By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has challenged the All Progressives Congress, APC, to forward the recommendations of its committee on restructuring to the National Assembly as a way of showing faith in the work of the committee.
Clark, in an interview with Vanguard, also enjoined the leaders of the Niger Delta to familiarise themselves with the issues concerning restructuring as a way of sensitising the grassroots on the issues ahead of a possible referendum.
Clark spoke against the background of the submission of the report of the APC ad-hoc committee on restructuring. The Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State-led committee had amongst others, recommended devolution of powers and state police.
Reacting, Clark said: “I have read the APC report on restructuring. On devolution of powers, resource control, state police, if they are sincere and honest about them, let them forward their recommendations for action to the National Assembly because majority of the members of the National Assembly, who rejected devolution of power are still holding to that.
“So, if the APC is sincere on the devolution of powers, resource control and state police and they believe in true federalism which includes fiscal federalism, we are all on the same page. They should publish it and send it to the National Assembly. If they do that, Nigerians will live together. The unity of the country will be strengthened; it should not be just for election purposes.”
While calling on Niger Delta leaders to prepare for the March 24 restructuring rally, he said: “We are inviting every South-South man, every Niger Delta man because we agreed on this when Southern Nigerian leaders met in Lagos and agreed that it was time to educate the grassroots on restructuring.”
Restructuring should now be taken to the grassroots because one day we may be called for a referendum and let our people know what we are after.
“We produce the resources of this country, but even though we are the ones producing, we do not benefit from them. The money is collected by the Federal Government, managed by the Federal Government, our people are not there, but under restructuring, the basic units will be the ones managing the resources of their areas and pay taxes to the Federal Government.
“A situation where we have oil which is being managed by other people outside the oil area as if we are not Nigerians, where we are colonised and now the Nigerians have taken over as if we are not Nigerians, are we second-class citizens?
“How can you appoint nine members to the NNPC board and six of them are from the North? What kind of country do we belong to? Since we started talking about restructuring, the South West people who used to oppose us, have now come in saying ‘give to the people who are producing the resources what is due to them.’
“The South East has joined us, the Middle-Belt have joined us and even other prominent Nigerians, people like Atiku (Mohammed), people like Babangida,” he added.