By Ben Agande
Kaduna—Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, said, yesterday, it would only support calls for restructuring of the country on the condition that the exercise was just, fair and equitable for all Nigerians.
Rising from its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Kaduna, the ACF also stated its opposition to implementation of the report of 2014 national conference, saying it was skewed against the north.
The communique, signed by the forum’s Publicity Secretary, Mohammed Biu, read in part: “ACF has observed with keen interest the current nationwide debate on the term, restructuring of the country, as being canvassed by some people, groups and even prominent citizens.
“The term, however, means different things to different people or groups. To some, it is true federalism, whatever that means. For others it is fiscal federalism, while some groups tout resource control, yet we have those for resource ownership.
“ACF notes with regret that those clamouring or demanding for the so-called restructuring are yet to define what they actually mean by the concept and its application in our present democratic setting.
“In most cases, the meaning depends on which section of the country or where the person advocating it comes from. It is, therefore, the considered view of the ACF that any acceptable restructuring meant to improve the unity, stability, harmony and peaceful coexistence of the country must be based on just, fair and equitable principles to all Nigerians that come with clarity of definition.”
On 2014 national confab report
On the clamour for implementation of the 2014 national conference report, ACF said its opposition to the implementation of the recommendations in the report was not so much because of any legal consideration as to its legitimacy, but because the selection of the conference delegates was skewed against the north in number.
“For emphasis, there are contentious issues like the abolition of the present local government councils, creation of 18 additional states that were not resolved in accordance with due process of the conference proceedings.
“ACF, therefore, is of the opinion that it would be morally preposterous and anti-democratic for anybody or group to canvass the implementation of the reports by a conference of unelected delegates.
“This is more so by the elected government, which did not participate in the conference and its recommendations were not part of the manifesto of the ruling party,” it said.
On the face-off between the National Assembly, especially the Senate, and the executive arms of government, the ACF called for caution in the interest of Nigerians.
It said: “ACF has observed with deep concern the continued altercations between the executive arm of government and the National Assembly, in particular the Senate, over interpretations of certain sections of the constitution regarding confirmation of appointments of public officers and other contentious issues.
“These kind of disagreements are avoidable, precisely because they are not helpful for good governance. ACF, therefore, urges the parties concerned to amicably resolve their differences in the interest of Nigeria or better still approach the Supreme Court and seek the correct interpretation of the relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in order to avoid a recurrence of the present situation.’’