country would need it to move forward but almost a year that he made the presentation, the APC committee on restructuring had been busy politicking.
Until Obasanjo advised Buhari not to seek re-election, the report was in the committee’s cool bag. The committee was waiting for the best time to submit it.
Could it be a coincidence that the committee submitted its report three days after APC was condemned by Obasanjo? The former president enjoyed accolades in the media and among Nigerians for speaking boldly to the power and it is clear that Obasanjo’s letter really affected the government.
The government had taken some steps in the last three days that showed how the letter had affected its policies.
Firstly, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested and detained the former Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Engineer Babachir Lawal.
The government spokesman, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed reeled out the achievements of the government for Nigerians to see.
The National Working Committee of the party quickly organized an impromptu meeting and released a press statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, telling the citizens what the party had done so far to stabilize the country. It also disagreed with some of the points raised by Obasanjo.
But on Thursday, the restructuring committee came up with the report of restructuring, which to me is another joker for 2019 election.
Does Buhari have the political will to implement the recommendations as put forward by the committee? I don’t think Buhari can do that. I suspect the report, like the 2014 constitutional conference organized by former President Goodluck Jonathan, will soon become another archive material.
Jonathan came up with the idea to bribe the participants towards his reelection in 2015 but failed. He never meant to implement it and the report of 2014 constitutional is already archived.
The restructuring committee among other things had recommended the abstraction of the local government tier of government from the federal structure.
The committee wants true state autonomy that can determine if it needs local government area or not.
It recommended state police and wants the States to control their resources, including all solid and liquid resources of oil and minerals.
The committee wants devolution of power to strengthen the state and weaken the central for a true fiscal federalism.
These are also contained in the 2014 constitutional conference that was never implemented. If a PDP Government had organized a conference in which its recommendations are more or less the same with the restructuring agenda of APC, then it all looks like a deceit, it may never come to pass.