By Samuel Oyadongha, Dapo Akinrefon, Festus Ahon, Peter Duru & Peter Okutu
FROM the lips of a host of South-South and South-East leaders, it is hard knocks for National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, over his comments that the APC did not promise restructuring but devolution of power.
Southern leaders in different reactions, debunked the claim of the APC national chairman with several of them asserting that either the party was ignorant of its manifesto or deliberately revising history.
Among those who reacted were Afenifere; former Transport Minister, Chief Ebenezer Babatope; former Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, among other political leaders.
Briefing newsmen at the end of a regular meeting between party officials and governors at the national secretariat last Thursday, Odigie-Oyegun had said:
“If you want to know where APC is, read through the manifesto and that is where APC stands. The APC did not say restructuring.”
APC has played 419 on Nigerians – Afenifere
The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said APC had tricked Nigerians who voted them into power.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin said: “The APC decision spells political 419. They pulled a trick on the electorate by putting restructuring as the first line on their manifesto. I guess they must have concluded they are not coming back to the voters to be displaying this sheer impunity.”
I don’t believe APC will go back on its electoral promise —Babatope
Former Transport Minister and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said: “I do not believe that APC will go back on its electoral promise of being committed to the restructuring of Nigeria.
“The party will be digging its own political grave if it does so. Our dear country must be restructured to make for a true federation and guarantee justice and fair-play in the democracy we are operating in Nigeria. May God bless our country.’’
APC’s incoherent in its response – Osuntokun
Former Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr Akin Osuntokun, said: “It seems the party is incoherent in its response. You will recall that the chairman, Oyegun, said the party is committed to devolution of powers and true federalism but not restructuring. So the question is what is restructuring other than true federalism and devolution of powers?
It’s a shame Oyegun is speaking against restructuring – Onuesoke
Former Delta State governorship aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, said: “I am disappointed in APC and most especially the national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. It is a shame that Oyegun could speak against restructuring of Nigeria. I remember Oyegun was among those clamouring for restructuring of the country when he was governor of Edo State.
“Today Oyegun who is now APC chairman has made a reverse of his position. Let’s come off it, is change not restructuring?
Oyegun’s rejection of restructuring unfortunate – Okorodudu
National Chairman of Urhobo Peoples Integrity Group, UPIO, Dr Ebenezer Okorodudu, said: “The recent statement of the leadership of the ruling party in Nigeria, the APC, rejecting the popular clamour for the restructuring of the country, a clamour that has a common thread of acceptability across political parties and various strata of the country, is most unfortunate.’’
APC has a hidden agenda – Ebonyi PDP chieftain
A PDP chieftain in Ebonyi State, Chief Abia Onyike, stated that APC’s opposition to the clamour for the restructuring of the nation meant that the party has a hidden agenda.
His words: “If APC members say they oppose restructuring, it means they have a hidden agenda. They have to spell out their solutions to the agitations rocking the polity. They are not free from the crisis generated by the national question.’’
Diongoli, Wills speak
Some South-South leaders also condemned APC’s opposition to the call for the restructuring of the country.
His Royal Majesty, King Okpoitari Diongoli said: “Restructuring along regional lines is at the core of the continued existence of Nigeria. Therefore, for any group, whether political, religious or ethnic to go against it, would best be described as counter-progressive.’’
To Inuiro Wills, President, Ijaw Professionals Association, IPA, (Homeland Chapter), “APC can only do so to its own peril, except perhaps the party and its sponsors and apparatchiks didn’t know the dictionary meaning of change before adopting that concept as its slogan.’’.
Chief T.K.O Okorotie, Secretary Bayelsa Elders Forum and member, Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum, PANDEF, said: “The APC is speaking from both sides of the mouth. It says one thing in the morning and says another in the evening. What happened between the morning and the evening is obvious. The leadership challenges of Nigeria are, indeed, enormous. God please intervene.”
Eric Omare, Ijaw youth activist said: “It is unfortunate that the APC is against the call for restructuring. This is contrary to their promise to devolve power and ensure fiscal federalism.’’