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APC, PDP in tit-for-tat game over restructuring

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APC, PDP in tit-for-tat game over restructuring

As the 2019 general elections draw nearer, the ceaseless calls for restructuring have become a new slogan in Nigeria. Undoubtedly, the cry for restructuring has been raised to a point where it is likely to be used as a key campaign issue in 2019. 
The intervention of the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, a chieftain of the party, with purported fixed eyes on the presidency, is said to have further given the issue a political colouration.
Daily Trust takes a look at the issue which has now pitched the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) against the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The APC has no option but to respond to the call which is captured in the party’s manifesto by constituting a 22-man committee led by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State to articulate the party’s concept of restructuring. The party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, tasked the committee to review all the ideas variously referred to as “True Federalism”, “Restructuring”, “Devolution of Power”, “Regionalism”, Resource Control” among others, and articulate the public’s position with the party’s manifesto and campaign promises.
Chief Odigie-Oyegun, while inaugurating the 23-member committee, said the APC was not opposed to any move to re-structure the country through true federalism and devolution of power which were captured in its constitution and manifesto.
The APC national chairman said the party could claim ownership of the need for true federalism because it was one of the principal points negotiated towards the formation of party.
“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 is 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 and jeopardising the fundamental unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he also said.
He said the task given to the committee was both critical and sensitive, especially in the light of the clamour for restructuring, devolution of power, fiscal federalism, resource control among other various forms of reforms suggested for the current political architecture of the nation.
“I implore you to take time out of your busy schedule to attend to this issue speedily because we must take charge of this debate which is being used unfortunately by opponents of the party who have not, at any stage, defined what restructuring means to them.
“So, out there, there are so many definitions of restructuring. I ask you to generate a report which will truly reflect the desire of our people and a true reflection of what our party stands for so that at the end of the day, we will have a significant idea of what the people of this nation want as their idea of true federalism,” said Odigie-Oyegun.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the committee, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, said it was part of the APC manifesto and campaign commitment to ensure a balanced federation.
El-Rufai said the committee had identified 12 key issues that needed to be discussed by Nigerians 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.
As soon as the APC constituted this committee, the PDP described the “sudden interest” of the APC in the restructuring of Nigeria as another ploy to deceive Nigerians and divert attention from critical issues of bad governance.
The PDP voiced its suspicion over the reason why the APC which refused to participate in the 2014 national conference “convened partly to achieve key elements of restructuring” could now claim ownership of the idea.
The PDP, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, was reacting to an earlier statement in which the ruling APC accused the PDP of not having genuine interest in restructuring.
The statement by the PDP, signed by Adeyeye, reads in parts, “We have read with amusement the statement credited to the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, in which he said that PDP had never been and was not interested in restructuring.
“This sudden interest of the APC in restructuring after several months of denial by its Chairman, Chief Odigie-Oyegun, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, some governors elected on the platform of the party and other senior officials” of the APC’s promise of “restructuring in its manifesto is the latest in a series of deceitful ploys designed and being implemented by the ruling party to hoodwink Nigerians ahead of the 2019 general elections.”
“Indeed, our party’s commitment to constantly seeking solutions to the challenges confronting the nation caused us to amend our constitution to include the equitable devolution (decentralisation) of power for greater functionality, national integration and rapid economic and social reconstruction, amongst other things. Examples can be found in Preamble 2(b) and (e), Section 7(b) and (f), and many more provisions of our party’s constitution,” he said.
Adeyeye also said, “It is against the backdrop of our party’s commitment to restructuring the system of socio-political governance in Nigeria for better functionality and efficiency that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan summoned a national conference to recommend amendments to the Nigerian constitution. This conference submitted a report with several proposed amendments to the constitution which the APC-led Federal Government has refused to implement more than two years later.
“It is imperative to point out that the APC was the only political party which refused to attend the national conference in 2014. It is also imperative to point out that APC’s refusal to participate at the conference was predicated on a narrow and selfish interest.”
But in a swift reaction, the ruling APC took a swipe at the PDP, saying that the party’s interpretation of restructuring was “shallow” compared to the desire of Nigerians.
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Abdullahi, while reacting to the PDP spokesperson’s claim that the ex-ruling party had always supported restructuring, described the PDP as “latter day converts on restructuring”.
“If the PDP now believes in restructuring, we welcome them as latter day converts. But the appropriate behaviour would be for them to respect the efforts we are currently making to deliver on our party’s manifesto on restructuring. 
“It must interest the PDP that we have dusted up the reports of their national conferences from the shelves they had left them to gather dust and those reports are now forming part of the work we are doing with our committee, which they have tried hard to denigrate,” Abdullahi also said in a release signed and issued in Abuja titled “restructuring and PDP hypocrisy”.
He said that a cursory review of the referenced parts of the constitution cited by the party suggested that either the PDP is “deliberately out to mislead” or “it just does not have an appropriate understanding of the restructuring that Nigerians clamour for.”
“For instance, preamble 2(b) of the PDP constitution quoted by Adeyeye states:  ‘To work together under the umbrella of the party for the speedy restoration of democracy, the achievement of national reconciliation, economic and social reconstruction and respect for human rights and the rule of law.’
“If statements such as the above are what the PDP intends to pass off as restructuring, this should further confirm that the party is still not in tune with the aspirations and dreams of the Nigerian people. It is indeed amusing that after being in power for 16 years, PDP is just waking up to realise that its constitution prescribed restructuring. If this is not political opportunism, we wonder what is. 
“We understand that PDP needs desperately to return to reckoning; and realising that restructuring is the new political currency in Nigeria, it is now latching on and even claiming to be an apostle,” the release also read in part.
Despite the exchange of banters, the APC still expressed its readiness to welcome contributions from the PDP during its ongoing zonal public hearing organised by the “Committee on True Federalism”.
The Secretary of the committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, who addressed journalists in Abuja at its secretariat, penultimate week, said the PDP was part of the stakeholders. 
Senator Adetunmbi said that the report of the 2014 national conference would be “available as literature” for the ongoing effort aimed at building the nation.
But in a swift reaction, the PDP, in what looks like a tit-for-tat move, said it would not participate in the APC public hearing on restructuring.  
The PDP spokesman, Prince Adeyeye, said the party would not participate “because the APC has no genuine interest in restructuring.”  
The party argued that the decision was diversionary and a delay tactics.
It would be recalled that the APC had, in 2013, refused to take part in the national conference organised by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. 
The APC, through its former Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the conference was nothing but mere constitutional amendment process and diversionary.
Mohammed said that the conference was meant to divert the attention of Nigerians from several problems like insecurity, corruption and infrastructural decay facing the country.
Now that the PDP has ruled the possibility of participation in the on-going APC zonal public hearings on “True Federalism”, pundits say the APC has been paid back with its own coins.

APC, PDP in tit-for-tat game over restructuring Reviewed by Blessing Admin on 02:49 Rating: 5

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