….Accuses PDP of ‘Shallow’ Understanding, Says Buhari’s Speech Outstanding
By Omeiza Ajayi & Stephanie Afer
ABUJA: In a curious twist to its earlier stance on the 2014 National Conference which it boycotted and the decision of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to jettison the report of that conference, the ruling All Progressives Congress APC has said it is currently working with the report of the conference and that of 2009 with a view to articulating its position on restructuring.
This was as its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun described Monday’s presidential broadcast as “outstanding”, saying President Muhammadu Buhari covered major areas including restructuring of the federation.
But the party in a statement signed by its spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi, accused the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP of having a “shallow interpretation” of the concept, restructuring.
“As the ruling party between 1999 and 2015, PDP organised two national conferences, in 2005 and in 2014. They had nine years between the first conference and the second one and one full year between the time the report of the 2014 conference was submitted and the time it lost power in 2015. Perhaps, if PDP show which aspects of the two reports it had implemented in the time it had, then perhaps Nigerians might begin to take them seriously on the issue of 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.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the APC believes in the restructuring of the country. It is at the very heart of our party’s manifesto as explicitly stated in Section 3 (1) thus: ‘We will devolve more revenue and powers, such as policing to States and Local Government so that decision making is closer to the people. We pledge to bring the government closer to the people through fiscal and political decentralization, including local policing”, APC stated.
The statement reads in part; “The All Progressives Congress APC notes the statement issued on Sunday by the spokesperson of People Democratic Party PDP, Mr Dayo Adeyeye claiming that PDP has always supported restructuring. This should ordinarily be a welcome development, given that it provides opportunity for bi-partisan cooperation on this very important national issue.
“However, of concern to us is PDP’s rather shallow interpretation of restructuring as desired by Nigerians. In his release, Mr. Adeyeye quoted several aspects of his party’s constitution which he claimed serve as evidence that PDP believes in restructuring. A cursory review of the referenced parts of the constitution would, however, suggest 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 he 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!
“We welcome PDP and all the parties in opposition to work with us as we strive to meet the aspirations of Nigerians on this very fundamental issue of our national existence”.
Buhari’s Speech, Outstanding – Oyegun
Speaking with journalists Monday in Abuja, Odigie-Oyegun said the president prioritised what he wanted to talk about and that in due time, he would address other areas.
“The speech was absolutely outstanding. You see, he is the President of this nation. He has been away for quite a bit of time. Agents of destabilisation have been very much at work because they thought his absence created a gap and a weakness within the polity which they tried to exploit. So Mr President in his wisdom discerned that the stability, unity, peace and security of this nation and the ordinary Nigerian are the key issues at this material time.
He addressed them and went straight to the core of the issues. He left nobody in any doubt that any Nigerian is entitled as a matter of right to live, work and operate in any part of this country.
He made it clear and left no one in any doubt that yes, while people can discuss issues and the relationship in the nation, the National Assembly is there to handle such issues. But he drew one red line that the only thing that is not on the table is that this nation can be divided. He made it clear that the unity of the Nigerian nation is not up for negotiation of any type.
“Mr President picked on the core issue that was creating a lot of disquiet in the nation today and he made his views crisp and clear. Any leader must be able to set priorities. He set a very clear and unambiguous priority. The others he will deal with in the course of time”, he stated.
On the issue of restructuring, Odigie-Oyegun said; “He (Buhari) said quite clearly that you can discuss. The only issue that is out of bounds is the unity of this nation. That as the situation is today, the institutions of state that can legitimately deal with any changes in the relativity within the nation is the National Assembly and the National Council of State. It is the National Assembly that makes laws. So the situation is so clear and unambiguous. He did not say you cannot discuss but the only issue that was not on the table is the unity of the Nigerian nation”.