The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned Nigerians to be wary of presidential aspirants such as Atiku Abubakar and David Mark, who have become “latter-day converts”, that want to “exploit” restructuring as an issue for “populist political campaigns”.
In a statement on Sunday by Yekini Nabena, APC’s acting National Publicity Secretary, the party accused past administrations of having “splashed billions of public funds to convene several national conferences, subsequently left conference reports to gather dust”, and yet, “achieved nothing”.
The statement particularly criticised Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice-President, asking: “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?”
APC also accused Senator David Mark for spending eight years as the president of the Senate, yet “never sponsored a motion on restructuring”.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Atiku Abubakar had been in the news over the past few days on their differing stands on restructuring, with the former insisting that Atiku’s stand on the subject is “understandably vague”.
APC agreed with Osinbajo’s view, stating that “Prof. Osinbajo in his well-articulated response to Alh. 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 statement continued: “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.
“Past administrations have splashed billions of public funds to convene several national conferences, subsequently left conference reports to gather dust and achieved NOTHING. Bad governance, corruption, bigotry and other ills remain the limiting factors that continue to hold the country back.
“We must never succumb to ethnic champions who promote campaigns to break up the country into tiny bits or other unrealistic and unpatriotic proposals in the name of restructuring to solve our problems as a country. It is simplistic and unconstitutional.
“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.
“A practical approach to implement the committee’s report is being considered by the Federal Government.
“The APC believes that good, sincere, focused, 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 achieve 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.”