By Ibrahim Hassan
Governor Nasiru Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna State has called for a collective national endeavour to secure the necessary constitutional amendments to achieve a restructuring of the country.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, yesterday, El-Rufai noted that restructuring is a nation-building opportunity.
“Restructuring is a pragmatic imperative for a more efficient governance structure. It will enable a departure from excessive centralisation, re-balance the federation and locate powers and responsibilities in the tier of government best able to effectively discharge them,” he said.
The statement said there is a unique opportunity for all Nigerians who believe in the merits of restructuring to work together to realise it.
He noted that restructuring can be achieved only by constitutional means and processes, adding that ‘’the National Assembly is the primary platform for attaining it, followed by the necessary concurrence by two-thirds of the state Houses of Assembly in the country, and presidential assent.”
The governor explained that ‘’every part of the country has representation in the National Assembly. States and interest groups that wish to advance restructuring can persuade any of their federal legislators to present the draft bills.”
He said that for instance, those who support restructuring can present the Report of the APC True Federalism Committee or any other relevant draft legislation for consideration and passage by the federal legislature.
‘’This is the productive direction to consider, rather than revel in idle doubt and pessimism when the national interest is calling for active engagement,” the statement argued.
According to El-Rufai, ‘’there is no extra-constitutional route to resolving a constitutional matter on which there exists reasonable consensus and for which draft bills have been prepared.”
‘’As a body of Nigerians elected from constituencies across the country, the National Assembly is the veritable constitutional conference. Therefore, it is not helpful to seek to traduce its legitimacy, especially by persons who do not have any electoral mandate,” he said.
The governor counselled that pragmatism advises cooperation in attaining this collective endeavour.
‘’However, recent comments from some regional groupings make it difficult to escape the suspicion that certain persons regard the realisation of restructuring as a moment of peril.
‘’They appear to fear that the possibility of restructuring being actualised may erode their political viability or remove a platform for grandstanding. We assure them that they can always find new causes to pursue, post-restructuring, like working with others to ensure that the newly devolved governance structures work efficiently across the federation to deliver better outcomes for our people,” he said.