By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA — The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has expressed its commitment to “true” federalism, describing it as the way out of Nigeria’s current ‘bastardized and unitary federation’.
National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, stated this at the public presentation of Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led Committee on True Federalism, in Abuja, yesterday.
According to him, past conferences were “flamboyant set pieces,” which ended in nothing. He said what the APC was bringing on board represented the true opinions of the critical mass of Nigerians.
Oyegun said: “We have held flamboyant conferences on the structures or constitution of this country but each time, it always ended up in nothing.
‘’Today, we are moving from set-piece conferences to the beginning of a new Nigeria. Today, you are going to be partners in the construction of the basic fundamental foundation that will truly wed this country together.
“There is no question at all that where we were and where we are now is basically a bastardized kind of federal structure, more like a unitary system but what we are going to present to the nation today are the considered views of the critical mass of this nation, those who are strong in expressing their views, those who are not so strong, the women and the youths of this nation who participated strongly and intensively in the results that are being presented to you today.”
Also speaking, chairman of the committee and Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Politics, Uba Sani, said his committee had produced clear recommendations and draft bills that incorporated amendments to strengthen federalism.
He said: “Thus far, we have not heard rebuttals of the recommendations. Rather, there has been a lot of hysteria triggered by seeming disbelief that a party in power at the centre is proposing true federalism.”
“In place of a counter-narrative or alternative position on true federalism, what we hear is that the recommendations are coming too close to the elections. If something is desirable, surely the imminence of elections should not render it unappealing.
“The reality is that restructuring is a nation-building opportunity. There is now no significant constituency against the idea that states should exercise consequential powers, assume more responsibilities and control resources. It is time to make it work, for the benefit of the people of this country.”