The All Progressives Congress (APC) has set up a committee to be chaired by the Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai to articulate its position on the nation’s restructuring. The party said it was uncertain as to what Nigerians meant by restructuring of the country, hence the decision to set up the committee to come up with the party’s own definition on the concept of restructuring.
The decision to put together a committee on restructuring came just as governors elected on the APC platform expressed frustration over the continued delay in organising the party’s convention. Addressing journalists after a two-hour meeting of the governors and the leadership of the party, Zamfara State Governor and the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Abdulaziz Yari said the leaders discussed key issues including the issue of restructuring and the party’s national convention. He said they decided that the regular meeting with the governors will be extended to include the principal officers of the National Assembly. Yari said: “We discussed the issue of the relationship between the governors and the National Assembly and the need to have this meeting between the principal officers of the National Assembly, the governors and the party. “We also discussed a number of issues ranging from state congresses which will commence on Saturday to elect two delegates for the convention.” On the delayed APC convention, Yari said that the party had been working on the process but since President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to be in attendance, it was delayed. He however assured Nigerians that the process would now kick off with congresses at the state level on July 29, leading to the election of three delegates for the convention and also fill some of the existing vacancies. “We have been on this issue of the convention for sometime. But you know that the president is the leader of this party and before getting to the convention, there is a process. “The NWC (National Working Committee) must agree on the time and we have to adopt the report of the NWC, send to the NEC and the president must be in attendance as the leader. “You know the situation of our president today. We have fixed dates, but because of his illness, we have not been able to hold the meeting. However, we have to put a process in place so that we can hold the mid-term convention,” he said. THISDAY also gathered that the governors told the party leadership that they were no longer prepared to keep delaying the convention and other activities, pointing at the speed with which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was able to meet and immediately fixed a date for its national convention. A reliable source at the meeting said the governors resolved to meet with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo Wednesday night to iron out issues relating to the convention and on the outstanding federal government board appointments. Other than the party’s convention, the Zamfara governor said that the meeting assessed the situation leading to the defeat of the party by the candidate of the PDP in the recently held senatorial bye-election in Osun State and measures to avert another recurrence. “We also discussed the bye-election in Osun State. We all know what happened and the fact that it was APC all the way and not because PDP had the power to win the election. “We know what happened there and we are on top of the situation and a committee made up of governors and officers from the national secretariat was formed to revisit the issue. “Let me say it is a wakeup call on how to deal with things like that in future. We are in a democratic setting and Senator Adeleke is from APC and his late brother was from APC and we all know what happened. “We have discussed that extensively and measures have been taken to avoid future occurrence,” he said. Also speaking on the resolutions reached at the meeting, APC spokesman, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the reason for setting up the committee on restructuring was to articulate what the APC means by restructuring. “I have repeatedly mentioned it that when we mentioned the setting up a committee on restructuring, what we are talking about is a committee that will articulate what the APC means by restructuring. “We have realised for sometime now that when people talk about restructuring, we are no longer sure if they are talking about the same thing. “People have said that the APC promised restructuring. So we need to sit down as a party to develop a shared understanding of what we mean by restructuring in our manifesto. “This committee that is set up which will be chaired by the governor of Kaduna State is mainly to define exactly what APC means by restructuring so that every member will know what exactly we mean. It is not a committee to set up the modalities for restructuring,” he said. Yari also spoke on the party’s outlook for the 2019 elections, insisting that the judgment of the Supreme Court that restored the Senator Ahmed Makarfi leadership of the rival opposition party would not in anyway affect the APC. The members of the Restructuring committee are el-Rufai (chairman), Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), former governor of Edo State, Prof. Oserheime Osunbor, and the APC National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso. Others include Bolaji Abdullahi and Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (Secretary). However, as the ruling party sought to refine its understanding of the clamour for Nigeria’s restructuring, one of its chieftains and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar had no misgivings about its definition, when he said that he backs the concept because of his conviction that it would guarantee equity and a united Nigeria. He said reordering of the country’s governance structure will take power from the elite and give it back to the people, adding that it would ensure that “everyone has a chance to build and share in this great nation’s potential”. In a speech delivered Wednesday at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) on the occasion of the Senior Staff Club Lecture Series on Restructuring Nigeria/Award of Excellence in Good Governance which was conferred on him, Atiku said his interest in the restructuring agenda dated back to his days as a member of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). Atiku said the party’s manifesto included the following words: “To improve the people’s welfare and fight for social justice.” He said restructuring might be inconvenient for the elite who are the ones profiting from the oil rent economy and the feeding bottle of our current deformed federalism. “But I believe we need to speak the truth. And the truth is this: our national wealth is being drained by a select few instead of building a country for all of us. This has to end. “We need to return the resources and power back to the local level, and from the elite to the people. “Only by restructuring can we guarantee unity, equity and security for our nation,” he said.
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