By Bode Olagoke
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Oyegun, has said that the party is not in any way against the principle of taking a fresh look at the basis of our federalism in Nigeria, blaming uninformed Nigerians for the restructuring slogan.
Oyegun, who inaugurated a nine-man committee headed by the Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai, to articulate the position of the party on the much talked about restructuring, said if any group should claim ownership to the principle and the need for true federalism, that group should be the APC.
Part of the issues expected of El-Rufai’s committee to deliberate upon include; State creation, regionalism, Land tenure, devolution of power, fiscal federalism, resource control among others
Oyegun said: “It is therefore totally inconceivable for uninformed members of the public to jump on this bandwagon of reconstituting the federation to give the impression that the party was in any way against the principle of taking a fresh look at the basis of our federalism.
“For us, it is already a mantra. We know that there are things that need to be tinkered with without, in any way sacrificing, jeopardizing the fundamental unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The APC constitution and manifesto vigorously canvass these issues and they are very elaborately provided for. The party position has been eloquently stated in the terms of references of this committee. It is your duty, especially having regard to the emotive nature of the national discourse on “restructuring” to distil from our party constitution and manifesto the various ideas being canvassed in the different constitutional conferences that has been held in this country, especially to the one that, as a principle, we refused to attend because it was a very political affair.”
Responding, Kaduna State governor and chairman of the committee, Nasir El Rufai, said the committee will in the course of doing the job visit twelve states to gather views of young Nigerians.
“The reason why you asked us to serve on this committee is to spell out very clearly what our party believe to be true federalism because restructuring, devolution, true federalism is used by different people to mean different things. There are people who even believe that federalism means breaking up the country. These are all interpretations of words and even those who make use of those words and seek political relevance using those words have never laid out a clear roadmap on how Nigeria should be restructured or how power should be devolved.”
He said the committee has already met three times and identified twelve key issues that need to be discussed by Nigerians in other to have a clear direction, roadmap and steps to be taken to clarify and articulate the position of the APC on the subject of true federalism, restructuring, devolution of power among others.