By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The North will take a rational position on the debate on restructuring devoid of sentiments or selfishness when Northern leaders and intelligentsia gather on Wednesday for the two-day conference on restructuring, Dr. Usman Bugaje, convener of Arewa Research and Development Project, has said.
In a statement, yesterday, Bugaje said the North would rise above the present confusion on the issue of restructuring and present a common and rational agenda that would be the long term benefit of the region.
He said: “In the last one year, or so, ‘Restructuring’ and ‘True Federalism’ have dominated political discourse in Nigeria. Unfortunately, when you listen to the speeches and read the articles on these issues, you will find out that there are as many comprehensions of these terms as there are people speaking or writing.
“Besides, most of the discussions seem to ignore the history of the evolution of our federalism and this failure has actually helped to rob the whole exercise of its propriety, accuracy and clarity.”
To this effect, Bugaje said Arewa Research and Development Project, ARDP, would hold a two-day conference in Kaduna, Wednesday, to help bring clarity, accuracy and coherence into the debate as well as provide a sound basis upon which the North will anchor its position on restructuring.
He further said the planning committee of the conference drew heavily from Northern academic institutions and Northern organisations like the NEF, ACF, Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation, Code Group, Northern Delegates Forum, Northern Re-awakening, Jamiyyar Matan Arewa and Arewa Initiative for Good Governance, among others.
“This conference seeks to blend academic presentations with realpolitik,” he said.
he said, adding that “while academics and experts will lead with papers, a panel of practitioners will discuss the issues extensively. The audience will also be given a chance to raise issues and make their inputs into the discussions.
“Some of the key papers will be on the historicity of the Nigerian federation; an examination of the constitutional developments in pre- and post-colonial Nigeria; and the dangers of war, the dynamics of peace. Others will look at the principles of fiscal federalism and revenue allocation; the land question and the development agenda of the North. In the afternoon of both two days a panel of experts will focus on these presentations and bring the practical dimensions to the fore while the audience gets a chance to make their inputs,” Bugaje said