Kaduna State governor and chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on True Federalism, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has declared that it is an injustice to agitate for equal unequal, adding that in population and resources each region also differs.
He, however, said that because the representatives of the agitators are few in number, “the majority must always win.”
Speaking Wednesday in Abuja at the town hall meeting organised by his committee to interface with the youths, the governor said one of the mistakes people were making about restructuring was that everyone thinks of his own and no one thinks for the country.
But surprisingly, the much publicised event was poorly attended by the youths, leaving the large auditorium of Merit House almost empty.
Governor El-rufai, who blamed the poor attendance on Social Media, admitted that “I wished more of them (youths) came but I recognise that more of them now communicate more in the virtual world than in the real world.
“So many of them contacted us on the social media so, I am so far very happy with the participation of young people particularly when we went out for zonal hearings. The outing here in Abuja, is not as crowded as I expected, but I know they are following us on social media. We’ve received lots of memoranda from them on various social media platforms so we know we have a very fair idea of what the young people of Nigeria are thinking about the future of their country and we will reflect that in our report.”
On the reason why number of states in each of the federation can’t be equal, El-rufai said: “It is just like saying everyone who is six feet, five can play basket ball. As Human beings we are equal but you cannot come and stand here and say we should create nine states in each zone, Nigeria is not equal likewise the population and resources, you can’t do that.
“The greatest injustice is trying to make equal, unequal and unequal equal, things are not done like that. What do I mean by that, there are those who have said that Nigeria and United States are same.
“The representatives of the agitators are few in number and so the majority must always win. The president of the country exists, the Senate exist and there are 36 states of the federation. We the old ones are still here, some of us are good, some are bad likewise the youths, but you must learn to live with us because we are still here.
“Now some people say because we have oil, lets us have resource control. We must think of what is of overall interest of Nigeria. By that I mean what works for everyone. Because what works for one part of the county will not necessarily work for the other and so as long as we are from one country we must seek for what is of common good not the one that serves one interest group. If you do things like that, you will get it wrong. Otherwise you will continue to make argument in which there will be no consensus.”
While advising the Nigerian youths not to show indifference to the ongoing summit on True Federalism, the governor said: “This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that there is an
honest conversation on the structure of our federation. This is the first time that every Nigerian will be given the opportunity to contribute to debate on the structure of the polity.
“We are going to listen to our young people that account for 60-80% of Nigerians that haven’t been given a voice. Now we must listen to them.”
Again, El-rufai argued that “You cannot just say that your state is producing oil and want resource control because you have to pass such amendments through the National Assembly and all the states that have no oil are more in number than those that have oil and so they will vote it down. So you better start thinking about something that works for the entire country not just you.”
In his own, the secretary of the Committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi restated the issues to be addressed in the ongoing debate to include, derivation principle, revenue allocation and resource control, devolution of power, form of government, power sharing and rotation, autonomy for local government, state creation among others.
The youth groups in their individual presentations demanded for devolution of power to states and local councils as they noted that the federal government has been overburdened with so many responsibilities which they noted were better handled by states and local government.